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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
58. Cuchullain’s Lament Over Fardiad
 
By Dr. George Sigerson (Translated)
 
 
PLAY was each, pleasure each,
Until Fardiad faced the beach;
One had been our student life,
One in strife of school our place,
One our gentle teacher’s grace        5
  Loved o’er all and each.
 
Play was each, pleasure each,
Until Fardiad faced the beach;
One had been our wonted ways,
One the praise for feat of fields,        10
Scatach gave two victor-shields
  Equal prize to each.
 
Play was each, pleasure each,
Till Fardiad faced the beach;
Dear that pillar of pure gold        15
Who fell cold beside the ford,
Hosts of heroes felt his sword
  First in battle’s breach.
 
Play was each, pleasure each,
Till Fardiad faced the beach;        20
Lion fiery, fierce, and bright,
Wave whose might no thing withstands,
Sweeping with the shrieking sands
  Horror o’er the beach.
 
Play was each, pleasure each,        25
Till Fardiad faced the beach;
Loved Fardiad, dear to me!
I shall dree his death for aye!
Yesterday a Mountain he—
  But a shade to-day!        30
 
The combat between Cuchullain and Fardiad is, like the combat between Achilles and Hector in the Iliad, the culminating episode in the Irish epic tale, The Tain Bo Cuiligne. It is more dramatic than the combat between Achilles and Hector because of the fact that Cuchullain and Fardiad had been devoted friends. The story of the combat ends with these words:—
          “That is enough now, indeed,” said Fardiad. “I fall of that. Now indeed may I say that I am sickly after thee, and not by thy hand should I have fallen.…”


  Cuchullain ran towards him after that, and clasped his two arms about him and lifted him with his arms and his armour and his clothes across the ford northward, in order that the slain should lie by the ford on the north, and not by the ford on the west with the men of Erin.

  Cuchullain laid Fardiad down there, and a trance and a faint and a weakness fell then on Cuchullain over Fardiad.

  “Good, O Cuchullain,” said Laeg, “rise up now for the men of Erin are coming upon us, and it is not a single combat they will give thee since Fardiad, son of Daman, son of Dare, has fallen by thee.”

  “Servant,” said he, “what avails me to arise after him that hath fallen by me?”

  Dr. Sigerson’s noble version of Cuchullain’s lament seems to sum up all the chivalry and all the brilliancy of the epic tale.
 

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