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Subject:

Re: Most beautiful verse?

From:

Dennis King <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 15 Apr 2002 13:21:22 -0700

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text/plain

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Francine Nicholson wrote:

> --the one attributed to Colum cille about one eye looking back at
> Ireland. That seems mighty intense to me, if I remember correctly.

Fil súil nglais
fégbas Éirinn dar a hais;
nocho n-aicceba íarmo-thá
firu Érenn nách a mná.

This is the poem as found in _Medieval Irish Lyrics_ (a very
lightly edited version of the original found in Lebor na hUidre).
I think it absolutely encapsulates the pathos of the white martyr
/ transportee / emigrant. Carney's translation seems a little
over-wrought, compared to the utter simplicity of the original
syntax:

Grey eye there is
that backward looks and gazes;
never will it see again
Ireland's women, Ireland's men.

Dennis King


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