Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
48. Aimirgin’s Invocation
By Professor MacNeill (Translated)
I INVOKE the land of Ireland:
Much-coursed be the fertile sea,
Fertile be the fruit-strewn mountain,
Fruit-strewn be the showery wood,
Showery be the river of waterfalls,        5
Of waterfalls be the lake of deep pools,
Deep-pooled be the hill-top wall,
A well of tribes be the assembly,
An assembly of kings be Temair,
Temair be the hill of the tribes,        10
The tribes of the sons of Mil,
Of Mil of the ships, the barks!
Let the lofty bark be Ireland,
Lofty Irerland, darkly sung,
An incantation of great cunning:        15
The great cunning of the wives of Bres,
The wives of Bres, of Buaigne;
The great lady, Ireland,
Eremon hath conquered her,
  I, Eber, have invoked for her.        20
I invoke the land of Ireland!
Traditionally this is the earliest Irish poem being supposed to have been spoken by Aimirgin, the son of Mile, from the deck of one of the invading Milesian ships. The metre of the original is called Rosg. Poems in this metre, Dr. Hyde remarks (in “A Literary History of Ireland”), depended for their effect upon rapidity of utterance partly, and partly upon a tendency towards alliteration. In this particular utterance a remarkable effect is gained by the repetition of images as a sort of internal rhyme.


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