The Death of Fraoch

On Cluan Fraoich a friend doth sigh
Where doth lie a warrior low
On his bier;
And his moan makes warriors grieve
And bereft of love his spouse.
For Idad's son she doth keen
For whom is named Cairn Laive:
Fraoch mac Idad of soft locks,
Idad's son of raven hair.
Westward there lies Fraoch mac Idad
Who fulfilled proud Mève's behest.
On Cruachan Shee (Sídh) a mother weeps:
Sad the tale—a mother's wail
She grieves sore for Fraoch her son.
Many a field in strifes of old
He had won and behold
Fraoch mac Idad lieth cold.

To Cluan Fraoich comes Find-abair:
She doth weep—a sad ladye;
With tresses soft and curling locks
And her hand
Of Queen Mève proud heroes sought.

Find-abair of golden hair
Ailill's one daughter she
Lies side by Fraoch to-night:
Of many loved, of many sought
But never a love
But Fraoch had Find-abair.

Her cause of hatred unprovoked Mève found
For Fraoch the best of knights,
Bravest and friendliest:
When love for him she found

Her passion he did scorn
And hence his wound:
Fraoch lies a corpse to-night.
Great was the wrong thus wrought by Mève:


Simply we still unfold
The story old:
(With woman-kind side not in ill)
His death her scheme foretold.
(On Cluan Fraoich a friend doth sigh.)

II

A rowan tree grew on Loch Mève—
Southwards is seen the shore—
Every fourth and every month
Ripe fruit the rowan bore:

Fruit more sweet than honey-comb,
Its clusters' virtues strong,
Its berries red could one but taste
Hunger they staved off long.

Its berries' juice and fruit when red
For a year would life prolong:
From dread disease it gave relief
If what is told be our belief.

Yet though it proved a means of life
Peril lay closely nigh;
Coiled by its root a dragon lay
Forbidding passage by.

A messenger for Fraoch was sent
By Eochaidh's daughter keen—
When sickness sore Mève rent:
'What ails?' quoth Fraoch, 'the Queen?'

And Eochaidh's daughter made reply—
Eochaidh of the festive horns—
That ne'er would she be whole
Till her soft palm were full
Of berries from the island in the lake—
Fraoch's hand alone to pull.

'Such I ne'er cull'd,' said Idad's son
Of blushing face;
Yet will I what I yet ne'er willed,'
Quoth Fraoch, out of grace.

Sir Fraoch moved forward to his fate
Forth to the lake and swam the tide;
He found asleep the dragon-snake
Around the tree, mouth open wide.
(On Cluan Fraoich a friend doth sigh.)

III

Fraoch, Idad's son, of weapon keen
Of the beast being unperceived,
Of berries red a lapful brought
Mève's longing to relieve.

Though good be that which thou hast brought,'
Quoth Mève of form so fair,
'Nought me relieves, O Champion bold
Save branch from trunk thou bear.'

Fraoch gave consent: no fear he knew
But swam the lake once more:
But hero never yet did pass
The fate for him in store.