Friday, August 24, 2012

Derbforgaill's Betrayal 

Dermott MacMurchad of Leinster, with heart of wood,
Ruled stolen land with cruel blood
Chieftains of Eire who stood to fight,
If they kept their life, they lost their light
Insulted the Abbess of St. Bridgit's Church grand,
Closed her in a cell in the bed of a man.

Lusted beyond the fjords of Wex and Water
E'en to the walls of Dublin's fine quarter
In MacLoughlin of Ulster Dermott found a friend
Thought his conquests then would know no end
Set his greedy eyes on Connacht and Meath
O'Connor and O'Ruaric vowed to stand to the death

The King and the Prince together stood tall
With honor and sword 'neath Breffni's stout wall
Ere the kerns of MacMurchad heard the clarion's call
Had neither stomach nor heart for naught but withdraw
O'Ruaric's confessor in piety's name
Bade the Prince make a pilgrimage away from war's game

Prince Tiernan, the pilgrim left with the first crow of the cock
Trusting husband saw not the need for a chastity lock
He believed the Bride of Breffni would wait
But the fair Derbforgaill did not lock the gate
MacMurchad came under cover of night
Abducted O'Ruaric's wife and took flight

'Twas a dastardly act, or so it would seem
Yet heard within Breffni's walls, nary a scream
When Tiernan's horse boy gave his account
He swore Derbforgaill was astride the Prince's best mount
And several housemaids reported before the gates closed
She was leading four pack horses carrying all of her clothes

Prince Tiernan returned to find a cold bed
With the fire of vengeance burning his head
Mustered his army and moved with great haste
Toward a fortress in Leinster with intent to lay waste
Dermott's walls breached, the villain escaped in the end
But in all Erin's Isle he found not a friend

But there were those that owed Dermott an old debt
With his daughter Eva sailed o'er to England without regret
King Henry had once borrowed Dermott's ships under sails
To suppress a pesky revolution out there in Wales
Finding Henry in England was sure of little chance
Because the King of England spent most of his time in France

But once found, old Henry would not lend a hand
Unless MacMurchad promised fealty and, of course Irish land
Now Henry avowed he could not an English soldier loan
Gave a letter permitting Dermott raise an army on his own
He looked, but could not hire an army anywhere
Until he met a red-haired Earl, name of Richard de Clare

Now Dermott could not understand, nor would he ever know
How this femme-faced Norman ever earned the title of, 'Strongbow'
He was far from manly, never mistaken for a swain
Some say of him was written, "His blood is better than his brain"
But 'twas a false inditement, Strongbow had a clever plan
His price for aid, an Irish estate and the daughter Eva's hand

The pact agreed for Irish land and Eva as his bride
Strongbow set out to hire some men to fight for Dermott's side
Dermott for Ireland sailed with Norman knights and gallowglasses
 O'Ruaric and O'Connor greeted him and kicked some Norman asses
To buy some time and for his kidnap crime Dermott offered Tiernan gold
Tiernan took the bribe and set the stage for history yet untold

Irish troops fell back, laid down their arms hoping to fight no more
But now Strongbow and his Norman knights stormed onto Ireland's shore
With a thousand men at arms to recapture Dermott's land
His promise kept, Strongbow could now claim fair Eva's hand
The wedding assured Strongbow was now old Dermott's heir
A Norman on the Leinster throne was a curse on all of Eire