Is beó nech tar éis a anma...

Is beó nech tar éis a anma, ocus ní beó d’éis a einigh.

(is * living * one * after * his * soul * and * is not * alive * after * his * honor)

A man lives after losing his life, but he does not live after losing his honor.

Goll mac Morna says this when Fionn asks him whether the Fiann should stand their ground or retreat, in the “Cath na bPunann” episode of “Duanaire Finn”. Goll’s response is the equivalent of “Death before dishonor!”

In the heroic world of the old tale, a warrior who fell bravely would live on in song and memory, while a warrior who dishonored himself in battle would be shunned and reviled in life. As the young Cú Chulainn said (in this collection) “Acht ropa airdirc-se, maith limm cen co beinn acht óenlá for domun.”

Topics: Maxims & Wise Counsel The Characters Speak