Author: Fearchar Ó Maoilchiaráin
A love poem to a woman named Mór. And yes, that would be my reason for translating
it. After years of being the only Maureen I knew, and a sad lack of Maureens
in literary works, it is good to find a lady with my name being celebrated!
Even if she does have a cloak pin problem.
|I mbrat an bhrollaigh ghil-se
ní bhiadh an dealg droighin-se
dá mbeith, a Mhór bhéildearg bhinn,
an éindealg d'ór i nÉirinn.
San mbrat-sa níor chóir do chur
A fholt lag ar lí an ómra,
nior chosmhail dealg don droighean.
Níor churtha a chnú mo chroidhe,
A ghruadh chorcra do char mé,
ar feadh na huaire, a ghlac ghlan,
|In a cloak, that bright breast of yours-- |
it should not be the blackthorn brooch;
for you it is, sweet redmouthed Mór,
the one brooch of gold in Éire.
In your cloak, the proper equipment is
Oh, soft hair the color of amber,
You should sow, my heart's nut,
Crimson cheek that harrows me,
* a stuaigh chobhsaidh nár chealg fear/oh, resolute arch which may never betray a man: "Arch" was originally used as a synonym or flattering term for "hero" or "warrior". But (humorously? or as a reference to a woman's curves?) it later became a term for a beautiful woman. The poet seems to be playing on both meanings.
At this point, I have nothing better to do than tell you that "gruagach" (hairy) also has an interesting range of meanings. Fantasy readers can tell you that it means "goblin", "giant", or "wizard". But in Scottish Gaelic, it is a common word for a beautiful (long-haired) young woman.
** acht dealg do-ghéanadh Gaibhneann./only a hard-to-make brooch by Goibhniu: Goibhniu was one of the smiths of the Tuatha Dé Danaan; his Welsh cognate is Govannon. They both struck a grievous blow that killed their nephews (Goibhniu killed Ruadan, Bres & Brigid's son; and according to the triads, Govannon killed Arianrhod's son Dylan ap Ton).