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meets Finn about 45 yards off).

Steward {looking back at young man
nervously) : O master, this will be an evil
day for the town of Nod and for its lord.

Nod : Why ? Can I not do what I will
with my own ? {Nod*s passion is giving way
to uncertainty and doubt). Am I not master
here ? Who else ?

Steward : O master, all this territory is
forest land of Finn's by most ancient law
and custom. {Finn and his companions
start to enter here). So that thy tilled fields,
pastures and orchards are a taking in from
his dominion and a minishing of his forest
rights. As he passed this way in the dawn,
with his following, he took a circuit outside
the tilled land, respecting thy fields, for he
is ever just, and the chief pillar and defen-


der of right against wrong in all Erin to-
day. And now he is in wrath and I fear
greatly. Master ! lo ! he comes.

{Enter wife quickly from house).

Wife : Nod ! I have seen the men.
They come swiftly in great wrath. Dear
husband, add not evil to evil. Be counselled
by me. Offer not to defend thyself nor say
him nay in aught he demands. {She re-
moves his sword from girdle and hastens
hack with it).

{Nod finds his sword gone).

ISloB {hoarsely) '.Hsil Treachery. {With
a loud voice). My peril ! My peril !

{Enter, immediately, and running very
fast, five armed men).

Captain of the Guards {Son of Brasal
or Mac Brasal) : Whence the peril, O Nod,
and of what nature ?

Nod : Peril from Finn and the Fiana
Eireann. They come to slay me and to rack
and sack Rath Nod.

Son of Brasal : Then, Nod, thou wilt be
well slain : and Rath Nod will be well racked
and sacked. What else ?


Nod : Have I traitors in my own house ?
Mac Brasal, thou art under vows to defend
me. Thou and thy brothers. You have
eaten my boiled and my roast. You have
drunk my ale and my mead. You have
received my stipend. Have I failed you in
aught ?

Son of Brasal : In nought, truly, O
Nod. In nought. But I have many times
urged thee to give me a guard of thy life
bearing some reasonable proportion to thy
known wealth and having, too, some propor-
tion to the multitude of thy enemies. Yet
thou wouldst not. We are only five men, all
told. That is indeed a protection against
angry slaves. It is no defence against an
invasion : and — an invasion of the Fiana
Eireann ! (To brothers in a loud voice).
By sun and wind, good brothers, we are all
dead men.

Nod : You would desert me then ?

Mac Brasal {loudly and wrath fully) :
Nay, O Nod. We are the sworn guard of
thy wretched life. Men of honour are we,
how little soever thou knowest what that
word means to brave men. Stand here in
our midst. The Fiana will get thee truly.


but it will be over the corpses of Clan Brasal.
Brothers draw, if for the last time. Stand
well together, and back to back.

{Enter Finn and the Fians. Finn stands
and looks at the Guard).

Finn {to the Fians) : Disarm those men.
Hurt them not.

{A melee. They are disarmed and led
aside. Nod is disclosed standing stern and
motionless. Finn stands and looks penetrat-
ingly at Nod, who only scowls).

CoNAN Mael : Now the butcher ap-
proaches his sheep.

{Finn points to tree).

Finn : A strong cord ? {Fians seize Nod,
put a loop of cord round his neck; Finn looks
at him again penetratingly). No. Under
the armpits. Draw him up. {To Nod).
As thou hast not given us hospitality will-
ingly and after a courteous requesting, thou
shalt give it unwillingly. {Pause till Nod
is tied up). Conan Mael ! {Conan steps
forward). Break in the doors of all the
churl's storehouses and magazines of food,
his cellars of ale and cider.


CoNAN Mael : Chief of the Fians, I shall
be into them like the hairy wild bee into the
bowels of the foxglove,

Finn {aside to Conan) : Bide a while,

Finn : Ossian ! {Ossian stefs forward).
Break in his treasure chamber. Bring forth
all his gold and silver vessels. Prepare a
great feasting such as never was before in
Leinster ; bid all the thrall population of his
dominion attend and partake without stint.
Oscur ! {Oscur stefs forward). Send mes-
sengers round this territory, bidding all
without exception come in to the feast, and
gather the pipers, harpers, jesters, and
merry men. Leinster is to eat and drink
out this man to-night. {Aside). Ossian,
Oscur, delay a space, I pray you.

{Finn steadily observes Nod).

Conan : His place of observation will be
good to witness all that wealth by which he
set such store consumed in one night. Ob-
serve me, especially, Nod, for a great deal
of it will be consumed be me. The cord will
be round thy breast and under thy arms this
night. But will not be round thy breast and


under thy arms when we leave this in the
dawn. (Clasps his neck with his hands).

Finn : Forbear, Conan, insult not the

Conan : But this man is not fallen. He
is lifted up.

Finn {to Nod) : Hast thou no word of
self -excuse or justification?

Nod {stone silent),

{Enter Wife in her best attire, accom-
fanied by the women of the household, from
the house. The men all draw aside, giving
passage and treating her with great respect.
She comes before Finn and casts herself at
his feet).

Finn : What wouldst thou, m)^ daughter !
{Regards her affectionately and pater-
nally). Thy request is granted ere uttered.

Wife : My gracious lord ! A pardon for
my dear husband.

Finn : Rise, gentle lady ! {Takes her by
the hand. To his men) : Let the man down !
Use no roughness. Remove the cord. {Pause
during this till Nod is released). Go. Pre-
pare the banquet.


(Nod springs and endeavours to snatch a
sword from one of the Fians, half draws it,
but is arrested and held. He stands pant-
ing with rage between his captors. Pause).

Finn : Is there no word in thy mouth ?

Nod : Slay me now. My life is worth
nought to me from this hour. Slay me now,
victorious rohber.

Finn : Mad and desperate man, if thy life
is worth nought to thee, is the life of thy
sweet wife and that of thy children nought to
thee too ? Life, O man, hath many changes,
declinings and ascendings. Take my counsel,
who never gave ill counsel to any man. Thou
hast an understanding somewhere, if it may
be reached. Spend this day and night alone,
by thyself, in some solitary place, far from
men, and, mark thee, come to me to the Hill
of Almain at the next waxing of the moon.
I shall be there, and fail me not, at thy peril.

Wife {to Nod) : Dear husband, be per-
suaded. Do as the man counsels. (Nod
glares at his wife and stalks off the stage in-
to the forest).

Wife : Alas ! alas ! alas ! Now will he
slay himself in his rage. ( Weeps and wrings
her hands).


Finn {to Wife) : Lady, fear not for thy
husband. He will return to thee gloomy
and silent indeed but unhurt. Trust me.
I have heard of him and thee many times,
and it has been with a purpose that I have
drawn hither this day, to see him, and
have speech with him. No wrong of any
kind shall be done to thy house by any of
the Fians. We shall pass the night in our
own hunting camp hard by, as we Fians are
accustomed to do, and make our supper on
the proceeds of the day's hunting.

Wife : 0, my lord, it will be a pleasure to
me, believe it, to send thee to thy camp, milk,
butter, and cakes of barley, fruit also and
ale and cider.

Finn : As thou wilt, lady : but only as
thou wilt. Then I must send thee a portion
of our day's hunting, as a small eric for this
our strong invasion of thy precincts. Hast
children ?

Wife : One son, my lord, still in the
cradle. (Finn nods his head with pleasure).

Finn : Bring him to me in the morning.
I would cast pure water over his face from
my own hands.


Wife : My lord, I thank thee.

Finn {looking round) : Lady, this is a
most fair spot of earth and will yet be the
abode of a perfect happiness.

Wife : We lack for nought here indeed
but just one thing only, the banishment of
an evil dream whose obsession lies heavy on
my lord.

Finn (taking her by the hand) : I know
it, my daughter, and (looking after Nod),
follow him not. Fare thee well. (A loud to
the Fians). Eeturn their swords to the
guard. Guard, you are brave men and
faithful. Of what nation?

Mac Brasal : Of Clan Brasal are we, O

Finn : A right noble nation.

Mac Brasal : Bear victory and blessing
for ever, Finn son of Cumall.

Finn : Comrades, we return to the camp.


Conan Mael (lingering behind) : This is
a most poor and piteous and disastrous end-
ing of what, at one time, promised so rarely.


And all for a fair face, and a pair of tearful
blue eyes.

And at his time of life too ! When a
man ought to be composed of sterner stuff,
like myself. {Struts a little). But it is
ever so. Show me a Fian, and I shall show
you a fool. Well, well, there will be some
good eating and drinking in the camp to-
night, which will be a consolation of this


Episode II.

(Finn seated in his tent on the Hill of Allen.
Oscur leans against him holding his
hand. A youth, Mac Lewy, sits at his
feet and flays on a Flute, Flageolet, or
some musical instrument. Beautiful
ivomen move around engaged in domes-
tic tasks but with their faces mostly
turned towards Finn).

(A tall lad, an attendant, stands by Finn,
seemingly alert to run his messages).

Finn : Hast thou a poem for me to-day,
Mac Lewy?


Mac Lewy : Ay, Finn.

Finn : Chant it then, I pray thee.

{Mac Lewy chants).

As the oak excels all the trees of the forest,
As the Shannon all the rivers that we
As the bright Moon reigns a Queen amongst
the stars.
So is Almain raised on high above all

! to stand on Almain's height of a bright
May morning,
To hear the bugles blowing and to see the
banners waving.
To see the living rivers rolling forth out of
A river of horses, and a river of hounds,
And a river of men.

Whence the glory, the exultation, and the
gladness —
Tides of joy that daily flood the shores
of life
Son of Cumall, son of Trenmore, son of
The secret of it all is hid with thee.


{Conan Mael mocks: aside).
CoNAN : Ha — hid with thee !

Finn : Hid with me, Mac Lewy ? Nay,
I know no more about the secret of it than
the youngest Fian inAhnain : save, perhaps,
that being somewhat festive myself, I may
be the cause of festivity in others. My
thanks to thee, nevertheless, Mac Lewy. It
is a good poem.

Conan Mael : Nay, Finn, a bad poem, a
very bad poem. {He makes sour faces).

Finn : In what respect bad, Conan ?

Conan Mael : In every respect bad :

similes old and cold, metre gone mad,

language mean and undistinguished. But
bad chiefly in this, that it is not true.

Finn : Not true ?

Conan Mael : Not true. Mark now, O
Finn, and thou too little poet. The Shan-
non, mind you, rolls for ever from Slieve
Cuilcagh to the great sea : and for ever the
moon rides on high through the stars. Will
Almain's glory and prosperity last for ever,
think you ? Even the oak lives his thousand
years : art thou going to live a thousand


years, son of Cumall ? Such poetry is like —
like the clacking of foolish sticks under a
cauldron. Some time, I tell thee, Finn,
men will pass over this hill and will see
here nought but grass : and nettles : and
hear nought but the skylark and the bum-
ming of the wild bee, or the song of the
solitary shepherd. They will say — " Shep-
herd, did a man called Finn dwell here
once?" and the shepherd will answer, " I
never heard of him."

OscuR {starting wp and addressing
Finn) : Mind him not, O Finn. The man is
ever full of malice and envy. Shall I beat
him forth out of thy house ?

Finn {aside). Nay, nay, Oscur. Conan
Mael hath his own rightful place amongst
the Fians. Were I not Finn, I might be
Conan Mael. Let him rail his fill : that
tongue must not be tied. {Aloud to Conan).
Thou art wrong, Conan. I think we shall
be remembered. All things pass. We shall
pass : but we shall not be forgotten.

Mac Lewy : Thou too, Conan. Thou
and thy fat paunch will never be forgotten.

A Maiden : It is rumoured, Finn, that


Conan Mael hath been practising sleight of
hand under the tuition of a clever juggler.
Bid him show us a trick, Finn.

Finn : Do so, Conan.

Conan Mael : A request from thee, Finn,
is a command. Some men, O Finn, have the
gift of at will causing the scalps of their
heads to move, so that their hair is gently
agitated — like — like — ah

Mac Lewy : Like a field of ripe barley
shaken by the wind.

Conan Mael : Rebuke that boy, Finn,
who hath taken the word out of my mouth.

A Voice : No, but lifted you up when you
fell quite flat, Conan.

Conan Mael : Again, O Captain of the
Fians, there are those who can cause their
ears to move backwards and forwards like
those of a lively horse.

Finn : True ; there are many who can do

Conan : But I, Finn, have this very rare
gift, that of being able to brandish one ear
while the other remains as a stone. Stiller
than a stone, O Lord of Almain.


Finn : That, indeed, is a rare gift,
Conan. Exhibit it, I pray thee.

(Conan lays hold of one ear and moves it
to and fro. Laughter and shouts of disap-

A Voice : That is no trick.

Finn : Well, Conan, do an honest trick
for us this time, and we will forgive thee.

Conan : Fian, chief, it shall be done.
(Takes three little leaves and lays them in
the palm, of one hand). .

Conan : Finn, thou would'st pronounce
it a difficult feat were I to send forth a blast
out of my mouth which would carry away
in a flutter the middle one of these little
leaves, all of which, you will observe, touch
one another, while the two outer ones on
either side remain tranquil and undis-
turbed, and do not even tremble.

Finn : That, indeed, I would pronounce
to be an excellent achievement in the art of
managing thy breath.

{All crowd around to see this done.
Conan with the disengaged hand plants a
finger on each of the two outside leaves and

(D 448) E


blows away the middle leaf. Laughter a/nd
shouts of disapprobation).

CoNAN : My juggler's reward, Chief of
the Fians.

A Voice : No reward, O Finn, or, if any,
only that he should not be beaten for
deceiving us.

Voice : No reward, Finn; only an exemp-
tion from beating.

(Conan retires).

Finn : Is my banner flying ?

Page : Aye, my lord.

Finn : That is strange.

Mac Lewy (stops playing) : What is
strange, O Finn ?

Finn : Because we have had no guests for
three days.

Page : There is such abundance and of
all kinds in thy territories that no traveller
need turn from his straight way in search
of entertainment.

Finn (with a smile) : Then, lad, we must
build our house upon the highway. Never-
theless, this day we shall have guests. Diar-


mid, there are three men coming to us
across the green plain out of the south-east,
with dejected mien and steps faltering and
uncertain. Go, conduct them hither, and
very honourably.

DiARMiD (feering) : I see them not,

Finn (with a smile) : Much gazing in
their faces hath made thee blind. Go, bring
the men.

DiARMiD {to the girls as he passes) : I
think Finn hath another pair of eyes be-
sides those that we see.

A Girl (laughing) : Get thee another
pair for thyself, Diarmid. We tire of see-
ing the same pair with thee always.

Another : Thev have served him well
enough with someone I know.

Another : Who the unlucky one ?

First Girl : It might be the daughter of
the High King. It might be Grania of the
golden hair. Have I smit thee, Diarmid ?

Diarmid : Smit ! Not I alone, Brigamba,
have been smitten sore by thee. {Ewit Diar-


Finn {to Page) : Run, lad, and make
ready three of our sunniest and finest fur-
nished guest rooms, for the reception of very
honoured guests, with a keeve of pure water
in each, and all such things as men need
coming to us after a journey. Daughters,
set beside me your whitest beechen table
with the freshest of light foods and oldest
of ales. While I speak with the man you
will entertain his servants. Make much of
them, I pray you.

First Maiden : This must be some great

Second Maiden : Nay, but the meanest
and most despised in all Erin.

First Maiden : Therefore, an honour-
able entertainment of him will be an in-
crease of our own honour, for all are pleased
to entertain the great : but the meanest is
ever welcome in Finn's house. {Looks
critically at Nod, who, with his men, now
appears in the wide doorway, dubious and
hesitating, conducted by Diarmid). Nay,
not so ; not so mean either.

{Finn, stepping forward, takes Nod by
the hand).


Finn : Welcome ! welcome ! dear friend.
{Then, keeping Nod's right hand in his left,
he takes the two men successively by the
hand, saying) — V/elcome, friends. {He
leads Nod in and sets him on the seat next
to his own. The maidens take possession of
the two servants and entertain them).

Finn : Thou art most welcome, Nod.
I trust thy sweet wife is well ; also the little

Nod : I thank thee, my lord. They are

Finn : Eat and drink somewhat now.
Then my lad will conduct thee to thy own
tent, where, I hope, nought will be lacking
that a traveller needs. Come, my son, eat
and drink a little, I pray you, for it is some
space yet to set of sun and supper time.
{Nod gazes at Finn with a remorseful ex-
pression. Then leans forward on the table
with his face between his hands and weeps).

Finn {laying his hand on his shoulder).
I know it all, dear son. Weep no more now.
Thou hast suffered much, my son, but the
dark days are over and thou wilt never suffer
again any more.


Nod {starts from his place, draws his
hand across his eyes, and speaks with a
strong voice) : Son of Cumall, and you, O
household of Finn, know that great is my
grief for that unworthy reception accorded
by me to you at Rath Nod, and to many
others, alas ! besides you. I see clearly this
day all the shame of it. (Pause). A woman
of the Shee it was who cast her spells upon
me and darkened my days. Upon a hillside
I met her, in the hot noon, while I fainted
from thirst. Before me there appeared a
well of water most pure and sparkling. A
rowan tree with scarlet clusters overhung
the v/ell. As I hastened to drink a voice
cried : " Forbear, or thou shalt rue it."

A FiAN : And yet thou didst drink ?

Nod : Nay, I stood for a while, but the
great thirst drove me on and the rare
sparkle of the water allured me. Then a
hand scooped the wave and dashed it in my
face, while the same voice cried, '* Know-
ledge to thee, mortal youth," and once again
crying, " and experience of sorrow to thee,
child of the Gael." And yet a third time
the enchanted wave was dashed in my face,
while the voice cried, ' ' and victory and


relief to thee in the end." I saw not the
woman, and when I looked again, lo ! there
was nothing there only rocks and blooming
heather, nor was aught heard, save a sing-
ing silence in my ears.

A FiAN : It is a strange tale.

Nod : I lie not, O Finn and the Fians ;
this thing happened to me on the slopes of
Slieve Gullion, in the North.

OssiAN : It is one of the haunted moun-
tains of Erin.

Nod : Thereafter and continually I gave
my mind wholly to the getting and the
hoarding of wealth, for it was ever, by day
and by night, borne in upon my mind that
this, that substance and possessions were the
best and straightest way to security and
honour and power, so that at first I had a
great pleasure in all things that brought or
that promised gain. But after this black
sorrow took possession of me, so that my life
became filled with a great fear and anxiety.
I dreaded all things, even the shadows of the
clouds, and sometimes feared even those
whom I loved best.

Finn : The woman was no phantom, my


son. She is known in this and other lands,
and hath great power.

Nod : But now, O Finn, I perceive the
fulfilment of the words that accompanied
that third casting in my face of the en-
chanted wave when she cried, ' ' and victory
and relief to thee in the end." For, upon
a sudden, and as thy hand touched me, the
great sorrow lifted from my mind, so that
I was like one awakened from the dominion
of an evil dream. Thy gracious pardon,

Finn : Nay, nay, dear lad; no more

All : No more words.

OscuR {taking Ms hand) : Come with
me. Nod. A bath of pure water now after
thy journey in the sun will be best for thee,
and a change of raiment, and after that we
shall feast right royally to-night, and rise
to-morrow with the lark. There is a chal-
lenge upon me for that day : a steed contest
with the Ossorians. Thou shalt come with
me and see my horses run. I think we are
of the one age, and may be friends and com-
rades if it is pleasing to thee. I am Oscur,
son of Ossian.


Nod : Pleasing it is, truly. But bear
with me a little, son of Ossian. I am dazed
and part-blinded, and like one brought sud-
dently out of darkness into a great light.

{Eoceunt Nod and Diarmid. Silence.
Finn sits motionless looking before him).


Episode III.

{Scene as in I. Enter Nod's wife and
her maids, Finola and Eithne. Nod's wife
brightly dressed).

FiNOLA : Mistress, pardon the free
speech of thy slave. But how is it that thou
look'st so pleased and happy while lacking
our master, who doubtless has been slain by
those wild foreign huntsmen or sold into
slavery ?

Wife : Slain ! Slavery ! Child, thou
knowest nothing.

FiNOLA : May be, mistress. But why
this brave attire and why thy glad looks ?


Wife : Because my dear husband returns
this day, happy, joyous, and prosperous.
Not alone, for great men accompany him,
the Fianna, his friends and comrades. He
is coming.

Eithne : Coming ?

Wife : In the dead of night, ere first
cock-crow, I heard his light, quick footfall,
like music. the trampling of many
feet above them all I heard and knew it, I
heard it, — in my heart. And Finn himself
comes after. Therefore, prepare as for a
great feast. Senseless one, dost hear me?
(Maid has assumed a look of dull surprise).

Eithne : O mistress ! What has come
over thee ?

Mistress : Why ? Hov/ now ? What
meanest thou ?

Finola : " Quick light footfall !" "Like
music!" Mistress, heavy was thy lord's
step upon the ground as was his aspect

Wife : Nay, nay. Thou hast seen him
under the control of an evil spirit. Thou
hast not seen my dear lord in his bright
youth. {Speaks as if to herself). Well I


mind me of the first time I saw him. How
he came towards me, smiling, young and
brave, but proud. Moving up the moun-
tain, through the heather, like a star
through the mist. {Turning suddenly).
Thou didst not see my dear lord then. (Nod
starts to enter here with companions).

FiNOLA : Nay, mistress.

Wife : He is coming.

FiNOLA : O mistress, is this indeed our
lord ? Nay, it is. But he looks younger,
for light and quick is his footstep, like one
who treads a measure, and he laughs and
makes merry with his companions. Oh!
what a change ! Like sunrise after the
night. Yet it is indeed he.

Wife : Get thee in. Hasten ! They are
here. (Exit maids).

(Enter Nod ivith his companions; he
runs to and tenderly embraces his ivife; he
turns apologetically to his companions).

Nod : Dear friends, this is my true and
gentle wife. V/ife, my brave and loving


(Finola and Eithne converse with Nod's

Wife : Tell me, dear Nod, tell me all.

Nod : On the third day in the morning
after I left thee I came to Aimain's Hill,
and with the rising of the sun entered the
great camp and city of Finn.

Wife : Were the gates open ? Wert
thou not challenged ?

Nod (animatedly) : Gates ! Challenge !
Wife, know that none of these things are to
be seen in the city of Finn.

Wife : What a strange city ! There can
be none like it on earth !

Nod : There is none like it on earth. I
drew nigh trembling when a young man
whose name was Diarmid — thou remem-
berest him ?

. Wife (smiling) : Aye, my lord. Diar-
mid, the chief of love makers.

Nod : Aye. He led me through the camp
to Finn's tent.

Wife : And thou sawest him ?

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