The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 487 pages of information about The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge.

    [14-14] Eg. 1782.

[W.186.] [1]Thus the four provinces of Erin gathered in Cruachan Ai.[1] They pitched their camp and quarters that night, so that a thick cloud of smoke and fire rose between the four fords of Ai, which are, Ath Moga, Ath Bercna, Ath Slissen and Ath Coltna.  And they tarried for the full space of a fortnight in Cruachan, the hostel of Connacht, in wassail and drink and every disport, to the end that their march and muster might be easier. [2]And their poets and druids would not let them depart from thence till the end of a fortnight while awaiting good omen.[2] And then it was that Medb bade her charioteer to harness her horses for her, that she might go to address herself to her druid, to seek for light and for augury from him.

    [1-1] Eg. 1782.

    [2-2] LU. 20-21.

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[Page 13]



[W.194.] When Medb was come to the place where her druid was, she craved light and augury of him.  “Many there be,” saith Medb, “who do part with their kinsmen and friends here to-day, and from their homes and their lands, from father and from mother; and unless unscathed every one shall return, upon me will they cast their sighs and their ban, [1]for it is I that have assembled this levy.[1] Yet there goeth not forth nor stayeth there at home any dearer to me than are we to ourselves.  And do thou discover for us whether we ourselves shall return, or whether we shall never return.”

    [a] This heading is taken from the colophon at the end of the chapter.

    [1-1] LU. 23-24.

And the druid made answer, “Whoever comes not, thou thyself shalt come.” [2]"Wait, then,” spake the charioteer,” let me wheel the chariot by the right,[b] that thus the power of a good omen may arise that we return again."[2] Then the charioteer wheeled his chariot round and Medb went back [3]again,[3] when she espied a thing that surprised her:  A lone virgin [4]of marriageable age[4] standing on the hindpole of a chariot a little way off drawing nigh her.  And thus the maiden appeared:  Weaving lace was she, and in her right hand was a bordering rod of silvered [W.204.] bronze with its seven strips of red gold at the sides.  A many-spotted green mantle around her; a bulging, strong-headed pin [1]of gold[1] in the mantle over her bosom; [2]a hooded tunic, with red interweaving, about her.[2] A ruddy, fair-faced countenance she had, [3]narrow below and broad above.[3] She had a blue-grey and laughing eye; [4]each eye had three pupils.[4] [5]Dark and black were her eyebrows; the soft, black lashes threw a shadow to the middle of her cheeks.[5] Red and thin were her lips.  Shiny and pearly were her teeth; thou wouldst believe they were showers of white pearls that had rained into her head.  Like to fresh Parthian crimson were her lips.  As sweet as the strings of lutes [6]when long sustained they are played by master players’ hands[6] was the melodious sound of her voice and her fair speech.

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The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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