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Felipa Mrs. McGraw - origins (35) RE: Mrs. McGrath & A Mhic Mo Chroi 27 Jul 21


        "A mhic mo chroí", arsa an sáirsint groí,
        "Ar mhaith leat bheith in arm a's in éide an Rí,
        I do Royal Dragoon thar farraige anonn,
        's gan aon rómhoill i do chorporal mór

                Agus túr-raidh-á-fol-de-didil-á

        A's rinne Tadhg réidh agus chuaigh thar sáil'
        Bhí a mháthair tamall fada gan a thuairisc a fháil,
        Ach i mí Mheán Fómhair tháinig long faoi sheol,
        Go cuan Chorcaí agus Tadhg ar bord.   

        O! lig sí béic nuair a chonaic sí é,
        Mar bhí Tadhg ina bhacach agus crannchos fé(1),   [1 fé= faoi]
        "Maise, a Thaidhg, a rún, an tú atá chugam (2),   [2 abair/say ‘chúm’]
        D'anam don Diabhal 's gan ach adhmad fút!"                                                

        "An raibh tú ólta nó an raibh tú dall,
        Nó an dearmad de do chosa 's iad a fhágáil thall,
        An siúl ar an fharraige a rinne tú anall,
        Go raibh siad caite agat ó ghlúin go sáil?"

        "O! ní raibh mé ólta a's ní raibh mé caoch,
        Ach ag troid ar son na saoirse mar a dhéanfadh laoch,
        Ag lámhach na ngunnaí i Sebastopol,
        Sciob piléar mo chosa ó mo chorp ar shiúl.”

back translation

"Son of my heart", said the bold sergeant,
Would you like to be in the King’s army and uniform,
To be a Royal Dragoon across the sea,
And without too much delay a grand corporal?”

And Tadhg made ready and went overseas,
His mother was a long while without any word of him,
But in the month of September, came a ship in sail,
To Cork harbour and Tadhg on board.

Oh! she let out a cry when she saw him,
For Tadhg was a cripple with a wooden leg under him,
"Musha, Tadhg, my dear, is it you that I see,
Be damned (lit. your soul to the Devil), but you’ve only got wood under you!"

"Were you drunk or were you blind,
Or did you forget your feet and leave them behind,
Or is it you walked back over the sea,
Until you had worn them down from knee to heel?"

"Oh! I wasn’t drunk and I wasn’t blind,
But fighting for the sake of freedom as a hero would do,
Firing the guns in Sebastopol,
A bullet snatched my legs from my body away."

I don't know the provenance of this Irish language version of Mrs McGrath. I expect it is a translation from the English, rather than the other way about, but it is not very recent (I heard it in sung sessions in our previous century, at any rate). Dick Mac Gabhann who provided the translation, gives this introduction:
"A satirical anti-war song from the early 20th Century, which treats of the horrors of warfare in a blackly comic way. The location in the final verse is now known as Sevastopol in Russia, which in the 1850s was the scene of one of the bloodiest campaigns of the Crimean War."

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