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- Heroic Romances of Ireland Volume 1 - 40/44 -

prefix, a better translation may be, "I myself was greatly glowing."


Line 26. "The lady was seized by great bitterness of mind," Irish ro gab etere moir. The translation of etere is doubtful.


For the final poem, in which Fand returns to Manannan, reference may as before be made to Thurneysen's translation; but a few changes may be noted:

Line 1 should be, "See the son of the hero people of the Sea."

Line 5 seems to be, "Although" (lit. "if") "it is to-day that his cry is excellent."

Line 7 is a difficult one. Thurneysen gives, "That indeed is the course of love," apparently reading rot, a road, in place of ret; but he leaves eraise untranslated; the Irish is is eraise in ret in t-serc. Might not eraise be "turning back," connected with eraim, and the line run: "It is turning back of the road of love"?

Lines 13 to 16 are omitted by Thurneysen. They seem to mean:

When the comely Manannan took me, he was to me a fitting spouse; nor did he at all gain me before that time, an additional stake (?) at a game at the chess.

The last line, cluchi erail (lit. "excess") ar fidchill, is a difficult allusion. Perhaps the allusion is to the capture of Etain by Mider as prize at chess from her husband. Fand may be claiming superiority over a rival fairy beauty.

Lines 17 and 18 repeat lines 13 and 14.

Lines 46 and 47 are translated by Thurneysen, "Too hard have I been offended; Laeg, son of Riangabra, farewell," but there is no "farewell" in the Irish. The lines seem to be: "Indeed the offence was great, O Laeg, O thou son of Riangabra," and the words are an answer to Laeg, who may be supposed to try to stop her flight.


Line 24. "That she might forget her jealousy," lit. "a drink of forgetfulness of her jealousy," deoga dermait a heta. The translation seems to be an accepted one, and certainly gives sense, but it is doubtful whether or not eta can be regarded as a genitive of et, "jealousy "; the genitive elsewhere is eoit.

There is a conclusion to this romance which is plainly added by the compiler: it is reproduced here, to show the difference between its style and the style of the original author:

"This then was a token given to Cuchulain that he should be destroyed by the People of the Mound, for the power of the demons was great before the advent of the Faith; so great was that power that the demons warred against men in bodily form, and they showed delights and secret things to them; and that those demons were co-eternal was believed by them. So that from the signs that they showed, men called them the Ignorant Folk of the Mounds, the People of the Sid."



The four pieces of rhetoric, at the beginning of this text are translated by Thurneysen, Sagen aus dem alten Irland, pp. 11 and 12. In the first, third, and fourth of those, the only difference of any importance between the text adopted and Thurneysen's versions is the third line of the third piece, which perhaps should run: "With stately eyes with blue pupils," segdaib suilib sellglassaib, taking the text of the Yellow Book of Lecan.

The second piece appears to run as follows:

Let Cathbad hear, the fair one, with face that all love, the prince, the royal diadem, let he who is extolled be increased by druid arts of the Druid: because I have no words of wisdom to oppose (?) to Feidlimid, the light of knowledge; for the nature of woman knows not what is under her body, (or) what in the hollow of my womb cries out.

These rhetorics are remarkable for the great number of the alliterations in the original.


Thurneysen omits a verse of Cathbad's poem. A translation of the whole seems to run thus:

Deirdre, great cause of destruction, though thou art fair of face, famous, pale, Ulster shall sorrow in thy time, thou hidden (?) daughter of Feidlimid.

Windisch's Dict. gives "modest daughter" in the last line; the original is ingen fial. But the word might be more closely connected with fial, "a veil." "Modest" is not exactly the epithet that one would naturally apply to the Deirdre of the Leinster version, and the epithet of "veiled" or "hidden" would suit her much better, the reference being to her long concealment by Conor.

There shall be mischief yet afterwards on thy account, O brightly shining woman, hear thou this! at that time shall be the exile of the three lofty sons of Usnach.

It is in thy time that a violent deed shall be done thereupon in Emain, yet afterwards shall it repent the violation of the safeguard of the mighty son of Rog.

Do foesam is read in the last verse, combining the Leinster and the Egerton texts.

It is through thee, O woman with excellence, (is) the exile of Fergus from the Ulstermen, and a deed from which weeping will come, the wound of Fiachna, the son of Conor.

Fiachna. is grandson to Conor in the Book of Leinster account of the battle. Fiacha is Conor's son in the Glenn Masain version.

It is thy fault, O woman with excellence, the wound of Gerrc son of Illadan, and a deed of no smaller importance, the slaying of Eogan mac Durthacht.

There is no account of the slaying of Eogan in the Book of Leinster version; and Eogan appears on the Hill of Slane in the Ulster army in the War of Cualgne. The sequel to the Glenn Masain version, however, describes Eogan's death at the hand of Fergus (Celtic Review, Jan. 1905, p. 227).

Thou shalt do a deed that is wild and hateful for wrath against the king of noble Ulster; thy little grave shall be in that place, thy tale shall be renowned, O Deirdre.


Line 13. "Release me, O my wife!" eirgg uaim a ben. It is suggested that the vocative ben is "wife," not "woman." It occurs in seven other places besides this in Windisch's Dictionary, and in six of these it means wife (Emer is addressed as wife of Cuchulain in a deig-ben, in "Sick-bed," 44). In the remaining case ("Fled Bricrend," 31) the word is abbreviated, and stands b in the text, which might be for be, "O lady," though we should have then expected the accent. I suggest that Naisi, by giving to Deirdre the name of "wife," accepts her offer, for no other sign of acceptance is indicated, and the subsequent action shows that she is regarded as his wife afterwards.

Line 30. "Near to Ballyshannon," and "which men to-day call the Mountain of Howth," are inserted as the modern names of the places. The words correspond to nothing in the Irish.


Line 13. "Fiacha." Fiacha, the son of Fergus, corresponds to Illan in the better known version. There is no one in this version who corresponds to the traitor son, Buinne.


The "Lament of Deirdre," one of the finest of the older Irish poems, has been rendered by Thurneysen and by others, among which should be specially mentioned Miss Hull, in the Cuchullin Saga, pp. 50-51. O'Curry's and O'Flanagan's versions seem to be very far from correct, and it will be more convenient to give that literal translation which seems nearest to the original, instead of indicating divergencies. The

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