[ 59 ] View Page Image


Raise high the stones; collect the earth: preserve the name of Fear-comhraic. Blow winds, from all your hills; sigh on the grave of Muirnin.

The dark rock hangs, with all its wood, above the calm dwelling of the heroes.

The sea with its foam-headed billows murmurs at their side.

Why sigh the woods, why roar the waves? They have no cause to mourn.

But Thou hast cause, O Diorma! thou maid of the breast of snow! Spread thou thy hair to the wind; send thy sighs on the blasts of the hills.

They vanished like two beams of light, which fly from the heath in a storm: They sunk like two stars in a cloud when the winds of north-arise.

[ 60 ] View Page Image

For Thee weep the maids, Fear-comhraic, along the echoing hills. For Thee the women weep, O Muirnin; chief of the wars of Erin. I see not Fear-comhraic on the hill; I see not Muirnin in the storms of ocean. Raise, raise the song, relate the tale. Descend ye tears of other times.

Diorma was the daughter of Connaid the chief of a thousand shields.

Diorma was among the maids, as the white flower among the heath.

Her breast was like a white cloud in heaven. Her bosom like the top of a wave in a storm. Her hair was like smoke in the sun: her eye like the star of morn. Not fairer looks the moon from between two clouds, than the face of Diorma from between her locks

[ 61 ] View Page Image

A thousand heroes loved the maid; the maid loved none but Fear-comhraic. He loved the maid, and well he might; fair among women was the daughter of Connaid. She was the light of his soul in danger; the strength of his arm in battle.

Who shall deny me the maid, said Fear-comhraic, who, the fairest of women, Diorma? Hard must be his helm of steel, and strong his shield of iron.

I deny her, said Muirnin son of the chief of generous shells. My sword is keen, my spear is strong; the valiant yield to Muirnin.

Come then, thou son of Cormac, O mighty Muirnin, come! leave the hills of Erin, come on the foamy wave. Let thy ship, like a cloud, come over the storms of ocean.

[ 62 ] View Page Image

He came along the sea: his fails were like grey mist on the heath: long was his spear of ash; his shield like the bloody moon.—Aodan son of Armclach came; the youth of the gloomy brow.

Rise, Fear-comhraic, rise thou love of the soft Diorma! fight, or yield the maid, son of the great Comhfeadan!

He rose like a cloud on the hill, when the winds of Autumn blow.

Tall art thou, said Fear-comhraic, son of mighty Cormac; fair are thy cheeks of youth, and strong thy arm of war. Prepare the feast, and slay the deer; send round the shell of joy: three days we feast together; we fight on the fourth, son of Cormac.

Why should I sheath my sword, son of the noble Comhfeadan? Yield to me, son of battle, and raise my fame in Erin.

[ 63 ] View Page Image

Raise Thou my tomb, O Muirnin! If Fear-comhraic fall by thy steel, place my bright sword by my side, in the tomb of the lonely hill.

We fight by the noise of the stream, Muirnin! wield thy steel.

Swords sound on helmets, sound on shields; brass clashes, clatters, rings. Sparkles buzz; shivers fly; death bounds from mail to mail. As leaps a stone from rock to rock, so blow succeeds to blow. Their eyes dart fire; their nostrils blow: they leap, they thrust, they wound.

Slowly, slowly falls the blade of Muirnin son of war. He sinks, his armour rings, he cries, I die, Fear-comhraic, I die.

And falls the bravest of men the chief of Innisfhallin! Stretch wide the [ 64 ] View Page Image sail; ascend the wave, and bring the youth to Erin. Deep on the hills of Erin is the sigh of maids. For thee, my foe, I mourn: thou art the grief of Fear-comhraic.

Rise ye winds of the sounding hill; sigh over the fall of Muirnin! Weep Diorma, for the hero; weep, maid of the arms of snow; appear like the sun in rain; move in tears along the shore!

Aodan saw the fall of Muirnin, and drew the sounding bow: The grey-winged arrow flew, and pierced the breast of Fear-comhraic. Aodan, said Fear-comhraic, where was the sword of war? where was the spear of thy strength, when thus thou hast slain Fear-comhraic? Raise, gloomy youth, raise thou our tombs! I will rest with the chief of Innisfhallin.

[ 65 ] View Page Image

Who is that on the hill like a sunbeam in a storm? Who is that with the heaving breasts, which are like two wreaths of snow? Thy blue eyes roll in tears, thou daughter of mighty Connaid! Thy hair flies round thy temples, as the mist on the rocks of Ardven. Thy robe flows on the heath, daughter of grief, Diorma! He is fallen on the hill like a stream of light in a cloud. No more shall he hear thy voice like the sound of the string of music. The strength of the war is gone; the cheek of youth is pale.