For W.B.


Concealed by clouds, the Tuatha Dé Dannan rose in the west,

Fair and mighty; guarding Eire with the thirteen treasures,

Made to bring glorious victory in the last battle ‘tween god and man;

With them the golden children of Dana slew the Formorians.


Merlin, who wandered, after Gwenddolau was felled,

Haunted by the visions of the Wild Hunt

Through woodland far and hilly country wild, full of madness;

Who sleeps in the enchanted grove, after threefold death.


The trumpet calls: "O, warriors fair, assemble!", the bodhran thumps,

To where Brian Boru was slewn — down at Clontarf.

Crowned ard-rí of Ireland at the crying stone of Fal at Tara, the lion of the Thomonds,

Who drove the northmen fierce, down from sacred shore over sea;

O, where Kincora! is Brian the Great; Where, o, Kincora?


Driven out of their land, ‘tween Aescbourne and Bainbourne,

The Golden Elves fled, driven by Duillath’s dreadful hords.

O, Gear an Aelf, you fair, belovéd of the Mother —

You led them safely to this land, between mountain and sea,

Where giants once strode, where dwarves dig the depest rocks —

Dwelling now in the halls of the Mother!


‘Tis only a modest song, o bewitcher, but I drink to thee!

Drink and sing, where the pale moon hangs o’er the sea

And storms brew o’the lea; where the Fair Ones called

Under the chestnut’s bloom, under misty mountains, o, so sweetly!