Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Madness of Sweeny

It is my wont to gather in things from the web. The following continues yesterday’s curios….

76 ‘Welcome in sooth is your coming here, Suibhne’, said Moling, ‘for it is destined for you to be here and to end your life here ; to leave here your history and adventures, and to be buried in a churchyard of righteous folk ; and I bind you,’ said Moling, ‘that however much of Ireland you may travel each day, you will come to me each evening so that I may write your history.’
77 Thereafter during that year the madman was visiting Moling. One day he would go to Innis Bo Finne in west Connacht, another day to delightful Eas Ruaidh, another day to smooth, beautiful Sliabh Mis, another day to ever-chilly Benn Boirche, but go where he would each day, he would attend at vespers each night at Teach Moling.


Thinking about the time travel of Honi and the Seven Sleepers, I thought of Suibhne and this passage which refers to his traveling. He gets around.
In the UFO lore there are now some pictures from medieval times that have portrayals of strange aircraft in them. Another post I’ll locate those.

But in ancient literature there are instances of strange things which now can be possibly understood from the discoveries of modern science.

I find the way the story of Suibhne is told really neat. There will be a passage in prose telling the story, then it breaks into a poem which often goes over the same thing, but extends it.

This following maybe the most famous part…

36 Loingseachan : ‘O Suibhne from lofty Sliabh na nEach, thou of the rough blade wert given to wounding ; for Christ’s sake, who hath put thee in bondage, grant converse with thy foster-brother.
Hearken to me if thou hearest me, O splendid king, O great prince, so that I may relate gently to thee tidings of thy good land.
There is life for none in thy land after thee ; it is to tell of it that I have come ; dead is thy renowned brother there, dead thy father and thy mother.
Suibhne : If my gentle mother be dead, harder is it for me to go to my land ; ’tis long since she has loved my body ; she has ceased to pity me.
Foolish the counsel of each wild youth whose elders live not ; like unto a branch bowed under nuts ; whoso is brotherless has a gaping side.
Loingseachan : There is another calamity there which is bewailed by the men of Erin, though uncouth be thy side and thy foot, dead is thy fair wife of grief for thee.
Suibhne : For a household to be without a wife is rowing a rudderless boat, ’tis a garb of feathers to the skin, ’tis kindling a single fire.
Loingseachan : I have heard a fearful and loud tale around which was a clear, fierce wail, ’tis a fist round smoke, however, thou art without sister, O Suibhne.
Suibhne : A proverb this, bitter the . . . —; it has no delight for me—; the mild son rests on every ditch, a sister loves though she be not loved.
Loingseachan : Calves are not let to cows amongst us in cold Araidhe since thy gentle daughter, who has loved thee, died, likewise thy sister’s son.
Suibhne : My sister’s son and my hound, they would not forsake me for wealth ’tis adding loss to sorrow ; the heart’s needle is an only daughter.
Loingseachan : There is another famous story—; loth am I to tell it—; meetly are the men of the Arada bewailing thy only son.
Suibhne : That is the renowned drop (?) which brings a man to the ground, that his little son who used to say ‘daddy’ should be without life.
It has called me to thee from the tree, scarce have I caused enmity, I cannot bear up against the blow since I heard the tidings of my only son.
Loingseachan : Since thou hast come, O splendid warrior, within Loingseachan’s hands, all thy folk are alive, O scion of Eochu Salbuidhe.
Be still, let thy sense come, in the east is thy house, not in the west, far from thy land thou hast come hither, this is the truth, O Suibhne.
More delightful deemest thou to be amongst deer in woods and forests than sleeping in thy stronghold in the east on a bed of down.
Better deemest thou to be on a holly-branch beside the swift mill’s pond than to be in choice company with young fellows about thee.
If thou wert to sleep in the bosom of hills to the soft strings of lutes, more sweet wouldst thou deem under the oak-wood the belling of the brown stag of the herd.
Thou art fleeter than the wind across the valley, thou art the famous madman of Erin, brilliant in thy beauty, come hither, O Suibhne, thou wast a noble champion.

Where I got this…

I never had the opportunity to read this whole story, but now can on the web. When I found this site I had been reading about St. Francis and have a wonder that the two stories might be related. More on that tomorrow…

And let me add this, which I found looking for a picture of Suibhne, as it gets at the pertinence of Suibhne’s story, and St. Francis…

Irish myth tells of two parallel figures who suffered from Soldier's Heart. One was Mis, a young woman of Kerry who saw her father struck down in battle as she watched. Running to his side, she found him still warm, his blood streaming from the last desperate pumps of his dying heart. She leaned over him and took his blood in her cupped palms and drank it. Then she ran, screaming, from the battlefield.
The other myth is set on the opposite side of the island, in northern Ulster. There the king, Suibhne (Sweeney), was leading his warriors in the battle of Mag Rath when the noise of the battle grew too much for his senses. He looked up and saw something dreadful in the sky and, his wits leaving him, raced from the battlefield and disappeared.
That’s something too. The “something” in the sky!

‘Till tomorrow…

Tree in the Door
May 18, 2007

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