Dámadh ór in duille donn...

Dámadh ór in duille donn
chuiris di in chaill,
dámad airget in gheal-tonn
ro thidhluicfed Find.

(if were * gold * the * leaf * brown /
that puts * f rom it * the * wood /
if were * silver * the * bright-wave /
would bestow * Finn)

If the brown leaves
that the trees shed were gold,
if the bright waves were silver,
Finn would give it all away.

In “Acallam na Senórach” Saint Patrick asks Caílte, one of the last surviving members of the Fianna, if Finn was a good lord. He replies with this short encomium (“ocus ro ráid Cáilti in formolad bec-so”), which praises above all his dead leader’s generosity, and does so in terms of the natural beauty that the poets return to again and again in the Fiannaíocht. Generosity was arguably the greatest virtue a man could have among the Gael. See “Eochair ferta féile”, “Cendaig in mes mór”, and especially “Sladbrad ocus guin duine” in this collection.

Topics: Verse The Characters Speak Generosity