Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire

Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire is a poem written by Eibhlín Dubh Ní `Chonaill after her husband, Art O’Laoghaire was killed in an ambush because he would not sell his horse to an English official.

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Click here for the Kinsella translation

The poem is written in Irish but was translated into English by the Irish poet Thomas Kinsella.

Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire -Poem-Image-copyright-Ireland-Calling

Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire by Eibhlín Dubh Ní `Chonaill. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire

B’fhéidir gur aithris Eibhlín na dréachtaí seo os cionn an choirp i gCarraig an Ime.

Mo ghrá go daingean tu!
Lá dá bhfaca thu
ag ceann tí an mhargaidh,
thug mo shúil aire dhuit,
thug mo chroí taitnearnh duit,
d’éalaíos óm charaid leat
i bhfad ó bhaile leat.

Is domhsa nárbh aithreach:
Chuiris parlús á ghealadh dhom,
rúrnanna á mbreacadh dhom,
bácús á dheargadh dhom,
brící á gceapadh dhom,
rósta ar bhearaibh dom,
mairt á leagadh dhom;
codladh i gclúmh lachan dom
go dtíodh an t-eadartha
nó thairis dá dtaitneadh liorn.

Mo chara go daingean tu!
is cuimhin lem aigne
an lá breá earraigh úd,
gur bhreá thiodh hata dhuit
faoi bhanda óir tarraingthe;
claíomh cinn airgid,
lámh dheas chalma,
rompsáil bhagarthach –
fír-chritheagla
ar námhaid chealgach –
tú i gcóir chun falaracht
is each caol ceannann fút.
D’umhlaídís Sasanaigh
síos go talamh duit,
is ní ar mhaithe leat
ach le haon-chorp eagla,
cé gur leo a cailleadh tu,
a mhuirnín mh’anama….

Mo chara thu go daingean!
is nuair thiocfaidh chúgham abhaile
Conchúr beag an cheana
is Fear Ó Laoghaire, an leanbh,
fiafróid díom go tapaidh
cár fhágas féin a n-athair.
‘Neosad dóibh faoi mhairg
gur fhágas i gCill na Martar.
Glaofaid siad ar a n-athair,
is ní bheidh sé acu le freagairt….

Mo chara thu go daingean!
is níor chreideas riamh dod mharbh
gur tháinig chúgham do chapall
is a srianta léi go talamh,
is fuil do chroí ar a leacain
siar go t’iallait ghreanta
mar a mbítheá id shuí ‘s id sheasarnh.
Thugas léim go tairsigh,
an dara léim go geata,
an triú léim ar do chapall.

Do bhuaileas go luath mo bhasa
is do bhaineas as na reathaibh
chomh maith is bhí séagam,
go bhfuaras romham tu marbh
Cois toirín ísil aitinn,
gan Pápa gan easpag,
gan cléireach gan sagart
do léifeadh ort an tsailm,
ach seanbhean chríonna chaite
do leath ort binn dá fallaing —
do chuid fola leat ‘na sraithibh;
is níor fhanas le hí ghlanadh
ach í ól suas lem basaibh.

Mo ghrá thu go daingean!
is érigh suas id sheasamh
is tar liom féin abhaile,
go gcuirfeam mairt á leagadh,
go nglaofam ar chóisir fhairsing,
go mbeidh againn ceol á spreagadh,
go gcóireod duitse leaba
faoi bhairlíní geala,
faoi chuilteanna breátha breaca,
a bhainfidh asat alias
in ionad an fhuachta a ghlacais.

II

Nuair a shroich deirfiúr Airt (ó Chorcaigh) teach an tórraimh in aice Mhaigh Chromtha, fuair sí, de réir an tseanchais, Eibhlín roimpi sa leaba. Seo roinnt den bhriatharchath a bhí eatarthu.

Deirfiúr Airt:

Mo chara is mo stór tú
is mó bean chumtha chórach
ó Chorcaigh na. seolta
go Droichead na Tóime,

do tabharfadh macha mór bó dhuit
agus dorn buí-óir duit,
ná raghadh a chodladh ‘na seomra
oíche do thórraimh.

Eibhlín Dhubh:

Mo chara is m’ uan tú!
is ná creid sin uathu,
ná an cogar a fuarais,
ná an scéal fir fuatha,
gur a chodladh a chuas-sa.
Níor throm suan dom:
ach bhí do linbh ró-bhuartha,
‘s do theastaigh sé uathu
iad a chur chun suaimhnis.

A dhaoine na n-ae istigh,
‘bhfuil aon bhean in Éirinn,
ó luí na gréine,
a shínfeadh a taobh leis,
do bhéarfadh trí lao dho,
ná raghadh le craobhacha
i ndiaidh Airt Uí Laoghaire
atá anso traochta
ó mhaidin inné agam?…

M’fhada-chreach léan-ghoirt
ná rabhas-sa taobh leat
nuair lámhadh an piléar leat,
go ngeobhainn é im thaobh dheas
nó i mbinn mo léine,
is go léigfinn cead slé’ leat
a mharcaigh na ré-ghlac

Deirfiúr Airt:

Mo chreach ghéarchúiseach
ná rabhas ar do chúlaibh
nuair lámhadh an púdar,
go ngeobhainn é im chom dheas
nó i mbinn mo ghúna,
is go léigfinn cead siúil leat
a mharcaigh na súl nglas,
ós tú b’fhearr léigean chucu.

III

Cuireann Eibhlín a mórtas as a fear céile in iúl go lánphoiblí sna dréachtaí seo. B’fhéidir gur aithris si an méid seo tar éis don chorp a bheith rétithe le haghaidh an adhlactha.

Eibhlín Dhubh:

Mo chara thu is mo, shearc-mhaoin!
Is gránna an cháir a chur ar ghaiscíoch
comhra agus caipín,
ar mharcach an dea-chroí
a bhiodh ag iascaireacht ar ghlaisíbh
agus ag ól ar hallaíbh
i bhfarradh mná na ngeal-chíoch.
Mo mhíle mearaí
mar a chailleas do thaithí.

Greadadh chúghat is díth
á Mhorris ghránna an fhill!
á bhain díom fear mo thí,
athair mo, leanbh gan aois:
dís acu ag siúl an tí,
‘s an tríú duine acu istigh im chlí,
agus is dócha ná cuirfead diom.

Mo chara thu is mo thaitneamh!
Nuair ghabhais amach an geata
d’fhillis ar ais go tapaidh,
do phógais do dhís leanbh,
do phógais mise ar bharra baise.
Dúraís, ‘A Eibhlín, éirigh id sheasamh
agus cuir do ghnó chun taisce
go luaimneach is go tapaidh.
Táimse ag fágáil an bhaile,
is ní móide go deo go gcasfainn.’
Níor dheineas dá chaint ach magadh,
mar bhíodh á rá liom go minic cheana.

Mo chara thu is mo chuid!
A mharcaigh an chlaímh ghil,
éirigh suas anois,
cuir ort do chulaith
éadaigh uasail ghlain,
cuir ort do bhéabhar dubh,
tarraing do lámhainní umat.
Siúd í in airde t’fbuip;
sin i do láir amuigh.
Buail-se an bóthar caol úd soir
mar a maolóidh romhat na toir,
mar a gcaolóidh romhat an sruth,
mar a n-umhlóidh romhat mná is fir,
má tá a mbéasa féin acu –
‘s is baolach liomsa ná fuil anois….

Mo ghrá thu is mo chumann!
‘s ní hé a bhfuair bás dem chine,
ni bás mo thriúr clainne;
ná Dónall Mór Ó Conaill,
ná Conall a bháigh an tuile,
ná bean na sé mblian ‘s fiche
do chuaigh anonn thar uisce
‘déanamh cairdeasaí le rithe –
ní hiad go lér atá agam dá ngairm,
ach Art a bhaint aréir dá bhonnaibh
ar inse Charraig an Ime!
marcach na lárach doinne
atá agam féin anso go singil —
gan éinne beo ‘na ghoire
ach mná beaga dubha an mhuilinn,
is mar bharr ar mo mhíle tubaist
gan a súiile féin ag sileadh.

Mo chara is mo lao thu!
A Airt Uí Laoghaire
Mhic Conchúir, Mhic Céadaigh,
Mhic Laoisigh Uí Laoghaire,
aniar ón nGaortha
is anoir ón gCaolchnoc,
mar a bhfásaid caora
is cnó bui ar ghéagaibh
is úlla ‘na slaodaibh
na n-am féinig.
Cárbh ionadh le héinne
dá lasadh Uíbh Laoghaire
agus Béal Atha an Ghaorthaigh
is an Uigdn naofa
i ndiaidh mharcaigh na ré-ghlac
a níodh an fiach a thraochadh
ón nGreanaigh ar saothar
nuair stadaidís caol-choin!
Is a mharcaigh na gclaon-rosc —
nó cad d’imigh aréir ort?
Óir do shíleas féinig
ni maródh an saol tu
nuair cheannaíos duit éide.

IV

Déanann deirfiúr Airt a caoineadh féin anseo. Nuair a luann sí, na mná óga a bhí mór le Art, spriúchann Eibhlín.

Deirfiúr Airt:

Mo ghrá is mo rún tu!
‘s mo ghra mo cholúr geal!
Cé ná tánag-sa chúghat-sa
is nár thugas mo thrúip liom,
nior chúis náire siúd liom
mar bhíodar i gcúngrach
i seomraí dúnta
is i gcomhraí cúnga,
is i gcodladh gan mhúscailt.

Mura mbeadh an bholgach
is an bás dorcha
is an fiabhras spotaitheach,
bheadh an marc-shlua borb san
is a srianta á gcroitheadh acu
ag déanamh fothraim
ag teacht dod shochraid
a Airt an bhrollaigh ghil….

Mo chara is mo lao thu!
Is aisling tri néallaibh
do deineadh aréir dom
i gCorcaigh go déanach
ar leaba im aonar:
gur thit ár gcúirt aolda,
cur chríon an Gaortha,
nár fhan friotal id chaol-choin
ná binneas ag éanaibh,
nuair fuaradh tu traochta
ar lár an tslé’ arnuigh,
gan sagart, gan cléireach,
ach seanbhean aosta
do leath binn dá bréid ort
nuair fuadh den chré thu,
a Airt Uí Laoghaire,
is do chuid fola ‘na slaodaibh
i mbrollach do léine.

Mo ghrá is mo rún tu!
‘s is breá thiodh súd duit,
stoca chúig dhual duit,
buatais go glúin ort,
Caroilin cúinneach,
is fuip go lúifar
ar ghillín shúgach –
is mó ainnir mhodhúil mhúinte
bhíodh ag féachaint sa chúl ort.

Eibhlín Dhubh:

Mo ghrá go daingean tu!
‘s nuair théitheá sna cathracha
daora, daingeana,
biodh mná na gceannaithe
ag umhlú go talamh duit,
óir do thuigidís ‘na n-aigne
gur bhreá an leath leaba tu,
nó an bhéalóg chapaill tu,
nó an t-athair leanbh tu.

Tá fhios ag losa Criost
ná beidh caidhp ar bhaitheas mo chinn,
ná léine chnis lem thaoibh,
ná bróg ar thrácht mo bhoinn,
ná trioscán ar fuaid mo thí,
ná srian leis an láir ndoinn,
ná caithfidh mé le dlí,
‘s go raghad anonn thar toinn
ag comhrá leis an rá,
‘s mura gcuirfidh ionam aon tsuim
go dtiocfad ar ais arís
go bodach na fola duibhe
a bhain diom féin mo mhaoin.

V

De bharr constaicí dlí, dealraionn sé nár cuireadh Art i reilig a shinsear. Cuireadh an corp go sealadach; agus cúpla mí ina dhiaidh sin, ní foldáir, aistríodh i go mainistir Chill Cré, Co. Chorcaí. B’fhéidir gur chuir Eibhlín na dréachtaí seo a leanas lena, caoineadh ar ócáid an dara adhlacadh.

Eibhlín Dhubh:

Mó ghrá thu agus mo rún!
Tá do stácaí ar a mbonn,
tá do bha buí á gcrú;
is ar mo chroí atá do chumha
ná leigheasfadh Cúige Mumhan
ná Gaibhne Oileáin na bhFionn.
Go dtiocfaidh Art Ó Laoghaire chúgham
ní scaipfidh ar mo chumha
atá i lár mo chroí á bhrú,
dúnta suas go dlúth
mar a bheadh glas a bheadh ar thrúnc
‘s go raghadh an eochair amú.

A mhná so amach ag gol
stadaidh ar bhur gcois
go nglaofaidh Art Mhac Conchúir deoch,
agus tuilleadh thar cheann na mbocht,
sula dtéann isteach don scoil —
ní ag foghlaim léinn ná port,
ach ag iompar cré agus cloch.

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Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire by Eibhlín Dubh Ní `Chonaill. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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The Lament For Art Ó Laoghaire translation by Thomas Kinsella. Image copyright Ireland Calling

The Lament For Art Ó Laoghaire

The extracts in this section appear to have been uttered by EibhIín over her husband’s body in Carriginima.

My steadfast love!
When I saw you one day
by the market-house gable
my eye gave a look
my heart shone out
I fled with you far
from friends and home.

And never was sorry:
you had parlours painted
rooms decked out
the oven reddened
and loaves made up
roasts on spits
and cattle slaughtered;
I slept in duck-down
till noontime came
or later if I liked.

My steadfast friend!
it comes to my mind
that fine Spring day
how well your hat looked
with the drawn gold band,
the sword silver-hilted
your fine brave hand
and menacing prance,
and the fearful tremble
of treacherous enemies.
You were set to ride
your slim white-faced steed
and Saxons saluted
down to the ground,
not from good will
but by dint of fear
– though you died at their hands,
my soul’s beloved….

My steadfast friend!
And when they come home,
our little pet Conchúr
and baby Fear Ó Laoghaire,
they will ask at once
where I left their father.
I will tell them in woe
he is left in Cill na Martar,
and they’ll call for their father
and get no answer….

My steadfast friend!
I didn’t credit your death
till your horse came home
and her reins on the ground,
your heart’s blood on her back
to the polished saddle
where you sat – where you stood….
I gave a leap to the door,
a second leap to the gate
and a third on your horse.

I clapped my hands quickly
and started mad running
as hard as I could,
to find you there dead
by a low furze-bush
with no Pope or bishop
or clergy or priest
to read a psalm over you
but a spent old woman
who spread her cloak corner
where your blood streamed from you,
and I didn’t stop to clean it
but drank it from my palms.

My steadfast love!
Arise, stand up
and come with myself
and I’ll have cattle slaughtered
and call fine company
and hurry up the music
and make you up a bed
with bright sheets upon it
and fine speckled quilts
to bring you out in a sweat
where the cold has caught you.

II

Tradition has it that Art’s sister found Eibhlín in bed when she arrived from Cork City for the wake in the Ó Laoghaire home. Her rebuke to Eibhlín led to a sharp verbal contest.

Art’s sister:

My friend and my treasure!
Many fine-made women
from Cork of the sails
to Droichead na Tóime
would bring you great herds
and a yellow gold handful,
and not sleep in their room
on the night of your wake.

Eibhlín Dhubh:

My friend and my lamb!
Don’t you believe them
nor the scandal you heard
nor the jealous man’s gossip
that it’s sleeping I went.
It was no heavy slumber
but your babies so troubled
and all of them needing
to be settled in peace.

People of my heart,
what woman in Ireland
from setting of sun
could stretch out beside him
and bear him three sucklings
and not run wild
losing Art Ó Laoghaire
who lies here vanquished
since yesterday morning?…

Long loss, bitter grief
I was not by your side
when the bullet was fired
so my right side could take it
or the edge of my shift
till I freed you to the hills,
my fine-handed horseman!

Art’s sister:

My sharp bitter loss
I was not at your back
when the powder was fired
so my fine waist could take it
or the edge of my dress,
till I let you go free,
My grey-eyed rider,
ablest for them all.

III

These lines, with their public adulation of Art, were probably uttered by Eibhlín after her husband’s body had been prepared for burial.

Eibhlín Dhubh:

My friend and my treasure trove!
An ugly outfit for a warrior:
a coffin and a cap
on that great-hearted horseman
who fished in the rivers
and drank in the halls
with white-breasted women.
My thousand confusions
I have lost the use of you.
Ruin and bad cess to you,
ugly traitor Morris,
who took the man of my house
and father of my young ones
– a pair walking the house
and the third in my womb,
and I doubt that I’ll bear it.

My friend and beloved!
When you left through the gate
you came in again quickly,
you kissed both your children,
kissed the tips of my fingers.
You said: ” Eibhlín, stand up
and finish with your work
lively and swiftly:
I am leaving our home
and may never return.”
I made nothing of his talk
for he spoke often so.

My friend and my share!
0 bright-sworded rider
rise up now,
put on your immaculate
fine suit of clothes,
put on your black beaver
and pull on your gloves.
There above is your whip
and your mare is outside.
Take the narrow road Eastward
where the bushes bend before you
and the stream will narrow for you
and men and women will bow
if they have their proper manners
– as I doubt they have at present….

My love, and my beloved!
Not my people who have died
– not my three dead children
nor big Dónall Ó Conaill
nor Conall drowned on the sea
nor the girl of twenty-six
who went across the ocean
alliancing with kings
– not all these do I summon
but Art, reaped from his feet last night
on the inch of Carriginima.
The brown mare’s rider
deserted here beside me,
no living being near him
but the little black mill-women
– and to top my thousand troubles
their eyes not even streaming.

My friend and my calf!
O Art Ó Laoghaire
son of Conchúr son of Céadach
son of Laoiseach Ó Laoghaire:
West from the Gaortha
and East from the Caolchnoc
where the berries grow,
yellow nuts on the branches
and masses of apples
in their proper season
– need anyone wonder
if Uibh Laoghaire were alight
and Béal Atha an Ghaorthaígh
and Gúgán the holy
or the fine-handed rider
who used tire out the hunt
as they panted from Greanach
and the slim hounds gave up?
Alluring-eyed rider,
o what ailed you last night?
For I thought myself
when I bought your uniform
the world couldn’t kill you!

IV

Art’s sister makes her own formal contribution here to the keen. Her reference to Art’s women-friends brings a spirited reply from Eibhlín.

Art’s sister:

My love and my darling!
My love, my bright dove!
Though I couldn’t be with you
nor bring you my people
that’s no cause for reproach,
for hard pressed were they all
in shuttered rooms
and narrow coffins
in a sleep with no waking.

Were it not for the smallpox
and the black death
and the spotted fever
those rough horse-riders
would be rattling their reins
and making a tumult
on the way to your funeral,
Art of the bright breast….

My friend and my calf!
A vision in dream
was vouchsafed me last night
in Cork, a late hour,
in bed by myself:
our white mansion had fallen,
the Gaortha had withered,
our slim hounds were silent
and no sweet birds,
when you were found spent
out in midst of the mountain
with no priest or cleric
but an ancient old woman
to spread the edge of her cloak,
and you stitched to the earth,
Art Ó Laoghaire,
and streams of your blood
on the breast of your shirt.

My love and my darling!
It is well they became you
your stocking, five-ply,
riding -boots to the knee,
cornered Caroline hat
and a lively whip
on a spirited gelding,
many modest mild maidens
admiring behind you.

Eibhlín Dhubh:

My steadfast love!
When you walked through the servile
strong-built towns,
the merchants’ wives
would salute to the ground
knowing well in their hearts
a fine bed-mate you were
a great front-rider
and father of children.

Jesus Christ well knows
there’s no cap upon my skull
nor shift next to my body
nor shoe upon my foot-sole
nor furniture in my house
nor reins on the brown mare
but I’ll spend it on the law;
that I’ll go across the ocean
to argue with the King,
and if he won’t pay attention
that I’ll come back again
to the black-blooded savage
that took my treasure.

V

Due to some legal obstruction, the body of Art Ó Laoghaire was not buried in the ancestral graveyard, and temporary burial arrangements had to be made. It was possibly some months later that the body was transferred to the monastery of Kilcrea, Co. Cork. Eibhlín appears to have uttered the following passage of her lament on the occasion of the second burial.

Eibhlín Dhubh:

My love and my beloved!
Your corn-stacks are standing,
your yellow cows milking.
Your grief upon my heart
all Munster couldn’t cure,
nor the smiths of Oiledn na bhFionn.

Till Art Ó Laoghaire comes
my grief will not disperse
but cram my heart’s core,
shut firmly in
like a trunk locked up
when the key is lost.

Women there weeping,
stay there where you are,
till Art Mac Conchúir summons drink
with some extra for the poor
– ere he enter that school
not for study or for music
but to bear clay and stones.

 The Lost World of Art Ó Laoghaire

RTÉ programme with the history of Art Ó Laoghaire. Hear the poem is the Irish tongue.

* * *

The Lament For Art Ó Laoghaire translation by Thomas Kinsella. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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