Legends of Saint Patrick – The Disbelief of Milchoor, Saint Patrick’s One Failure

detail of stained glass window of Saint Patrick, date and artist unknown; Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Knoxville, Tennessee; photographed on 16 September 2016 by Nheyob; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsFame of Saint Patrick goes ever before him, and men of goodwill believe gladly; but Milcho, a mighty merchant, and one given wholly to pride and greed, wills to disbelieve. Saint Patrick sends him greeting and gifts; but he, discovering that the prophet welcomed by all had once been his slave, hates him the more. Notwithstanding, he fears that when that prophet arrives, he, too, may be forced to believe, though against his will. He resolves to set fire to his castle and all his wealth, and make new fortunes in far lands. The doom of Milcho, who willed to disbelieve.

When now at Imber Dea that precious bark
Freighted with Erin’s future, touched the sands
Just where a river, through a woody vale
Curving, with duskier current clave the sea,
Patrick, the Island’s great inheritor,
His perilous voyage past, stept forth and knelt
And blessed his God. The peace of those green meads
Cradled ‘twixt purple hills and purple deep,
Seemed as the peace of heaven. The sun had set;
But still those summits twinned, the “Golden Spears,”
Laughed with his latest beam. The hours went by:
The brethren paced the shore or musing sat,
But still their Patriarch knelt and still gave thanks
For all the marvellous chances of his life
Since those his earlier years when, slave new-trapped,
He comforted on hills of Dalaraide
His hungry heart with God, and, cleansed by pain,
In exile found the spirit’s native land.
Eve deepened into night, and still he prayed:
The clear cold stars had crowned the azure vault;
And, risen at midnight from dark seas, the moon
Had quenched those stars, yet Patrick still prayed on:
Till from the river murmuring in the vale,
Far off, and from the morning airs close by
That shook the alders by the river’s mouth,
And from his own deep heart a voice there came,
“Ere yet thou fling’st God’s bounty on this land
There is a debt to cancel. Where is he,
Thy five years’ lord that scourged thee for his swine?
Alas that wintry face! Alas that heart
Joyless since earliest youth! To him reveal it!
To him declare that God who Man became
To raise man’s fall’n estate, as though a man,
All faculties of man unmerged, undimmed,
Had changed to worm and died the prey of worms,
That so the mole might see!”

Thus Patrick mused
Not ignorant that from low beginnings rise
Oftenest the works of greatness; yet of this
Unweeting, that his failure, one and sole
Through all his more than mortal course, even now
Before that low beginning’s threshold lay,
Betwixt it and that Promised Land beyond
A bar of scandal stretched. Not otherwise
Might whatsoe’er was mortal in his strength
Dying, put on the immortal.

With the morn
Deep sleep descended on him. Waking soon,
He rose a man of might, and in that might
Laboured; and God His servant’s toil revered;
And gladly on that coast Erin to Christ
Paid her first-fruits. Three days he preached his Lord:
The fourth embarking, cape succeeding cape
They passed, and heard the lowing herds remote
In hollow glens, and smelt the balmy breath
Of gorse on golden hillsides; till at eve,
The Imber Domnand reached, on silver sands
Grated their keel. Around them flocked at dawn
Warriors with hunters mixed, and shepherd youths
And maids with lips as red as mountain berries
And eyes like sloes, or keener eyes, dark-fringed
And gleaming like the blue-black spear. They came
With milk-pail, and with kid, and kindled fire
And spread the genial board. Upon that shore
Full many knelt and gave themselves to Christ,
Strong men, and men at midmost of their hopes
By sickness felled; old chiefs, at life’s dim close
That oft had asked, “Beyond the grave what hope?”
Worn sailors weary of the toilsome seas,
And craving rest; they, too, that sex which wears
The blended crowns of Chastity and Love;
Wondering, they hailed the Maiden-Motherhood;
And listening children praised the Babe Divine,
And passed Him, each to each.

Ere long, once more
Their sails were spread. Again by grassy marge
They rowed, and sylvan glades. The branching deer
Like flying gleams went by them. Oft the cry
Of fighting clans rang out: but oftener yet
Clamour of rural dance, or mart confused
With many-coloured garb and movements swift,
Pageant sun-bright: or on the sands a throng
Girdled with circle glad some bard whose song
Shook the wild clan as tempest shakes the woods.
Still north the wanderers sailed: at evening, mists
Cumbered the shore and on them leaned the blast,
And fierce rain flashed mingling with dim-lit sea.
All night they toiled; next day at noon they kenned
A seaward stream that shone like golden tress
Severed and random-thrown. That river’s mouth
Ere long attained was all with lilies white
As April field with daisies. Entering there
They reached a wood, and disembarked with joy:
There, after thanks to God, silent they sat
In thought, and watched the ripples, dusk yet bright,
That lived and died like things that laughed at time,
On gliding ‘neath those many-centuried boughs.
But, midmost, Patrick slept. Then through the trees,
Shy as a fawn half-tamed now stole, now fled
A boy of such bright aspect faery child
He seemed, or babe exposed of royal race:
At last assured beside the Saint he stood,
And dropped on him a flower, and disappeared:
Thus flower on flower from the great wood he brought
And hid them in the bosom of the Saint.
The monks forbade him, saying, “Lest thou wake
The master from his sleep.” But Patrick woke,
And saw the boy, and said, “Forbid him not;
The heir of all my kingdom is this child.”
Then spake the brethren, “Wilt thou walk with us?”
And he, “I will:” and so for his sweet face
They called his name Benignus: and the boy
Thenceforth was Christ’s. Beneath his parent’s roof
At night they housed. Nowhere that child would sleep
Except at Patrick’s feet. Till Patrick’s death
Unchanged to him he clave, and after reigned
The second at Ardmacha.

Day by day
They held their course; ere long the hills of Mourne
Loomed through sea-mist: Ulidian summits next
Before them rose: but nearer at their left
Inland with westward channel wound the wave
Changed to sea-lake. Nine miles with chant and hymn
They tracked the gold path of the sinking sun;
Then southward ran ‘twixt headland and green isle
And landed. Dewy pastures sunset-dazed,
At leisure paced by mild-eyed milk-white kine
Smiled them a welcome. Onward moved in sight
Swiftly, with shadow far before him cast,
Dichu, that region’s lord, a martial man
And merry, and a speaker of the truth.
Pirates he deemed them first and toward them faced
With wolf-hounds twain that watched their master’s eye
To spring, or not to spring. The imperious face
Forbidding not, they sprang; but Patrick raised
His hand, and stone-like crouched they chained and still:
Then, Dichu onward striding fierce, the Saint
Between them signed the Cross; and lo, the sword
Froze in his hand, and Dichu stood like stone.
The amazement past, he prayed the man of God
To grace his house; and, side by side, a mile
They clomb the hills. Ascending, Patrick turned,
His heart with prescience filled. Beneath, there lay
A gleaming strait; beyond, a dim vast plain
With many an inlet pierced: a golden marge
Girdled the water-tongues with flag and reed;
But, farther off, a gentle sea-mist changed
The fair green flats to purple. “Night comes on;”
Thus Dichu spake, and waited. Patrick then
Advanced once more, and Sabhall soon was reached,
A castle half, half barn. There garnered lay
Much grain, and sun-imbrowned: and Patrick said,
“Here where the earthly grain was stored for man
The bread of angels man shall eat one day.”
And Patrick loved that place, and Patrick said,
“King Dichu, give thou to the poor that grain,
To Christ, our Lord, thy barn.” The strong man stood
In doubt; but prayers of little orphaned babes
Reared by his hand, went up for him that hour:
Therefore that barn he ceded, and to Christ
By Patrick was baptised. Where lay the corn
A convent later rose. There dwelt he oft;
And ‘neath its roof more late the stranger sat,
Exile, or kingdom-wearied king, or bard,
That haply blind in age, yet tempest-rocked
By memories of departed glories, drew
With gradual influx into his old heart
Solace of Christian hope.

With Dichu bode
Patrick somewhile, intent from him to learn
The inmost of that people. Oft they spake
Of Milcho. “Once his thrall, against my will
In earthly things I served him: for his soul
Needs therefore must I labour. Hard was he;
Unlike those hearts to which God’s Truth makes way
Like message from a mother in her grave:
Yet what I can I must. Not heaven itself
Can force belief; for Faith is still good will.”
Dichu laughed aloud: “Good will! Milcho’s good will
Neither to others, nor himself, good will
Hath Milcho! Fireless sits he, winter through,
The logs beside his hearth: and as on them
Glimmers the rime, so glimmers on his face
The smile. Convert him! Better thrice to hang him!
Baptise him! He will film your font with ice!
The cold of Milcho’s heart has winter-nipt
That glen he dwells in! From the sea it slopes
Unfinished, savage, like some nightmare dream,
Raked by an endless east wind of its own.
On wolf’s milk was he suckled not on woman’s!
To Milcho speed! Of Milcho claim belief!
Milcho will shrivel his small eye and say
He scorns to trust himself his father’s son,
Nor deems his lands his own by right of race
But clutched by stress of brain! Old Milcho’s God
Is gold. Forbear him, sir, or ere you seek him
Make smooth your way with gold.”

Thus Dichu spake;
And Patrick, after musings long, replied:
“Faith is no gift that gold begets or feeds,
Oftener by gold extinguished. Unto God,
Unbribed, unpurchased, yearns the soul of man;
Yet finds perforce in God its great reward.
Not less this Milcho deems I did him wrong,
His slave, yet fleeing. To requite that loss
Gifts will I send him first by messengers
Ere yet I see his face.”

Then Patrick sent
His messengers to Milcho, speaking thus:
“If ill befell thy herds through flight of mine
Fourfold that loss requite I, lest, for hate
Of me, thou disesteem my Master’s Word.
Likewise I sue thy friendship; and I come
In few days’ space, with gift of other gold
Than earth concedes, the Tidings of that God
Who made all worlds, and late His Face hath shown,
Sun-like to man. But thou, rejoice in hope!”

Thus Patrick, once by man advised in part,
Though wont to counsel with his God alone.

Meantime full many a rumour vague had vexed
Milcho much musing. He had dealings large
And distant. Died a chief? He sent and bought
The widow’s all; or sold on foodless shores
For usury the leanest of his kine.
Meantime, his dark ships and the populous quays
With news still murmured. First from Imber Dea
Came whispers how a sage had landed late,
And how when Nathi fain had barred his way,
Nathi that spurned Palladius from the land,
That sage with levelled eyes, and kingly front
Had from his presence driven him with a ban
Cur-like and craven; how on bended knee
Sinell believed, the royal man well-loved
Descending from the judgment-seat with joy:
And how when fishers spurned his brethren’s quest
For needful food, that sage had raised his rod,
And all the silver harvest of blue streams
Lay black in nets and sand. His wrinkled brow
Wrinkling yet more, thus Milcho answer made:
“Deceived are those that will to be deceived:
This knave has heard of gold in river-beds,
And comes a deft sand-groper; let him come!
He’ll toil ten years ere gold enough he finds
To make a crooked torque.”

From Tara next
The news: “Laeghaire, the King, sits close in cloud
Of sullen thought, or storms from court to court,
Because the chiefest of the Druid race
Locru, and Luchat prophesied long since
That one day from the sea a Priest would come
With Doctrine and a Rite, and dash to earth
Idols, and hurl great monarchs from their thrones;
And lo! At Imber Boindi late there stept
A priest from roaring waves with Creed and Rite,
And men before him bow.” Then Milcho spake:
“Not flesh enough from thy strong bones, Laeghaire,
These Druids, ravens of the woods, have plucked,
But they must pluck thine eyes! Ah priestly race,
I loathe ye! ‘Twixt the people and their King
Ever ye rub a sore!” Last came a voice:
“This day in Eire thy saying is fulfilled,
Conn of the ‘Hundred Battles,’ from thy throne
Leaping long since, and crying, ‘O’er the sea
The Prophet cometh, princes in his train,
Bearing for regal sceptres bended staffs,
Which from the land’s high places, cliff and peak,
Shall drag the fair flowers down!'” Scoffing he heard:
“Conn of the ‘Hundred Battles!’ Had he sent
His hundred thousand kernes to yonder steep
And rolled its boulders down, and built a mole
To fence my laden ships from spring-tide surge,
Far kinglier pattern had he shown, and given
More solace to the land.”

He rose and turned
With sideway leer; and printing with vague step
Irregular the shining sands, on strode
Toward his cold home, alone; and saw by chance
A little bird light-perched, that, being sick,
Plucked from the fissured sea-cliff grains of sand;
And, noting, said, “O bird, when beak of thine
From base to crown hath gorged this huge sea-wall,
Then shall that man of Creed and Rite make null
The strong rock of my will!” Thus Milcho spake,
Feigning the peace not his.

Next day it chanced
Women he heard in converse. Thus the first:
“If true the news, good speed for him, my boy!
Poor slaves by Milcho scourged on earth shall wear
In heaven a monarch’s crown! Good speed for her
His little sister, not reserved like us
To bend beneath these loads.” To whom her mate:
“Doubt not the Prophet’s tidings! Not in vain
The Power Unknown hath shaped us! Come He must,
Or send, and help His people on their way.
Good is He, or He ne’er had made these babes!”
They passed, and Milcho said, “Through hate of me
All men believe!” And straightway Milcho’s face
Grew bleaker than that crab-tree stem forlorn
That hid him, wanner than that sea-sand wet
That whitened round his foot down-pressed.

Time passed.
One morn in bitter mockery Milcho mused:
“What better laughter than when thief from thief
Pilfers the pilfered goods? Our Druid thief
Two thousand years hath milked and shorn this land;
Now comes the thief outlandish that with him
Would share milk-pail and fleece! O Bacrach old,
To hear thee shout ‘Impostor!'” Straight he went
To Bacrach’s cell hid in a skirt wind-shav’n
Of low-grown wood, and met, departing thence,
Three sailors sea-tanned from a ship late-beached.
Within a corner huddled, on the floor,
The Druid sat, cowering, and cold, and mazed:
Sudden he rose, and cried, by conquering joy
Clothed as with youth restored: “The God Unknown,
That God who made the earth, hath walked the earth!
This hour His Prophet treads the isle! Three men
Have seen him; and their speech is true. To them
That Prophet spake: ‘Four hundred years ago,
Sinless God’s Son on earth for sinners died:
Black grew the world, and graves gave up their dead.’
Thus spake the Seer. Four hundred years ago!
Mark well the time! Of Ulster’s Druid race
What man but yearly, those four hundred years,
Trembled that tale recounting which with this
Tallies as footprint with the foot of man?
Four hundred years ago – that self-same day –
Connor, the son of Nessa, Ulster’s King,
Sat throned, and judged his people. As he sat,
Under clear skies, behold, o’er all the earth
Swept a great shadow from the windless east;
And darkness hung upon the air three hours;
Dead fell the birds, and beasts astonied fled.
Then to his Chief of Druids, Connor spake
Whispering; and he, his oracles explored,
Shivering made answer, ‘From a land accursed,
O King, that shadow sweeps; therein, this hour,
By sinful men sinless God’s Son is slain.’
Then Ulster’s king, down-dashing sceptre and crown,
Rose, clamouring, ‘Sinless! shall the sinless die?’
And madness fell on him; and down that steep
He rushed whereon the Emanian Palace stood,
And reached the grove, Lambraidhe, with two swords,
The sword of battle, and the sword of state,
And hewed and hewed, crying, ‘Were I but there
Thus they should fall who slay that Sinless One;’
And in that madness died. Old Erin’s sons
Beheld this thing; nor ever in the land
Hath ceased the rumour, nor the tear for him
Who, wroth at justice trampled, martyr died.
And now we know that not for any dream
He died, but for the truth: and whensoe’er
The Prophet of that Son of God who died
Sinless for sinners, standeth in this place,
I, Bacrach, oldest Druid in this Isle,
Will rise the first, and kiss his vesture’s hem.”

He spake; and Milcho heard, and without speech
Departed from that house.

A later day
When the wild March sunset, gone almost ere come,
By glacial shower was hustled out of life,
Under a blighted ash tree, near his house,
Thus mused the man: “Believe, or Disbelieve!
The will does both; Then idiot who would be
For profitless belief to sell himself?
Yet disbelief not less might work our bane!
For, I remember, once a sickly slave
Ill shepherded my flock: I spake him plain;
‘When next, through fault of thine, the midnight wolf
Worries my sheep, on yonder tree you hang:’
The blear-eyed idiot looked into my face,
And smiled his disbelief. On that day week
Two lambs lay dead. I hanged him on a tree.
What tree? this tree! Why, this is passing strange!
For, three nights since, I saw him in a dream:
Weakling as wont he stood beside my bed,
And, clutching at his wrenched and livid throat,
Spake thus, ‘Belief is safest.'”

Ceased the hail
To rattle on the ever barren boughs,
And friendlier sound was heard. Beside his door
Wayworn the messengers of Patrick stood,
And showed the gifts, and held his missive forth.
Then learned that lost one all the truth. That sage
Confessed by miracles, that prophet vouched
By warnings old, that seer by words of might
Subduing all things to himself – that priest,
None other was than the uncomplaining boy
Five years his slave and swineherd! In him rage
Burst forth, with fear commixed, as when a beast
Strains in the toils. “Can I alone stand firm?”
He mused; and next, “Shall I, in mine old age,
Byword become – the vassal of my slave?
Shall I not rather drive him from my door
With wolf hounds and a curse?” As thus he stood
He marked the gifts, and bade men bare them in,
And homeward signed the messengers unfed.

But Milcho slept not all that night for thought,
And, forth ere sunrise issuing, paced a moor
Stone-roughened like the graveyard of dead hosts,
Till noontide. Sudden then he stopt, and thus
Discoursed within: “A plot from first to last,
The fraudulent bondage, flight, and late return;
For now I mind me of a foolish dream
Chance-sent, yet drawn by him awry. One night
Methought that boy from far hills drenched in rain
Dashed through my halls, all fire. From hands and head,
From hair and mouth, forth rushed a flaming fire
White, like white light, and still that mighty flame
Into itself took all. With hands outstretched
I spurned it. On my cradled daughters twain
It turned, and they were ashes. Then in burst
The south wind through the portals of the house,
Tempest rose-sweet, and blew those ashes forth
Wide as the realm. At dawn I sought the knave;
He glossed my vision thus: ‘That fire is Faith –
Faith in the God Triune, the God made Man,
Sole light wherein I walk, and walking burn;
And they that walk with me shall burn like me
By Faith. But thou that radiance wilt repel,
Housed through ill-will, in Error’s endless night.
Not less thy little daughters shall believe
With glory and great joy; and, when they die,
Report of them, like ashes blown abroad,
Shall light far lands, and health to men of Faith
Stream from their dust.’ I drave the impostor forth:
Perjured ere long he fled, and now returns
To reap a harvest from his master’s dream” –
Thus mused he, while black shadow swept the moor.
  So day by day darker was Milcho’s heart,
Till, with the endless brooding on one thought,
Began a little flaw within that brain
Whose strength was still his boast. Was no friend nigh?
Alas! what friend had he? All men he scorned;
Knew truly none. In each, the best and sweetest
Near him had ever pined, like stunted growth
Dwarfed by some glacier nigh. The fifth day dawned:
And inly thus he muttered, darkly pale:
“Five days; in three the messengers returned:
In three – in two – the Accursed will be here,
Or blacken yonder Sleemish with his crew
Descending. Then those idiots, kerne and slave –
The mighty flame into itself takes all –
Full swarm will fly to meet him! Fool! fool! fool!
The man hath snared me with those gifts he sent;
Else had I barred the mountains: now ’twere late,
My people in revolt. Whole weeks his horde
Will throng my courts, demanding board and bed,
With hosts by Dichu sent to flout my pang,
And sorer make my charge. My granaries sacked,
My larder lean as ship six months ice-bound,
The man I hate will rise, and open shake
The invincible banner of his mad new Faith,
Till all that hear him shout, like winds or waves,
Belief; and I be left sole recusant;
Or else perhaps that Fury who prevails
At times o’er knee-joints of reluctant men,
By magic imped, may crumble into dust
By force my disbelief.”

He raised his head,
And lo, before him lay the sea far ebbed
Sad with a sunset all but gone: the reeds
Sighed in the wind, and sighed a sweeter voice
Oft heard in childhood – now the last time heard:
“Believe!” it whispered. Vain the voice! That hour,
Stirred from the abyss, the sins of all his life
Around him rose like night – not one, but all –
That earliest sin which, like a dagger, pierced
His mother’s heart; that worst, when summer drouth
Parched the brown vales, and infants thirsting died,
While from full pail he gorged his swine with milk
And flung the rest away. Sin-walled he stood:
God’s Angels could not pierce that cincture dread,
Nor he look through it. Yet he dreamed he saw:
His life he saw; its labours, and its gains
Hard won, long-waited, wonder of his foes;
The manifold conquests of a Will oft tried;
Victory, Defeat, Retrieval; last, that scene
Around him spread: the wan sea and grey rocks;
And he was ‘ware that on that self-same ledge
He, Milcho, thirty years gone by, had stood,
While pirates pushed to sea, leaving forlorn
On that wild shore a scared and weeping boy,
(His price two yearling kids and half a sheep)
Thenceforth his slave.

Not sole he mused that hour.
The Demon of his House beside him stood
Upon that iron coast, and whispered thus:
“Masterful man art thou for wit and strength;
Yet girl-like standst thou brooding! Weave a snare!
He comes for gold, this prophet. All thou hast
Heap in thy house; then fire it! In far lands
Build thee new fortunes. Frustrate thus shall he
Stare but on stones, his destined vassal scaped.”

So fell the whisper; and as one who hears
And does, the stiff-necked man obsequious bent
His strong will to a stronger, and returned,
And gave command to heap within his house
His stored up wealth – yea, all things that were his –
Borne from his ships and granaries. It was done.
Then filled he his huge hall with resinous beams
Seasoned for far sea-voyage, and the ribs
Of ocean-sundering vessels deep in sea;
Which ended, to his topmost tower he clomb,
And therein sat two days, with face to south,
Clutching a brand; and oft through clenched teeth hissed,
Hissed long, “Because I will to disbelieve.”
  But ere the second sunset two brief hours,
Where comfortless leaned forth that western ridge
Long patched with whiteness by half melted snows,
There crept a gradual shadow. Soon the man
Discerned its import. There they hung – he saw them –
That company detested; hung as when
Storm-boding cloud on mountain hangs half way
Scarce moving, and in fear the shepherd cries,
“Would that the worse were come!” So dread to him
Those Heralds of fair Peace! He gazed upon them
With blood-shot eyes; a moment passed: he stood
Sole in his never festal hall, and flung
His lighted brand into that pile far forth,
And smiled that smile men feared to see, and turned,
And issuing faced the circle of his serfs
That wondering gathered round in thickening mass,
Eyeing that unloved House.

His place he chose
Beside that blighted ash, fronting those towers
Palled with red smoke, and muttered low, “So be it!
Worse to be vassal to the man I hate,”
With hueless lips. His whole white face that hour
Was scorched; and blistered was the dead tree’s bark;
Yet there he stood; and in that fiery light
His life, no more triumphant, passed once more
In underthought before him, while on spread
The swift, contagious madness of that fire,
And muttered thus, not knowing it, the man,
“The mighty flame into itself takes all,”
Mechanic iteration. Not alone
Stood he that hour. The Demon of his House
By him once more and closer than of old,
Stood, whispering thus, “Thy game is now played out;
Henceforth a byword art thou – rich in youth –
Self-beggared in old age.” And as the wind
Of that shrill whisper cut his listening soul,
The blazing roof fell in on all his wealth,
Hard-won, long-waited, wonder of his foes;
And, loud as laughter from ten thousand fiends,
Up rushed the fire. With arms outstretched he stood;
Stood firm; then forward with a wild beast’s cry
He dashed himself into that terrible flame,
And vanished as a leaf.

Upon a spur
Of Sleemish, eastward on its northern slope,
Stood Patrick and his brethren, travel-worn,
When distant o’er the brown and billowy moor
Rose the white smoke, that changed ere long to flame,
From site unknown; for by the seaward crest
That keep lay hidden. Hands to forehead raised,
Wondering they watched it. One to other spake:
“The huge Dalriad forest is afire
Ere melted are the winter’s snows!” Another,
“In vengeance o’er the ocean Creithe or Pict,
Favoured by magic, or by mist, have crossed,
And fired old Milcho’s ships.” But Patrick leaned
Upon his crosier, pale as the ashes wan
Left by a burned out city. Long he stood
Silent, till, sudden, fiercelier soared the flame
Reddening the edges of a cloud low hung;
And, after pause, vibration slow and stern
Troubling the burthened bosom of the air,
Upon a long surge of the northern wind
Came up – a murmur as of wintry seas
Far borne at night. All heard that sound; all felt it;
One only know its import. Patrick turned;
“The deed is done: the man I would have saved
Is dead, because he willed to disbelieve.”

Yet Patrick grieved for Milcho, nor that hour
Passed further north. Three days on Sleemish hill
He dwelt in prayer. To Tara’s royal halls
Then turned he, and subdued the royal house
And host to Christ, save Erin’s king, Laeghaire.
But Milcho’s daughters twain to Christ were born
In baptism, and each Emeria named:
Like rose-trees in the garden of the Lord
Grew they and flourished. Dying young, one grave
Received them at Cluanbrain. Healing thence
To many from their relics passed; to more
The spirit’s happier healing, Love and Faith.