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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
59. King Cahal Mór of the Wine-Red Hand
 
By James Clarence Mangan (Translated)
 
 
I WALKED entranced
Through a land of Morn:
The sun, with wondrous excess of light,
Shone down and glanced
Over seas of corn        5
And lustrous gardens aleft and right.
Even in the clime
Of resplendent Spain,
Beams no such sun upon such a land;
But it was the time,        10
’T was in the reign,
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.
 
Anon stood nigh
By my side a man
Of princely aspect and port sublime        15
Him queried I—
“Oh, my Lord and Khan,
What clime is this, and what golden time?”
When he—“The clime
Is a clime to praise,        20
The clime is Erin’s, the green and bland;
And it is the time,
These be the days,
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.”
 
Then saw I thrones        25
And circling fires,
And a Dome rose near me, as by a spell,
Whence flowed the tones
Of silver lyres,
And many voices in wreathèd swell;        30
And their thrilling chime
Fell on mine ears
As the heavenly hymn of an angel-band—
“It is now the time
These be the years,        35
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.”
 
I sought the hall,
And behold!—a change
From light to darkness, from joy to woe!
Kings, nobles, all,        40
Looked aghast and strange;
The minstrel group sate in dumbest show!
Had some great crime
Wrought this dread amaze,
This terror? None seemed to understand        45
’Twas then the time,
We were in the days,
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.
 
I again walked forth;
But lo! the sky        50
Showed flecked with blood, and an alien sun
Glared from the north,
And there stood on high,
Amid his shorn beams, a skeleton!
It was by the stream        55
Of the castled Maine,
One Autumn eve, in the Teuton’s land,
That I dreamed this dream
Of the time and reign
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.        60
 
Properly the title is “A vision of Connacht in the Thirteenth Century.” The poem carries the impression of a period earlier than the tumultuous and destructive one that followed the Norman invasion. Cahal Mór of the Wine Red Hand was an O’Connor and was quite an historic personage; he had a romantic career.
 

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