Fear Gan Ainm cct. (circ. 1602?)
A Róisín, ná bíoḋ brón ort fá’r éiriġ ḋuit:
Tá na bráiṫre ‘teaċt ṫar sáile is iad ag triall ar muir,
Tiocfaiḋ do ṗardún ó’n bPápa is ó’n Róiṁ anoir,
Is ná spáráil fíon Spáinneaċ ar mo Róisín Duḃ.
Is fada an réim do léig mé léi ó indé go dtí indiu
Treasna sléiḃte go ndeaċas léi, fá ṡeolta’ ar muir,
An Éirne is ċaiṫ mé ‘léim í, ciḋ mór an sruṫ,
‘S ḃí ceol téad ar gaċ taeḃ ḋíom is mo Róisín Duḃ.
Ṁarḃ tú mé, a ḃrídeog, is nár baḋ fearrde ḋuit,
‘S go ḃfuil m’anam istiġ i ngean ort, is ní indé ná indiu,
D’ḟág tú lag anḃfann mé i ngné ‘s i gcruṫ,
Ná feall orm is mé i ngean ort, a Róisín Duḃ.
Ṡiuḃalfainn féin an drúċt leat agus fásaiġ ġuirt,
Mar ṡúil go ḃfaġainn rún uait nó páirt dem’ ṫoil,
A ċraoiḃín ċuṁra, ġeallais doṁ-sa go raiḃ gráḋ agat doṁ,
‘S gur b’í fíor-sgoṫ na Muṁan í mo Róisín Duḃ.
A Róisín ṁín ṁoḋaṁail na mbán-ċíoċ gcruinn,
Is tú d’ḟág míle arraing i gceart-lár mo ċroiḋe:
Éaluiġ liom, a ċéad-ṡearc, agus fág an tír,
‘S dá ḃféadfainn naċ ndéanfainn bainríoġain ḋíot, a Róisín Duḃ!
Dá mbiaḋ seisreaċ agam do ṫreaḃfainn i n-aġaiḋ na gcnoc,
‘S ḋéanfainn roisgéal i lár an Aifrinn dem’ Róisín Duḃ,
Ḃéarainn póg do’n ċailín óg do ḃéaraḋ a hóige ḋoṁ,
‘S ḋéanfainn cleas ar ċúl an leasa lem’ Róisín Duḃ!
Biaiḋ an Éirne ‘na tuiltiḃ tréana agus réabfar cnuic,
Biaiḋ an ḟairrge ‘na tonnaiḃ dearga is doirtfear fuil,
Biaiḋ gaċ gleann sléiḃe ar fud Éireann is móinte ar crioṫ,
Lá éigin sul a n-éagfaiḋ mo Róisín Duḃ.
Anonymous (circ. 1602?)
Little Rose, be not sad for all that hath behapped thee:
The friars are coming across the sea, they march on the main,
From the Pope shall come thy pardon, and from Rome, from the East—
And stint not Spanish wine to my Little Dark Rose.
Long the journey that I made with her from yesterday till to-day,
Over mountains did I go with her, under sails upon the sea,
The Erne I passed by leaping, though wide the flood,
And there was string music on each side of me and my Little Dark Rose!
Thou hast slain me, O my bride, and may it serve thee no whit,
For the soul within me loveth thee, not since yesterday nor to-day,
Thou hast left me weak and broken in mien and in shape,
Betray me not who love thee, my Little Dark Rose!
I would walk the dew with thee and the meadowy wastes,
In hope of getting love from thee, or part of my will,
Fragrant branch, thou didst promise me that thou hadst for me love—
And sure the flower of all Munster is my Little Dark Rose!
Soft modest Little Rose of the round white breasts,
‘Tis thou hast left a thousand pains in the centre of my heart:
Fly with me, my hundred loves, and leave the land,
And if I could would I not make a Queen of thee, my Little Dark Rose!
Had I a yoke of horses I would plough against the hills,
In middle-Mass I’d make a gospel of my Little Dark Rose,
I’d give a kiss to the young girl that would give her youth to me,
And behind the liss would lie embracing my Little Dark Rose!
The Erne shall rise in rude torrents, hills shall be rent,
The sea shall roll in red waves, and blood be poured out,
Every mountain glen in Ireland, and the bogs shall quake
Some day ere shall perish my Little Dark Rose!
Poems III. and IV. are well known, but they cannot be omitted from any Irish anthology. ‘God with you, heroes of the Gael,’ is preserved in the Book of the O’Byrnes. It was first published by Hardiman in 1831, with an English metrical version by Edward Lawson, and has been many times reprinted. Sir Samuel Ferguson’s verse rendering is well known. My prose translation owes something to Tomás O’Flannghaile’s prose translation in his ‘Seacht Sár-Dhánta Gaeghilge.’ The poem was addressed to the O’Byrnes of Clann Raghnaill on the eve of the battle of Glenmalure, in which Fiacha MacHugh O’Byrne, at the head of the Irish of Leinster, routed the English under Lord Grey de Wilton, Viceroy. Seldom has so valiant a prince found so worthy a laureate as Fiacha MacHugh O’Byrne in Angus MacDaighre O’Daly. Some of the quatrains have been set to the gallant tramping music of ‘Billy Byrne of Ballymanus.’
‘The Little Dark Rose’ is the original of Mangan’s ‘Dark Rosaleen.’ The Irish poem (which is not to be judged by my English prose rendering) is a finer poem than Mangan’s, having more of the wine of poetry and less of the froth of rhetoric. Its passionate love phrases are of course allegorical. The song is traditionally associated with Red Hugh O’Donnell, who speaks therein as the lover of the mystical Rose, but in the form in which it has been preserved it is later than 1602. Hardiman published it with an English metrical version by Thomas Furlong.