The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 228 pages of information about The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga.

“And after that, whom sawest thou there?”


“There I saw three men to the west of Cormac, and three to the east of him, and three in front of the same man.  Thou wouldst deem that the nine of them had one mother and one father.  They are of the same age, equally goodly, equally beautiful, all alike.  Thin rods of gold in their mantles.  Bent shields of bronze they bear.  Ribbed javelins above them.  An ivory-hilted sword in the hand of each.  An unique feat they have, to wit, each of them takes his sword’s point between his two fingers, and they twirl the swords round their fingers, and the swords afterwards extend themselves by themselves.  Liken thou that, O Fer rogain,” says Ingcel.

“Easy,” says Fer rogain, “for me to liken them.  It is Conchobar’s son, Cormac Condlongas, the best hero behind a shield in the land of Erin.  Of modest mind is that boy!  Evil is what he dreads tonight.  He is a champion of valour for feats of arms; he is an hospitaller for householding.  These are yon nine who surround him, the three Dungusses, and the three Doelgusses, and the three Dangusses, the nine comrades of Cormac Condlongas, son of Conchobar.  They have never slain men on account of their misery, and they never spared them on account of their prosperity.  Good is the hero who is among them, even Cormac Condlongas.  I swear what my tribe swears, nine times ten will fall by Cormac in his first onset, and nine times ten will fall by his people, besides a man for each of their weapons, and a man for each of themselves.  And Cormac will share prowess with any man before the Hostel, and he will boast of victory over a king or crown-prince or noble of the reavers; and he himself will chance to escape, though all his people be wounded.”

“Woe to him who shall wreak this Destruction!” says Lomna Druth, “even because of that one man, Cormac Condlongas, son of Conchobar.”  “I swear what my tribe swears,” says Lomna son of Donn Desa, “if I could fulfil my counsel, the Destruction would not be attempted were it only because of that one man, and because of the hero’s beauty and goodness!”

“It is not feasible to prevent it,” says Ingcel:  “clouds of weakness come to you.  A keen ordeal which will endanger two cheeks of a goat will be opposed by the oath of Fer rogain, who will run.  Thy voice, O Lomna,” says Ingcel, “hath taken breaking upon thee:  thou art a worthless warrior, and I know thee.  Clouds of weakness come to you....”

Neither old men nor historians shall declare that I quitted the Destruction, until I shall wreak it.”

“Reproach not our honour, O Ingcel,” say Ger and Gabur and Fer rogain.  “The Destruction shall be wrought unless the earth break under it, until all of us are slain thereby.”

“Truly, then, thou hast reason, O Ingcel,” says Lomna Druth son of Donn Desa.  “Not to thee is the loss caused by the Destruction.  Thou wilt carry off the head of the king of a foreign country, with thy slaughter of another; and thou and thy brothers will escape from the Destruction, even Ingcel and Ecell and the Yearling of the Rapine.”

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The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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