• Deirdre


Ardan and Ainle, to your tender care
I give my Deirdre. Fence her, right and left,
With cover of your bodies and your shields.
I take the front. Our cohort will make head
For the King's Stables. There at least we'll find
A shelter v/e may better hope to hold
Till Fergus's return ; or, happily,
Conveyance, and the chance of full escape.

Stay, Levarcam. They will not harm thee. Stay.

Alack, I'm hurt, and stay against my will.

Friends, keep together. Deirdre, thou shalt see
What love can do, if honour were unwise.
Cast wide the portal. Be the Gods our aid 1

I cannot see their onset. I but hear
The hurrying and the clashing. Oh, ye Gods.
Shield ye my darling one, or send her death
Rather than life with loathing and despair !
I saw her, ere she left, prepare a cup ;
What, and for what, I guess indeed too well.
Would I could give it her, were that to do :
'Twere my last service, and would be my best.
How dreadful 'tis to hear men dealing death.
And not to know who falls and who keeps up.
The tumult slackens. We are saved or lost.
One side returns victorious. Deirdre comes :
But ah, her sidesmen are not those they were !
'Tis Cormac leads her ; these are Conor's men
That bear the burthens in. Oh, heavy sight.
Ardan and Ainle and lord Naisi dead !

Ye need not hold me. I am wholly calm.
Thanks, gentle Cormac, who hast won for me
The boon to see these nobles buried.
Give them an honorable sepulture ;
And, while ye dig their grave, let me begin
My lamentable death-song over them.

Levarcam, Despair, Death
Linen Hall Library, "Ferg067", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Mon, 07/15/2024 - 09:08, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/ferg067