The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7921   Message #98075
Posted By: Philippa
22-Jul-99 - 02:05 PM
Thread Name: Macaronachas / Macaronic Songs. Language mixing
Subject: Mac Con Mara's macaronic
Usually in Irish/Gaelic-English macaronic verse, the lines in each language fit together without contradiction. The following ballad, however, is designed to deceive the monoglot. I have copied this song from James Healy. Ballads From the Pubs of Ireland. Cork: Mercier, 1965, 4th edition 1971. According to Healy's notes, the author Donnchadh Mac Con-Mara emigrated (in the 18th century) to Newfoundland and composed this poem on the spot when some English soldiers at a public house in St John's asked him for a song. Healy writes: "Extemporaneously he ran off the following to the delight of the sailor who understood the English part, and to the double-delight of the Irish present who understood it all. " I have copied the spelling from Healy's book; I suspect a couple of errors, but in most cases where the spelling deviates from the present-day standard I recognise a familiar archaic form. Mac Con-Mara's best known song is "Bán-Chnoic Éireann-ó"

MacNamara's Bilingual Ballad

As I was walking one evening fair,
Agus mé go déanacha m-baile Sheagáin [and I lately in St John's]
I met a gang of English blades
Agus iad da d-traohadh ag neart a námhaid [and they being subdued by the strength of their enemies]

I boozed and drank both late and early,
With those courageous 'men-of-war;'
'S gur bhinne liom Sasanaigh ag ruith ar
's gan do Ghaoidhil ann acht fíor bheagán. [and sweet it was for me to see English retreating and only a few Irish there]

I spent my fortune by being freakish,
Drinking, raking and playing cards;
Gidh ná raibh airgiod agam, 'ná greithe, [Although I had no money or jewels]
Na rád san t-saogal, achd nídh gan áird! [or anything in the world that was valuable]
Then I turned a jolly tradesman,
By work and labour I lived abroad;
'S bíoch ar m' fallaing-si gur mór an bhréag sin [And by my soul, but that's a great lie-]
Is beag dén t-saothar do thuit le m' láimh. ['Twas little work that I did]

Newfoundland is a fine plantation
It shall be my station till I die,
Mo crádh! Go m'fhearr liom a bheith a n-Éire [Alas, I'd rather be in Ireland]
Ag díol gáirteirighe, ná ag dul fá'n g-coill; [selling garters or taking to the woods]
Here you may find a virtuous lady
A smiling fair one to please your eye,
An paca staigionnadh is measa tréithe, [A pack of whores of the worst kind]
Go m-beireadh mé ar a bheith as radharc! [- may I be swept out of their sight!]

I'll join in fellowship with 'Jack-of -all-Trades,'

The last of August could I but see;
Atá fhios ag Coisdhealbhadh 's ar maghaisdir báid é, [Costello knows, and he's a ship's master]
Gur b'olc an láimh mé ar muir 'ná air tír; [that I'm no good on sea or land]
If fortune smiles, then I'll be her darling,
But if she scorns my company
Déanfad 'Bainistídhe an Toill anáirde.' [I'll manage myself a little hideout]
'S fada ón áit-si do bheidheadh mé 'rís [and it's far from this place I'll be again]

Come drink a health boys, to Royal George,
Our chief commander, nár órdaigh Críosd; [not blessed by Christ]
'S biodh bhúr n-athchuingidhe chum Muire Mhatair [And let your prayers to Mother Mary be]
É fein 's a ghárdaighe do Leagadh síos; [that he and his gansters may be struck down]
We'll fear no Cannon, nor 'War's Alarms',
While noble George will be our guide,
A Chríost go bhfeiceadh mé an bhrúid da chárnadh [O Christ; May I see the brute defeated]
Ag an Mac so ar fán uainn thall san bhFrainc [by this son {Prince Charles Edward Stuart,Bonnie Prince Charlie'} astray from us over in France]