Ninth Wave: Song of Aimirgen

by Erynn Rowan Laurie

Copyright © 1991 Erynn Rowan Laurie
All Rights Reserved
May be reposted as long as the above attribution and copyright notice are retained
The piece is written for a storyteller and a singer, the "O Iriu" chorus is a chant of invocation.

It is night. We sit about the fire, the mead flows freely. The soft sound of a drum begins...

Seanachie:

...And so it was that Míl and his people came out of the Eastern end of the world, and they travelled many long months until they came to Spain.

And Íth, the brother of Míl built on the Iberian shore a tower, where he loved to sit.

And one dimming, clear, chill winter evening, in a vision above the horizon, Íth saw a green, bright, speckled land, rich with pasture and wet with warm rain and flowing springs.

And Íth took ship on a voyage across the wide, ranging sea, and after many months he came to the land of his vision, the sacred land of Ireland.

And the Tuatha de Danann greeted Íth, and made him welcome, and he marvelled at the great, green, beautiful fruitfulness of their land, and they began to mutter in jealousy of this stranger.

And the wives of Bres - Fódla, Banba and Iriu - were Goddesses, wise women and seeresses, and they told the Children of Danu that because of Íth, the land of Ireland would be lost to them, and the de Danann rose up against Íth and his men and slaughtered them for fear of the loss of Ireland.

And the Sons of Míl knew that Íth had been slain, and the Sons of Míl and the sons of Íth - their Judge, Aimirgen; Donn, their King; the mighty warriors Eber and Iremon and Ir - took nine ships with their bright, terrible, fearful company to avenge the blood of their kin...

  1. From far across the Eastern sea
    Beyond the land of Spain
    Nine ships out of the sun did sail
    Nine champions, the Sons of Míl
    To Ireland they came

  2. Fair Aimirgen, the eldest son
    Had magics, Fili skills
    His brother Donn in jealousy
    For conquest thirsted mightily
    His warrior's heart did rage

  3. Nine ships made landfall in the North
    On Ireland's green shore
    Bright Danu's kin had conquered here
    Had slaughtered Íth in rising fear
    That Ireland he'd take

    Chorus:

    O Iriu
    I thee invoke
    Great lofty ship
    Of Ireland
    Deep well of peoples
    Tara's Mount
    To Aimirgen
    I thee invoke
    O Iriu

  4. Three Goddesses the men did meet
    Upon the wooded hills
    Met Fódla, Banba, Iriu
    Each asked "O Aimirgen, will you
    Call this land after me?"

  5. They met MacCecht, called Son of Plow
    MacColl the Hazel-tree
    MacGrianne, Son of bright Day-star
    They cried "You break the rules of war,
    Give judgment, Aimirgen"

  6. Then Airmirgen agreed to judge
    Donn shook his spear in rage
    "My judgment's made, and I will take
    Our ships upon the sea's deep wake
    Back to the Ninth Wave"

    Chorus:

    O Iriu
    I thee invoke
    Great lofty ship
    Of Ireland
    Deep well of peoples
    Tara's Mount
    To Aimirgen
    I thee invoke
    O Iriu

  7. Donn climbed upon his ship's tall mast
    For Ireland to see
    Ír he had in madness slain
    And cursed now he raged in pain
    His foundering ship was lost

  8. Then Aimirgen prepared a spell
    The Druid winds to still
    Three times around the island went
    Because of Druid enchantment
    Then Aimirgen did sing

  9. Above the rising Druid winds
    On over pounding waves
    The Song of Aimirgen did climb
    Against dread magic, Fili's rhymes
    Upon the Ninth Wave

    Ailiu iath nErend
    Ermach muir mothuch
    Mothach sliagh sreathach
    Srethach coill ciothach
    Ciothach ab essach
    Eassach loch lionmar
    Liondmar tor tioprav Tiopra tuath aenaigh
    Aenach righ Temra
    Teamair tor tuatha
    Tuatha mac Míled
    Míledh long, libern
    Libern ard, Ere
    Ere ard, diclass
    Dichteal rogaeth
    Ro gaes ban Breisi
    Breisi, ban Buaigni
    Be abdal Ere
    Eremhon ortus
    Ír, Eber ailsius
    Ailiu iath nErenn

    (translation)

    I invoke the land of Ireland
    Much-coursed be the fertile sea
    Fertile be the fruit-strewn mountain
    Fruit-strewn be the showery wood
    Showery be the river of waterfalls
    Of waterfalls be the lake of deep pools
    Deep-pooled be the hilltop well
    A well of tribes be the assembly
    An assembly of kings be Temair
    Temair be a hill of the tribes
    The tribes of the sons of Míl
    Of Míl of the ships, the barks
    Let the lofty bark be Ireland
    Lofty Ireland, darkly sung
    An incantation of great cunning
    The great cunning of the wives of Bres
    The wives of Bres, of Buaigne;
    The great lady Ireland
    Eremon hath conquered her
    Ír, Eber have invoked for her
    I invoke the land of Ireland

    Chorus:

    O Iriu
    I thee invoke
    Great lofty ship
    Of Ireland
    Deep well of peoples
    Tara's Mount
    To Aimirgen
    I thee invoke
    O Iriu


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