The Passing of Oisín

Bravely from Fairyland he rode, on furlough,
Astride a tall bay given him by the Queen
From whose couch he had sprung not a half hour since,
Whose lilies of the valley shone from his helm.
But alas, as he stopped to assist five Ulstermen
Sweating to raise a recumbent Ogham pillar,
Breach of a saddle girth tumbled Oisín
To common Irish earth. And at once, it is said.
Old age came on him with grief and frailty.
St. Patrick asked: would he not confess the Christ? —
Which for that Lady’s sake he loathed to do,
But northward loyally turned his eyes in death.
It was Fenians bore the unshriven corpse away
For burial, keening.
Curse me all squint-eyed monks
Who misconstrue the passing of Finn’s son:
Old age, not Fairyland, was his delusion.