In offering this collection of translations from early Irish poetry to a wider public I feel that I am expected to give a brief account of the literature from which they are taken—a literature so little known that its very existence has been doubted or denied by some, while others, who had the misfortune to make its acquaintance in ill-chosen or inadequate renderings, have refused to recognise any merit in it.
On which the many blossoms drop.
An ancient tree there is in bloom,
On which birds call to the Hours:
In harmony of song they all are wont
To chant together every Hour.
Colours of every shade glisten
Throughout the gentle-voiced plains:
Joy is known, ranked around music,
In Silver-cloud Plain to the south.
Unknown is wailing or treachery
In the homely cultivated land:
There is nothing rough or harsh,
But sweet music striking on the ear.
Without grief, without gloom, without death,
Without any sickness or debility--
That is the sign of Evin:
Uncommon is the like of such a marvel.
A beauty of a wondrous land,
Whose aspects are lovely,
Whose view is wondrous fair,
Incomparable is its haze.
Then if Silverland is seen,
On which dragon-stones and crystals drop--
The sea washes the wave against the land,
A crystal spray drops from its mane.
Wealth, treasures of every hue