FIONN MAC CUMAL.
THOU, Mac Lugach, shall discern
What the warrior-order learn :
Keep in hall a courteous mood
Though in brunt of battle rude.
Blame thy spouse not, without thought,
Never beat thy hound for naught ;
Never strive with senseless loon
Wouldst thou war with a buffoon ?
Gird at none of goodly fame,
Share not in the brawler’s shame ;
Keep apart thy path, again,
From or mad or evil men.
Two thirds of thy softness show
Women, babes that creep below,
Bards that varied verse evoke
Nor be fierce with common folk.
Be not first to seek thy sleep
Where awake thy fellows keep ;
Rules respect, false friendship shun,
Nor revered be ev’ry one.
Speak not thou mere words of might
Say not thou’lt not yield what ‘s right
For a shame is mighty speech
When the deed is out of reach.
Never them thy chief forsake
Till red earth thy life shall take ;
Nor for gem nor gold reward
Fail in warrant to thy ward.
Never to the chieftain’s ear
Blame his household too severe,
It suits no true man’s estate
Faulting low folk to the great.
Thou’lt bear no glozing story,
Not thine the carper’s glory,
Thine, conduct clear and knightly
Hence men shall serve thee brightly.
Never long the ale horn hold,
Never once deride the old ;
What is worthy that maintain,
Make not of misfortune pain.
Food to foodless ne’er refuse,
Nor for friend a miser choose ;
Never on the great intrude,
Nor give cause for censure rude.
Guard thy garments, guard thine arms
Through the heat of battle harms ;
Ne’er to frowning fortune bow
Steadfast, stern, and soft be thou.
1 The original is quoted in tract on the Amra of Columbcille, edited
by Professor O’Beirne Crowe, 1871.