The Words of Scáthach

Verba Scáthaige
Rawlinson B 512; Egerton 1782; Egerton 88; Royal Irish Academy 23 N 10

Trans. P. L. Henry



Here) begin the words of Scáthach to Cu Chulainn as they were separating in the eastern parts when Cu Chulainn had completed the full course of military training with Scáthach. Then Scáthach foretold to him what was in store for him and told him of his end through Vision which illumines:



When thou art a peerless champion,
great extremity awaits thee,
alone against the vast herd.
Warriors will be set aside against thee,
necks will be broken by thee,
thy sword will strike strokes to the rear
against Setante's gory stream.
Hard-bladed, he will cut/conjure the trees
by the sign of slaughters, by manly feats.
Cows will be carried o from thy hill,
captives will be forfeited by thy people;
harried by the troop for a fortnight,
thy cattle will walk the passes.
Thou wilt be alone in great hardship against the host.
Scarlet gushes of blood will strike
upon many variously-cloven shields.
A band of parasites that thou wilt adhere to
will bring away many people and oxen.
Many wounds will be inicted
upon thee, Cu Chulainn.
You will suffer a wound of revenge (in)
one of the encounters at the final breach.
From your red-pronged weapon there will be defeat,
(men) pierced against the furious wave,
against the whale equipped for exploits,
a whale performing feats with blows.
Women will wail and beat (hands) in their troop,
Medb and Ailill boast of it.
A sick-bed awaits thee
in face of slaughters of great ferocity.
I see the very glossy Finnbennach
(of Ae) in great rage against Donn Cuailnge.



Sources : P. L. Henry, Celtica



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