The Wooing of Etain
--early Irish poetry

Fair lady, will you travel
To the marvellous land of stars?
Pale as snow the body there,
Under a primrose crown of hair.
No one speaks of property
In that glittering community:
White teeth shining, eyebrows black,
The foxglove hue on every cheek.
The landscape bright and speckled
As a wild bird’s eggs.
However fair Ireland’s Plain,
It is sad after the Great Plain!
Warm, sweet streams water the earth,
And after the choicest of wine and mead,
Those fine and flawless people
Without sin, without guilt, couple.
We can see everyone
Without being seen ourselves:
It is the cloud of Adam’s transgression
Conceals us from mortal reckoning.
O woman if you join my strong clan,
Your head will hold a golden crown.
Fresh killed pork, new milk and beer,
We shall share, O Lady Fair!

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