Friday, March 15, 2019



Myles Dillon, Early Irish Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948; rpt. 1958), pp. 163-164 ("a twelfth-century poem"):
Delightful to me to be on an island hill, on the crest of a rock, that I might often watch the quiet sea;

That I might watch the heavy waves above the bright water, as they chant music to their Father everlastingly.

That I might watch its smooth, bright-bordered shore, no gloomy pastime, that I might hear the cry of the strange birds, a pleasing sound;

That I might hear the murmur of the long waves against the rocks, that I might hear the sound of the sea, like mourning beside a grave;

That I might watch the splendid flocks of birds over the well-watered sea, that I might see its mighty whales, the greatest wonder.

That I might watch its ebb and flood in their course, that my name should be—it is a secret that I tell—'he who turned his back upon Ireland';

That I might have a contrite heart as I watch, that I might repent my many sins, hard to tell;

That I might bless the Lord who rules all things, heaven with its splendid host, earth, ebb, and flood;

That I might scan one of the books to raise up my soul, now kneeling to dear heaven, now chanting the psalms;

Now gathering seaweed from the rocks, now catching fish, now feeding the poor, now in my cell;

Now contemplating heaven, a holy purchase, now a little labour, it would be delightful.

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