The Duan Albanach

Albanic Duan
Ms R.I.A. M'Firbis

Trans. William F. Skene

O all ye learned of Alban,
Ye well skilled host of yellow hair,
What was the first invasion — is it known to you ?
Which took the land of Alban ?

Albanus possessed it, numerous his hosts,
He was the illustrious son of Isacon,
He and Briutus were brothers without deceit.
From him Alban of ships has its name.

Briutus banished his active brother
Across the stormy sea of Icht,
Briutus possessed the noble Alban
As far as the conspicuous promontory of Fotudain.

Long after Briutus the prosperous, the good,
The race of Neimhidh took it,
Erglan, after coming out of his ship.
After the destruction of the tower of Conung.

The Cruithnigh took it afterwards.
After coming from the plain of Erin,
Seventy noble kings of them
Possessed the Cruithnian plain.

Cathluan was the first king of them,
I tell unto you briefly.
The last king of them was
The brave hero Cusantin.

The children of Eochadh after them
Took Alban, after great wars,
The children of Conaire, the mild man,
The chosen of the strong Gael.

The three sons of Erc son of Eochaidh, the valiant,
Three who obtained the blessing of Patrick,
Took Alban, exalted their courage,
Loarn, Feargus and Aongus.

Ten years Loarn, it is known to fame,
In the government of Oirir Alban.
After the generous courageous Loarn,
Seven and twenty years, Feargus.

Domangart son of noble Feargus,
Numbered five turbulent years.
Twenty-four without a battle,
To Comgall son of Domangart.

Two prosperous years without contempt,
After Comgall, to Gabran.
Three years five times, without interruption,
Was king, Conall son of Comgall.

Four years and twenty in possession
Was Aodhan king of many divisions.
Ten years and seven, a glorious career,
In the sovereignty, Eochaidh Buidhe.

Connchead Cearr, a quarter, renowned in fame.
Sixteen, his son Fearchar,
After Fearchar, inspect the poems,
Fourteen years, Domnall.

After Domnall breacc, of the towns,
Conall, Dungall, ten years,
Thirteen years Domnall donn.
After Dungall and Conall.

Maolduin son of Conall of forays,
Seventeen years legitimately,
Fearchar the long, behold thou,
Passed one year over twenty.

Two years, Eochaidh of steeds.
He was brave, the king of royal mansions.
One year was chief afterwards,
Aincheallach the good son of Fearchair.

Seven years, Dungal the impetuous,
And four to Alpin,
Three years, Muireadhach the good,
Thirty to Aodh the high chief.

Four-and-twenty, not imbecile.
Of years spent Domnall.
Two years, Conall, of glorious career.
And four, another Conall.

Nine years, Cusantin the fair,
And nine, Aongus over Alban,
Four years, Aodh the noble,
And thirteen, Eoganan.

Thirty years, Cionaoith the hardy.
Four, Domnall of the ruddy countenance,
Thirty years, with his vigour.
To the hero, to Cusantin.

Two years, hard was his complexion,
To his brother, to Aodh of white flowers,
Domnall son of Cusantin the fair.
Reigned a year four times.

Cusantin, brave was his combat,
Reigned six and twice twenty.
Maolcoluim, four years,
Indolbh, eight of supreme sovereignty.

Seven years, Dubhoda the vehement,
And four, Cuilean,
And twenty seven, over every clann,
To Cionaoth son of Maolcoluim.

Seven years, Cusantin, listen !
And four, Macduibh,
Thirty years, verses mark,
Was king of Monaidh, Maolcoluim.

Six years, Donnchad the wise,
Seventeen years, the son of Fionnlaoch,
After Macbeathadh, the renowned,
Seven months in the lordship, Luglaigh.

Maolcoluim is now the king,
Son of Donnchad, the florid of lively visage,
His duration knoweth no man
But the wise one, the most wise.
    O ye learned1.

Two kings over fifty, listen,
To the son of Donnchadh of royal countenance,
Of the race of Erc, the noble, in the East,
Obtained Alban, O ye learned.


1. The repetition of the first words of the poem marks its original termination, and the stanza which follows must have been a later addition.

Sources : William F. Skene, Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots, and other early memorials of scottish history