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p. 2

The Voyage 1 of Bran son of Febal, and his Expedition 2 here below

1. ’TWAS fifty quatrains the woman from unknown lands sang on the floor of the house to Bran son of Febal, when the royal house was full of kings, who knew not whence the woman had come, since the ramparts were closed.

2. This is the beginning of the story. One day, in the neighbourhood of his stronghold, Bran went about alone, when he heard music behind him. As often as he looked back, ’twas still behind him the music was. At last he fell asleep at the music, such was its sweetness. When he awoke from his sleep, he saw close by him a branch 3 of



p. 3

Imram Brain maic Febail, ocus a Echtra andso sís

1. CÓICA rand rogab in ben a tírib ingnath for láur in tige do Bran mac Febail, arrobói a rígthech lán de rígaib, annadfetatar can dolluid in ben, órobatar ind liss dúntai.

2. Is ed tossach in sceóil. Imluid Bran laa n-and a óinur i comocus dia dún, cocúala, a ceól far íarna chúl. A n-donécad tar a éissi, ba íarna chúl beus nobíth a ceól. Contuil asendath frissa ceól ar a bindi. A n-dofúsig asa chotlud, conacca in cróib n-arggait fua bláth find ina farruth, na bu hasse etarscarath a bláthe frissin cróib ísin. Dobert íarum Bran in cróib ina láim dia



p. 4

silver with white blossoms, nor was it easy to distinguish its bloom from that branch. Then Bran took the branch in his hand to his royal house. When the hosts were in the royal house, they saw a woman in strange raiment on the floor of the house. ’Twas then she sang the fifty 1 quatrains to Bran, while the host heard her, and all beheld the woman.

And she said:

3. 'A branch of the apple-tree 2 from Emain 3
I bring, like those one knows;
Twigs of white silver are on it,
Crystal brows with blossoms.

4. 'There is a distant isle,
Around which sea-horses 4 glisten:
A fair course against the white-swelling surge, 5--
Four feet uphold it. 6

5. 'A delight of the eyes, a glorious range,
Is the plain on which the hosts hold games:
Coracle contends against chariot
In southern Mag Findargat. 7




p. 5

rígthig. Órobatar inna sochuidi isind rígthig conaccatar in mnái i n-étuch ingnuth for láur in tige. Is and cachain in cóicait rand so do Braun arranchúale in slóg, ocus adchondarcatar uili in mnái.

Onus asbert:

3. 'Cróib dind abaill a hEmain
dofed samail do gnáthaib,
gésci findarggait fora,
abrait glano co m-bláthaib.

4. 'Fil inis i n-eterchéin
immataitnet gabra réin,
rith find fris’ tóibgel tondat,
cetheóír cossa foslongat.

5. 'Is lí súla, sreth íar m-búaid,
am-mag forclechtat ins slúaig:
consna curach fri carpat
isin maig tess Findarggat.



p. 6

6. 'Feet of white bronze under it
Glittering through beautiful ages. 1
Lovely land throughout the world's age,
On which the many blossoms drop.

7. 'An ancient tree there is with blossoms,
On which birds call 2 to the Hours. 3
’Tis in harmony it is their wont
To call together every Hour.

8. 'Splendours of every colour glisten
Throughout the gentle-voiced plains.
Joy is known, ranked around music,
In southern Mag Argatnél. 4

9. 'Unknown is wailing or treachery 5
In the familiar cultivated land,
There is nothing rough or harsh, 6
But sweet music striking on the ear.

10. 'Without grief, without sorrow, without death,
Without any sickness, without debility, 7
That is the sign of Emain 8--
Uncommon is an equal marvel.



p. 7

6. 'Cossa findrune fóe,
taitni tré bithu gnóe:
cáin tír tría bithu bátha,
forsnig inna hilblátha.

7. 'Fil and bile co m-bláthaib
forsṅgairet eóin do thráthaib:
is tré cocetul is gnáth
congairet uili cech tráth.

8. 'Taitnet líga cech datho
trésna maige móithgretho,
is gnáth sube, sreth imm chéul,
isin maig tess Arggatnéul.

9. 'Ní gnáth écóiniud na mrath
hi mruig dénta etargnath,
ní bíi nach gargg fri crúais,
acht mad céul m-bind frismben clúais.

10. 'Cen brón, cen duba, cen bás,
cen nach n-galar cen indgás,
is ed etargne n-Emne,
ní comtig a comamre.



p. 8

11. 'A beauty of a wondrous land,
Whose aspects are lovely,
Whose view is a fair country,
Incomparable is its haze.

12. 'Then if Aircthech 1 is seen,
On which dragonstones 2 and crystals drop
The sea washes the wave against the land,
Hair of crystal drops from its mane. 3

13. 'Wealth, treasures of every hue,
Are in Ciuin, 4 a beauty of freshness,
Listening to sweet music,
Drinking the best of wine. 5

14. 'Golden chariots in Mag Réin, 6
Rising with the tide to the sun,
Chariots of silver in Mag Mon, 7
And of bronze without blemish.

15. 'Yellow golden steeds are on the sward there,
Other steeds with crimson hue,
Others with wool upon their backs
Of the hue of heaven all-blue.


p. 9

11. 'Cáine tíre adamri,
ata comgnúsi cadli,
asa rodarc find fia,
ní fríthid bíd a cia.

12. 'Má adcetha Aircthech íar tain
forsnig dracoin ocus glain,
dosnig am-muír fri tír toind,
trilsi glano asa moing.

13. 'Móini, dússi cach datho
hi Ciúin, cáine étdtho,
étsecht fri céul co m-bindi,
óol fíno óingrindi.

14. 'Carpait órdi hi Maig Réin,
taircet la tule don gréin,
carpait arggait i Maig Mon
ocus crédumi cen on.

15. 'Graig óir budi and fri srath
graig aile co corcardath,
graig aile ualann tar ais
co n-dath nime huleglais.



p. 10

16. At sunrise there will come
A fair man illumining level lands;
He rides upon the fair sea-washed 1 plain,
He stirs the ocean till it is blood.

17. 'A host will come across the clear sea,
To the land they show their rowing;
Then they row to the conspicuous stone,
From which arise a hundred strains.

18. 'It sings a strain unto the host
Through long ages, it is not sad,
Its music swells 2 with choruses of hundreds--
They look for neither decay nor death.

19. 'Many-shaped Emne 3 by the sea,
Whether it be near, whether it be far,
In which are many thousands of motley 4 women,
Which the clear sea encircles.

20. 'If he has heard the voice of the music,
The chorus of the little birds from Imchiuin, 5
A small band of women will come from a height
To the plain of sport in which he is.




p. 11

16. 'Dofeith la turcbáil n-gréne
fer find forosna réde,
rédid mag find frismbein muir,
mescid fairggi co m-bí fuíl.

17. 'Dofeith in slúag tar muir glan,
don tír donaidbri imram,
imráid íarum dond licc léur
asa comérig cét céul.

18. 'Canid airbitiud dont ṡlóg
tré bithu sír, nat bí tróg,
tormaig céul co córib cét,
ní frescet aithbe ná éc.

19. 'Emne ildelbach fri rían,
bésu ocus, bésu chían,
i fil ilmíli m-brec m-ban,
immustimerchel muir glan.

20. 'Má ruchúala lúad in chiúil,
esnach énán a hImchiúin,
dofeith banchorén di haa
cusa cluchemag itaa.




p. 12

21. 'There will come happiness with health
To the land against which laughter peals,
Into Imchiuin at every season
Will come everlasting joy.

22. 'It is a day of lasting weather
That showers silver on the lands, 1
A pure-white cliff on the range of the sea,
Which from the sun receives its heat

23. 'The host race along Mag Mon, 2
A beautiful game, not feeble,
In the variegated land over a mass of beauty
They look for neither decay nor death.

24. 'Listening to music at night,
And going into Ildathach, 3
A variegated land. splendour on a diadem of beauty,
Whence the white cloud glistens.

25. 'There are thrice fifty distant isles
In the ocean to the west of us;
Larger than Erin twice
Is each of them, or thrice. 4



p. 13

21. 'Dofeith sóire la sláini
don tiír frisferat gáiri,
is i n-Imchiúin cach ági
dofeith búaine la háni.

22. 'Is lá suthaine síne
dosnig arggat i tíre,
aill erfind for idna réin
foafeid a gríss a gréin.

23. 'Graibnid in slóg íar Maig Mon,
cluche n-álaind, nad indron,
i mruig mrecht úas maisse mét,
ní frescat aithbe ná éc.

24. 'Étsecht fri céul i n-adig,
ocus techt i n-Ildathíg,
mruig mrecht, líg úas maisse mét,
asa taitni in nél find.

25. 'Fil trí cóictea inse cían
isind oceon frinn aníar;
is mó Érinn co fa dí
cach ái díib nó fa thrí.



p. 14

26. 'A great birth 1 will come after ages,
That will not be in a lofty place, 2
The son of a woman whose mate will not be known,
He will seize the rule of the many thousands.

27. 'A rule without beginning, without end, 3
He has created the world so that it is perfect,
Whose are earth and sea,
Woe to him that shall be under His unwill! 4

28. '’Tis He that made the heavens,
Happy he that has a white heart,
He will purify hosts under pure water, 5
’Tis He that will heal your sicknesses.

29. 'Not to all of you is my speech,
Though its great marvel has been made known:
Let Bran hear from the crowd of the world
What of wisdom has been told to him.

30. 'Do not fall on a bed of sloth,
Let not thy intoxication overcome thee,
Begin a voyage across the clear sea,
If perchance thou mayst reach the land of women.'



p. 15

26. 'Ticfa már-gein íar m-bethaib
nad bía for a forclethaib,
mac mná nad festar céle,
gébid flaith na n-ilmíle.

27. 'Flaith cen tossach cen forcenn
dorúasat bith co forban,
isai talam ocus muir,
is mairgg bías fua étuil.

28. 'Is hé dorigni nime,
céinmair dia m-ba findchride,
glanfid slúagu fua linn glan,
is hé ícfes for tedman.

29. 'Ni dúib uili mo labre,
cia atfess a móramre:
étsed Bran de betho bróu
a n-di ecnæ adfét dóu.

30. 'Ná tuit fri lige lesce,
nachit-tróithad do mesce,
tinscan imram tar muir glan,
dús in rista tír na m-ban.'



p. 16

31. Thereupon the woman went from them, while they knew not whither she went. 1 And she took her branch with her. The branch sprang from Bran's hand into the hand of the woman, nor was there strength in Bran's hand to hold the branch.

32. Then on the morrow Bran went upon the sea. The number of his men was three companies of nine. One of his foster-brothers and mates 2 was set over each of the three companies of nine. When he had been at sea two days and two nights, he saw a man in a chariot coming towards him over the sea. That man also sang thirty 3 other quatrains to him, and made himself known to him, 4 and said that he was Manannan the son of Ler, and said that it was upon him to go to Ireland after long ages, and that a son would be born to him, even Mongan son of Fiachna--that was the name which would be upon him.

So he sang these thirty quatrains to him:

33. 'Bran deems it a marvellous beauty
In his coracle across the clear sea:
While to me in my chariot from afar
It is a flowery plain on which he rides about.



p. 17

31. Luid in ben úadib íarom annadfetatar cia luid, ocus birt a cróib lee. Leblaing in chróib di láím Brain co m-bói for láim inna mná, ocus ní bói nert i láim Brain do gabáil inna cróibe.

32. Luid Bran íarom arabárach for muir. Trí nonbuir a lín. Óinḟer forsnaib tríb nonburaib dia chomaltaib ocus comáisib. Ó robói dá lá ocus dí aidchi forsin muir, conacci a dochum in fer isin charput íarsin muir. Canaid in fer hísin dano trichait rand n-aile dóu, ocus sloindsi dóu ocus asbert ba hé Manannán mac Lir, ocus asbert bói aire tuídecht i n-Érinn íar n-aimseraib cíanaib, ocus nogigned mac úad .i. Mongán mac Fíachnai, ised foridmbíad. Cachain íarom in trichait rand sa dóu:--

33. 'Caine amre lasin m-Bran
ina churchán tar muir glan;
os mé im’ charput di chéin,
is mag scothach immaréid.



p. 18

34. 'What is a clear sea
For the prowed skiff in which Bran is,
That is a happy plain 1 with profusion of flowers
To me from the chariot of two wheels.

15. 'Bran sees
The number of waves beating 2 across the clear sea:
I myself see in Mag Mon 3
Red-headed flowers without fault.

36. 'Sea-horses glisten in summer
As far as Bran has stretched his glance:
Rivers pour forth a stream of honey
In the land of Manannan son of Ler.

37. 'The sheen of the main, on which thou art,
The white hue of the sea on which thou rowest about,
Yellow and azure are spread out,
It is land, and is not rough. 4

38. 'Speckled salmon leap from the womb
Of the white sea, on which thou lookest:
They are calves, they are coloured lambs
With friendliness, without mutual slaughter. 5


p. 19

34. 'A n-as muir glan
don nói broinig itá Bran,
is mag meld co n-immut scoth
dam-sa a carput dá roth.

35. 'Atchí Bran
lín tond tibri tar muir glan:
atchíu cadéin i Maig Mon
scotha cennderga cen on.

36. 'Taitnet gabra lir i sam
sella roisc roṡíri Bran,
bruindit srotha srúaim de mil,
i crích Manannáin maic Lir.

17. 'Lí na fairgge foratái,
geldod mora immerái,
rasert bude ocus glass,
is talam, nad écomrass.

38. 'Lingit ich bricc ass de brú
a muir find forsnaicci-siu
it lóig, it úain co n-dath,
co cairddi, cen immarbad.



p. 20

39. 'Though (but) one chariot-rider is seen
In Mag Mell 1 of many flowers,
There are many steeds on its surface, 2
Though them thou seest not.

40. 'The size of the plain, the number of the host,
Colours glisten with pure glory,
A fair stream of silver, cloths 3 of gold,
Afford a welcome with all abundance.

41. 'A beautiful game, most delightful,
They play (sitting) at the luxurious 4 wine,
Men and gentle women under a bush,
Without sin, without crime.

42. 'Along the top of a wood has swum
Thy coracle across ridges,
There is a wood of beautiful fruit 5
Under the prow of thy little skiff.

43. 'A wood with blossom and fruit,
On which is the vine's veritable fragrance,
A wood without decay, without defect,
On which are leaves of golden hue.



p. 21

39. 'Cé atchetha óinchairptech
i Maig Meld co n-immut scoth,
fil mór d’echaib for a brú,
cen suidi nad aicci-siu.

40. 'Met in maige, lín int ṡlúaig,
taitnet líga co n-glanbúaid,
finnṡruth arggait, drepa óir,
taircet fáilti cech imróill.

41. 'Cluche n-óimin n-inmeldag
aigdit fri fín n-imborbag
fir is mná míne fo doss,
cen peccad, cen immorboss.

42. 'Is íar m-barr ḟedo rosná
do churchán tar indrada.
fil fid fo mess i m-bí gnóe
foa braini do beccnóe.

43. 'Fid co m-bláth ocus torud,
forsmbí fíne fírbolud,
fid cen erchre, cen esbad,
forsfil duilli co n-órdath.



p. 22

44. 'We are from the beginning of creation
Without old age, without consummation 1 of earth, 2
Hence we expect not that 3 there should be frailty,
The sin has not come to us.

45. 'An evil day when the Serpent went
To the father to his city! 4
She has perverted the times 5 in this world,
So that there came decay which was not original.

46. 'By greed and lust he 6 has slain us,
Through which he has ruined his noble race:
The withered body has gone to the fold of torment,
And everlasting abode of torture. 7

47. 'It is a law of pride in this world
To believe in the creatures, to forget God, 8
Overthrow by diseases, and old age,
Destruction of the soul through deception.

48. 'A noble salvation 9 will come
From the King who has created,us,
A white law will come over seas,
Besides being God, He will be man.



p. 23

44. 'Fil dún ó thossuch dúle
cen áiss, cen foírbthe n-úre,
ní frescam de mbeth anguss,
níntaraill int immorbus.

45. 'Olc líth dolluid ind nathir
cosin n-athir dia chathir,
sáib sí céni i m-bith ché
co m-bu haithbe nad búe.

46. 'Ronort a cróis ocus saint,
trésa n-derbaid a ṡóirrhiaind,
ethais corp crín cró péne
ocus bithaittreb rége.

47. 'Is recht úabuir i m-bith ché
cretem dúle, dermat n-Dé,
tróithad n-galar, ocus áiss,
apthu anma tría togáis.

48. 'Ticfa tessarcon úasal
ónd ríg dorearúasat,
recht find fuglóisfe muire,
sech bíd Día, bíd duine.



p. 24

49. 'This shape, he on whom thou lookest,
Will come to thy parts; 1
’Tis mine to journey to her house, 2
To the woman in Line-mag. 3

50. 'For it is Moninnan, the son of Ler,
From the chariot in the shape of a man,
Of his progeny will be a very short while
A fair man in a body of white clay. 4

51. 'Monann, the descendant of Ler, will be
A vigorous bed-fellow 5 to Caintigern: 6
He shall be called to his son in the beautiful world,
Fiachna will aclmowledge him as his son.

52. 'He will delight 7 the company of every fairy-knoll,
He will be the darling of every goodly land,
He will make known secrets--a course of wisdom--
In the world, without being feared.

53. 'He will be in the shape of every beast,
Both on the azure sea and on land,
He will be a dragon before hosts at the onset, 8
He will be a wolf of every great forest.



p. 25

49. 'In delb hé nofethi-su
rothicfa it’ lethe-su,
arumthá echtre dia tig
cosin mnái i Linemaig.

50. 'Sech is Moninnán mac Lir
asin charput cruth ind ḟir,
bíaid dia chlaind densa angair
fer cáin i curp críad gil.

51. 'Conlee Monann maccu Lirn
lúthlige la Cáintigirn,
gérthair dia mac i m-bith gnóu,
adndidma Fíachna mac n-dóu.

52. 'Móithfe sognáiss cach síde,
bíd tretel cach dagthíre,
adfii rúna, rith ecni,
isin bith cen a ecli.

53. 'Biaid i fethol cech míl
itir glasmuir ocus tír,
bíd drauc ré m-buidnib i froiss,
bíd cú allaid cech índroiss.



p. 26

54. 'He will be a stag with horns of silver
In the land where chariots are driven,
He will be a speckled salmon in a full pool,
He will be a seal, he will be a fair-white swan.

55. 'He will be throughout long ages 1
An hundred years in fair kingship, 2
He will cut down battalions, 3--a lasting grave--
He will redden fields, a wheel around the track.

56. 'It 4 will be about kings with a champion
That he will be known as a valiant hero,
Into the strongholds of a land on a height
I shall send an appointed end 5 from Islay. 6

57. 'High shall I place him with princes,
He will be overcome by a son of error; 7
Moninnan, the son of Ler,
Will be his father, his tutor.



p. 27

54 'Bíd dam co m-bendaib arggait
i mruig i n-agar carpait,
bíd écne brecc il-lind lán,
bíd rón, bíd ela findbán.

55. 'Bíaid tré bithu síri
cét m-blédne hi findrígi,
silis lergga, lecht imchían,
dercfid rói roth imm rían.

56. 'Bíd imm rígu la fénnid
bíd láth gaile fri aicni,
i n-dindach mroga for aa
fochicher airchend a Íli.

57. 'Art arungén la flaithi,
gébthir fa mac n-imraichni,
sech bíd Moninnán mac Lir
a athir, a ḟithithir.


p. 28

58. 'He will be--his time will be short-- 1
Fifty years in this world:
A dragonstone from the sea will kill him 2
In the fight at Senlabor. 3

59. 'He will ask a drink from Loch Ló, 4
While he looks at the stream of blood,
The white host 5 will take him under a wheel 6 of clouds
To the gathering where there is no sorrow.

60 . 'Steadily then Iet Bran row,
Not far to the Land of Women,
Emne 7 with many hues 8 of hospitality
Thou wilt reach before the setting of the sun.'

61. Thereupon Bran went from him. And he saw an island. He rows round about it, and a large host was gaping and laughing. They were all looking at Bran and his people, but would not stay to converse with them. They continued to give forth gusts 9 of laughter at them. Bran sent one of his people on the island. He ranged himself with the others, and was gaping at them like the other men of the island. He 10 kept rowing round



p. 29

58. 'Bíed, bes n-gairit a ree,
cóicait m-blédne i m-bith chee,
oircthi ail dracoin din muir
isind níth i Seniabuir.

59. 'Timgéra dig al-Loch Lâu
intan frisseill sidan cráu,
gébtha in drong find fu roth nél
dund nassad, nad etarlén.

60. 'Fossad airsin imraad Bran,
ní chían co tír inna m-ban,
Emne co n-ildath féle
ricfe ré fuiniud gréne.'

61. Luidi Bran úad íarum co n-acci in n-insi. Immeraad immecúairt, ocus slóg már oc ginig ocus gáirechtaíg. Doecitís uili Bran ocus a muintir, ocus ní antís fria n-accaldaim. Adaigtís treftecha gáire impu. Fóidis Bran fer dia muintir isin n-insi. Ṙeris lia céliu ocus adaiged ginig fóu amal dóini inna hinse



p. 30

about the island. Whenever his man came past Bran, his comrades would address him. But he would not converse with them, but would only look at them 1 and gape at them. The name of this island is the Island of Joy. Thereupon they left him there.

62. It was not long thereafter when they reached the Land of Women. They saw the leader of the women at the port. Said the chief of the women: 'Come hither on land; O Bran son of Febal! Welcome is thy advent!' Bran did not venture to go on shore. The woman throws a ball of thread to Bran straight over his face. Bran put his hand on the ball, which clave to his palm. The thread of the ball was in the woman's hand, and she pulled the coracle towards the port. Thereupon they went into a large house, in which was a bed for every couple, 2 even thrice nine beds. The food that was put on every dish vanished not from them. It seemed a year to them that they were there,--it chanced 3 to be many years. No savour was wanting to them. 4



p. 31

olchene. Immeraad in n-inis immecúairt. Intan dothéged a ḟer muintire sech Bran, adgiaitís a chocéli. Nísnaiccilled san immorru, acht dusnéced nammá ocus adaiged ginig fóu. Is ed ainm inna hinse so Inis Subai. Funacabsat and íarum.

62. Ní bu chían íarsin coráncatar tír inna m-ban, co n-accatar braine inna m-ban isin phurt. Ashert tóisech inna m-ban: 'Tair ille isa tír, a Brain made Febail! Is fochen do thichtu.' Ní lamir Bran techt isa tir. Dochuirethar in ben certli do Braun tar a gnúis cach n-dírech. Focheird Bran a láim for in certli. Lil in chertle dia dernainn. Bói snáthe inna certle hil-láim inna mná, consreng in curach dochum puirt. Lotir íarum hi tegdais máir. Arránic imde ceche lánamne and .i. trí nói n-imdæ. In praind dobreth for cech méis nír’irchran dóib. Ba blédin donarfás dóib buith and. Ecmaing bátir ilblédni. Nístesbi nach mlass.



p. 32

63. Home-sickness seized one of them, even Nechtan the son of Collbran. 1 His kindred kept praying Bran that he should go to Ireland with him. The woman said to them their going would make them rue. However, they went, and the woman said that none of them should touch the land, and that they should visit and take with them the man whom they had left in the Island of Joy.

64. Then they went until they arrived at a gathering at Srub Brain. 2 The men asked of them who it was came over the sea. Said Bran: 'I am Bran the son of Febal,' saith he. However, the other saith: 'We do not know such a one. though the Voyage of Bran is in our ancient stories.'

65. The man 3 leaps from them out of the coracle. As soon as he touched the earth of Ireland, forthwith he was a heap of ashes, as though he had been in the earth for many hundred years. ’Twas then that Bran sang this quatrain:



p. 33

63. Gabais éulchaire fer n-díib .i. Nechtán mac Collbrain. Aitched a chenél fri Bran aratíasad leis dochom n-Érenn. Asbert in ben robad aithrech ind ḟáboll. Dolotar cammæ, ocus asbert in ben arnátuinsed nech díib a tír ocus arataidlitís leú in fer fodnácaibset i n-Inis Subai tar éssi a chéli.

64. Dollotar íarum condatornachtatar in dáil i Sruib Brain. Iarmifóchtatar side dóib cía dolluide a muir. Asbert in fer: 'Messe,' ar sé, 'Bran mac Febail.' 'Ní beram aichni inní sin,' ol a chéle didiu. 'Atá hi senchasaib linni chene Imram Brain.'

65. Dochurethar úadib in fer assin churuch. Amal conránic side fri talmain inna Hérenn, bá lúaithred fochétóir amal bíd i talmain nobeth triasna hilchéta blíedne. Is and cachain Bran in rand so:



p. 34

'For Collbran's son great was the folly
To lift his hand against age,
Without any one casting a wave of pure water 1
Over Nechtan, Collbran's son.'

66. Thereupon, to the people of the gathering Bran told all his wanderings from the beginning until that time. And he wrote these quatrains in Ogam, and then bade them farewell. And from that hour his wanderings are not known.






p. 35

'Do macc Chollbrain ba mór báiss
turcbáil a láme fri áiss,
cen nech dobir toind usci glain
for Nechtán for mac Collbrain.

66. Adfét íarsin Bran a imthechta ulí ó thossuch cotici sin do lucht ind airechtais, ocus scríbais inna rundu so tré ogum. Ocus celebrais dóib íarsin, ocus ní fessa a imthechta ónd úair sin.






2:1 Imram, lit. 'rowing about,' denotes a voyage voluntarily undertaken, as distinguished from longes, 'a voyage of exile.'

2:2 Echtre, f. (a derivative of echtar = Lat. extra), lit. 'outing,' specially denotes expeditions and sojourns in Fairy-land, as in Echtra Bresail Bricc maic Briuin (LL. p. 170 b, 25), who stayed fifty years under Loch Láeg; Echtra Cormaic i Tír Tairngiri, Ir. Texte iii. p. 202; Echtra Nerai (Rev. Celt. x. p. 212), Echtra Nectain maic Alfroinn (LL. p. 189 b, 59) = Nechtán mac Collbrain, infra § 63, etc.

2:3 That it was the branch that produced the music, when shaken, appears from a similar incident in Echtra Cormaic, Ir. Texte iii. p. 212.

4:1 All the MSS. contain only twenty-eight quatrains.

4:2 aball, f., which glosses Lat. malus in Sg. 61 b, has come to denote any fruit-tree, as in fic-abull mór arsata, 'a large ancient fig-tree,' LBr. 158 a, 55. CL Stokes, Rev. Celt. x. p. 71, n. 3.

4:3 i.e. nomen regionis (gloss).

4:4 A kenning for 'crested sea-waves.' Cf. groig maic Lir, 'the Son of Ler's horses,' Rev. Celt. p. 104. Zimmer misrenders: 'um welche die rosse des meeres spielend auftauchen.'

4:5 Lit. 'white-sided wave-swelling.'

4:6 Zimmer, following the corrupt reading of R (cethror instead of cetheoir), renders: 'dem wohnsitz auf fussen von vier mann'!

4:7 i.e. nomen regionis (gloss), 'White-Silver Plain.'

6:1 i.e. here below (gloss).

6:2 gairim is often used of the notes of birds, e.g.: int én gaires isint ṡail, 'the bird that sings in the willow,' Ir. Texte iii. p. 19.

6:3 trátha, the canonical hours, an allusion to church music. Zimmer, wrongly, 'zu den zeiten.'

6:4 i.e. nomen regionis (gloss), 'Silver-Cloud Plain.'

6:5 Zimmer, wrongly, 'vor den gerichten.'

6:6 Lit. 'with harshness.' Zimmer, 'fur die kehle'?

6:7 Cf. i lobrai ocus i n-ingás, Sergl. Conc. 10.

6:8 i.e. nomen regionis (gloss).

8:1 i.e. regio (gloss), 'Bountiful Land.'

8:2 dracoin = Lai. dracontiae.

8:3 'Mane' and 'hair' are frequent kennings in Irish poetry for the crest and spray of a wave, e.g.: in n-ed maras mong for muir, 'while a 'ested wave remains on the sea,' Ir. Texte iii. p. 16. Cf. also the adj. tibrech, 'hairy' (from tibre .i. finda na grúaide flacbas in altan dia hése, Harl. 5280, fo. 41 a) in úas tuind tibrig, LL. 17 b, 2 = fri tuinn tibhrigh, wrongly explained by O'Clery, s.v. tibhrigh.

8:4 i.e. insola (gloss), i.e. nomen regionis (gloss), 'Gentle Land.'

8:5 Cf. Sg. 122 b, where céitegrinne fíno glosses 'nectar.'

8:6 'Plain of the Sea.'

8:7 i.e. regio (gloss), 'Plain of Sports.'

10:1 Lit. 'against which the sea beats.'

10:2 Lit. 'it increases music.'

10:3 Here and in § 60 the nominative Emne is used instead of Emain (§§ 3, 10).

10:4 Ir. brec, 'variegated,' probably referring to their dress. Cf. cóíca ingen ildathach, Sergl. Conc. 45.

10:5 i.e. nomen regionis (gloss), 'Very Gentle Land.'

12:1 Or, perhaps, if we read la suthaini síne, 'It is through lasting weather (lit. lastingness of weather) that silver drops on the lands.'

12:2 i.e. mare, 'Plain of Sports.'

12:3 i.e. nomen regions, 'Many-coloured Land.'

12:4 This quatrain reappears in a somewhat modified form in a poem (Laud 615, p. 18) addressed to Colum Cille by Mongan, who had come from the Land of Promise (Tír Tairngiri) to meet the saint at Carraic Eolairg on Lough Foyle. See Appendix, p. 88.

14:1 i.e. Christ (gloss).

14:2 Lit. 'upon its ridge-poles or roof-trees,' alluding probably to the lowly birth of Christ.

14:3 Cf. ar attú cen tosach cen forcenn gl. qui ante creaturæ exordia idem esse non desinas, Ml. 110 d, is.

14:4 Cf. Stokes, Goid. p. 182: beith fo étoil mac Maire, 'to he under the unwill of Mary's Son.'

14:5 An allusion to baptism.

16:1 Zimmer renders 'ob sin gegangen.' But cía here means 'whither' (=Doric πεῖ, Strachan). Cf. noconḟess cía deochatar, LL. 290 a, 27. ni fetatar cia deochaid nó can donluid, Sergl. Conc. 12, etc. In the sense of 'whether,' cía occurs only in the phrase cía . . . cenco, 'whether . . . or not,' e.g.: fó leiss cía nothiasta ass, fó leiss cenco tiasta, LL. 109a, 30; cía fogabad cenco fagbad, rabeindse ar a chind, LL. 51 b, 17.

16:2 Lit. 'men of the same age.'

16:3 The MSS. again contain only twenty-eight quatrains.

16:4 Ir. slonnud means to make known one's name, or patronymic, as in Rawl. B. 502, fo. 73 a, 2: Buchet a ainm, mac hui Inblæ a slonnud, or one's native place, as in LU. 15 b, 5: ro íarfaig Finnan a slonniud de. Asbert friu: de Ultaib dam-sa.

18:1 Or Mag Mell may here be a place-name. Cf. § 39. It is the most frequent designation of the Irish elysium.

18:2 This seems to be the meaning of the verb tibrim, another example of which occurs in Rev. Celt. xi. p. 130: ni ḟuil tráich nach tiprai tonn, which I ought to have rendered 'there is no strand that a wave does not beat'

18:3 'Plain of Sports,' glossed by 'mare' above, § 23.

18:4 This I take to be the meaning of écomras, the negative of comras, 'smooth,' which occurs in cornaib sruachaib comrasaib (LL. 276 a, 6), 'with hooped smooth horns.' Stokes conjectures -ras to be cognate with W. rhathu, 'to file.'

18:5 i.e. The salmon which Bran sees are calves and are lambs (gloss).

20:1 'Pleasant, or Happy Plain.' See note on § 34.

20:2 i.e. There were many hosts near him, and Bran did not see them (gloss).

20:3 This rendering rests on the very doubtful connection of drepa with Lat. drappus, from which it might be a loan. Should we compare the obscure line drengaitir (sic legendem?) dreppa daena, Goid. p. 176?

20:4 A mere guess at the meaning of imrborbach.

20:5 Lit. 'a wood under mast (acorns) in which is beauty.'

22:1 I take foirbthe to be the neuter form of the passive participle of forbenim used as a substantive.

22:2 i.e. of the grave.

22:3 I take mbeth to be the 3rd sing. injunctive of biu, with the relative n prefixed.

22:4 i.e. to Adam in Paradise.

22:5 This rendering of saibse (saibsi) ceni is not much better than a guess. Perhaps sáibse is a noun derived from sáib, 'false.'

22:6 viz. Adam.

22:7 Cf. LU. 17 b; 26: do bithaitreb péne ocus rége cen nach crích etir = LL. 281 a, 38: do bithaittreb péne ocus régc cen nach n-díl etir.

22:8 i.e. worshipping idols (gloss).

22:9 i.e. Christ (gloss).

24:1 i.e. to Ireland.

24:2 i.e. to the wife of Fiachna, king of the Ulster Dalriada, whose royal seat was Rathmore, in Moylinny (Linemag), co. Antrim.

24:3 i.e. 'the Conception of Mongan' (gloss).

24:4 i.e. Mangan son of Fiachna (gloss).

24:5 Lit. 'will lie a vigorous lying.'

24:6 'Fair Lady,' the name of Fiachne's wife. Gilla Modutn, in his poem Senchas Ban (LL. 140 a, 37), written in 1147 A.D., makes her the daughter of Demmán Dublacha's son.

24:7 This is a guess at the meaning of moithfe. I take it to stand for móithfe, from móithaim, mod. maothaim, 'I soften.'

24:8 i froiss may mean 'in a shower'; but fross is also used metaphorically in the sense of 'attack, onset.' Cf.

26:1 i.e. post mortem (gloss).

26:2 i.e. famous, without end (anforcnedach? cf. LU. 26 b, 27), i.e. in futuro corpore (gloss).

26:3 Cf nosilis rói, LU. 66 b, 26.

26:4 The translation of this quatrain is very uncertain, as the Irish text is hopelessly corrupt in several places.

26:5 As to this meaning of airchend see Windisch, Bea. d. sächs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 19.7. 1890.

26:6 i.e. proprinm iloch (gloss). Here iloch is obscure to me. One expects a word for 'island.' Islay is also referred to in Boirche's poem on the death of Mongan (Four Masters, A.D. 620). According to Cinaed ua Hartacaín (+975), Mongan was killed by a host from Cantire (la féin Cindtíre, LL. 31 b, 42).

26:7 This refers to Mongan's death at the hands of Artur mac Bicoir.

28:1 i.e. in corpora (gloss).

28:2 i.e. this is the 'Death of Mongan,' a stone from a sling was thrown at him (gloss); i.e. a stone at the fight in Mongan's stronghold (gloss).

28:3 i.e. a stronghold (gloss). Senlabor has not been identified.

28:4 Not identified.

28:5 i.e. the angels.

28:6 i.e. in a chariot

28:7 Cf. note on § 19.

28:8 The Irish dath, 'colour,' is often used in the sense of 'kind, sort.'

28:9 treftech, a derivative from trefet, 'blowing.' Cf. trefet i. séitedh, ut est: for trefet a tóna H. 3, 18, p. 51, and see O’Dav. p. 122, s.v. treifet. In Laws i. p. 126, 5 (cf. p. 144, 1) it means 'bellows.'

28:10 viz. Bran.

30:1 Zimmer, adopting the corrupt reading of R (na mná instead of nammá) renders: 'sondern blickte die frauen an.' No women have been mentioned.

30:2 Zimmer renders 'ehepaar.' But there is no reason for being so particular.

30:3 For this use of écmaing = 'it really was,' cf. Ir. Texte iii. p. 17:

'Andarlium ba slúaiged fer,
Góidil co ler iar n-gail gairg:
eccmuing ba rí. Midi máir
doluid do dáim óenaig aird.'

'Methought it was a hosting of men,
Gaels in numbers after fierce prowess;
But it was the king of great Meath,
Going to the company of a noble gathering.'

30:4 i.e. every man found in his food and drink the taste that he especially desired, a common incident in Irish story-telling.

32:1 He was the hero of a tale, the title of which figures in the list of sagas in LL. p. 170 b as Echtra Nectain maic Alfroinn. This tale is not now known to exist; it probably contained the incidents here narrated.

32:2 O’Curry, MS. Mat. p. 477, note 15, says that there are two places of this name--one in the west of Kerry, the other, now called Staoove or Shruve Brin, at the entrance to Lough Foyle, a little to the south of Inishowen Head. As the ancient Irish imagined Mag Mell to be in the south or south-west of Ireland (see Stokes, Rev. Celt. xv. p. 438), it seems natural that Bran coming from there should arrive at a place in Kerry. Otherwise, from Bran's connection with Lough Foyle, so called from his father Febal, the latter place might seem to be meant. See its dindsenches in Rev. Celt xv. p. 450, where Srub Brain is said to mean 'Raven's Stream.' Stokes thinks that this Srub Brain is the place in Donegal; but, considering that numbers 50 to 53 of the Rennes Dindsenchas all refer to places in Kerry, I believe the West Kerry place is meant.

32:3 viz. Nechtan mac Collbrain.

34:1 i.e. holy water.

Next: Notes