(Ag éagcaoineaḋ daoirse na hÉireann)
Seaṫrún Céitinn cct. (1644?)
Mo ṫruaiġe mar tá Éire
D’éis ċlaoċluiġṫe a caiṫ-réime,
Tug sí aoiḃneas ar urċra
Fá ḋaoir-ṁeas na ndanar-sa.
Do ṫuit a dleaċt-sgéiṁ ṡeirce
Dá gnúiṡ áluinn inneallta,
Buime ċaoṁ-ḟoirne ċíoċta
Díṫ gaċ aon-oiġre uirṫi.
Ní fear aon d’uaisliḃ Banba,
Sgaoilteaċ a luċt leanaṁna,
Tréad geal dá dtoġail gan treoir
Ar feaḋ an doṁain deireoil.
Áḋḃar tuirse tarla ḋi,
Ḃeiṫ gan ċaoṁṫaċ gan ċéile,
Gan leannán ina leabaiḋ,
Bean gan teagair gaċ tréin-ḟir.
Gan aon-ḟear léi-se ag luiġe
D’ḟíor-ḟuil oċta a hionṁuine,
Sgéiṁ ġlac-ṡoillse gér ḋual di,
Snuaḋ na haṫ-tuirse uirṫi.
Do ċuir sí a ṡúil de ċaḃair,
Do ṫréig a sleaċt searcaṁail
Lúb ḟionn-árd-ġlan na nglac ngeal
Iar n-ionnarbaḋ mac Míleaḋ.
Ní ḟuil súil aici re haoin-ḟear,
Ar n-imṫeaċt d’ḟuil ḟíor-Ġaoiḋeal
Tar sál gconfaḋaċ gcuan ngeal,
Orċraḋaċ uaiḋ a haigneaḋ.
Ní ḟuiġḃe an ḃaintreaḃaċ ḃog
Leannán ná céile carad
Go teaċt fíor-Ġaoiḋeal ‘na gar,
Glór na saoir-ḟear go siaḃar.
Iomṫnút árd-ḟlaiṫ fuinn Ḃanba
Tug neart do’n ḟéinn allṁarḋa,
Tréad faoḃraċ do b’aipċe d’ḟeaḋ
Ar ċaoṁṫaċ maicne Míleaḋ.
Éigceart na nÉireannaċ féin
Do ṫreasgair iad do aon-ḃéim,
Ag spairnn fá ċeart ġearr ċorraċ,
Ní neart airm na n-eaċtronnaċ.
Ní hiongnaḋ d’inis na neart
Ḃeiṫ deireoil d’éis a hannsaċt,
D’ḟine Ġaoiḋeal na ngníoṁ náir,
Gaċ aoin-ḟear ḋíoḃ gan díoġḃáil.
An flaiṫeas fuaradar sin
Ar inis oirḋeirc Éiḃir,
Tréad lonn ler fuaṫ a hannsa,
Ní ḟuair drong de’n doṁan-sa.
Cia an croiḋe nár ċlaoċlaiḋ sin
De ṁaicne ġlórṁair Ġaoiḋil,
A n-argain gan ċoinġleic gceall,
Árd-ḟuil oirḋeirc na hÉireann?
Buime an altruim, giḋ í sin,
‘Na dílleaċt d’éis gaċ aoin-ḟir,
A Ṁuire, is truaġ mar ṫarla,
Gan tsnuaḋ n-uile n-aṫarḋa.
Gan díon ar olc na hinnse,
Truaġ éagcruṫ na hinnill-se,
Aicme a sealḃuiġṫe mar sean,
Sean-ṁáṫair ṁaicne Míleaḋ.
D’ḟágaiḃ siúd ise gan treoir,
Iarsma a cloinne ‘s a cineoil,
Gé táid siad caointeaċ dá gcailg,
Sgaoilteaċ iad ann gaċ aon-áird.
Meirdreaċ gan ioċt, gan onóir,
An ċríoċ so ṗuirt Ṗarṫalóin,
Do ċríon a ciall gan ċoṁṫa,
‘S a síol fá ḋruing ndanarḋa!
(Lamenting the slavery of Ireland)
By Geoffrey Keating (1644?)
My pity how Ireland standeth,
Her battle-triumph transformed;
She hath exchanged happiness for ruin,
Despised by these savages.
Fallen her own winsome beauty
From her lovely shapely face,
Full-breasted nurse of fair hosts,
No heir is left to her!
Unknown now are Banba’s nobles,
Scattered are their followers,
A bright band driven without guidance
Throughout the wearisome world!
A woeful thing hath befallen her:
She hath no friend, no mate,
No lover in her bed,—
A woman with no strong man’s protection!
No man lieth beside her
Of the true blood of her heart’s affecton,—
And tho’ bright beauty was her birthright,
The hue of sorrow is on her.
She hath turned her hope from help,
Her loving children have forsaken
The fair, tall, white-palmed woman,—
For the sons of Míleadh are banished.
She hath no hope of any husband,
For the true Gaelic blood is gone
Over the stormy white-bayed sea—
For this her mind is heavy.
The gentle widow shall not find
A lover or a friendly mate
Until the true Gaels come again,—
With freemen’s shouts inspiring dread.
The mutual jealousy of the chiefs of Banba
Hath given power to the foreign soldiery,
The keen band most mature in growth,
Over the friend of the sons of Míleadh.
‘Tis the wrong-doing of the Irish themselves
That have overthrown them with one stroke,
Quarrelling about some fleeting transient right,—
And not the strength of the enemy’s arms.
No wonder that the isle of strengths,
Once beloved, should now repine
For the Gaelic race of noble deeds,
Who once cherished her full well.
The rule that they attained
Over the illustrious isle of Eibhear,
The fiery tribe that hated her love,
No other race in the world hath attained.
Where is the heart that it hath not sickened
Of the glorious sons of the Gael,
To see the plundering of unresisting churches
By the high illustrious blood of Ireland?
The nurse of the fosterling though she be,
Widowed of every husband,
O Mary, how pitiful her fate,
Bereft of all her ancestral beauty!
Without protection against the island’s evil,
Alas, the deformity of her condition,
Those who possessed her thus,—
The ancient mother of the sons of Míleadh.
That it is that hath left her bewildered,—
The remnant of her children and her race,
Altho’ they are mournful, goaded as they are,
They are dispersed in every airt.
A harlot without respect or honour
Is this land of Partholon’s stronghold,—
Her reason hath withered without reward,
And her seed is subject to savages!
These very difficult poems of Keating have a power and a distinction in the original which it is impossible to transfuse into English. In fact, in my rough prose versions they cease to be poetry, and those who know English only will not understand my motive in including them. Some passages of my translation are merely tentative, especially in the second poem, the text of which is probably corrupt. Keating’s poems were first collected and edited by the Rev. J. C. MacErlean, S. J. (for the Gaelic League), and were published in 1900. I am not aware of any published translations of either of the poems here reprinted. Father MacErlean has kindly read through my versions, and I have gratefully adopted some of his suggestions. He would paraphrase stanza 15 of No. VIII. thus:—‘Sadly is the state o the ancient mother of the sons of Míleadh, her former loyal possessors, deformed through their leaving her unprotected against the evils that encompass her.’
The Flight of the Earls seems to be alluded to in line 16 of No. VII. The date 1644 is apparently indicated in the final quatrain of No. VIII., which quatrain, however, I omit, as it is pure prose and provides an anti-climax to the passion and bitterness of the preceding quatrain.