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Fergus

Who Goes With Fergus? WHO will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood's woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.

And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love's bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.

(William Butler Yeats)


Fergus
The Celtic/Irish hero and king, one of the warlike lovers of queen Medb. Fergus ("virility") is also referred to as "the great horse", and many (phallic) marvels are ascribed to him.
Fergus mac Roich
The heroic tutor of Cuchulainn, who left Conchobar's court after the treacherous murder of the sons of Usnech. "Copyright (c) 1999 Encyclopedia Mythica. All rights reserved. Protected by the copyright laws of the United States and international treaties."

Fergus and The Druid

Fergus And The Druid

Fergus This whole day have I followed in the rocks,
And you have changed and flowed from shape to shape,
First as a raven on whose ancient wings
Scarcely a feather lingered, then you seemed
A weasel moving on from stone to stone,
And now at last you wear a human shape,
A thin grey man half lost in gathering night.

Druid What would you, king of the proud Red Branch kings?

Fergus This would I Say, most wise of living souls:
Young subtle Conchubar sat close by me
When I gave judgment, and his words were wise,
And what to me was burden without end,
To him seemed easy, So I laid the crown
Upon his head to cast away my sorrow.

Druid What would you, king of the proud Red Branch kings?

Fergus A king and proud! and that is my despair.
I feast amid my people on the hill,
And pace the woods, and drive my chariot-wheels
In the white border of the murmuring sea;
And still I feel the crown upon my head

DruidWhat would you, Fergus?

Fergus Be no more a king
But learn the dreaming wisdom that is yours.

Druid Look on my thin grey hair and hollow cheeks
And on these hands that may not lift the sword,
This body trembling like a wind-blown reed.
No woman's loved me, no man sought my help.

Fergus A king is but a foolish labourer
Who wastes his blood to be another's dream.

Druid Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams;
Unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.

Fergus I See my life go drifting like a river
From change to change; I have been many things -
A green drop in the surge, a gleam of light
Upon a sword, a fir-tree on a hill,
An old slave grinding at a heavy quern,
A king sitting upon a chair of gold -
And all these things were wonderful and great;
But now I have grown nothing, knowing all.
Ah! Druid, Druid, how great webs of sorrow
Lay hidden in the small slate-coloured thing!

from "The Rose" By William Butler Years


FERGUS MAC ROIGH
# 166: (moc rô'eh) # 562: Son of Roy, Facthna's half-brother; succeeds to kingship of Ulster; loves Nessa; sent to invite return of Naisi and Deirdre to Ireland; the rebellion of Fergus mac Roi; compact with CuChulain; reputed author of the 'Tain'; slain by Ailell.
# 454: King of Ulster before Nessa begged him to relinquish his reign for one year, in favour of her son Conchobar who thereafter ruled and Fergus was permanently dethroned. For this insult, Fergus helped Maeve and the forces of Connact. Because he was one of CuChulain's fosterers and teachers, he refused to engage in combat with him at the ford, making an agreement to spare CuChulain if CuChulain agreed to let him run away on a later occasion. He was the messenger of Conchobar to persuade Deirdriu and the sons of Usnach to return to Ulster. Later he became a voluntary exile in Connacht in protest against the killing of the sons of Usnech. He was slain at the instigation of Ailill who found him swimming with Maeve in a lake. # 166 - 188 - 454 - 562
Encyclopedia of the Celts
Compiled and Edited by Knud Mariboe
Knud Mariboe's Celtic Homepage
Copyright ©1994 by Knud Mariboe
All rights reserved.


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