poem is ascribed to Amergin, a Milesian prince or druid who settled in
Ireland hundreds of years before Christ
is from the Leabhar Gabhala, or Book of Invasions. The poem
is translated by Douglas Hyde (see note below).
"The three short pieces of verse
ascribed to Amergin are certainly very ancient and very strange.
But as the whole story of the Milesian Invasion is wrapped in mystery and
is quite possibly a rationalized account of early Irish mythology no faith
can be placed in the alleged date or genuineness of Amergin's verses.
They are of interest, because as Irish tradition has them as being the
first verses made in Ireland, so it may very well be they actually do present
the oldest surviving lines of any vernacular tongue in Europe except Greece."
by Douglas Hyde, The Story of Early Gaelic Literature
|I am the wind which breathes
upon the sea,
I am the wave of the ocean,
I am the murmur of the billows,
I am the ox of the seven combats,
I am the vulture upon the rocks,
I am the beam of the sun,
I am the fairest of plants,
I am the wild boar in valour,
I am a salmon in the water,
I am a lake in the plain,
I am a word of science,
I am the point of the lance
I am the God who created in
the head the fire.
Who is it who throws light into
the meeting on the mountain?
Who announces the ages of the
Who teaches the place where
couches the sun?
(If not I)