The School Bag

The Vision of Mac Conglinne


    A vision that appeared to me,
    An apparition wonderful 
             I tell to all:
    There was a coracle all of lard
    Within a Port of New-Milk Lake,
             Upon the world's smooth sea.

    We went into that man-of-war,
    'Twas warrior-like to take the road
             O'er ocean's heaving waves.
    Our oar-strokes then we pulled
    Across the level of the main,
    Throwing the sea's harvest up,
             Like honey, the sea-soil.

    The fort we reached was beautiful,
    With works of custards thick,
             Beyond the lake.
    Fresh butter was the bridge in front,
    The rubble dyke was fair white wheat,
             Bacon the palisade.

    Stately, pleasantly it sat,
    A compact house and strong.
             Then I went in:
    The door of it was hung beef,
    The threshold was dry bread,
             Cheese-curds the walls…

    Behind it was a well of wine,                
    Beer and bragget in streams,                       drink of ale and honey
             Each full pool to the taste.
    Malt in smooth wavy sea
    Over a lard-spring’s brink
             Flowed through the floor…

    A row of fragrant apple-trees,
    An orchard in its pink-tipped bloom,
             Between it and the hill
    A forest tall of real leeks,
    Of onions and of carrots, stood
             Behind the house.

    Within, a household generous,
    A welcome of red, firm-fed men,
             Around the fire:
    Seven bead-strings and necklets seven
    Of cheeses and bits of tripe
             Round each man’s neck.
   The Chief in cloak of beefy fat
   Beside his noble wife and fair
            I then beheld,
   Below the lofty cauldron’s spit
   Then the Dispenser I beheld,
            His fleshfork on his back.   

Irish - 12th century - translated by Kuno Meyer