Fearflaṫa Ó Gníṁ cct. (circ. 1580)

Mo ṫruaiġ mar táid Gaoiḋil!
Annaṁ intinn ḟorḃfaoiliḋ
Ar an uair-si ag duine ḋíoḃ,— 
A n-uaisle uile ar neiṁní!

Baraṁail do ḃeirṫear díoḃ:
Fuiġeall tar éis a ndíoġḃaiḋ
Ag á sníoṁaḋ ó ċróiliġe a gcneaḋ,
Nó is líon tórraiṁe ar dtilleaḋ,

Nó is luċt báirce fá’r ḃrúċt muir,
Nó is drong fuair fios a saoġail,
Nó is géill i ngéiḃeannaiḃ Gall,
Éireannaiġ fá ḟéinn eaċtrann!

Tugsad a dtréine ar ṫaise,
Tugsad maise ar ṁí-ṁaise,
Tugsad meanma ar ṁaoiṫ-ṁeirtne,—
Laoiċ ḟearḋa naċ aiṫeantar!


D’ḟearaiḃ Fódla is fáṫ orċra,
Do ṫreaḃsad dáiṁ danarḋa
I n-áit graifne a ngroiḋeaḋ seang—
Gaċ faiṫċe im oirear Éireann.

Tréid Gall i gcluaintiḃ a gceann,
Túir aolda i n-áit a ḃfoirgneaḋ,
Margaiḋe uaṫa in gaċ oirear,
Cruaċa ar árdaiḃ aonaiġeaḋ!

Ní aiṫniġeann Inis Lóġa
Ní dá faiṫċiḃ fonn-móra,
Cnuic dlaoi-réiḋe i ndiaiḋ an áir:
Biaiḋ saor-Éire ‘na Sacsain!

Ní aiṫnid aicme Gaeḋeal
Banba, buime a macaoṁ,
‘S ní aiṫniġeann Éire iad-san,—
Téiġid re ċéile as a gcruṫaiḃ.


Truaiġ do Ríġ Ráṫa Neiṁe
Fá dteaċt dúinn ó’r ndaoirsi-ne
An taṫ-Ṁaoise nár ḟéaġ ruinn,
Tréad an ċaṫ-ċraoisiġ Ċrioṁṫainn.

A Ṫríonóid ‘ga dtá an ċuṁaċt,
An mbiaiḋ an dream-sa ċoiḋċe ar deoraiḋeaċt
Ní is sia ó ċaṫair-lios Ċuinn,
Nó an mbiaiḋ an t-aṫ-aoiḃneas againn?

Nó an dtiocfaiḋ isteaċ ar ṫarngair
Do ṡluaġ danar ndúr-aingiḋ
Naoṁ-ḟiréan glan, fáiḋ Ó gCuinn,
An príṁ-earlaṁ cáiḋ, Colum?

Má ṫug an deonuġaḋ ḋi
Sacsa nuaḋ darḃ’ ainm Éire,
Ḃeiṫ re a linn-si i láiṁ bíoḋḃaḋ
Do’n inse is cáir ceileaḃraḋ


By Fearflatha O’Gnive (circ. 1580)

Woe is me for the Gael!
Seldom a mind joyous
At this hour among them,—
All their noble are perished!

A symbol one giveth of them:
The remnant of a slaughter
Tortured by pain of their wounds,
Or a wake-watch returning,

Or a barque’s crew that a sea hath whelmed,
Or a band sentenced to death,
Or thralls in Galls’ fetters,
Irish under outlanders!

They have bartered strength for weakness,
Comeliness for uncomeliness,
Courage for cowardice,—
Hailed as heroes no longer.


To the men of Fódla ‘tis grief
That foreign oxen have ploughed
In place of their studs of slim steeds
Every green field of Ireland.

Gall-troops in their chiefs’ meadows,
White towers where stood their strongholds,
Market-places in every countryside,
Ricks on the heights of their hostings!

Lugh’s Isle knoweth not
Any of her spacious green fields,
Smooth hills after the slaughter:
Free Ireland will be an England!

The tribe of the Gael knoweth not
Banba, nurse of their heroes,
And Ireland knoweth not them,—
They are both transformed.


Woe that the King of Heaven’s Rath
To lead us from bondage
Hath not sent us a new Moses,
Tribe of battle-greedy Criomhthann.

O Trinity that hath power,
Shall this race be always in exile
Farther off from Conn’s city,
Or shall we have a second glory?

Shall the prophecy come true
For the host of grim strangers
Of the saintly seer of Conn’s race,
The pure patriarch Colm?

If Thou hast consented
That there be a new England named Ireland,
To be ever in the grip of foes,
To this isle we must say farewell!



Fearflatha O’Gnive was Hereditary Bard to O’Neill of Clanaboy. He was of the train of Seaghán an Díomais when he visited Queen Elizabeth in 1562. A paraphrase in English of his ‘Fall of the Gael’ was given in Charles O’Connor’s ‘Dissertations.’ The text was published by Hardiman in 1831, with a metrical English version by Henry Grattan Curran. Sir Samuel Ferguson has given a very vigorous but very free metrical translation in his ‘Lays of the Western Gael.’ Dr. Sigerson has also translated the poem. I print only twelve of twenty-four quatrains. Both poems are in Deibhidhe.