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This narrative poem is composed in three parts, and consists of a dialogue between the aged Irish hero Oisín and St. Patrick. Oisín relates his three-hundred year sojourn in the immortal isles of Faerie. In the isles, Oisín married the beautiful Sidhe Niamh: together they traveled, feasted, and quested. At last Oisín succumbs to the temptation to return and visit the lands of mortal men: inadvertently slipping from his faerie horse, his body touches the ground and instantly puts on the flesh of a decrepit old man. Oisín describes various islands and what he did there: contrasting his noble deeds with the degenerate weakness of the present generation.
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