The Celtic Literature Collective

These Hands have been Withered
Ascribed to Oisin son of Finn
RIA MS 1223, f. 88r (66) col. 2 (olim D iv 2 olim Stowe MS. 992)

THESE hands have been withered;
these deeds have been prevented ;
flood has gone, ebb has come
and has destroyed these powers.

I thank the Creator that I
have had profit with great joy;
long is my day in wretched life;
once I was beautiful.

I was the fairest in an assembly;
I have enjoyed wanton women who would give;
not weakly am I journeying from the world:
my springtide course has ended.

The little heap of fragments
you break for this wretched fasting wretch:
a morsel of it is on a stone, a morsel on a bone,
a morsel on this withered hand.

This is thought to be an extremely early poem, pre-dating the Acallam

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