Reading Number 2

The proverbs in the last lesson were the first in a series of readings that'll be appearing from now on, since we now have enough Irish grammar to read simple texts. Today's reading is a song collected by Douglas Hyde in his book "Love-Songs of Connacht", which was published in 1893. Hyde, who was born in 1860 in Roscommon, was a Protestant who founded the non-sectarian Gaelic League in 1893 to promote the Irish language. He taught first at the University of New Brunswick and, later, was the first professor of modern Irish at University College in Dublin. In 1937, when the office of President was created in the new constitution of the Republic of Ireland, Hyde became the first to occupy that office. He died in 1949.

Hyde collected the song given below, "My Grief on the Sea", from a woman named Brighid ni Chorsuaidh who was almost a hundred years old and living in a hut in the middle of a bog in Co. Roscommon. A footnote says: "Tá sí marbh anois agus a cuid amhrán léi" -- "she is dead now and her share of songs with her".

The spelling and grammar in the song have been modernized to accord with standard Irish. Unfamiliar vocabulary is given to the right. An English translation follows.

Mo Bhrón ar an Bhfarraige

Mo bhrón ar an bhfarraige
Is é tá mór,
Is é gabháil idir mé
'S mo mhíle stór.
(brón [m.], "grief")
(farraige [f.], "sea") (tá = atá)
((ag) gabháil, "going") (idir, "between")
('s = agus) (míle, "thousand") (stór [m.], "treasure")

Fagadh san mbaile mé
Déanamh bróin,
Gan aon tsúil tar sáile liom
Choíche ná go deo.
(déanamh = ag déanamh)
(gan, "without") (súil [f.], "hope")
(tar = thar; thar sáile = "abroad") (choíche = "forever") (ná = "or") (go deo = "forever")

Mo léan nach bhfuil mise
'Gus mo mhúirnín bán
I gCúige Laighean
Ná i gContae an Chláir.
(léan [m.], "grief")
(múirnín [m.], "darling") (bán, "fair")
(cúige [m.], "province")
(Laighean, "Leinster") (Contae an Chláir, "County Clare")

Mo bhrón nach bhfuil mise
'Gus mo mhíle grá
Ar bord loinge
Triall go Meiriceá.
(grá [m.], "sweetheart")
(ar bord, "on board")
(loinge, "of a ship") ((ag) triall go, "bound for")

Leaba luachra
Bhí fúm aréir,
Agus chaith mé amach é
Le teas an lae.
(leaba [f.], "bed") (luachra, "of rushes")
(aréir, "last night")
(caith, "throw") (amach, "out")
(teas [m.], "heat") (an lae, "of the day")

Tháinig mo ghrá-sa
Le mo thaobh
Gualainn ar ghualainn
Agus béal ar bhéal.
(tháinig, "came")
(le, "by") (taobh [m.], "side")
(gualainn [f.], "shoulder")
(béal [f.], "mouth")

Literal translation:

"My grief on the sea
Is that it is big
It is it going between me
and my thousand treasures [i.e. my love].

I was left at home
Making grief,
Without one hope [of going] abroad
Forever or forever.

My grief that I am not
and my fair darling
in the province Leinster
or County of Clare.

My grief that I am not
and my thousand loves
on board of a ship
bound for America.

A bed of rushes
was under me last night
and I threw it out
with the heat of the day.

My love came
by my side
shoulder on shoulder
and mouth on mouth.)

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