The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #12385   Message #144224
Posted By: Philippa
03-Dec-99 - 01:31 PM
Thread Name: Tomas an Buile
Subject: Lyr Add: O BRUADAIR (English by James Stephens)
James Stephens did translate and adapt several poems from Irish to English. The mention of a 'pub' in the title of "What Tomás an Buile Said in a Pub" indicates to me that either the poem isn't very old in origin or that Stephens took liberties in his adaptation. I'm still working on the theory that it does derive from an Irish language poem.

It's very likely that I remebered the O Bruadair donnection incorrectly. Stephens' poem "O Bruadair" is stated in McDonagh and Robinson, "The Oxford Book of Irish Verse", to be "From the Irish of O Bruadair". I don't know the Irish language original for this poem either:

O BRUADAIR (James Stephens after the Irish of D. Ó Bruadair)"O Bruadair"

I will sing no more songs: the pride of my country I sang
Through forty long years of good rhyme, without any avail;
And no one cared even as much as half of a hang
For the song or the singer, so here is the end of the tale.

If a person should think I complain and have not got the cause,
Let him bring his eyes here and take a good look at my hand,
Let him say if a goose-quill has calloused this poor pair of paws
Or the spade that I grip on and dig with out there in the land?

When the great ones were safe and renowned and were rooted and tough,
Though my mind went to them and took joy in the fortune of those,
#And the pride in their pride and their fame, they gave little enough,
Not as much as two boots for my feet, or an old suit of clothes.

I ask of the Craftsman that fashioned the fly and the bird,
Of the Champion whose passion will lift me from death in a time,
Of the Spirit that melts icy hearts with the wind of a word,
Tha my people be worthy and get better singing than mine.

I had hoped to live decent, when Ireland was quit of her care,
As a bailiff or steward perhaps in a house of degree,
But the end of the tale is, old brogues and old britches to wear,
So I'll sing no more songs for the men that care nothing for me.