The Celtic Literature Collective

A Poem for Long Life

May Fer-Fio's cry protect me upon the road, as I make my circuit of the Plain of Life

I call on the seven daughters of the sea,
who shape the threads of long life.
Three deaths be taken from me,
three lives given to me,
seven waves of plenty poured for me.
May ghosts not injure me on my journey
in my radiant breastplate without stain.
May my name not be pledged in vain;
may death not come to me until I am old.

I call on my Silver Champion,
who has not died and will not die;
may time be granted to me of the quality of bronze.
May my form be exalted, [may my double be slain]
may my law be ennobled,
may my strength be increased,
may my tomb not be readied,
may I not die on my journey,
may my return be ensured to me.
May the two-headed serpent not attack me,
nor the hard grey worm,
nor the senseless beetle.
May no thief attack me,
nor a company of women,
nor a company of warriors.
May I have increase of time from the king of all.

I call on Senach of the seven lives,
whom fairy women suckled on the breasts of good fortune.
May my seven candles not be quenched.
I am an invincible fortress,
I am an unshakable cliff,
I am a precious stone,
I am the symbol of seven riches.
May I be the man of hundreds of possessions,
hundreds of years, each hundred after another.

I summon my good fortune to me;
may the grace of the Holy Spirit be on me.
Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of Christ
Your Blessings, Lord, upon your people.

Ed. by Kuno Meyer from two MSS (Laud 610 and Book of Ballymote). Miscellany presented to John Macdonald Mackay. Liverpool, 1914.

I have added the final three lines, translating them from Latin.