The Celtic Literature Collective

On the Loss of a Pet Goose
RIA MS 1080, f. 129 (olim B iv 2)

O Mor of Moyne in Mag Suil, 
loss of a bird is no great occasion for grief. 
If you consider that you yourself must die, 
is it not an offence against your reason to lament a goose? 

Daughter of stalwart Donnchad, who, like all women, 
carry things to excess, are you unacquainted with storytelling, 
as your hastiness would suggest, 
when your lovely goose so inflames your heart? 

Have you not heard that Conn of the Hundred Battles, 
hero of Cua, is dead, 
and Cormac too, and Art? 
Neither the son nor the grandson can effect anything. 

Have you not heard of the fate of good Crimthann mac Fidach, 
who belonged to a glorious and noble family, 
and, in the south, of Leogan Tafdlech 
who brought trouble to Cifu Min? 

Have you not heard of the harsh fettering fact, 
that wrathful Eochaid Feidlech is dead, 
and Crimthann of the Champion's heart, 
and Lugaid of the two Red Stripes? 

Have you not heard of the... 
whence fugaine came by a cry of woe? 
Have you not heard of that night-watch 
in the past whereby Conaire of Colt was crushed? 

Have you not heard that the good warrior Mongan 
fell in a conflict on the borders, 
and that gentle Cermait Milbol, 
son of the swift Dagda, has perished? 

Have you not heard that he of the nimble hand has perished, 
Cuchulain who was a delightful champion? 
And no man had ever subdued him 
of all that ever gripped a spear. 

Have you not heard of the ill-famed 
strange act of violence concerning Fothad Canann, 
nor of the royal warrior in the past 
whose name was Finn, leader of the Fiana? 

Have you not heard of Fergus, though he was glorious, 
of whose fame every mighty sea-way was full, 
and of Manannan mac Lir, 
O Mor, dear as a child to me? 

There are geese in Ireland in Brian's time, 
Brian Boru who has won rule over golden Leibliu; 
good is the friend you and I have in Brian: 
the lord of Cenn Mara is generous, O Mor. 

Interesting in the way it namechecks a number of legendary figures from Irish myth: Finn mac Cumhil, Cuchulain, the Dagda, Fergus mac Ruadh, Conn of the Hundred Battles, his son Art mac Chonn and grandson Cormac mac Airt, and is evidently written during the rule of Brian Boru, high king of Ireland in the eleventh century, who united the island and drove off the Vikings.

Early Irish lyrics, eighth to twelfth century. Gerard Murphy (ed), Oxford, Clarendon Press, (1956) pages 166

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