Eoghan Ruadh Mac an Bhaird
On a Peace Conference in 1603
Bold is the journey attempted here; long has it been debated. The expedition
is equal to a tragic fate: hard is the end of nobility.
By the hard fortune of the war of Flann's Fold, O'Donnell's son has been
beguiled, travelling with high spirit in the company of outland soldiery.
Bold is the cause he has set before him: in brief, for the greatness of the
evil that he saw awaiting him, Rury has turned to the people who had defeated
Hard is it to face them: many is the risk before him; men who harden easy
covenants, gloomy faces with dangerous attributes.
There are ready for him in Dublin warriors on whom misfortune has been
inflicted; many a painful glance at his bright face; to reach them is occasion
for great loathing.
Many a cause of anxiety they had, many a foreign wife's lamentation, many a
tombstone due to him--'tis a marvel if he come back from that journey!
The roads whereon he was hitherto wont to go in warlike array, he now
peacefully visits--he, the fierce and ruthless enemy of the foreigners.
Here once more the grim visage of the soldiery is shown as a countenance
bright, generous and mild, a gentle, youthful face.
Whatever befalls him at this time, many is the host that suffered hardship,
whom his coming was wont to kindle with shame, as they read the signs of coming
The hearts of his comrades on the foray--may this be no detriment to him--are
leaping with horror at the expedition: it will be a step to win courage.
Among the nobles of the Isle of Brega, among women and sons of poets, many
are the fingers that grow hot by reason of this journey, while they read of
grief to follow it.
Yet because of their Iord's fortune the warriors of Eamhain deem this
journey, whereat I grow hot, to be an easy step for him.
As for the youth's dreadful forays, the army of Dublin remembers them not for
their longing to be at peace throughout Fintan's Land, old in wrath.
For all that he has done to them, in short, O'Donnell's son is pardoned;
until opposition is shown to them, Ireland's wrong will be repaid.
They have changed their anger and envy to a resolution of gentleness and
peace, their mutual hatred and warlike purpose to love.
The faces of grim warriors turn to loving forms before him, the cruel hearts
of stern Englishmen melt at the sight of his comely hair.
The greater is their welcome to him that Rury has made peace with them, that
the hospitable region where Conn was made famous has not been....by a foreigner.
Since the deputy of Ireland's king came to them, he sets no store by their
doings, peace is sought with no Irishman.
By the pledge that he gives, by the homage of the grandson of Manus, every
man's devotion used to be sold, every Gael's knee used to be bent.
The sight of the chief of Dálach's descendants at conventions in Dublin is a
decree of protection to the English territory, the very model of peace with the
Whenever he shall return -- how does it hurt Rury to guard against many a
ground of complaint? -- to those who are waiting for him the time seems long.
There is many a princess throughout Lugh's Fortress who, like Nualaidh, with
reference to this step she hears approaching, are in pain and sorrow round about
I have found when with her that because of his journey -- since the latest
things are hardest to bear -- our Hugh's daughter has no thought for any other
care she has suffered.
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