THE LIFE OF SAINT PATRICK.
FROM THE BOOK OF LISMORE
THIS is Patrick’s Life; and let everyone who shall read give a blessing to the souls of the couple for whom this book had been written.
“POPULUS qui sedebat in tenebris uidit lucem magnam”
The people that sat in darkness beheld a great light, and they that were biding in the shadow of death found a light whence came their illumination.
Now the Holy Spirit, the Spirit which is nobler than every spirit, the Spirit which inspired and which taught both the churches of the Old Law and the New Testament with grace of wisdom and prophecy, that Spirit it was which spoke these words through the mouth of the chief prophet Isaiah son of Amos, “de cuius laude loquitur Hieronymus dicens: Potius dicendus est evangelista quam propheta.”
To praise him Jerome said, that it were better to call him an evangelist than a prophet, because of the clearness, and of the harmony with the New Testament, wherewith he told tidings of Christ and of the holy Church, so that one would not think that it was a prophecy of things to come he was making, but a declaration of things already bygone, the act having been completed.
Now one of his manifest prophecies through a declaration of what has
passed is that which is here set forth.
“Populus qui sedebat in tenebris uidit lucem magnam.”
The people, then, that sat in darkness beheld a great light. Now the context of this declaration by the prophet is as far as the place where previously the same evangelist had said, “primo tempore eleuata est terra Zebulon et terra Neptalim .”
There came, then, with the renewal of the time great glory and elevation to the tribe of Zebulon and to the tribe of Naphtali, wherefore it is after that declaration that he says, Populus qui, etc., the people that sat in darkness, etc. Howbeit if we go according to history, that was the people of Israel who abode in the gloom of the Captivity in Assyria. It beheld the light of the redemption from that captivity, to wit, Esdras and Nehemiah, Joshua and Zerubabel. But if we go according to the spiritual sense, the people mentioned here are the people of the Gentiles, who were biding in the darkness of ignorance, worshipping idols and images, until the true Sun arose unto them, to wit, Jesus Christ with his Apostles. For there lay great darkness upon the hearts of the heathen, until the Sun of Righteousness, even Jesus Christ, scattered His splendours throughout the four quarters of the world to enlighten it.
Now one of the splendours which the Sun of Righteousness shed into this world, the splendour, and the flame, and the precious stone, and the shining lamp which enlightened the west of the world, the noble one for whom there is a festival and commemoration on the occurrence of this time and season, was Saint Patrick, son of Calprann, the pearl and the precious stone whose festival day this is, to wit, Sanctus Patricius, episcopus, chief apostle of the west of the world, father of baptism and belief of the men of Ireland.
Now the time when church-folk celebrate the festival and commemoration of this holy Patrick, and when some of his miracles and marvels are related in the churches of the Christians, is the sixteenth of the calends of April, as regards the day of the solar month, in the year in which we are.
The learned declare that he was of the Jews by origin, since it is manifest from the miracles which God wrought for him, that he was of the children of Israel, for of them were the Jews besides. For when the vengeance was inflicted by Titus and Vespasian, the Jews were scattered throughout the world, and Patrick’s original kindred came to Britain, and there a heritage was gotten by them, for in a certain book of his epistles Patrick himself declares that “Nos dispersi sumus per multas regiones terrarum propter peccata nostra, eo quod Domini praecepta et mandata eius non custodiuimus.” Wherefore from that dispersion his original kindred came to Britain.
Now as to Patrick, Calpran of the Britons of Ail-cluade was his father; Potitus, the Deacon, was his grandfather; Concess was the name of his mother, daughter of Ochmas of France, a sister of Martin was she. And in Nemptor was he born; and when a false oath is taken under the flag-stone on which he was born, it sheds water as if it were bewailing the false declaration; but if the oath be true, the stone abides in its own nature.
This is Patrick’s first miracle, and in his mother’s womb he wrought it. A son of the King of Britain came to the place in which the woman dwelt, and she washed (his feet) for him, and he received entertainment from her. Wherefore his wife through jealousy gave a drink of poison to Concess, who drank it. And Patrick seized the poison in his grasp, and made thereof a stone in his hand, and thus was he born. God’s name and Patrick’s were magnified thereby.
Now when Patrick was born he was brought to be baptized to the blind flat-faced youth named Gornias. But Gornias had not water wherewith he could perform the baptism; so with the infant’s hand he made the sign of the Cross over the ground and a well-spring brake there from. And Gornias washes his face from the well, and it opened his eyes for him, and he read out the baptismal office, he who has not previously learnt a letter. So then God wrought a triple miracle, to wit, the well-spring out of the ground, and his eyes to the blind man, and reading out the order of Baptism by him who had never seen a letter. So a church was founded over that well wherein Patrick was baptized, and there stands the well by the altar, and it had the form of the Cross, as the wise declare.
Then his mother’s sister took him in fosterage, for she herself was barren. Then she fostered Patrick in Nemptor till he was a lad; and over many to recount and declare are the miracles and marvels which God wrought for him in his childhood and in his boyhood, for God’s grace accompanied him at every age.
Now once, as Patrick was in his foster-mother’s house in winter-time,
there came a great flood and fullness of water on the dwelling wherein
they were biding, and it quenched the fire; and all the vessels and
gear of the house were afloat. So he cried to his nurse, seeking food
as is the manner of children.
“That is not the trouble that is on us” said his foster-mother: “truly we have something to do before making food for you, for not even the fire is alive.”
When Patrick heard that, he sought a place in the house into which the water had not come, and he dipped his hand into the water. The five drops which were trickling from his fingers forthwith became five sparks of fire. So the fire blazed and the water appeared not thereafter. God’s name and Patrick’s were magnified by that great miracle.
Once in winter-time his foster-mother asked for a faggot of firewood,
so he gathered the full of his lap of bits of ice and brought them
with him to his house to his foster-mother.
“It had been better for us” said his foster-mother, “to bring a faggot of withered firewood to warm us, than that which you have brought.”
He said to his foster-mother: “Believe that it is possible to God that these icicles should flame like withered wood.”
When they were set on the fire, they blazed forthwith.
Patrick and his sister Lupait were once herding sheep. The lambs ran suddenly, as is their wont, to their dams for a drink of milk. When Patrick and his sister saw that, they ran swiftly to separate them. The girl fell down and struck her head against a stone; so that death was nigh unto her. Patrick went to her, made the sign of the Cross over the wound, and it was healed at once.
Another time, as Patrick was with the sheep, the wolf carried off a sheep from him, so his foster-mother blamed him greatly. But on the morrow the wolf came to the same place, having the sheep quite safe; and that was a marvel, to wit, restitution from the teeth of the wolf as regards the usual food. God’s name and Patrick’s are magnified thereby.
Once, then, his foster-mother went to milk her cow. He went along with her to drink a draught of milk. Now the cow goes mad in the byre, that is, the Devil entered her; and she drives her horn into the cow that was next her and kills her. Then she killed the five best cows in the milking-place, and afterwards went into the wilderness. Then the saint, even Sucat, goes, through the counsel of the Holy Ghost, to the five cows, and brings them to life out of death. Then he blessed the mad cow yonder, and thereafter she was gentle as a sheep.
The Britons held a great folk-moot and thither he went with his
foster- father and his foster-mother. Now it came to pass that his
foster-father died at that folk-mote. All were silent thereat, and his
neighbours wept, and his wife wept, and she said: “My lad, why have
you let your bearer die? “
Then Patrick went to his foster-father and put his arms round his neck, and said to him: “Arise, that we may go hence.”
Straightway at Patrick’s word he arose and carried Patrick on his back to his house.
At another time, the little boys of the place were bringing their
mothers honey from the comb. So his nurse said to him, “You bring no
honey to me, my boy, even as the boys of the hamlet bring it to their
Then, taking a vessel, he goes to the water and sainted the water so that it became honey; and relics were made of that honey, and it used to heal every disease.
Once upon a time there died the child of a certain woman, who used to
work along with Patrick’s foster-mother, milking her cow. Then
Patrick’s foster-mother said, “Bring with you your child to-day, into
the milking-place as he used to be brought every day.” She did so. Now
while the women were milking with the dead child on the floor of the
byre, his foster-mother gave new milk to Patrick and said to him,
“Call unto you the other boy that he as well as you may drink it.”
“Come, my child,” said he, “hither!”
Straightway at Patrick’s call the boy arose from death, and then they drank it equally. God’s name and Patrick’s were magnified thereby.
At another time, the king’s steward went to summon Patrick and his
foster- mother to go and cleanse the hearth of the palace in
Ail-cluade. Then Patrick and his foster-mother go, and the angel came
to Patrick and said to him: “Entreat the Lord, and it will never be
needful for you to do that work!”
Then the angel cleansed the hearth, and said that though all the firewood in Britain was burnt in the hearth, there would be on the morrow no ashes therein. And that is still fulfilled.
At another time, the king’s steward went to Patrick’s foster-mother to demand tribute of curd and butter; and it being winter she had nought to give him therefore. Then of the snow did Patrick make curd and butter, and they were taken to the king; and when they were shown to the king, they were turned again into their nature of snow. Thereafter that tribute was remitted to Patrick by the king.
Now these are a few of the many miracles of holy Patrick, wrought in his boyhood.
Now this is an account of the coming of Patrick to Ireland. Four sons of the king of Britain were in exile. They came and wrought havoc in Armorica; and there happened to be then folk of the Britons of Ail Cluaide on a journey in Armorica, and they were slain in that havoc. First then Calprann, the son of Potitus, Patrick’s father was slain, and his mother, even Concess. They seized Patrick and his two sisters, even Lupait and Tigris. This, then, is the direction in which the sons of the king of Britain went, round Ireland to the north; and they sold Patrick to Miliuc Maccu-Buain with his three brothers (he was the king of Dalaradia); and they sold Patrick’s sisters in another quarter; and they (the children) knew nothing of each other. Thence then the name Cothraige clave to him, because of his service unto the four households.
Now such was the zeal of the service in which Patrick abode, that each of the four households which he used to serve supposed that it was to it alone that he was a servant; and yet he was subject to the other spiritual direction, even a hundred genuflexions in the morning, and a hundred at evening, and but one meal from the one watch to the other.
Now he had four names, to wit, Sucat, his name from his parents, Cothraige while he was serving the four; Magonius, (while he was) with Germanus; Patricius, that is, father of the citizens!” was his name from Celestinus, even Peter’s successor.
When Miliuc saw that he was a faithful thrall, he bought him from the other three that he might serve him alone; and Patrick served after the custom of the Hebrews, for he had a right to that according to another genealogy; and this was entrusted to him, the herding of swine. And he suffered many tribulations in the wilderness of Slemish, as he himself declares in the book of his epistles. What God wrought for him in the wilderness are over-many to recount and declare. Then used the angel Victor to visit him, and teach him concerning the order of prayer. Then used also Miliuc’s sons and daughters to come to him with a ration, and he used to instruct them concerning Christian piety according to the teaching of the angel. At that time Miliuc beheld a vision, to wit, that Cothraige came to him with a flame of fire out of his mouth; and Miliuc put from him the fire that it might not burn, and it burned his sons and daughters so that they became ashes, and their ashes were scattered throughout Ireland. Then Cothraige interpreted the vision, and said that it was the fire of the Divine grace, which would come forth from him afterwards unto Miliuc, and that he (Miliuc) would not believe in him. Howbeit, that it would burn up the sins of Miliuc’s sons and his daughters, and that they would believe, and that their name would be renowned throughout Ireland.
So the time for Patrick’s release from bondage drew near, for the
heathen used to free their thralls every seventh year. So Miliuc
considered how he should retain with him his bondsman, even Patrick.
So he buys a bondmaid, even Lupait, Patrick’s sister. Miliuc gave her
to his bondsman. They were brought together in a house apart on the
night of the wedding. Then Patrick preached to the bondmaid, and they
spent the night in prayer. In the morning, on the morrow, Patrick saw
the white scar in the bondmaid’s face, and he asked her the cause of
the scar. Said the bondmaid, When I was in Nemptor, in Britain, it
came to pass that my head struck against a stone, so that death was
nigh unto me. When my brother Sucat saw the wound, he made with his
hand the sign of the cross over my head, and it was healed
Said Patrick: “I am your brother, and it is I that healed you, and it is God’s mercy that caused us to meet again after our scattering abroad.”
Then they gave thanks to God, and afterwards they went into the wilderness.
When Patrick was biding in the wilderness he heard the voice of the angel saying to him: The vessel is prepared that you may go therein unto Italy to learn the holy Scripture. This said Patrick to the angel: The man whom I am serving for the space of seven years, I will not leave him without his consent. So the angel said: Go, that you may know!” Patrick did in that wise. Miliuc said that he would not permit him (to go) unless he should give a talent of gold for his head. God is able to do even this!” said Patrick. Patrick went into the wilderness and told the angel Miliuc’s words. The angel said to him, in the place wherein are the angel’s traces: Take heed to-morrow of a certain boar digging the ground, and he will put forth for you a mass of gold, and give you it for your freedom. Thus was it fulfilled, and Sucat was then allowed to go free. Miliuc, however, repented of allowing his servant to go, and he sent his people after him to bring him back; but they did not overtake Patrick, and the gold being changed did not remain.
Then Patrick went into the territory of Ua Neill, guesting to Sen-Chianan; but he betrayed Patrick and sold him for a cauldron of brass. He sets the cauldron on the wall of his house, and his hands then clave to the cauldron. His wife went to help him. Her hands clave to the cauldron. The whole household went to the cauldron, and all their hands clave thereto, and the cauldron clave to the wall. Then they said: He whom we have sold is servant of a most mighty King. Let him be called back to us. Thereafter Patrick went to them, and owing to their repentance released their hands; and they returned the cauldron.
Thereafter Patrick went with foreigners to sea, and a great storm fell upon them. Patrick besought his God for them, and the sea became calm. When they reached land, they continued for the space of three days after their provisions had come to an end. So they besought Patrick to ask food for them from God. Then God gave them a fresh cooked swine, and wild honey was brought to Patrick like John the Baptist. He parted from them and went to Nemptor. Now when he came to his fatherland, his people besought him to stay with them, and this was not got from him. For whenever he slept it seemed to him that it was the isle of the Gael that he saw, and that he heard the chanting of the children from the wood of Fochlad. Then he went over the Icthian Sea into the south-east of Italy to Germanus, wise bishop of all Europe at that time, and with him he read the ecclesiastical canon. Thereafter he went to Tours to Martin, who put the monastic tonsure upon him. Thirty years, then, was his age when he went to Germanus, thirty years then was he learning with him, and forty years preaching in Ireland. Thereafter Germanus sent Patrick to Rome to be ordained a bishop, and an aged elder with him, even Aegidius, the presbyter, to bear witness of him before the Romans.
Then he went to sea with nine in his number; and he came to the island where he saw the new house and a married pair therein. And he asked the young man who dwelt in the house, how long they had been therein. From the time of Jesus, said he; and He blessed us, together with our house, and we shall be thus till Doom; and God had enjoined you!” said the young man, to go and preach in the land of the Gaels, and Jesus left with us a staff to be given to you!” So Patrick took the staff of Jesus with him, and went back to Germanus. Said Victor to him, God had enjoined you to go and preach in the land of the Gael. If I should hear, said Patrick, ... I would go. Come, said Victor, to converse with Him on Mount Hermon!”
Then Patrick went and complained to God of the hard-heartedness of the Gael. Said God: I, said He, will be your helper!”
Then Patrick went to Rome, and received the rank of bishop from Peter’s successor, to wit, Celestinus, the forty-fifth from Peter. He it is that had sent bishop Pelagius to Ireland; but the Gael accepted not his preaching, for not to him but to Patrick had God decreed their conversion. So Pelagius went back and died in Britain. His companions went to Rome.
When Patrick received the rank of bishop, the name of Patricius was conferred upon him. Orders were then given to Patrick by Germanus and by Celestinus, and by Matha, king of the Romans. Now when they were conferring the rank of a bishop upon him, the three quires answered, to wit, the quire of heaven’s household, and the quire of the Romans, and the quire of the children of the wood of Fochlad. This is what they all sang, Hibernenses omnes clamant ad te, puer. So Peter’s successor sent Patrick to preach to the Gael.
When Patrick was at sea, travelling to Ireland, he saw the leper on the rock seeking for God’s sake a place in the boat. Then Patrick cast his flag-stone into the sea before the leper, but when they reached Ireland they found the flag-stone ahead of them in the harbour.
Then Patrick went on till he got to Inver, in the district of Cualann; and the fishermen did not welcome him: so then he set his word on the Inver, that there should never be produce therein. And he who opposed Patrick, even Sinell, son of Findchad, he is the first man who believed in God and in Patrick, and on him and on his seed Patrick leaves a blessing.
Forty years from the day that Patrick came into Ireland to the day of his decease. He steered his vessel after that past Ireland eastward to Inispatrick. He went on land. There a certain man received him in hospitality, and believed in him. Patrick went to his vessel to converse with Laoighre, to Tara. He went thence to Inver of the Barks, and there he becomes the guest of a worthy man named Sescnech. To him Patrick preaches God’s word, and he believes in God and in Patrick. He is then baptized. He had a little son, who was well-pleasing to Patrick, and who loved Patrick much. The boy took Patrick’s foot into his bosom; and that night he would not sleep with his mother nor his father, but was mournful and would have wept, had he not been allowed to stay along with Patrick. Now in the morning, when Patrick went to go on his way, his chariot was brought to him. Patrick put his foot into the chariot, and the little boy clasps his two hands round Patrick’s foot, and this he said: Let me be along with Patrick, for Patrick is my own father! Said Patrick: k Let the boy be baptized and put into the chariot. And Patrick afterwards said: That boy will be a successor of mine. And Patrick bestowed a name on him, Benignus, that is Bendn.
Then he goes in Patrick’s company to the Grave of Fiach’s Men in Magh Bregh , on the eve of Easter. It is there that Patrick celebrated the order of Easter, and consecrated fire is kindled by them for mass. That was the night of the feast of Laoighre son of Niall. For the feast of his birth was always celebrated by Laoighre, every year in Tara of Bregh. And no one dared to kindle a fire in Ireland before a fire had been kindled by him in Tara.
Then Patrick cursed Inver Domnann and Inver De, and blessed Inver Boyne, for he found fish therein. After that he went to Inver Slainghe, and concealed his vessel in that place. There he found a swineherd of Dichu son of Trechem, in the place where Sabull Patraic stands to-day, who told it to his master. Dichu went and set his hound at the clerics. Then Patrick chanted the verse, Ne tradas bestiis animam confitentem hodie etc. There after the hound became silent. When Dichu saw Patrick, he bared his sword to slay him. His arm shrivelled above him at once. But Patrick made prayer, and grief of heart seized Dichu, and he believed, and Patrick baptized him after that, wherefore he was the first who in Ulster received baptism and belief from Patrick. Then Dichu offered the Barn to Patrick. Now at that time Dichu was an old man. Patrick gave him his choice, to be renewed in the age of thirty or to go at once to the Kingdom of Heaven. I prefer, said he, to be renewed in the age of thirty. Patrick blessed Dichu, so that he passed after that into youth.
Once Patrick was in the Barn at mass, when a certain wizard went by the church. He flung his horse-rod over the window of the church into the chalice. The earth straightway swallows up the wizard.
Patrick went to preach to Miliuc Maccu-Buain, having gold in order that Miliuc might accept the faith from him; for he knew that Miliuc was greedy as to goods and especially as to gold. When Miliuc heard that Patrick was coming to him, he was not glad thereof, for it seemed a shame to him to believe in his slave and in his servant. This, then, was the counsel to which the Devil tempted him, namely, to bring fire into his own house; and he was burnt therein, and he went to hell. That was manifested to Patrick, and he said this: Of him will be neither king nor crown- prince; and his seed and his offspring will always be serving some other man; and his soul will not come out of hell either before or after the Judgment.
In that time there happened to be a fierce king over Ireland, namely
Laoighre son of Niall. In Tara, then, was his station and his royal
hold. Three years before Patrick came into Ireland the wizards, even
Lucait Mael and Luccra, had foretold his coming. And this is what they
Adze heads will come over a furious sea:
Their mantles whole-headed:
Their staves crook-headed:
Their tables in the east of their houses:
All will answer, “Amen!”
Then said Patrick to Dichu: “Go!” said he, “from me to Laoighre son of
Niall, and say my message to him, that there be both kingdom and
church in the land.”
“If I go to Laoighre, said Dichu, there are nine hostages for me with him in Tara. My hostages will be slain, and I myself shall be slain when I shall go!”
“You thyself wilt escape and your hostages will escape!”
Said Dichu: “whether I escape or not: I will go for your blessing!”
So Dichu went to Tara. “This, then, is the man!” said Laoighre, “who first believed in the Adze-head before the men of Ireland. Take you this man, said he, into one house with his hostages, and give them salted food, and do not give them drink!”
Thus was it done. But unto them came a maiden fair, mature, and brought them a pitcher of wine through Patrick’s miracles, and dealt it out to them, and brought them light. And a cleric came to them with a linen chasuble round him, and he took from them the fetters and the chains, and brought their horses which were bridled in the midst of the enclosure, and opened the gates of Tara before them. Then they leap on their horses and go to Pairick into the land of Ulster. Then Dichu tells his tale to Patrick.
“It is manifest,” said Patrick, “neither prophets nor wise men will save that man until I go myself!”
When the high tide of Easter drew nigh, Patrick judged that there was no place wherein it would be fitter for them to celebrate the chief high tide of the year than in Magh Bregh, at the place wherein was the head of the wizardry and idolatry of Ireland, and in the chief fortress of Ireland, to wit, in Tara.
He bade farewell to Dichu, and he put his ship to sea and went to Inver Colptha and by land to the Grave of Fiach’s Men; and he pitches his tent there, and the consecrated Paschal fire was struck by him. That was the time at which the heathen were celebrating that high tide; and the king of Tara had a prohibition, that no fire be kindled on that night before the fire of Tara. Now Patrick knew not that prohibition, and if he had known, it would not have hindered him. When the folk of Tara were biding there, they beheld the fire which Patrick had kindled; for it illumined all Magh Bregh. Then said the king; that is a breach of a law and prohibition of mine, and find out for us who had made yon fire!” We see the fire!” say the wizards, and we know that unless it is quenched before morning, on the night in which it has been made, it will never be quenched!” Then anger seized the king, and his chariot was harnessed for him, and he went to the Grave of Fiach’s Men. The wizard said to Laoighre: Go not you to yonder men, for they will come to you!”
Then Patrick went to the place, in which Laoighre dwelt. He went to
Sid Aeda and blessed Conall and his son Fergus. Then he laid his hands
on the son’s head. That seemed strange to Conall. Said Patrick,
“A child will be born of his family,
He will be a sage, he will be a prophet, he will be a poet,
A loveable, clear, pure lamp,
Who will not utter falsehood.
That is Colombcille, son of Fedlimid.”
Then Patrick blessed Conall son of Niall and his kindred, and he left a blessing on their men and on their estuaries and on their churches.
Patrick went into Tyrone, and said to his household: Beware that the terrible lion, even Eoghan son of Niall, do not come to you. He overtook them on the way. Muiredach, son of Eoghan, was in the van of the band of the warriors. Sechnall, however, was in the rear of the band of the clerics. Then said Sechnall to Muiredach: If your father believes in God, you shall have from me a guerdon therefore. What guerdon said he? Kingship shall descend from you, said Sechnall. He shall do it, indeed!” said Muiredach. It was at Fid Mór that Muiredach and Eoghan met with Patrick. So Eoghan believed in God and in Patrick. If you had believed inside your house!” said Patrick, to your house the hostages would have come. Since this is not so, they will not come, until they come through might of arms.
Patrick went to Ailech of the Kings, and blessed the stronghold, and left his flag-stone therein, and prophesied kingship and rank for a space over Ireland out of Ailech. And he gave a blessing of valour to Eoghan, and Patrick said: My blessing on the tribes, I give from Bealach Ratha, And on Eoghan’s kindred, (God s) grace to Doomsday. So long as field shall be under crops Their battalions shall be over men, The head of the hosts of the men of Fal to their place, ... to them on every hill.
Then Patrick went into Dal Araide to Caelbad’s twelve sons, and he gave a blessing to them (all) save Saran alone, and he gave a curse to him, that kingship should never be inherited from him. Patrick went into Dal Araide and baptized bishop Olchon, who is in Airthir Maige Cobai, and Mac Nisse of Conaire read his psalms with him.
Patrick went to Eochaid, son of Muiredach, king of Ulster, when he was condemning and punishing two holy virgins who had offered their virginity to God, [and] constraining them to marriage, (and) to worship of idols. Patrick begged a boon for them, that they should not be punished, and it was not obtained. Then Cairill, son of Muiredach, the king’s brother, made intercession along with Patrick, and the king consented not. Said Patrick to Eochaid: There will never be either kings or crown- princes from you, and their ... on thyself. Your brother, however, even Cairill, he himself will be king and there will be kings and princes from him over your children, and over all Ulster forever!” Wherefore those are the seed of the kingdom, even the seed of Demman, son of Cairill, through Patrick’s word.
So the king’s wife went and prostrated herself at Patrick’s feet. Patrick gave her a blessing, and blessed the child that was in her womb, and he is Domangart, son of Eochaid. He it is that Patrick left in his own body, on Sliab Slanga, and he will abide there forever; for he is the seventh person whom Patrick left alive safe guarding Ireland.
After that Patrick went from Dal Araide over Fertais Tuama to Ua Tuirtre. After that he went into Ua Meith Tire. Then three of the Ua Meith stole one of the two goats which used to be carrying water for Patrick; and they went to swear a false oath to Patrick, and the goat himself bleated out of the gullet of the third man that had stolen it. My God’s doom! Said Patrick, the goat himself declares the place in which he was eaten! And from to-day forever!” said Patrick, goats shall follow your children and kindred. And this is still fulfilled.
Thereafter Patrick went to Fir Rois. There he changed into stones the poisoned cheeses of curd; and all the warriors who intended to slay Patrick were drowned in the ford.
Then Patrick went over Magh Bregh, into the province of Leinster, to the fort of Naas. The place of Patrick’s tent is in the green to the east of the road; and to the north of the fort is a well wherein Patrick baptized Dunlang’s two sons, namely Ailill and Illann, and Ailill’s two daughters, namely Mugain and Fedelm, who had offered their virginity to God, and Patrick blessed the veils on their heads. Then messengers went from Patrick to the steward of Naas, Faille n by name. He feigned that sleep was upon him, and they said that the steward was asleep. My God’s doom! said Patrick, no wonder if it be a final sleep. His household then went to waken the steward, and he was found dead because of the inhumility he showed to Patrick. Wherefore thence have the Gael the proverb, Fattens sleep in the fort of Naas.
Dricriu, he was king of Ua Garrchon at that time before Patrick, and
he had to wife a daughter of Laoighre, son of Niall. And they refused
to invite Patrick to the feast of Rath Inbir; but Cilline made him
welcome, and killed his only cow for him, and gave him the measure of
meal, which he got for his support in the king’s house. Then Patrick
said to the cooking woman, whilst she was bewailing her child:
“Oh woman .... your child!
A great boar comes from a pigling,
And from a spark comes a flame,
Your child will be hale.
The corn is best of earth’s herbs,
Marcan, son of Cilline,
Is the one who is best of Ua Garrchon!”
Then Patrick founded churches and monasteries in plenty in Leinster, and left a blessing on the Leinstermen, and on Ua Cennselaig especially, and left Auxilius in Cell Uasalli, and Mac Tail in Cell Cuilinn, and ordained Fiachu the Fair in Sletty, as bishop of the province.
Then Failge Berraide boasted that he would kill Patrick wherever he
should meet him, in revenge for the idol Cenn Cruaich, for it was
Failge’s god. So his people hid from Patrick what Failge said. And one
day Odran, his charioteer, said to Patrick:
“Since for a long time I have been charioteering for you, O master, O Patrick, let me to-day be in the chief seat, and do you be charioteer!”
Patrick did so. Thereafter Patrick went into the district of Ua Failgi.
Failge came, and gave a thrust through Odran in the form of Patrick. Not long afterwards Failge died, and his soul went into hell. Then the Devil entered Failge’s body, so that it dwelt amongst men as if it were alive. Then Patrick after a long while came to Failge, and tarried outside before the fortress, and asked one of Failge’s slaves where Failge was biding.
“I left him in his house!” said the slave.
“Tell him!” said Patrick, “to come and speak with me.”
Then the servant goes to fetch Failge, and found of him in the house nought save his bare bones, bloodless, fleshless. The slave comes to Patrick in grief and sorrow, and tells him how he had seen Failge. Said Patrick:
“From the day when Failge slew my charioteer, in my presence, his soul went to hell for the deed he had done, and the Devil entered his body!”
And that is the tragical death of Failge. As to Failge Rois, however, it is his children who are in the land to-day, and Patrick blessed him, and from him is the sovereignty of the land for ever.
Then Patrick went by Bealach Gabrain into the land of Ossory; and there he founded churches and monasteries, and he said that of them (the Ossorians) there would always be famous laymen and clerics, and that no province would prevail over them, so long as they were obedient to Patrick. Then Patrick bade them farewell and left ancient relics with them, and some of his household, in the place where Martar-thech stands to-day, in Magh Raigne.
After that Patrick went into the province of Munster, to Cashel of the Kings. And Oengus, son of Natfraich, king of Munster, met him, and made him welcome, and brings him with him to his house, to the fort, as far as the place wherein Leac Patraic is to-day.
And Oengus there believed in God and in Patrick, and he was baptized
and a multitude of the men of Munster along with him. There, then, was
the beginning of the baptism of the men of Munster. And then said
“If Munster-men outrage me
Regarding Cashel the head of their baptism,
They shall have mutual slaughter amidst their land,
Their realm will be in disgrace.
From Cashel I have blessed Ireland as far as its borders.
With my two hands have I blessed,
So that Munster will not be without good.
Now when Patrick was blessing the head of Oengus, the spike of the
crosier went through his foot. So, after the end of the benediction,
Patrick saw the wound in Oengus’s foot. Said Patrick: “ Wherefore did
you not tell me? “ Meseemed!” said Oengus, that it was a rite of the
faith. You shall have a reward for this, said Patrick. From to-day to
the Judgment your successor shall not have a death by slaying, save
one man only Patrick said that his grace would abide in Cashel, ut
“Patrick’s resurrection in Down, His primacy in Armagh, On the hillock of musical Cashel, He granted a third of his grace.”
Patrick went into Muscraige Breogain. One day, then, he was washing his hands at the ford, when a tooth fell out of his head into the ford. He then went on the hill to the east of the ford, and sends to seek for the tooth, and straightway the tooth shone in the ford like a sun. And Ath Fiacla is the name of the ford. And Cell Ffacla is the name of the church wherein he left the tooth. And he left four of his household there, to wit, Cuirche and Loscan, Cailech and Be”onan.
Then he went into the land of Ua Figeinte. And Lonan, son of Ere, king of Ua Figeinte, made a feast for Patrick, and deacon Mantan, one of Patrick’s house hold, was with Lonan preparing it. A troop of artists went to Patrick to ask for food. Patrick sent messengers to Lonan and to deacon Mantan to ask something for the artists. But they said that it should not be buffoons who should first break into the feast. Patrick said that neither king nor bishop should spring from Lonan, and that Deacon Mantan’s cloister should not be high on earth. Then came a certain youth named Nessan, with a wether and a tanag and three curd-cheeses on his back for Patrick. Said Patrick:
The youth who comes from the North For him the victory had been entrusted, With his little wether on his back He comes to Cothraige.
So Patrick gave them to the satirists. Now as the satirists were eating the wether the earth swallowed them up straightway, and they went to the depth of hell, and the cheeses still remain, turned into stones. Then Patrick gave Nessan a blessing, and conferred the order of deacon upon him; and it is he who is in Mungret.
Thereafter Patrick went into Findine, to the north-west of Domnach Mór, a hill from which is seen the country to the north of Luimnech. And he gave a blessing to Thomond, because of the willingness with which the people had come bringing abundance of goods to meet Patrick. Cairthenn, son of Blat, senior of the children of Toirdelbach, believed in the Lord. And Patrick baptized him in Saingil, that is to say a different (sain) angel (aingel) went to converse with him there, and it was not Victor. To Cairthenn up to that time no children had been born. Then was Eochu Redspot born to Cairthenn. Patrick had formed him of a clot of gore, and that spot was on his body as a sign of the miracle.
Patrick himself did not go into the land; but he saw it from Luimnech, west and northward, and blessed the extent which he beheld. Et prophetauit de Sanctis qui in eis fierent nominibus et iempore quo peruenissent.
The green island in the west, said Patrick, in the mouth of the sea, a light of God’s household will come into it, who shall be a chief of counsel for these tribes, even Senan of Inis Cathaigh. After sixty or six score years, came Senan, son of Gerrgenn, son of Dubthach .
Now Patrick did not go over Luachair into West Munster. Prophetauit de Brenainn Maccu Alte qui nascetur cxx anno. Quod impletum est.
Patrick went into Muscraige Tire, and baptised Fuirc, Muinech, and Mechar, three sons of Forat son of Connla. Muinech believed Protinus, and Patrick took him thence, and blessed him, and left distinguished laymen and clerics from him forever, and the over-kingship of his country to be always inherited from him.
So he abode seven years in Munster, and the wise reckon that he celebrated mass on every seventh ridge which he passed over in Munster. After this then Patrick founded churches and cloisters in Munster, and ordained folk of every grade, and brought the dead again to life. Then he bade them farewell, and left a blessing upon them.
Then he went to Eli. The men of Munster went after him, as if each of them would outstrip the other following Patrick. Then the men of Munster, men, women, and children, overtook Patrick at Brosnacha, and they uttered a great cry and great clamour for joy of looking on Patrick, and thence Brosnacha Eli was named.
Then he bade farewell to the men of Munster, and bestowed a blessing
upon them, ut dixit;-
God’s blessing on Munster,
Men, boys, women!
Blessing on the land
That gives them fruit.
Blessing on every treasure
That shall be produced on their plains,
Without any ... of help,
God’s blessing on Munster
Blessing on their peaks,
On their bare flagstones,
Blessing on their glens,
Blessing on their ridges.
Like sand of sea under ships,
Be the number of their hearths:
On slopes, on plains,
On mountains, on peaks.
Patrick went back to Fir Rois, and proceeded to set up at Droim Mór.
Then came the angel and said to him:
“It is not here that God had granted you to stay.”
“Question, what place?” said Patrick.
“In the Macha to the north,” said the angel.
Thereafter Patrick went to Ard Patric, to the east of Louth, and
proceeded to set up there. Every day Patrick used to come from Ard
Patric, and Mochta used to come from Louth in the west, and they met
to converse every day at Leac Mochta. One day there an angel put an
epistle between them. Patrick reads it out, and this is what was
Mochta pious, believing, let him bide in the place wherein he has set up;
Let Patrick at the King’s word Stay in Macha.
Thereafter Patrick, at the angel’s word, went to the Macha, to the place wherein Rath Darragh stands to-day. There was a certain wealthy and venerable man, named Darragh, at that time in Oriors. Patrick asked this Darragh to give him a site for his church on Droim Sailech, the stead whereon Armagh stands to-day. Darragh said that he would not give him the hill, but that he would give him a site in the valley, where the Ferta stands to-day.
So Patrick founded his cell and stayed there for a long while. One day
two horses of Darragh’s were brought to graze in that place. Patrick
was angered thereby, and slew the horses straightway. Darragh is
angered at the killing of his horses, and told his men to kill the
cleric. Illness and sudden colic came to Darragh, so that death was
nigh unto him. Vexing the cleric is the cause of that!” said the wife
that he had. And do you his will!” said she. Then they went to seek
holy water from Patrick for Darragh. . . . Said Patrick, “Had it not
been for the woman Darragh would not have had resurrection till Doom.”
Patrick blessed the water and said that it should be given to Darragh
and [sprinkled over] the horses. Thus is it done, and Darragh with his
horses straightway arose. Then a brazen cauldron was brought in
offering to Patrick from Darragh. “Deo gratias!” said Patrick. Darragh
asked of his household what the cleric had said. “Gratiam!” say the
“That is a bad reward for a good cauldron!” said Darragh. “Let it be taken again from him!” said Darragh.
They took back the cauldron from him.
“Deo gratias” said Patrick.
His household tell Darragh what Patrick had said. “That is a first word with him, ‘Gratiam’” said Darragh “Gratiam when giving it to him, Gratiam when taking it from him!”
Darragh and his wife afterwards went wholly in accordance with Patrick’s will, and they offered him the cauldron, and the hill for which he had previously asked, which is named Armagh to-day, and Ard Sailech had been its name till then.
Now thus did Patrick mark out the Rath: the angel before him and he behind with his household, and his elders, and the Staff of Jesus in Patrick’s hand.
These are the elders who set forth Patrick’s miracles, namely, Colomb-cille and Ultan, and Adamnan, son of Tinne, and Aireran of the Wisdom, and Ciaran of Bealach Duin, and Bishop Airmedach from Clochar, and Colman of the Cave, and Presbyter Collait from Droim Relgech.
A true man, surely, was that man from purity of nature, like a
A true pilgrim, like Abraham.
Gentle, forgiving of heart, like Moses.
A praiseful psalmist, like David.
A student of wisdom and knowledge, like Solomon.
A chosen vessel for proclaiming righteousness, like Paul the Apostle.
A man full of the grace and favour of the Holy Spirit, like John.
A fair garden with plants of virtues.
A vine-branch with fruitfulness.
A flashing fire with the fervour of the warming and heating of the sons of Life, for kindling and illuminating charity.
A lion for great strength and might.
A dove for gentleness and simplicity.
A serpent for cunning and prudence.
A man mild, gentle, humble, tender to the sons of Life;
Yet rough, ungentle to the sons of Death.
A slave in labour and service to Christ.
A king in rank and might for binding and loosing, for freeing and en slaving, for quickening and killing!”
Now after these mighty miracles, and after raising the dead; after
healing blind and lepers and halt, and folk of every disease besides;
after teaching the men of Ireland, and after baptizing; after founding
churches and monasteries; after destroying idols and images and the
knowledge of wizardry, the day of the decease of this holy Patrick and
of his going to heaven drew nigh. And he proceeded to go to Armagh in
order that there his resurrection might be. But Victor the angel came
to him, and said this to him:
“Go back to the place whence you came to the Barn; for it is there you shall die, and not in Armagh had God granted thee to arise. Your dignity and your primacy, your piety and your teaching shall be in Armagh as if you were alive. You did promise to Dichu that with him your resurrection would be,” said the angel.
Said Patrick: “In slavery unto the end am I, since I; cannot be buried in the place that I desire!”
Said the angel: Let not sorrow be on you, O Patrick, for your dignity and your primacy will abide in Armagh, though your resurrection will be in Down; and God had granted you good things in abundance.
For He had granted you heaven for Dichu and his children.
He had granted you to bring seven of the men of Ireland every Saturday from torment too heavy
He had granted you that every one that shall sing your hymn on the day of his decease shall not be in hell.
He had granted to you that you shall be the judge of Doom for the men of Ireland!”
Patrick did as the angel counselled and tarried in the province of Ulster.
Now when the hour of Patrick’s decease arrived, Bishop Tassach gave him Christ’s Body; and he sent his spirit to heaven in the hundred and thirty-second year of his age. Howbeit heaven’s angels came to meet Patrick’s soul, and took it with them to heaven with great honour and reverence. And though great be his honour at present, greater will it be at the meeting of Doom, when the men of the world will arise at Michael the archangel’s command. And the men of Ireland will go to meet Patrick to Down, and wend along with him to Mount Zion, where Christ will deal judgment to Adam’s children on that day; when, moreover, Christ will sit on His throne in glory judging the three households, even the household of Heaven, and the household of Earth, and the household of Hell. And the twelve apostles will sit along with Him on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. And then will Patrick sit on his throne of judgment and judge the men of Ireland. For Patrick is the apostle for Ireland, and he is the father of teaching and faith for Irish men, and he will be judge over them on Doomsday. And after the sentence of Doom, those who have fulfilled his command and his teaching, in fastings, in prayer, in alms, in compassion, in gentleness, in forgiveness, and in the other divine commands, will go along with him into the heavenly kingdom.
The angel left counsel with Patrick as to how he should be buried, and this he said to him: Let, said he, two unbroken oxen, of the cattle of Conall be brought out of Finbarre, that is from Clochar, and let your body be set at cross-roads, and whithersoever they shall go, and wheresoever they stay by themselves, be it there that you be buried V And thus was it done after his decease. And for the space of twelve nights, that is, the time the elders of Ireland were waking him, there was no night in Magh-Inis, but angelic radiance therein. Some say that the light abode therein till the end of a year, whence is the name, the Cantred of the Light.
Now there was an attempt at a great conflict and battle, between the Ulster- men and the Ua Neill, contending about the body of Patrick, the Ua Neill trying to take it to Armagh, and the Ulstermen retaining it with themselves. This then is what seemed to them all, that the body was borne by each of them to his own country. So God separated them in that wise through Patrick’s grace. So he received communion and sacrifice from bishop Tassach, and in the Barn he sent his spirit to heaven.
Now Patrick was buried in Down with honour and with reverence, with daily miracles and marvels. But though great be his honour at present, greater will it be at the assembly of Doom, in union with the apostles and disciples of Jesus, in union with the nine ranks of heaven, in union with the Godhead and Manhood of the Son of God, in union with the Holy Trinity, even Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost.
I beseech the mercy of Almighty God that we may reach that union, Amen.