When I proclaimed the project that I nursed,
How ’twas for this that I his blessing sought,
An irrepressible cry of joy outburst
From his pure lips, that blessed me for the thought.
He said that he, too, had in visions strayed
Over the untracked ocean’s billowy foam;
Bid me have hope, that God would give me aid,
And bring me safe back to my native home.
Oft, as we paced that marble-covered land,
Would blessed Enda tell me wondrous tales—
How, for the children of his love, the hand
Of the Omnipotent Father never fails—
How his own sister, standing by the side
Of the great sea, which bore no human bark,
Spread her light cloak upon the conscious tide,
And sailed thereon securely as an ark.
And how the winds become the willing slaves
Of those who labour in the work of God;
And how Scothinus walked upon the waves,
Which seemed to him the meadow’s verdant sod.
How he himself came hither with his flock,
To teach the infidels from Corcomroe,
Upon the floating breast of the hard rock,
Which lay upon the glistening sands below.
But not alone of miracles and joys
Would Enda speak—he told me of his dream;
When blessed Kieran went to Clonmacnois,
To found the sacred churches by the stream—
How he did weep to see the angels flee
Away from Arran as a place accursed;
And men tear up the island-shading tree,
Out of the soil from which it sprung at first.
At length I tore me from the good man’s sight,
And o’er Loch Lurgan’s mouth took my lone way,
Which, in the sunny morning’s golden light,
Shone like the burning lake of Lassarae;
Now ’neath heaven’s frown—and now, beneath its smile—
Borne on the tide, or driven before the gale;
And, as I passed MacDara’s sacred Isle,
Thrice bowed my mast, and thrice let down my sail.
Westward of Arran as I sailed away;
I saw the fairest sight eye can behold—
Rocks which, illumined by the morning’s ray,
Seemed like a glorious city built of gold.
Men moved along each sunny shining street,
Fires seemed to blaze, and curling smoke to rise,
When lo! the city vanished, and a fleet,
With snowy sails, rose on my ravished eyes.
Thus having sought for knowledge and for strength,
For the unheard-of voyage that I planned,
I left these myriad isles, and turned at length
Southward my bark, and sought my native land.
There made I all things ready, day by day,
The wicker-boat, with ox-skins covered o’er—
Chose the good monks companions of my way,
And waited for the wind to leave the shore.
At length the long-expected morning came,
When from the opening arms of that wild bay,
Beneath the hill that bears my humble name,
Over the waves we took our untracked way;
Sweetly the morning lay on tarn and rill,
Gladly the waves played in its golden light,
And the proud top of the majestic hill
Shone in the azure air, serene and bright.