James Clarence Mangan, “I Found in Innisfail the Fair”

I Found in Innisfail the Fair (trans. from  Flann Fina mac Ossu, King Aldfrith of Northumbria; Book of Leinster

I found in Innisfail the fair,
in Ireland while in exile there,
women of worth, both grave and gay men,
many clerics and many laymen.

I travelled its fruitful provinces round,
and in every one of the five I found,
alike in church and in palace hall,
abundant apparel, and food for all.

Gold and silver I found, and money,
plenty of wheat and plenty of honey;
I found God’s people rich in pity,
found many a feast and many a city.

I also found in Armagh, the splendid,
meekness, wisdom, and prudence blended,
fasting, as Christ hath recommended,
and noble councillors untranscended.

I found in each great church moreo’er,
whether on island or on shore,
piety, learning, fond affection,
holy welcome and kind protection.

I found the good lay monks and brothers
ever beseeching help for others,
and in their keeping the Holy Word,
pure as it came from Jesus the Lord.

I found in Munster, unfettered by any,
kings and queens and poets a many—
poets well skilled in music and measure,
prosperous doings, mirth and pleasure.

I found in Connaught the just, redundance
of riches, milk in lavish abundance;
hospitality, vigour, fame,
in Cruachan’s land of heroic name.

I found in the country of Conall the glorious,
bravest heroes, ever victorious;
fair complection men and warlike,
Ireland’s lights, the high, the star-like!

I found in Ulster, from hill to glen,
hardy warriors, resolute men;
beauty that bloomed when youth was gone,
and strength transmitted from sire to son.

I found in the noble district of Boyle
[Mangan’s MS here illegible - J. Mitchel]
Brehons, Erenachs, weapons bright,
and horsemen bold and sudden in fight.

I found in Leinster the smooth and sleek,
from Dublin to Slewmargy’s peak,
flourishing pastures, valour, health,
long-living worthies, commerce, wealth.

I found besides, from Ara to Glea,
in the broad rich country of Ossory,
sweet fruits, good laws for all and each,
great chess-players, men of truthful speech.

I found in Meath’s fair principality,
virtue, vigour, and hospitality,
candour, joyfulness, bravery, purity,
Ireland’s bulwark and security.

I found strict morals in age and youth,
I found historians recording truth;
the things I sing of in verse unsmooth,
I found them all—I have written sooth.


Note: the illegible line is reproduced in num. subsequent editions including W. B. Yeats’s A Book of Irish Verse (1895).


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