The Rights of the King of Tara

When the king of Tara is not king of Ireland, he is entitled to a hundred swords, a hundred shields, a hundred horses, a hundred coloured cloths, and a hundred coats of mail. That is from the king of Ireland to the king of Tara. Now from the king of Tara to his kings and to the tribes of Meath: twenty horns, twenty swords, twenty slaves, and twenty hounds to the king of Brega. Five shields, five swords, five cloaks, five horses, and five hounds to the king of Mag Lacha. Ten horses, ten slaves, ten women and ten horns to the king of Laegaire. Seven shields, seven horses, seven slaves, seven women, and seven hounds to the king of Ardgal. Seven horses, seven swords, seven horns, and seven cloaks to the king of Fir Chell. Six horses, six swords, six shields, and six slaves to the king of Fir Thulach. Eight shields, eight swords, eight horns, and eight horses to the king of Fir Thethba. Six shields, six horses, six cloaks, six slaves, and six horns to the king of Cuircne. Five horses, five swords, and five cloaks to the king of Uí Beccon. Five women, five horses, five horns, and five shields to the king of Coill Fallamain. Eight slaves, eight women, eight horses, eight shields, and eight swords to the king of Delbna Mór. And it is for them that Benén sang:

  1. Recount the rights of the king of Tara
    which gracious Benén has told;
    what is due to him at Tara
    has been memorized by a Latin scholar.
  2. The king of Tara of the princes
    is entitled to a hundred swords and a hundred shields,
    a hundred suits and a hundred horses,
    a hundred mantles and a hundred coats of mail.
  3. The fair king of the realm of Brega
    is entitled to twenty horns, twenty swords,
    twenty hounds, and twenty slaves
    as stipend from the king of Tara.
  4. The king of Mag Lacha is entitled
    to five shields, five fighting swords,
    five fleecy cloaks, five horses,
    and five white hounds in fine array.
  5. The swift king of Laegaire is entitled
    to ten sturdy horses in his tribeland,
    ten slaves, ten full-grown women, ten hounds,
    and ten horns for the drinking-feast.
  6. The stipend of the noble king of Ardgal
    is seven shields, seven horses from Scotland,
    seven full-grown women,
    seven slaves, and seven hounds.
  7. The king of Coill Echach is entitled
    to seven strong horses from the king of tribes,
    seven swords for battle,
    seven horns and seven coloured cloaks.
  8. The strong king of Fir Thulach
    is entitled to six horses from overseas (?),
    six swords, six red shields,
    and six foreign slaves without speech.
  9. The stipend of the king of Fir Thethba
    is eight shields, eight fighting swords,
    eight horns, eight mantles,
    and eight worthy slave women.
  10. The king of Curcne of the fen
    is entitled to six shields, six horses,
    six cloaks, six slaves,
    and six horns for ready service.
  11. The stipend of the king of Uí Beccon
    is five horses that are fast away,
    five brilliant cloaks of lasting colour,
    and five swords for battle.
  12. The king of Coill In Ollaim is entitled to five shields,
    five horns for his treasure,
    five horses brought in well-laden ships,
    and five worthy woman slaves.
  13. The king of festive Delbna is entitled
    to eight swords, eight shields from across the sea,
    eight horses with slender legs,
    eight slaves, and eight slave women.
  14. That is the tradition of the kings of Tara—
    not every prattling bard can tell it—
    it befits not the bard but only the file
    to know the rights of every king.

Lebor na Cert, Section VI.

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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