* * * * *
NOW OF THE BATTLE OF GARECH
[W.5804.] Thereupon arose all the men of Ulster at the one time in the train of their king, and at the word of their prince, and to prepare for the uprising in response to the call of Laeg son of Riangabair. And in this wise they arose: stark-naked all of them, only their weapons in their hands. Each one whose tent door looked to the east, through the tent westwards he went, for that he deemed it too long to go round about it.
[1-1] Stowe, H. 1. 13 and Add.
“How arise the Ulstermen now to the battle, O Laeg my master?” asked Cuchulain. “Manfully they rise,” said Laeg: “stark-naked all of them, except for their arms only. Every man whose tent-door faces the east, through the tent westwards he goes, for he deems it too long to go round about it.” “I pledge my word!” cried Cuchulain: “at a fitting hour have they now in the early day risen around Conchobar!”
[2-2] H. 1. 13, Add., Stowe, and YBL. 50b, 34.
[3-3] YBL. 50b, 34.
Then spake Conchobar to Sencha son of Ailill: “Come, O Sencha my master,” said Conchobar; “stay the men of Ulster, and let them not go to the battle till there come the strength of a good omen and favourable portent, till the sun mounts to the roof-tree of heaven and sunshine fills the glens and lowlands and hills and watch-towers of Erin.”
[W.5822.] They tarried there till the strength of a good omen came and a favourable portent, till sunshine filled the glens and slopes and heights and watch-towers of the province.
“Come, O Sencha my master,” said Conchobar; “rouse the men of Ulster to battle, for it is time for them to proceed thither.” Sencha roused the men of Ulster to battle, and he spake these words:—
“Now shall Macha’s kings arise, Large-hearted folk! Weapons let them shatter: Let them fight the battle: Let them plow the earth in anger: Let them strike on shields! Wearied all the hands; Herds loud bellowing: Steadfast the resistance: Furious the retainers: Battle-lines shall prostrate fall ’Neath the feet of others! Prince and lord prepare for battle. Perish [LL.fo.101b.] shall their race! Manful contest there shall be; Their foes they lie in wait for And slay them all to-day! Deep draughts of blood they drink: Grief fills the hearts of queens: Tender lamentations follow: Till soaked in blood shall be the grassy sod On which they’re slain, To which they come. If for Cualnge’s kine it be, Let Macha’s kings! Let them arise!”
[1-1] Reading with YBL 50a, 52.
[2-2] From a conjectural emendation of YBL. 50a, 54.
[3-3] YBL. 50b, 1.
[4-4] YBL. 50b, 3.
[5-5] YBL. 50b, 5.