The Progress of the Sons of Mil from Spain to Ireland
par. I ... diligently1 observing the firmament and enumerating their.... broad gluttonous meapons of a curly-branched wood. Then terrible mental anxiety seized him and all that Ith had seen afar that festival day made him meditate in deep perplexity, namely: the howling of dogs, the scream of weapons, the awe-inspiring wails of kings, queens, princes and great lords at seeing the hosts marching firmly in the courts of the high-king. Looking awhile over theocean to the north-west that was a cause of wonder to his mind. Ith returned in his course to his staunch and faithful guardians and to his great city that is, to the lime-stone mansion. His friends and comrades came to meet him and he described fairly and truly all he had seen afar that festival day, howling dogs etc. It is a long while, oh warriors" said Ith, "since your prophets foretold 2 emphatically to your sorrowing ancestors that in a very pleasant pure-aired island, in a fertile settled noble western land, should be your territory and your rest. It is my opinion that this is the even-sloped green-waved land of assembly hills of which they spoke. I advise you, oh warriors, to fill your ships and come to seek that island." He recited the poem
"I see rocky peaks far away, in the place of my death,
a rough mountain with misty summit
Launch your ships on the Fomorian ocean
"But do not decide", said Donn,3 the steady firm-minded handsome son of Mil, of joyous fame, "without proper preparation and planning by Ir and Emer, Eremon and Airach, Amirgin and Arannan for I am very doubtful that no dwelling will be farther from us in the world than this." "What is this indeed," said Ith "but vengeful artful contradiction and hypocritical infatuated prophecy and underhand stroke because the lot is clearly mine." Those men parted in anger and Ith marched in fury to his estate and offered sacrifice at a high solid ordained altar. The boats were brought aright to the sea for the heroes and they prayed sadly to Neptune that the high sea might be the calmer. He went to offer his services at the ribbed well-timbered huge ship. He covered it smoothly with pitch from the two edges to the hull so that no nailed spot should be insecure in it. Fifty warriors came into the hold and filled the poop with provisions. They brought beds for each couple into the good ship. Ith came swiftly to the bridge (?) of his ship to exercise it smartly. He seized the broad bare heavy rudder and promptly set it in action that day. He thrust smoothly the mast into it’s bare straight ring. They hoisted the gay lightsome broad sail-sheet that day. He allowed drinking in honour of his sacrifice, he, the good wise, comely, honourable, stern Ith, in his well—proportioned well-planned castle due south-west, (also called Ivini).4 He returned suddenly from till the rough biting pure cold wind smote the sheet with it’s variegated emblems and curved lines above the prow of the ship.... But the ship boldly answered that windy line so that she left with wavering uncertain birdlike motion the quivering fairstranded harbour located at the western corner of Spain, [and sailed] with it’s right to Eire without difficulty till they reached the harbour of fertile and wondrous Magh Itha.5 Those heroes came out of their ship gladly and laid their noble well-born bodies down on the surface of the dewy green-edged smooth-clipped plain. That wooded glen was as a mantle to the men after their sea—toil which had depressed them. They began to slumber peacefully to the buzzing of bees, whispering while busily collecting when they came to the blossom-tips. He rose to apportion their rations to the warriors and he sacrificed6 on a high solid sacrificial altar to learn the truth of his journey on this occasion. Ith was not satisfied with the oracle and his followers noticed it’s effect and the warriors asked what was the real cause. Ith repeated his prophecy and composed this rhetoric.
Ye sought blessing and prosperity. Ye found a western land.
7"Ye went so sadly over the ocean—pool of Neptune.
Take ye the wind’s strength. Clann Golaim yielded.
Prophets diligently, druids sternly, testified.
2. But grief and sorrow filled the followers of Ith after that oracle. Ith said to them, "but how did ye arrive in this island? They said that "wandering from our course and magic mist caused us to come in.
It was not long afterwards that they met numerous hersdmen and shepherds. They inquired of them, "what land is this to which we have come?” "Alas," said the herdsmen, "were ye brought up in a cave or an island or a desert, or being blind deaf or witless, ye were each brought up apart in .... that ye know not the name of this island and the names of the kings who rule it." "But we do not know," said they. (That is Eriu, Fotla, Banba.8 Those are the names of the wives of the three kings who rule, Mac Cuill Mac [C]echt and Mac Greine, three sons of Cermad Midbeoil son of the Dagda. They were obliged to rule Eire in turns and in the year each one was king his wife’s name was given to the island that year.) "Where truly are the kings?" said Ith. "They are at Cathair Crobinn," said the herdsmen, "in the centre of the plain (?) of hire." Howbeit the herdsmen, directed them how to go straight to Cathair Crobinn9, (which is now called Tara.) When they reached the place where were those three kings, they were welcomed and received with respect. They made them a dormitory and served them well with drink and choice food for three days and night and they were asked for infommation. Ith said that a magic mist and wandering from their course brought them unwillingly to land. They spent a fortnight thus in the place, and each day Ith explored the woods and wastes, the deserts and difficult places of the land, and came every evening to his house to describe his experience and report to his son, (that is, Lugaid) each night.
Then arose a dispute between the three kings of Eire, (Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, Mac Greine) about the wealth and jewels and of their grandfather. Mac Cuill was demanding the half from the other two and they sought the decision of the unknown warrior who was in the place to settle it for them. They came to Ith to give judgement and this was the judgement Ith gave them: to divide the jewels as they divided the government. They accepted that. "But you are unreasonable, oh warriors," said Ith "to have illwill or dispute between you in this island for it’s land is lovely and abundant is it’s fruit and fish. It’s lap is wholesome, and pleasant are it’s coasts and harbours." He began to praise the island greatly and envy, jealousy and suspicion, seized the three kings at Ith’s praise of Eire and they went out of the house together. Ith perceived at once the evil thought that had come to the kings and told his son and his followers. They were in great terror and fear and rose up suddenly and left the place and went to find their ship. That was told to the kings of Eire. "Upon my word," said Mac Cuill, "if that man has been with us declare he will not leave us in peace or quiet. The time that he will come will be with a mustered host and army." He went and asked his brothers to follow Ith with him to slay him and, as he failed to win them, Mac Cuill himself raised three hundred armed warriors and pursued Ith. Though they overtook them Ith defended his people’s rear and led them on a dangerous journey till they reached Magh Itha in the north.10 Some authors say that there Ith was wounded and buried. Others say it was at Druim Ligen Mac Cuill wounded him with a hostile crook of yew-wood.11 His followers took him into the ship after he was thus wounded, and they had but reached the ninth billow outward when his soul departed. They took his body with them to the summit of Tur Breogan in Spain and buried him there.
3. However after the death and extinction of great Ith, the far-seeing son of Breogan, by the passionate zealous magic— working Tuatha De Danann his sons and followers, his brothers and kinsmen, began satirizing those handsome valiant sons of Mil [saying] they should avenge the good brother on the fair-shaped Tuatha De. Lugaid son of Ith urged them to make the expedition bravely and nobly, bringing out and marshalling the fleet, and he said : "do12 not ye suffer true opposition with the attack of the warriors of our native land. Ye went over the high tide of the dark sea with a great battalion. Ye landed on the famous plain of peace-sheltered Eire. True opposition will not be endured."
13Come ye yonder with force and cunning and urgency, oh men," said the high-king Donn, the bold-visaged son of Mil. "For never murder or death was done on us without retribution and true revenge, and that deed shall not escape us without being followed up and avenged on this occasion. Let your ships and sailing-boats be filled. Let your arms and tools be prepared. Let your spears and javelins be sharpened. Let your helmets be adorned and your garments cleansed." He recited the poem
"Oh men, proceed overseas. Let your fate be sadly accomplished.
Let the pleasant wind serve ye to your harbours, to Eire.
Quit not the spear, oh youth. Heroes’ bodies shall be headless.
There will be....
There will be woe to living children should we arrive with the number of your ships.
There will be onslaught upon the shoulders of men should we reach overseas.
Ith’s avenging shall be a harsh strife over the heads of Banba’s magicians.
Sternly exalt your minds over the sea everyone who sees and hears.
Harken to the improvisation of your king. I foretell an affair that shall come true.
Let your blades be very deadly. Take ye heed. Arise, oh men."
"Evil and anxiety and great intolerable suffering will come from that story," said Aimirgin White-knee. "Let your broad wellmanned ships be launched from the stormy unsettled land of Spain straight outward." For they had thirty galleys for the race proper of Mil’s sons and three male battalions in each galley, without including the joyous youths and victorious mercenaries and troop of women and boys, young people and juveniles, of the races and of the lands over which those kings had come in their rush.
4. Howbeit they moved the points of the engraved rivets to the spars and filled the dry smooth sail-sheets by ropes and tautened the strong bull-hide picked cordage and stretched the long ropes and long tough. The swift eager wind arose from the south-west straight on to them over the cold deep boundless ocean, over the channel with it’s sandy sea board, until they reached the fair blue-bordered harbours ot Eire. They thought of stopping in Inber Dea14 this time. But the... did not let them land there : that, is, the dread druidical gods. Then arose the druids and experts of the Tuatha De in the mystery and art of their knowledge, information and learning, so that they raised magic winds in rain-clouds of the heavens and in mighty outpouring of stormy winds, so that there came a great fog and intense black gloom upon the sons of Mil, till a great dread of smothering fell upon the warriors with the blasts on the island, so that the warriors were the more terrified. Thence came that name from thatday that is, "Smother Island,"15 given to the island of Eire. Then the sons of Mil sent and marshalled their druids and learned men and said it was a shame to them that the magic of the other host had driven them back. "Nor shall it be a shame", said Fulman son of Mil, the druid of the Milesians, and he said:16
"Make a mighty and courageous effort," said Fulman, "and row and propel your ships round the land quickly, forcibly and boldly till we have accomplished a beginning of magic and science to advance the stars, to calm the sea and to attack the magic winds of evil volume." Then they circled17 the land alertly and rapidly without the knowledge or report reaching the Tuatha De, saving the zealous spiteful haughty ill-fated sor— ceresses of Eire. These slew, by magic gusts upon her, Scéni18the fair flowersweet one (wife of the gentle gay king, Amergin, the scholar) so that they killed her at night-fall. Then they dug her grave and made her lament and raised her stone upon her grave so that from her is named hence forward, "Tuber Sceni." They left her then and went boldly from that to Senna19 mountain, which is called the stony mountain of Mes,20 (for it is the worst = "mesa" mountain they found in Eire for there they had their first battle after coming to Eire) till they met victorious Banba among her troop of faery magic hosts along with her. The scholar and poet Amergin asked the maiden inimically "what is your name, oh maiden?" "Banba is my name" said the maiden, and from me this island is named" Inis Banba. "But also" said she "ye shall not enjoy this land into which ye have come until there will be great loss and injury to your nobles and opposition to your men, and downfall to your chiefs, death to your sons and destruction to your wives. Enormous evil, anxiety and acute suffering will ye find," said the maiden. "That will not come true, oh maiden" said Amergin "For neither ghosts nor fairies nor idiots of battle and destruction shall hunt these champions from the ground on which they stand." Then they left her, and went after that to Naini21 Mountain which is called the mountain of Ebliu 22 (for from Ebliu, daughter of Breogan, was it named when this story was composed).
Then Fotla met them with her swifts fairy hosts around her and subtle Arnergin asked her; "what is your name at all, oh maiden?" said he. "Fotla is my name and the island is named after me," Inis Fotla. "But truly," said the maiden, "may your expedition to this land be not to the advantage of your heroes nor auspicious to them. Ye may not seize territory or accept an estate or occupy dwellings until ye have trouble and sore suffering in that possession." "That will not come true, oh maiden," said Amergin, "for no vivacious foolish women’s talk shall sever this strong and manly race from the well-ploughed fruitful land to which they have come."
They left Fotla and went away quickly to the Hill of Uachdar Erca23 (which is called fair Uisneach of24 Meath) till there came the wondrous lovely maiden, Eriu, to meet them with her foolish lively ladies. The warlike ruddy poet, Amergin, asked her; "What is your name, oh maiden?" said he. "Eriu is my name", said the maiden, "and from me this island is named "Inis Erenn". But truly your pertinacious exploration of this land to which ye have come will not bring you peace, wealth or prosperity, until your bodies will be bloodred with swift mangling by your enemies’ long glittering blades "25 said Eriu. "That sentence shall not come true, oh maiden" said Amergin "for your men will not endure the thundering charge of these champions avenging the beloved brother upon ye recklessly and holding the land against your warriors."
They left her quickly and went to Tara, (Cathair Crobinni) till the nobles of the Tuatha De met them on the wide grass-green lawn. The noblest of those lords were three redweaponed warlike kings of Eire; viz. Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, Mac Greine, were the established names of the high kings. If they had other names they were not named from them but from names of worshipped idols. Coll was the god Mac Cuill adored. Cecht was the god of Mac Cecht. The sun was the god whom the great king Mac Greine worshipped, as said the poet
"We found great Etheoir, stern the man,
Coll (hazel) his god [grandson] of the Dagda26
"Why have you come to this island, oh Sons of Mil?" said the Tuatha De. "It is easily answered," said the Sons of Mil; "to occupy this land with our champions, our children and our wives to the end of Doomsday and to the end of the world". "Grant ye the right of a legal decision in this district, in Munster," said the Tuatha De, "for it’s ownership comes not into your hands and sorcery does not give a prior possession of property to battalions and warriors. If we had a ten days stay of magic they would not win great acquisitions ... or wide inspection of this island." said the Tuatha De. "All your youths and warriors will perish if ye give battle unjustly. Were there a family-right closed on by Clann Miled in ugly fashion it were not lawful for ye to enter the land, east or west, to which ye have come. It was we who fought the Fir Bolg for the land to make a just decision, to give (?) each warrior his sword-right to defend. We did not find evil, or the race of Eladen27 their destruction in this island, without dissensions and reviling from the Sil Nuadad.28 They cut down our nobles... and our destruction [came] swiftly at the great battle of Moytura. It is doing us an injustice beyond accusing talk or settlement, There will be many in the land if ye grant not justice...
"Grant us the award of your noble scholars and sages, oh Sons of Mil," said the Tuatha De. "[If] they give a customary false judgement and make.., ye shall not inhabit the land and ye shall not enjoy the soil." Then they left the decision in the power of Amergiu White—knee son of Mil and he gave them a legal decision: the Sons of Mil to withdraw to the nine-wave limit from Eire and the Tuatha De to prevent their return by cajolery or force: the wives of the Sons of Mil to conquer the land in your despite by strength or by cunning and to hold their own in battles afterwards; and he said this
29Here is the true acquisition of possession:" said Aimergin,
"ye shall not go out over nine green billows
It is there the Sons of Mil gave their first decision in Eire. "This is that legal decision" said Amirgin "and everyone concedes that it is in my control and shall be so in general." "We knew, oh learned doctor," said they, "that you knew what opinion we should act on." "But I knew," said Amergin, unless I dealt lawfully with these people that ye would not be the stronger in this fight. I do not give in over my bargain or settlement but now it shall not be your children and your offspring who shall enjoy the prosperity of these lands in the long time to come if ye fight unjustly or seek to coerce them on this occasion." "Then we will not seek it," said the Sons of Mil, "but we will leave the rest of the land ....".
6. Then those strong men went out straight over the flood till the commanders reached Inber Sceni in that rush. They went quickly on board their ships and boats and pushed out from land over nine waves. When the druids and learned men of the Tuatha De saw that, they took to the mysteries, arts and magic, of their knowledge information and science, so that they raised cruel magical winds behind them, and turned everything down side up so that the sea rose in a black mass and in a clear green dreadful sandy column between them and the borders and harbours of Eire so that they couldnot see distinctly land or harbour or haven in Eire. "This is indeed a magic wind," said the good king, said Donn of the hardy countenance. "See now" said Amergin "if it be over the sail piercing over the spars. When Arannan (youngest of Mil’s sons) heard that talk, he made a warrior’s running jump up the mast, as a wild-cat springs up the side of a dirty rough rock, and put forth his strength energetically on the spar. "It is not above the spar either," said Arannan. Hardly had the shout which the prince gave ended when the baneful destructive wind gave a rebounding turning twist to the warrior so that he was flung into the middle of the ship and his limbs were broken and his ribs stretched around the rudders and stout ropes of the great ship. So that is the death of Arannan according to report and narration.
30Howbeit those heroes were scattered and dispersed, separated and swept away, together with their ships on that occasion. In one onslaught a small seventh of the warriors was left undivided in the dispersal of their ships and boats. The rough fierce baneful storm-wind broke up their formation. This was the ship’s crew: four champions, twelve noble ladies, eight paid hands for the handling, four men-servants and fifty beautiful boys, foster-sons of the good king. They were all drowned at the sand-banks, which are called "Donn’s Houses"31 to the west of Eire, for they are named after Donn who was buried there. Ir son of Mil was also parted from his ship’s crew and was drowned at the rock which is called Scelleg.32 It is named Scelleg because Ir’s death was a cause of regret (= Scelleg). Then the Sons of Mu went on till they saw Eire afar off and Amergin sang these words
"I invoke the land of Eire. Much—coursed be the fertile sea.
Fertile be the fruit-strewn mountain. Fruit—strewn be the showery wood.
Showery be the river of waterfalls, of waterfalls be the lake of deep pools.
Clear-pooled be the hill-top wall. A well be the hill-top of assembly.
An assembly of kings be Tara. Tara be a hilltop of tribes,
The tribes of the Sons of Mil, of Mil of ships and galleys.
Eire is a great galley, lofty passionate Eire.
A most subtle incantation, the subtility of the wives of Bres,
the wives of Bres and Buach — he was no mighty king.
I invoke Eremon as well as Ir and Emer"
33"Have patience, have patience, oh warriors with Amergin," said Airech Feabra, for he was pilot in Donn’s ship and fosterson of Amergin. Of all who tautened the strong vigourous ropes not one was so brave or strong or excepting Amergin. He said:
"Have patience, have patience, if you wish to stop with Amergin.
There came not on land or wave a hero was braver in a ship.
Listen to his proclamation, to his voice. Abide with the.., that did not fly.
Without danger of short arrows — lacking them it was pitiable.
Lacking them (it was unlucky) heads and bodies will be mangled.
A single-handed fight is severe ; no danger. Well to be patient.
Prisoners may be without warriors, we without our many champious.
March quickly, oh Emer and Eremon — It was good advice.
I stay with the mighty sage. With him is patience"
Then Amergin White-knee came34 swiftly over the sea and faced Eire and gave as his judgement that he would punish them with spear and sword if he came to close quarters. He began to praise himself and to belittle the Tuatha De. He said
35"I am a clever satirist, a wind on the sea.
I am an ocean wave, a stag in the sea.
I am a noble vigourous stag, a hawk on the cliff.
I am a boar for valour. I am a salmon in a pool.
I am a pool in the sea. I am a venomous plague on prosperity.
I am maintenance for five. I am a track on a precipice.
36Then Eremon son of Mil came to land and as soon as he put his right foot ashore he began to prophecy of the fish in the cliffs and estuaries and cataracts in the land of Eire, and said
37Fish in the sea, a fertile land, a water-flood,
a wide land of smooth bog, a snipe in the sea.
7. Then all the Sons of Mu came ashore to profit by the seventeen plains as is told of them. Fial wife of Lugaid son of Ith came to Inber Mor38 (now called Inber Fele) and the queen was overcome by great heat and she undressed and went to swim in the clear water. Her maids saw her husband., Lugaid, approaching and told her, and she swam swiftly to land to where her clothes were. Her husband saw the shy one and the lady died of blushing and shame 39so that the estuary is named after her, Inber Fele. All the Sons of Mil came and stood over her and dug her grave, and Amergin began to lament her, and said "we have had great losses in Eire’s territories on this expedition: eight of our leaders40 including the highking Donn, Airech Feabra, Bres, Buas, Buaicni, Ir, Arannan four amongst the queens, Buan wife of Bil, Dil daughter of Mil, Scene wife of Amergin and Fial wife or Lugaid," He recited the following rhetoric
41"Sit we here on the great strand.
There will be no end to my..
The woman Fial died of chilly cold
The Sons of Mil followed him and encamped. They42 organized a hunt to slay swine and cows and oxen and calves. Another detachment took to angling and fishing in the cataracts, rivers and estuaries so that they killed beautiful blue-edged salmon and lovely speckled fish. All that hunting was collected together at the resting-place and fairly divided. They made clear pure baths and washing-places and holes laboriously excavated in the earth and sat down there for three days and nights. They went from that to the bright mountain of Senna (whiich is called the smooth lovely mountain of Mes for it was the worst "mesa", mountain they found in Eire,) till the marvellous and most beautiful maiden, Eriu, came to oppose them and the host waged in fight and conflict a terrible battle together, till Fas wife of Ith was buried in the fight in that place, whence is Glen Fais between mountain and sea: also Scota of radiant beauty, the elegant shapely wife of Mil, from whom is named Fert Scota in that same wide glen. It was that night the great wide-waved Lake Luigdech43 overflowed in the south—west of Munster, as is said
44"Glen Fais: what reading is there known to your scholars ?
Meseems (unless they send an emissary) that "Glen Fois" is not really right.
Glen Fais is the right reading without question or care.
Fas is the name of the woman who died (a sharp deed) in the lovely glen.
The first famous battle of the Sons of Mil after coming from daring Spain
is Sliabh Mis; a great grief, a confirming of knowledge, verily true.
The battle was hard—fought between south and north
by the Tuatha De (a fortunate race) with demons and sorcery.
In that battle (a clear surcease) was the place of the woman Fas.
There lamentation was continued. Thence is named that gleu.
Thence to the north is Scota’s grave in the pure cold glen.
After Donn came to the western land many of our blood have fallen.
That night (a cruel raid) they fell, with the two great wives of Lugaid.
They went round the land niethinks. No mean family in the great glen.
8. Howbeit the Sons of Mil were slain in sustaining the battle and they were overcome and many of their nobles killed including the two skilled druids, Uar and Ethiar45. They all came swiftly and dexterously to battle with Eriu. Eriu covered her people’s retreat from that place and went on to the assembly of Tailltiu to show and to relate to the Tuatha De that the Sons of Mil had landed, and of her defeat by the nobles, and that it was she who fought the first battle with the Sons of Mil in defence of Eire, and that she left them after the Sons of Mil had triumphed over her. Thus far concerning Eriu.
As concerns the Sons of Mil: they dug the graves of their heroes and stayed there that night. They rose early in the morning the next day and began to lament the warriors in lofty fashion (?) and they set out on their march to Uisnech after that, as said the poet
46"We left Sliabh Mis in the morning. We got evil and defiance
from the children of the fierce Dagda with brave warlike blades.
Six fifties of our company of the enormous Spanish host
this is the massacre of our host with the loss of our good druids,
Uar and Ethiar the horsemen ; a beloved pair, bold and just.
Stones [we put] in wrath on their tombs. Leave them in their graves."
It was bright-faced white-kneed Amergin who spoke those words at the charge and victory of the fruitful green-maned smooth—sloping mountain of Mes to the impetuous tumultuous Sons of Mil concerning the passionate magic-working..
beauteous Tuatha De Danann.
47Howbeit when they invaded the marshy district they came to a certain particular place, to the sandhills of loamy cool lofty Uisnech. Now the warriors were not long on the march when they saw a solitary ruddy tall black-browed crafty-eyed miserable lawless woman approaching them. The hosts marvelled at seeing her bearing and manner. One time she was a broad—faced beautiful queen and another time a horrible fierce-faced sorceress, a sharp—nosed whitey-grey bloated thicklipped pale-eyed battle— fiend. She sat down under Eremon’s protection and bound over Emir to safeguard her. "From what land do you come, with what mate do you live, and what name is most fortunate for you, oh maiden?" "Truly I come from the zealous Tuatha De," said she "and the hero Mac Greine is my noble mate and Eriu is my name," said the maiden....
"But what do you desire, oh maiden of many shapes?" said Amergin. "My own name to be given to this land, to my island," said the maiden. "Have it as you will," said Lugaid, Emir and Eremon. "This shall be your share in perpetuity of it’s prosperity, being named after you, " said Amergin. (For from the gracious queens of those three kings of the Tuatha De come the three famous venerable majestic praiseworthy names: Fonn Fotla, Brugh Banba, Iath nErenn.)
9. It was then Eremon begged for a time of converse with Eriu and asked, "from what special and exact locality in this miserable country do you come, oh maiden?" said he, "for there is not one pleasant track what with stones or scrubby plain where gentlemen woutd care to die." That speech did not please her and she answered the inquiry fiercely. This is what the queen said "Come ye now early tomorrow morning to the place Cailli Cuan in full force (called nowadays luxurious greensurfaced pleasant green—sided Tailltiu, for Caill Cuan = wood of the wolf—pack, was it’s synonym without question until the great wood was cut down by Tailltiu in her preparations. She was wife of heroic Eochaid Garb, and nurse of Lug of the Long hand as the historian testified in the verse
"Tailltiu daughter of stately Magmor, wife of Eochaid Garb son of blind Dui, came with the Firbolg host to Caill Cuan after the great battle.")
"There will be a march without sloth, an invasion without luck, and there will be plenteous death for the race that hostile countenance, oh maiden," said Amergin.
Eriu did not like that reply of burning reproof from Eremon. She spoke these words perversely angrily and watchfully:
"Not for you indeed, oh warriors" said she "shall be. . for there shall be abundance of wounds and bloody weapons and there shall be spear—wounds on all your kings in this invasion. Everyone of your lords who does not fall in this battle shall commit treachery and fratricide in his life-time". With hostile contentious mouth she pronounced these words:
"A good race are we...
I fight a living race. We overcame a Fomorian host.
We fought the Fir Bolg. We wounded Lug’s people.
A land for kindred races. It is a good race.
"Leave us, oh sorceress," said Amergin. "For it is not thou shalt fashion our people’s [fate] nor shalt thou limit our chief’s reward. It was not in the red rocky mountains of Ripe that the Gaels vigourously attacked the Gaethlaide, and that the heroes bravely raided for plunder, and their champions filled their sailing—boats with their emblazoned striped standards, and waged many warlike terrible battles in Spain, and I possess...."; said Amergin. "Were it not destruction of a sanctified nature you came to inflict on these chiefs you should not return again to your kingdom. It is certain that your spell will fall upon your husband and, as for you, your return to Tailltiu will likely be a troublesome journey."
The pugnacious illustrious poet uttered this rhetoric:
"Ye sought blessing and prosperity. Ye gave battle simultaneously...
Ye subdued Colam’s race. Ye avenged Ith’s wrong
inhabits the plain of Elga.
I incite fierce Lugaid
Dauntless, dashing, obstinate, he banishes the Tuatha De.
Ye expelled the De Danann. Ye won the rout of Mes.
Make sure the the victory of Tailltiu : an auspicious day for you.
Blessing and prosperity shall be yours. Ye sought the same ..."
Howbeit the Sons of Mil marched on49 to the choice pleasant green—sided assembly-place of Tailltiu and encamped there. They send seers-and messengers to the Tuatha De. They are told to demand the half of Eire from them. "But I myself declare", said Eremon, " that I am not going shares with the Tuatha De." "I will go and talk with them," said Amergin White—knee. Then he went forward to where were the Tuatha De.50 They asked his business and he told them. He spoke.
"Oh Amergin, tell us without gloom and spite your whole famous story coming to Cathair Crobind. I will tell you, Mac Cuill, how we went from land overseas. We launched our ships over nine waves on the lively sea. Methinks a magic wind arose to the south—east of Eire’s isle so that shortly we saw not land or island in Eire. "This wind is indeed a magic wind," said king Donn of fearless face.
"Look" said Donn, "if it be not above the mast".
Our tall youngest brother, Arannan, climbed the mast — a woeful move
till he saw the black magic wind with baleful motion.
Arannan the brave one said, "it is a magic wind, oh Donn of noble aspect".
Alter that Arannan was flung into the ship in halves.
Stern swift sorcery severed the head of the fierce good king.
Donn and his ship’s company were drowned westward at Teach Duind;
Donn, Bil the lawgiver, Bres, Buaichni, Buas, Airech,
five stout leaders in our land were drowned with the king.
Ir’s wife died along with him. Murtemne’s wife slew six men.
On the third day — no loving encounter — we fought the battles of Sliabh Mis.
I have told you, Mac Cuill, from the day we went overseas our exact story in fragments, exhausting Amergin."
"Will you fight this battle tomorrow, Mac Cuill?" said Amergin. "I will indeed," said Mac Cuill, "for no emissary from a desert land shall be once in this country, and there shall be no consumption of green growth or, and there shall be no fair hazel-wooded heritage for the byres of flocks and cattle. Your graves shall be with your brothers. Your story shall be broadcast by the authors at our drinkingbouts. Your women shall be in misery, weeping and woe." He recited the poem
"Ye shall find shame and evil, violence and death by force.
Ye shall not inhabit the land in peace and fair content.
Your lords shall be worn out utterly, your warriors subdued, (a fierce deed.)
Your bodies shall be struggling, fallen supine, in pools of blood.
Many shall be the graves of the men in this expedition overseas.
There will be hills and mounds because of it, pillar—stones and slabs for heroes.
Then shall your story be broadcast. Your women shall be in tearful misery.
There shall be wailing without end. There shall be trembling, horror and disease.
Amergin came one day over the pool of Lir on this expedition.
Ye shall not inhabit aught good, but ye shall find misfortune."
51Then the Tuatha De Danann asked their druids and learned men which troop (?) would be overthrown in this battle. Then arose the two vigourous quick-speaking sorceresses; Be Cuill and Danann, fair discourse concerning the gods on this proceeding. "We know not indeed", said they "which of you this battic will overthrow but we know how many kings and lords of this great invasion will perish and how many heroes will be slain around each chief and great noble." She said: "We tell you it is no source of weakness....
"Sixteen lords of this expedition will fall by you. It will be a source of knowledge
Two thousand round each champion will fall by you - a bitter food — prostrate in their...
I know not (an unfavourable sentence) which of you will be overthrown in the battle,
or if our losses are small in this battle which we wage.
A great hero in a bloody heap in this battle — it was no lie..."
Commencement of story in Leabhar Gabhala in LL.
LL, facs. N7.
Ith mac Bregoin atchonnairc hErinn artus fescor a mulluch Tuir Bregoin. Dâig is amlaid (12a) is ferr radhare duine glanfhescor gaimridh. Tanic Ith tri trichait laech dochurn hErinn 7 gabsat Brentracht Irruis Chorco Duibne in tan sain tancatar. Bai imorro comdal fer nhErenn ic Ailiuch Neit jar marbad Néit mac Indûi Ailig la Fomore. Batar na tri rig ic roind chruid 7 set rig Ailig. In tan sin tanic Ith m. Bregoin a Corco Duibne i Ciarraige 7 i ILuachair Dedad, i mMachaire Cliach as Fothuaid i nElib, i Tír Fer Cell, forfut Mide, i Crích Luigne, tar Slíabh nGúaire, dar Feda Fernmaige, i fossud Clair Fernmaige, dar cend Sleibe Bethach, i Sliab Toad, sin mbocach Tire Sírluim i Crích Modorne i mMág nItha, do Ailiuch Néit. Is and batar na tri rig . r. Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, Mac Grene. Ferait failte fris. r. fri Ith m. Bregoin. Ruc Ith de brithemnaib hErenn ar amainse 7 arthach 7 ro choraig can canhgin 7 cen n—imresain ro bói acco, 7 is and atbert Ith denaid rechtge choir daig maith in ferand i n—aittrebtai. Irnda a mess 7 a mil 7 a chruithnecht 7 a iasc. Is merraigthe a thess 7 a uacht. "Is andsin ro cocrad leo Ith do marbadh 7 ro diomsat dó a hErind. Agus tanic uadib a hAiliuch co Mag nItha. Tancas na diaid co nicesin co torcair leo i mMaig Itha. Unde Mag nItha nomenatur. Conid dia digail Itha tancatar Meic Miledh. i. Gaedil.
Maighread Ni C. Dobs' Notes:
LG Leabhar Gabhala in 23 k 32 R. I. A.
LL Book of Leinster
K Keating’s History, ITS edition.
1. The beginning being lost there is no evidence whether it included the sight of Ireland from Tur Breogain as in LG. K. discredits this latter incident saying that authorities differed. The account here given of Ith’s vision, his poem and his departure are not in LG or K.
2. LG mentions a prophecy by Caicher three centuries earlier to which this passage evidently refers.
3. In LG it is Breg m. Breogain who opposes Ith’s expedition.
4. This name may be intended for Vianna, a sea—port in north Portugal, which could have been familiar to Irish sailors.
5. In LG and K Ith lands at Brentracht Maighe Itha. In LL at Brentracht Irruis Corco Duibne in Kerry. LG in D IV 3 gives two versions, one agreeing \vith the first statement, the other as a Munster version agreeing with the second. There was a Magh Itha in Munster as well as in Tir Conaill. It was near Limerick. Magh Itha in Tir Conaill is generally identified with the east and inland side of that county but this story takes for granted it reached to the sea on the west. ‘‘ Brentracht " suggests slobland of a dirty nature such as occurs in shallow harbours.
6. This sacrifice and the ill omens are in K.
7. This poem is not in LG or K.
8. LG and K give the name, Inis Elga.
9. Other names for Tara were Druim Cain, and Liathdruim. Druim Cain and C. Crobinn are alleged to be the names given by the Tuatha De D. This is the only text that locates the Tuatha Dé at Tara when Ith landed. LG and K both locate them at Oilech Neit in the north. In DIV 3 he is made to march from Kerry to Oilech.
10. This passage is practically the same in K who also knew of the different versions of Ith’s death.
11. These details are not in LG or K.
12. This rhetoric is "
13. This speech "
14. Inber Des is Arklow on the east coast. LG and K locate the landing ar Inber Slainge Wexford harbour also on the east.
15. In LG the death of Ir is narrated at this point. K says there was no account of the voyage till they arrived at Wexford so he evidently knew no version like the present MS not was he acquainted with the death of Ir at this point. * cp. ZCP, XIX, p. 156 "nis-leig in deiltre" and note 11, p. 157, on same. 15 . K gives "Hog Island" as the interpretation of the name from it’s appearance in mist.
16. The appeal to the druids aud Fulman’s rhetoric are not in LG or K.
17. In LG they circled round Ireland three times.
18. Sceni’s death is not told here in LG or K. Inber Sceni = Kenmare river.
19. This name for S. Mis occurs elsewhere but not in LG or K.
20. Slieve Mish in Dingle, Co Kerry.
21. This name for S. Eblinni occurs elsewhere bot not in LG or K.
22. Slieve Felim mountains in Co. Limerick. In LG and K Eblinn is a son of Mil.
23. This name for Uisneach occurs elsewhere hut not in LG or K.
24. The supposed centre of Ireland.
25. This and the two preceding prophecies of woe are not in LG or K.
26. These verses are given in another place in LG. The version here is by comparison corrupt. See LG (edited Macalister—McNeill) p. 168 and D IV fo. 14, reverse.
27. Cland De. = Bres, Elloith, Daghda, etc ancestor of the Tuatha D . D.
28. Nuada Airgetlamh = king of the Tuatha D . D. at Moyture.
29. This rhetoric is found in LL, 13. A conflicting tradition is in H. 3. 17, col. 841. See Irish Texts, fasc. i
30. In LG Amergin’s incantation occurs here and calms the storm, K does not give it at all.
31. Bull island off Dursey I. at mouth of Kenmare.
32. The Skellegs off Bolus Hd. Kerry. See note 14 for Ir’s death,
33. This speech and poem are not in LG or K. See LL, 136.
34. In LG Donn utters the threats and is drowned afterwards.
35. In LG this rhetoric occurs when A. lands at Inber Colpa.
36. At this point LG gives the deaths of Dil and Fial, and then states that Eremon sailed round to Inbher Colpa = Boyne estuary, and landed there.
37. Attributed to Amergin in LG. Not given in K.
38. Estuary of river Feale in north Kerry,
39. In LG Fial dies of shame at seeing her husband naked.
40. The eighth name which is missing here is Bile. The name occurs in a poem on p. 17 and also in LG, The version here edited makes Airech F. pilot to Amergin and survivor of the storm, though including him in two other passages in Donn’s company. See LL, 16
41. In LG. A poem begins with this first line but continues differently. The version here is very corrupt.
42. This episode of the hunting is not in LG or K, but is referred to in H. 3.17. in the passage on Amergin’s first judgement (see Irish Texts, I, p. 63. 1931).
43. In LG the flooding of Lake Luigdech is placed earlier, on the night they landed. It is identified with Curran Lake at Waterville, Kerry.
44. K quotes a stanza on the death of Fas but the matter is different. He quotes two stanzas on Scota’s death which have points in common with the poem given here. The differences are so great however that they are virtually two separate compositions.
45. These two are given in K, not in LG.
46. K gives four verses of this poem, inserting an extra one after” comloinn”.
47. Here is given an episode not in LG or K. The arrival at Uisnech the second meeting with Eire there and their Conversation with her are not found elsewhere.
48. Cp. LG. par. 98 (edit. Macalister-McNeill)
49. According to K. Eremon was at Tuber Colpa (I3oyne estuary) and Eibher, coming up from Sliabh Mis joined him there before the challenge to the Tuatha De.
50. Amergin’s embassy to Tara and Mac Cuill's reply and the poem following are not in LG or K.
51. The last paragraph is not in LG or K. The account of the battle itself and the deaths of the three kings and queens of the T. D . D. are missing. There is no detailed account of the battle in LG or K.
Ní C. Dobs, Maighréad. "Tochomlad mac Miledh a hEspain i nErind: no Cath Tailten?" Études Celtiques. v.II. Paris: Librairie E. Droz, 1937.