Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Irish Vision at Rome (Author: [unknown])
- I tell of a visionno untrue tale;
It was seen by my own eyes;
It was heard with my own ears
No part of it shall be concealed.
5] On a morning, I, alone,
At Home on the Golden Hill of Cephas,
Lay on a tomb-stone, shedding tears,
Grieving over the grave of the noble Gaels.
Beneath slept two, liberal of gifts
10] Deeply would they have mourned my condition
The great Earl of Tir Eoghain, land of the brave Mall,
And O Donel, of the keen gold-hilted swords.
As I lay oppressed with grief,
Whom did I see descend from the summit
15] But a white-necked, pearly maiden,
Who would have won the prize from Venus for beauty,
And from Minerva for form and grace.
Elegantly traced were her slender eyebrows,
Gold shone through her tresses,
20] Snow and flame mingled in her cheek.
On that spot to me she said,
In a voice more melodious than harps,
Depart from the grave of the mighty chiefs;
Long did they mournslowly broke their hearts.
25] Then, full of emotion and agony,
She uttered a wail most mournful,
Sad enough to draw tears from clerics,
Even from stonesif possible.
Then, wailing, she uplifted her arms,
30] 'And, with eyes raised to heaven,
Addressed the King of the sky
In these doleful words:
O great God! I pray thee to hear me
Is it sinful to ask a brief question?
35] Difficult seemingly to the learned,
But to Thee all is plain.
Uninformed I am and ignorant;
But if all mankind
Inherit the sin of the first man,
40] Our father Adam, misled by Eve,
Why should punishment be inflicted
Most heavily on one race?
Why should lowly slaves be freed?
Why should those once free be now enslaved?
45] Why are the poor and innocent hanged,
And the guilty left joyful?
Why are not heretics extirpated?
Why are the faithful persecuted by evil-doers?
Why are not Lutherans punished,
50] While true believers are done to death?
Why are the lambs left bleeding?
Why are wolves allowed to prey on the flocks?
By what justice is Erin cast down?
Why are her groans unheeded?
55] Why are not the Gaels exalted?
A people who at all times obeyed God.
Since the advent of Holy Patrick,
With the faith to Inis Ealga,
Neiher reverse, nor pain, nor affliction,
60] Nor foreign might, nor sore oppression
Could take Christ's faith from the hearts of the Gaels.
Their light was brilliant as the sun
It glittered as an angel,
On it there fell neither blemish, stain, nor spot,
65] Throughout Fodhla, on the sons of Miled.
Alas, O Christ! this is true indeed.
What dost thou require of us? Wilt thou not listen?
Or is it thy will never again to look upon us
Upon us, who have always adored thee,
70] Now punished unjustly under the Saxons.
Surely, it was the Saxon brood, low
And treacherous, which deserved to have been forsaken.
They cast off the yoke of the Church
And scoffed at the Mother of the only Son ;
75] They would not submit to God,
But destroyed faith with venomous heresy.
I desire not to name Henry the King,
Who foully put away his wife
For Ann Boleynhis own daughter
80] And left the Church for Luther's teaching.
With him I class Elizabeth,
Who would not wed, but abandoned virtue, And wrought treachery on many.
She made a wilderness of Eber's plain,
And extirpated its men and women.
85] Mary Stuart she put to death:
To Elizabeth succeeded James,
Omen of desolation to Felim's land.
He trampled down their race and stock;
Their lands he measured with cords;
90] Poem He put Saxons in the place of Gaels,
And set up false religion in the churches.
Soon after him came Charles
Like his father in deceit and falsehood.
Unjust was his yoke on Leath Chuin.
95] Every man in Leath Mogha was persecuted.
He took from them their rents and rights,
Their wealth, their sons, their weapons, their armour,
With a third of their land and titles.
It was he who required them to forsake God.
100] He forbade parish mass-hearing;
He proscribed the Gaelic tongue,
And commanded Saxon speech for all.
By him were mass and music prohibited.
Every horror has been wrought upon Erin;
105] A perpetual deadly curse is rained upon her;
An atom of what was done would have been woe enough.
I know not of the cause
For which they were first oppressed.
It was God's will to eschew this prince
110] And those who did him homage.
Parliamentarians, vile boors,
Beheaded, with a keen sword,
This fair-headed, evil King.
During their time Erin awoke,
115] And in Ulster uprose the first man
Mac Guire, of heroic Fenian race,
And Mac Mahon, as in former time,
Two valiant, true-hearted lions,
Who prized not worldly wealth ;
120] With treacherous strangers they treated not.
Until they together shed
Their blood in crimsom pools,
For love of the faith which they would not forsake.
Not through dislike do I pass by Felim
125] The red-white, curled, noble youth,
Who made adventurers yell,
And wrested spoil from niggard Scots.
Then it was the hero set sail
From Spain, in full array.
130] The pure Owen Roe of the death-dealing host,
Champion of spoils son of valiant Art,
Grandson of Cormac the great O'Neill.
Victorious hand, never worsted in fight,
To this truth myself I pledge.
135] On many a danger did Owen look
From his first days of childhood
Till Christ ended his career.
To attest this I appeal to God
And to Spain, now full of grief for him;
140] And to Almaigne, the favored of Caesar;
And to France, which bravely fought him;
And to the Low Countries, which are sad without him;
And to the clans of Miled in the Kingdom of Erin.
One half of Owen's deeds I cannot tell:
145] To the province of Ulster he brought relief in distress;
He mastered the strangers there,
And swiftly drove away Leslie;
He set on foot Montgomery of the fetters
He scared the bare Scots;
150] He wrought confusion on their people
And broke down the fort of the false Moore.
The brave man leagured Dublin city
And laid waste its country.
In Meath, of the treacherous Foreign Gaels,
155] At Portlester, he slew hundreds.
He struck terror into Birra and Nenagh,
And from thence to Thpmond of Eber.
He carried away spoil, in the face of the foe,
From Inchiquin, over the mountain top.
160] He brought to submission all Waterford
And Duncannon of the arid channels,
Loch Garman of sharp weapons,
Ross and the fort of Ben Edair.
By force he reduced Kilkenny.
165] Mighty were his arms by the Shannon side,
By the Abhan mdr, by the Nore,
And by the rapid-rushing Barrow.
On the banks of Suir his troops were busy,
And from thence again to Erne.
170] He held revels in the rath of Meadhbh,
From Athlone he exacted fealty,
And thence westward to distant Beara.
He smashed the walls at Baile Seamuis,
He made Sligo tremble at his glance,
175] And by him the strangers were bound.
By Mac Duach was told the pleasing news
In every harbour of Erin,
It was said, declared, predicted, read,
That the strangers had been suppressed.
180] Owen the red,
borne on the shoulders of the Gaels,
A noble hero, lamb-like, airy,
Standard-bearing, victorious, dauntless, blow-dealing,
Preying, searching, protecting, wounding,
185] Comely, curled, poetic, humane,
Acute, diligent, plundering, festive,
An active hero, a ready soldier,
Keen bladed, swift, agile, bounding:
A majestic, unsullied, stately cavalier,
190] Mighty, proud, haughty, armoured,
Law-giving, foraging, routing, advancing,
Loving, pleasing, social, prosperous.
Let all know that if this bird had lived
The flock would not be in the Phoenix nest,
195] Neither strangers nor Cromwell would have been obeyed
As they have been since the hour of his death.
Although it is my grief that he has died,
His death to me is no cause of woe,
Since his days were shortened not by strangers,
200] But by God, who was pleased to free him.
Soon after him came with vigour
The warlike lion, Bishop Emer,
The man of steady, active head,
Who excelled all in learning.
205] The most upright-hearted of the Gaels.
He broke the spirit and the law of the strangers,
Stripped them of authority in Erin,
And scattered the hosts of Charles.
Woe for me was the shortening of his days,
210] Not less my grief that he was Bishop of Down.
Alas for the nobles of Ulsterthe heroic champions;
Alas for Henry Ruadh, inheritor of valour.
Mac Guire, the Gaelic-hearted,
And O'Cahan, the bounding hound,
215] The hero of the routs, Felim, son of Tuathal,
My blessing on themI cannot name them.
I am wretched, forsaken, persecuted.
I ask again, oh mighty Son,
Where be the prophecies of Holy Patrick?
220] Of Berchan, or gentle Senan,
Of Ciaran of Cluain, obeyed by all,
Of Colum Cille, the cheerful-faced;
Of Cailin, of Ultan, the laborious,
Of Colman Ele, whose food was the green grass.
225] Alas, alas, bitter is my sorrow,
My cry, my wail, my weakness,
My woe, my groan, my darkness, my acute grief,
My omen, my ruin, my madness, my anguish.
A third of their afflictions I know not:
230] The Gaels are being wasted and deeply wounded,
Subjugated, slain, extirpated
By plague, by famine, by war, by persecution.
It was God's justice not to free them.
They went not together hand in hand.
235] The land was not firmly united,
And the clerics were ever divided.
Some abounded in falsehood,
Some aided the heretic horde,
Many submitted to the strangers,
240] Some craftily deceived the Gaels,
Some affected to espouse the cause of Erin
While in secret they ever deserted her,
Some feigned to oppose the strangers
To whom they stealthily adhered.
245] My curses shall ever rain on such clerics,
And on their people till the judgment day
On those who loved not each other
Who made a wilderness of Eber's plain,
Who rejected the noble Gaels,
250] And on whom fell the curse of the last Nuncio,
John Baptista, Archbishop of Fermo,
Sole Legate of the Pope in Erin.
This is the cause of my tears;
This is the cause which has truly grieved me;
255] This has cast a shadow on the sun's light;
This has clouded the sky with gloom and terror;
This has cast Europe under an eclipse,
And put Christ's faith once more under a cloud ;
My curse for ever on the wolfish race.
260] Yet I will not abandon hope,
Since of Miled's stock there still survives
Hugh the swarthy, sprung from heroic sires.
The seers foretold that he
Shall scatter the strangers far and wide.
265] Still live the red-haired, fair-faced Felim,
And Colonel Fearghal, the valiant hero,
And Aed O'Brianequal to hundreds
And O'Cavanagh, and the brave O'Tuathal.
Still live the yet unvanquished bands
270] O'Ruarcs, O'llaghalliaghs, and O'Briens,
O'Kellys, not weak in war,
O'Conors, cavaliers renowned in story.
And the Mac Carthys, unstained by treachery,
The Dalcais of mighty deeds,O'Briens,
275] Sprung from Eremon and great Eber;
And the men of Munsterland beloved of bards
And the Ulstermen, victors in a hundred fights,
O'Maoileachlainn, the bounding hero,
O'Maelmuaidh, the valiant leader,
280] Mac Cochlan of the white-walled forts,
O'Diomsaidh, the rushing wolf,
O'Carrol, with the soldiery of Eile,
O'Sullevan, from Beara's plain,
O'More, O'Floinn, O'Doinn of the hills.
285] Soon will the heroes combine;
And, united hand in hand,
They will vanquish the strangers at Saingel,
And rout the foreigners at Mullaghmaistin.
Then none shall league with the Saxon,
290] Nor with the half naked Scot.
Then shall Erin be freed from settlers,
Then shall perish the Saxon tongue.
The Gaels in arms shall triumph
Over the crafty, thieving, false sect of Calvin.
295] Their nobles shall bear sway over unbelievers,
And scatter the brood of Luther.
True faith shall be uncontrolled;
Poem The people shall be rightly taught
By friars, bishops, priests, and clerics,
300] And everlasting peace shall dwell in Erin.
pray Godmay He deign to hear
I pray Jesuswho sees all
And the holy Spirit withone accord
Mary, our Mother, and Patrick of the shining tooth,
305] Colum of my heart, and holy Brigid,
That the Gaels may band together
And achieve the great exploit,
To drive out the strangers and set Erin free.
Here ended the beauteous maiden
310] Whom I have described to you.
Suddenly, clapping her hands
She ascended swiftly to the clouds.
Thus she left me all alone
Prostrate on the tombstone of the Gaels
315] Without voice, vigour, or motion,
Full of woe, affrighted at her tidings.
I declare the age of the Lord in the year
When I stood in Rome, a tearful stranger,
One thousand with a half five tens and one hundred.
320] Thus ends my story to you.
May consolation come to the maiden who last night stood at O'Neill's grave
With anguished heart, wailing for the noble Gael.
Though I, miserable and weak, was deserted by her,
Deep is my love for her and for those of whom she spoke.