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Guaire – 1866

Nation 27th October, 1866 p.10

Dunguaire, Kinvara Photo: Norma Scheibe
Dunguaire, Kinvara
Photo: Norma Scheibe

‘Twas when the troops of Guaire
Had Suffered sore defeat,
And he a lowly prisoner,
Was brought to Dhiarmuid’s feet.
Unto him came a Druid,
All at the King’s behest,
To sound the sea of charity
That dwelt in Guaire’s breast.

The Druid knelt beside him,
And thus to Guaire cried,
“A gift, a gift, great Chieftain,
Thy fame spreads far and wide;
For that thy hand is open,
And thou art wont to give
A gift, a gift, great Chieftain,
And long, long may’st thou live.”

“I have no gift,” said Guaire,
“And had I one to give,
Methinks for thee it should not be,
For I can now perceive
That thou are well supported
All at the King’s expense
Then, quick, I pray that thou away;
Good Druid, take thee hence.”

Now, when the Druid left him,
a wretched leper came
Unto the Chief; in tones of grief,
Assistance did he claim.
“For God and His dear Mother’s sake,
Give something unto me,
It is a wretched leper
That claims thy charity.”

When Guaire saw the leper,
And heard his tale of woe,
His soul was moved within him,
His heart felt many a throe.
“Alas, afflicted leper,
That I am poor like thee,
But take this silver bodkin,
For blessed charity.”


He plucked the silver bodkin,
While thus to him he spake,
That pinned the vest upon his breast,
And bade the leper take.
His fallaing now all loosely
Around the Chief did flow,
As from his sight, with bosom light,
The leprous man did go.

With doleful look of anguish,
Came back that leper swift
“Good Chief, good Chief, I’m wretched,
They’ve ta’en from me my gift.”
The golden girdle from his waist
The generous Guaire took,
And gave it to the mendicant
With kindly, pitying look.

Then gratefully the leper
Unto the Lord did pray
For Guaire’s weal – nor harm, nor ill,
Might ever near him stay.
He went away rejoicing,
But soon returned again
“Good Chief, good chief, I’m wretched,
Thy gift from me they’ve ta’en.

Now, when that Guaire heard him,
He was afflicted sore,
The tears adown his visage brown
In streams began to pour.
King Dhiarmuid there beheld him
Afflicted thus at heart,
“And weepest thou O’Guaire now,
That thou a pris’ner art?”

“I mourn me not my own hard lot,
King Dhiarmuid,” Guaire said,
‘Tis hard, I wot, but tears may not
For such as me be shed;
But I do weep in anguish deep,
That I have nothing more
To give unto that man of woe,
That leper sad and poor.”

“Oh, Guaire,” then replied the King,
“I clearly now can see,
All free from stain of motive vain
Is thy great charity.
And, for that I esteem thee
No longer as a foe,
I humble pray that from this day
All strife we do forego.”

“‘Twas I that sent the Druid
To ask a gift of thee,
“‘Twas I that bade implore thine aid,
This man of misery,
I know thy wondrous valour,
I seek thy friendship dear,
And in my stead, when I am dead,
Thou shalt be Monarch here.”



B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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