From Mathghamhain O/ Hifearna/in (early 17th C)
I ask, who will buy a poem?
It holds right thoughts of scholars.
Who needs it? Will anyone take it?
A fine poem to make him immortal.
A poem of close-knit skill,
I have walked all Munster with it
from market cross to cross
for a year, and I'm no better off.
Not a man or a woman would give me
down-payment, no tiniest groat.
And no one would tell me why
--ignored by Gael and stranger.
What use is a craft like this,
a shame though it has to die?
Making combs would earn more honour.
Why would anyone take to verse?
Corc of Cashel is dead, and Cian,
who hoarded no cattle or cash,
men happy to pay their poets.
So goodbye to the seed of E/ibhear.
They kept the palm for giving
until Cobhthach was lost, and Ta/l.
Many I leave unmentioned
that I might have made poems for still.
I'm a ship with a ruined cargo
now the famous Fitzgeralds are gone.
No answer. A terrible case.
It is in vain that I ask.