Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society No. 26, pages 1 to 4
Eili Gheal Chiuin Ni Chearbhaill
Tá a cruibh laga maoth is galanta gníomh,
Gan alta, gan smaois, gan féithibh;
'S go mbuainfeadh ón naoi mnáibh ealanta sidhe,
Gérah acfuinneach iad ar théadaibh.
Ar brait ag an naoidhe gá breacadh go caoin
Gach ealta faoi sgríob na gréine,
An eilit 's a laogh, an bradán 's a' faol,
An eala, an chearc fraoich 's a h-éanlaighe.
Breathnaigh-si, a naoidhe, gur cleasach é an saoghal,
'S má mhealltar thú is daor a' tréas é.
Mo mhalairt má nír beidh mallacht na naoimh
Ag fearthain go dian do dhéigh-si
Ní h-abraim gur baos dá rachuinn ar sgaoll,
Nó ar eitill mar ní na h-éanlaighe,
'S gur fá do shamhail-si mhnaoi a deacha an dá laoich,
Cúchulainn is Cúraoi, fó chéile.
Tá'n iomad córn 'n-a n-úrlannaibh dórn
Ag fás go feór 'n-a déigh-si
'N-a sgathanaibh óir a sháruigh an t-ambro,
Agus náirigh óg-mhná na h-Eirne.
Amharc an tseóid dá bhfeicfeadh an treóin-fhear
Iáson cródhach tréitheach,
Gan spairn gan ghleó go bhfáigfeadh go deó
An lomra óir is Medéa.
Páris tráth bhí ar mhalaidh Shléibh' Íd,
'Tabhairt faire gach oidhche ar shréadaibh,
Go bhfaca sé an trlar ban cbuige go dian
Le Mercuri thrld na spéirthibh;
Mo shearc-sa dá mbi 'n-a seasamh 's a' tslighe,
'S dá bhfeicfeadh agus í gan léine,
Gur di-si do shínfeadh an abhull gan spnaoi
Thug an t-ainm ón dis do Bhénus.
Her hands are soft and delicate, and deft in action,
Showing no joints, muscles or sinews;
And she would excel the nine skilled muses,
Dextorous though they were upon the strings.
On a cloak this maiden can finely embroider
Every species of wild bird under the sun,
The deer and her fawn, the salmon and the wolf,
The swan, the grouse and her chickens.
Consider, sweetheart, that the world is deceitful,
And if you are beguiled, dire is the treachery.
If you forsake me for another, the curse of the saints
Shall rain down heavily in pursuit of you.
I cannot call it folly if I should become frenzied,
Or fly in the air like the birds,
And it was for a woman like you that the two heroes,
Cúchulainn and Cúraoi, did battle.
Many ringlets, each a handful (?),
Grow down and meet the grass behind her
In wisps of gold more lovely than amber,
Putting the young women of the Erne to shame.
Had my jewel been seen by that warrior,
Jason the valiant and resourceful,
Without struggle or contest he would have left for ever
The golden fleece and Medea.
Once Paris was on Mount Ida's brow,
Nightly watching his flocks,
When he spied the three goddesses rapidly approaching him
With Mercury through the heavens:
Had my love been standing in his path,
And he had seen her undraped,
It is to her he would unhesitatingly (?) have given the apple
Which gave the title from the other twain to Venus.
No other version appears to have been printed. In addition to the two copies on which the above text is
based, there are others in (Bunting) MS. 11, p. 38 and MS 26, sheet 27. In no case is there any
indication of origin, and in no case do the readings afford any help for solving the difficulties which
have occasioned the insertion of queries in the translation.
The fair maid for whom Cuchulainn and Cúraoi did battle (verse II) is of course Blanaid (Keating, Foras
Feasa, II, pp. 222—226).
Professor O'Toole tells me that in the MS. of Peter Gallegan, in the Library of the University of
Edinburgh, there is a poem (p. 74) entitled "Ailís Nuí Chearbhuill," attributed to "Mac Cúarta" and
"Tá lile gan smúid ar m'aire-sa lúathughadh
'S ní cheiliom a cliú go dearbhtha."
As the verses printed above are headed in some of the MSS. "A new song to the tune of 'Eilí gheal chiúin
Ni Chearbhuil.'" it may well be that the Edinburgh poem is the original song for the tune.
Bunting printed with the tune Thomas Campbell's well known verses beginning:
"A chieftain to the highlands bound."