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James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own

keberoxu 25 Nov 15 - 07:36 PM
keberoxu 26 Nov 15 - 02:16 PM
keberoxu 26 Nov 15 - 02:27 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 26 Nov 15 - 03:14 PM
keberoxu 26 Nov 15 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,~Q~ 29 Nov 15 - 01:05 PM
keberoxu 29 Nov 15 - 03:40 PM
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Subject: collected works, Irish Academic Press
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 07:36 PM

James Clarence Mangan died in Dublin, Ireland in 1849. It would take one hundred fifty years before a complete critical edition of his collected works, poetry and prose alike, was published. 1999 is the publication date of the fourth and final volume of his poems; there are two more volumes just for the prose, especially for the essays and criticism published in Dublin. The Irish Academic Press endeavor included Ellen Shannon-Mangan's biography of Mangan, a sober-minded attempt to debunk some of the myth around Mangan's life and career.

Mangan is familiar to the Mudcat Cafe, especially to those who have encountered his translations from the Gaelic -- many of which have their source material in song, whose tunes survive. He did much more in writing than these translations, but it is these that have gotten the most attention here, for obvious reasons.

Not that Mangan was ever really out of print. There have been lengthy periods between editions, between anthologies of his translations and of his original poetry; but when fresh publications were thin on the ground, there were still people who hung on to the copies they had, and made certain that others knew of Mangan's best-loved work, and passed on the knowledge of it.

I started a Mudcat forum thread titled, "At Tara in this fateful hour" in order to give Mangan the credit he is due (posthumously of course) for something called St. Patrick's Rune. Readers of the fantasy/sci-fi books of the late Madeleine L'Engle will recognize this piece, although they may never have seen James Clarence Mangan's name attached to this translation of the Lorica of St. Patrick. The English invocation, St Patrick's Rune, in "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" by L'Engle is recognizably the same English as Mangan's "St Patrick's Hymn before Tarah," to use his own odd spelling (as printed in Volume 4 of Mangan's Collected Poems). Although L'Engle was careful, when publishing "A Swiftly Tilting Planet," to thank Conrad Aiken, the poet from whom she appropriated the title of the book, she makes no mention of Mangan who, of course, has at that time been dead for over a century. L'Engle's book was published in the 1970's, and so the critical edition of James Clarence Mangan had yet to be completed -- massive a project as this was, I would guess that it was already underway at some level, that the scholars and editors were at work, but they were far from publishing at that point.

Mangan deserves a thread of his own, it seems to me, however short it may be and even if nobody else posts to it.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Nov 15 - 02:16 PM

Preparing Mangan's Collected works for the Irish Academic Press, one editor, reasonably fluent in German, could not get over Mangan's fluency at translating the great Romantic poets -- Schiller, Goethe, Uhland, Buerger, to name a few of many -- when Mangan had never left his native Ireland and certainly never traveled to a German-speaking country. Moreover, Mangan could not get a university education; he finished his secondary schooling at some level, and then had to train as a surveyor, so as to earn a living. So Mangan's knowledge of German seems to far outstrip his access to studying German. This is true of other languages from which he translated. Not so true, however, of Irish Gaelic, for which he was dependent on others.

Ernst Ortlepp was by no means a giant in 19th-century German poetry, merely one of many lesser-known poets. Mangan zeroed in on Ortlepp's poem "Sibirien," written in Ortlepp's native German, and protesting the exile to Siberia of Polish dissidents. This English translation is respected and admired no less for the liberties that Mangan takes with the original. Here I contrast Mangan's version with an anonymous English translation from the "Polonia" journal.

First, the Polonia version, for which I can find no translator's name.

I N    S I B E R I A

In Siberia, in Siberia
Cold the mortal breezes blow,
And the land discloses wide
One great tomb of death and woe.

In Siberia, in Siberia
Spring has but a single day,
And the summer but an hour,
And the heart but half its play.

In Siberia, in Siberia
Where to live is daily death,
There, alas! roam noble Poles,
Animate with spectral breath.

In Siberia, in Siberia
Man has but a cipher's name;
Hell -- how dreadful to the tortured!
But far worse Siberia's flame.

In Siberia, in Siberia
Breathing struggles in the breast;
Hottest tears are turn'd to ice,
Joy and grief have equal zest.

In Siberia, in Siberia
Pain and pleasure both are fled;
Only one dark image hovers
O'er that region of the dead.

In Siberia, in Siberia
Friendship's welcome's sought in vain;
No sweet maiden's lip in kisses
Gives and takes the heart again.

In Siberia, in Siberia
Far from wife, and child, and home,
Bitterly the banish'd, weeping,
O'er the deathlike desert roam.

In Siberia, in Siberia
Words of kindness ne'er are known;
Deeper in the brave while living
Than if death had claimed its own.

From Siberia, from Siberia
Sighs of Polish heroes float,
And the nation's hearts responding,
Echo mournful to the note.

In Siberia, in Siberia
O'er the banished Poles afar
Rocks their flinty hearts are rending --
Tearless only is the Czar!

At the risk of redundancy:
The above is NOT by Mangan, but by an English-language sympathizer writing for "Polonia", an English-language journal. The original is in German, and the poet of origin is Ernst Ortlepp. The English interpretation/translation by James Clarence Mangan will follow.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Nov 15 - 02:27 PM

Page 157, volume 3 of the Poems in the Collected Works of James Clarence Mangan, from Irish Academic Press, is the source for the following. This is Mangan's re-working of Ortlepp's "Sibirien."

S I B E R I A, translated by Mangan

In Siberia's wastes
The ice-wind's breath
Woundeth like the toothed steel;
Lost Siberia doth reveal
Only blight and death.

Blight and death alone.
No Summer shines.
Night is interblent with Day.
In Siberia's wastes alway
The blood blackens, the heart pines.

In Siberia's wastes
No tears are shed,
For they freeze within the brain.
Nought is felt but dullest pain,
Pain acute, yet dead;

Pain as in a dream,
When years go by
Funeral-paced, yet fugitive,
When man lives, and doth not live.
Doth not live -- nor die.

In Siberia's wastes
Are sands and rocks
Nothing blooms of green or soft,
But the snow-peaks rise aloft
And the gaunt ice-blocks.

And the exile there
Is one with those;
They are part, and he is part,
For the sands are in his heart,
And the killing snows.

Therefore, in those wastes
None curse the Czar.
Each man's tongue is cloven by
The North Blast, that heweth nigh
With sharp scymitar.

And such doom each drees,
Till, hunger-gnawn,
And cold-slain, he at length sinks there,
Yet scarce more a corpse than ere
His last breath was drawn.

Sorry I don't have a date for this translation, but it was written rather late in Mangan's forty-six-year lifespan.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 26 Nov 15 - 03:14 PM

Thank you for all this - I don't have anything I can add, but I'm following it!

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Nov 15 - 10:22 PM

Published posthumously. The sub-heading says "FROM THE IRISH" .

A Poem by St. Columb kille

"Enquirest thou, my son, what tale, what tidings,
What melancholy news I come to tell thee,
And whence have sprung our multiplied misfortunes,
Since Eohee, son of Erc, received his death wound?

Eohee, the son of Erc, the high, the glorious,
Mightiest of kings except the immaculate Jesus,
The first great king that in the lovely island
Of Erin every perished by a spear wound.

He perished of his wounds. The sons of Neime,
Three sons of Neime were his slayers,
They pierced him through with dreadful wounds and deadly,
And under earth he lies entombed for ever.

Now from the time of Eohy's reign of glory
Until the invasion of great Milea's offspring,
Pleasure and peace were exiles from the people,
Who mourned his loss with never-ceasing sorrow.

Along the sea and round the coast they wandered,
Mourning the melancholy death of Eohee;
The men who came of old in stately vessels,
and shared the island plain of Art among them.

To comely Slany fell the plain of Erin,
Extending southwards from the grave of Neva
To where the whirling confluence of waters
Unites three cataracts in one vast bason.

To Gann, unbartered for by gold or tribute,
Was given the country to the pass of Conglass,
And thence to Limerick, a fertile district,
Became the allotted property of Shangan.

Gannan obtained that memorable portion,
From Limerick to the dark-red fall of waters,
From whence to fair Travally's ancient confines,
The royal Rory ruled in princely splendour.

The fair and fierce Dannonians, born for conquest,
Wrought many cruelties and dire oppressions;
They bent their steps together to that mountain
Conmaicne Rein, a mount of pain and sorrow.

They slew the prosperous reigning Firbolg,
Whose death exalted and enriched their slayers,
And blood-red Nuada, the silver-handed,
Found in his wounds fresh cause for fiercer anger.

From Leighlin then, the generous, wise, and worthy,
The gallant son of Eithlean sought assistance;
But fatally the bloody struggle ended
In the great battle of the west Moy Ture.

Again the wanderers returned to Erin
During the dynasty of Mileadh's offspring,
Those voyagers who sailed from Brogan's tower,
In Spain's meridian, warm and fruitful.

The first of noble Brogan's race heroic,
Who died by drowning in the isle of Erin,
Was Donn; he was the noble son of Mileadh,
Far on the western coast his mansion rises.

The first Milesian who deceased in Erin,
Unwounded by a green spear's arrowy point,
Was Lara, shrewd in council, stern in bearing,
From whom Ard-Ladhrann gained its appellation.

The first of Mileadh's mariners unnumbered
Who died at sea was Ith, the son of Brogan.
His death diffused deep grief; he wrote that poem
Commencing thus: -- "A coast of swelling breakers."

The lovely Tea, consort of the monarch,
Who first conferred a name on royal Tara,
Was the first woman from the tower of Brogan
Who found a grave of clay in Erin's island.

The wife of Eohy, son of sightless Duach,
and daughter of the unforgotten Mamore,
Was Tailte, foundress of the fair of Telton,
Who fostered Ludhaidh, son of Scall the Speechless.

On Brefney's ancient plains are perpetrated
Disastrous deeds, the springs of woe and wailing;
And woeful, wailful is the doom that sends me
To wander hence a pilgrim and an exile.

A mighty chieftain is the son of Donall;
He darkly broodeth evil in his bosom,
Hence desolation soon shall fall on Erin,
And ruin on her mansions, tribes, and altars!

I am Columba, dweller in Drom Tena,
My narrative has not been over prolix.
The son of Erc was slain upon the sea strand,
And I am doomed to tears and lamentation."

Owen Connellan did the initial translation from the Gaelic into English prose, and Mangan worked it into blank verse. After Mangan's death, in 1860, Connellan published Mangan's version in Volume V, of which Connellan was the editor, of "Transactions of the Ossianic Society."   As late as 1912, work of Mangan's would turn up in such publications.

My source is Volume 4 of the complete Poems, Irish Academic Press.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: GUEST,~Q~
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 01:05 PM

Thanks for establishing this thread honouring The Man in the Cloak. One exotic miniature that issued from Mangan's pen is "Lamii's Apology For His Nonsense", which bears the subtitle "From the Ottoman" and thus purports to translate an original Oriental verse; however, with its exquisite humour with melancholy interblent in "each Imperishable drop", it is assuredly all Mangan.

I was a parrot mute and happy, till,
   Once on a time,
The fowlers pierced the wood and caught me;
Then blame me not: for I but echo still
   In wayward rhyme
The melancholy wit they taught me.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 03:40 PM

Thanks, Q. Your contribution illustrates why Mangan desperately needed his own complete collected works. His output included many such small, carefully-worked poems, and these were and are easily misplaced.

The above poem appears in the Irish Academic Press edition, edited by such scholars as Jacques Chuto and Rudolf Patrick Holzapfel, in Volume 2 of the four-volume Complete Poems, on page 72.

One more boring detail: In this set, Volume 4 contains an two-part index of the complete contents of all four volumes of poetry: a general index, in alphabetical order, divided into an index of titles and an index of first lines. Within the four volumes themselves, the poems are arranged in chronological order.

There exists a paperback book from Irish Academic Press with a selection of Mangan's poems, published after the complete works had been released; it is probably the most reasonably priced way to look at a critical, scholarly, annotated edition of Mangan's work. But I have no idea which titles are included in the paperback.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 11:35 AM

Every volume in the works of James Clarence Mangan, published by Irish Academic Press, opens with the same "General Introduction." This post will give an excerpt or two from that introduction.

"The works of James Clarence Mangan (1803 - 1849) in a full collected edition with a biography of the poet and a comprehensive bibliography are here published for the first time. From the age of 14 until his death at 46, Mangan wrote and published prose and poetry of immense variety of content and style.....In all, some thousand poems and dozens of prose pieces -- fiction, criticism, essays -- comprise his canon. Yet no complete collection of his poetry or his prose has ever before been attempted.

"A few editions of Mangan's poetry have been published sporadically over the years, but despite the compilers' enthusiasm and good intentions, each volume has suffered from a cultural or a personal bias. The editors do not hesitate, for instance, to suppress part of one poem, to combine several versions of another, or to rewrite portions of lines as they think best....Only a handful of his poems have become sturdy fixtures in anthologies of Irish writing, and his prose is practically unknown.

"....the most eminent voices of Irish literature have spoken in his praise. W. B. Yeats declared Mangan 'our one poet raised to the first rank by intensity.' James Joyce described Mangan as 'that creature of lightning, who has been, and is, a stranger among the people he ennobled, but who may yet come by his own as one of the greatest romantic poets among those who use the lyrical mode.'   

"Mangan should now cease to be a stranger. Ellen Shannon-Mangan's biography, the first volume in this series, dispels the sensational myth and legend that have enveloped the poet's life. Jacques Chuto's bibliography of both the poetry and prose provides a definitive reference to Mangan's work and its sources. Together with those, this complete edition of Mangan's writings, appearing nearly a century and a half after his death, makes it possible for his typically ironic prophecy to be fulfilled:

"Mine inkstand is the Well of Naksheb; -- and from each
Imperishable drop I spread along the page
Another Veiled Prophet utters a mystic speech,
To be translated only by a future age."

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 11:53 AM

James Joyce's eloquent defense of Mangan is quoted in the IAP introduction to the two volumes of prose in Mangan's Collected Works. Here is the quote.

"Many of his essays are pretty fooling when read once, but one cannot but discern some fierce energy beneath the banter, which follows up the phrases with no good intent, and there is a likeness between the desperate writer, himself the victim of too dexterous torture, and the contorted writing."

The IAP editors for the prose volumes are identified as Jacques Chuto, Peter Van de Kamp, Augustine Martin (who was also General Editor of the whole), and Ellen Shannon-Mangan. They observe, in this same introduction (published 2002):

"Prose offered the poet a vehicle for his public personae -- Mangan the satirist, the folklorist, the madcap entertainer, and foremost perhaps, the polyglot....Mangan did not write prose merely to provide a rationale for the poetry. For this the prose is too abundant and varied; its spectrum is broad, ranging from the easily tossed-off -- political satire, playful story, light parody, humorous skit -- to that which required reflection -- the personal essay, biographical sketch, and, yes, fairly respectable criticism.

"....Mangan's prose may not reach the fervour of his incomparable verse, but the two modes of writing are so intimately linked that these two volumes are the natural complement to the four poetry volumes: they complete the complex picture of James Clarence Mangan."

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 05:07 PM

Thanks to Mudcat's link, which I used, my order was just delivered for "James Clarence Mangan: Selected Writings," edited by Sean Ryder for University College Dublin (UCD) Press and Preas Cholaiste Ollscoile Bhaile Atha Cliath. This fully annotated anthology was published in 2004. With all this activity by scholars, editors, and publishers in the past twenty years, it won't be their fault if Mangan is not better known; people have been knocking themselves out to make his writing more available to the public.

This edition by Sean Ryder is a doorstop of a book: a single volume, 514 pages. An entire course/seminar could be built around such an anthology, containing, as this does, many poems, a respectable selection of Mangan's prose (including the piece in which Mangan introduces himself as The Man In The Cloak), and even printed music with the melodies for the traditional tunes in "The Poets and Poetry of Munster." This is the first time I have seen anything with this breadth of range in print about Mangan.

I would love to hear opinions about the Ryder edition from someone whose knowledge of Mangan goes deeper than mine, as I am still getting acquainted with this formidable poet. "Q," have you looked at this anthology?

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: Deskjet
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 03:40 PM

A song a wrote inspired by JCM, Copper Alley, a place well known to him.

Copper Alley

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: GUEST,~Q~
Date: 10 Dec 15 - 02:57 PM

Ryder is one to bet on as a sure thing, yes; and some other delvers in the Manganese mines who merit the reading are Bulson (for the Mangan-Joyce connection), Fegan (Mangan as Famine poet, and as Orientalist mar dhea), Guiney, O'Donoghue, Sturgeon, and Wheatley. The field is rich now after nearly two centuries of neglect.
Guest, please consider giving yourself a different guest name. We had a long-time musicologist who posted as Q who died a while back and would prefer not to confuse your posts with his. Thanks. ----mudelf

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 10 Dec 15 - 03:05 PM

Thank you, ~Q~. Guiney, however, doesn't that editor go back a hundred years or so? Therefore she isn't as recent as all that....or is this a different Guiney?

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 10 Dec 15 - 03:32 PM

Go réidh! a bhean na dtri mbo,
as do bhólacht ná bi teann;
do chonnairc meise gan go
bean is ba dhá mhó a beann.

Mrs. Guiney, the editor referenced in the last few posts, comments that the first line of the Gaelic above remains, in her time, something that people will use in conversation to cut somebody down to size:

Go easy, O woman of three cows!

Mangan's translation into English is a lengthy one, and this post cannot submit it, but a future post will. Mangan's "The Woman of Three Cows" had a broad appeal over the generations.

In fact, when John MacCormack sang Mangan's lyric (minus a few verses), "O my dark Rosaleen," he was singing a selection from a cycle of songs, which included "The Woman of Three Cows. "

Alicia Adelaide Needham, the Anglo-Irish, London-educated composer of the cycle, gave it the title "A Bunch of Shamrocks." She was just getting to be better known and recognized when the Great War broke out. Her style of music, as derivative as it was appealing, dated quickly. Today it is next to impossible to find copies of Mrs. Needham's music, outside of certain archives I would guess.

So I doubt that I will ever lay eyes on the sheet music for "O my dark Rosaleen,", or "The Woman of Three Cows," far less the entire cycle of songs (whose other poet/authors include Thomas d'Arcy McGee, Katherine Tynan, Alfred Perceval Graves, and more).

However, when I have more time, in a future post I will submit James Clarence Mangan's "The Woman of Three Cows" in its entirety.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
Date: 10 Dec 15 - 03:49 PM

It is she (daughter of General Guiney of Tipperary), and my inclusion of her name denotes aggregate richness in the field of Mangan studies, not recency per se. Melissa Fegan is perhaps the most recent contributor in the field.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
Date: 10 Dec 15 - 08:58 PM

My response to the Ryder question has vanished from this page, so a broken thread results, and my follow-up reply will not be understood by readers.

That error has been fixed. Guest ~Q~ please consider finding a different guest name. See the note on the post above.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Dec 15 - 12:21 PM

Not my doing, GUEST a/k/a ~Q~, and I regret the disappearance of your comments on editions of James Clarence Mangan, I valued the information. Your "Manganpaper" at your wordpress blog brings together a wealth of useful references along with all the material written by Mangan himself. Your posts are always welcome by me on this thread, and I hope they don't disappear any more.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Dec 15 - 12:39 PM

T H E    W O M A N    O F    T H R E E    C O W S

O, Woman of Three Cows, agragh! don't let your tongue thus rattle!
O, don't be saucy, don't be stiff, because you may have cattle.
I have seen -- and, here's my hand to you, I only say what's true --
A many a one with twice your stock not half so proud as you.

Good luck to you, don't scorn the poor, and don't be their despiser,
For worldly wealth soon melts away, and cheats the very miser,
And Death soon strips the proudest wealth from haughty human brows;
Then don't be stiff, and don't be proud, good Woman of Three Cows!

See where Momonia's heroes lie, proud Owen More's descendants,
'Tis they that won the glorious name, and had the grand attendants!
If they were forced to bow to Fate, as every mortal bows,
Can you be proud, can you be stiff, my Woman of Three Cows!

The brave sons of the Lord of Clare, they left the land to mourning;
Movrone! for they were banished, with no hope of their returning --
Who knows in what abodes of want those youths were driven to house?
Yet you can give yourself these airs, O, Woman of Three Cows!

O, think of Donnell of the Ships, the Chief whom nothing daunted --
See how he fell in distant Spain, unchronicled, unchanted!
He sleeps, the great O'Sullivan, where thunder cannot rouse --
Then, ask yourself, should you be proud, good Woman of Three Cows!

O'Ruark, Maguire, those souls of fire, whose names are shrined in story --
Think how their high achievements once made Erin's greatest glory --
Yet now their bones lie mouldering under weeds and cypress boughs,
And so, for all your pride, will yours, O, Woman of Three Cows!

The O'Carrolls also, famed when Fame was only for the boldest,
Rest in forgotten sepulchres with Erin's best and oldest;
Yet who so great as they of yore in battle or carouse?
Just think of that, and hide your head, good Woman of Three Cows!

Your neighbour's poor, and you it seems are big with vain ideas,
Because, inagh! you've got three cows, one more, I see, than she has.
That tongue of yours wags more at times than Charity allows,
But, if you are strong, be merciful, great Woman of Three Cows!

Now, there you go! You still, of course, keep up your scornful bearing,
And I'm too poor to hinder you; but, by the cloak I'm wearing,
If I had but four cows myself, even though you were my spouse,
I'd thwack you well to cure your pride, my Woman of Three Cows!

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Dec 15 - 03:59 PM

Brace yourselves, everybody, while I attempt to submit the entire Gaelic original, and misspell everything in the attempt.


Go réidh a bhean na ttrí mbó
As do bhólacht na bí teann
Do chonnairc meisi, gan gó,
Bean is ba dhá' mhó a beann.

Ní mhaireann saidhbhrios do ghnúith
Do neach ná tabhair táir go mór
Chúghut an téag ar gach taobh
Go réidh a bhean na ttrí mbó.

Sliocht Eóghain mhóir sa Múmhain
A nimtheacht do ní clú dóibh
A seólta gur léigeadar síos
Go réidh a bhean na ttrí mbó.

Clann ghaisce thighearna an Chláir
A nimtheacht sin ba lá leóin
Sgan súil re na tteacht go bráth,
Go réidh a bhean na ttrí mbó.

Dómhnall ó Dún-buídhe na long
O'Súilleabháin nár tim gloór
Féach gur thuit san Spáin re cloidheainh
Go réidh a bhean na ttrí mbó.

O'Ruairc is Maguidir do bhí
Lá i n-Eirinn na lán beóil
Féach féin gur imthigh an dír,
Go réidh a bhean na ttrí mbó.

Síol gCearbhuill do bhí teann
Le mbeirthí gach geall ingleó
Ní maireann aon díobh mo dhit
Go réidh a bhean na ttrí mbó.

O aon bhoin amháin do bhreis
An mhnaoi eíle is í a dó
Do rinnisi iomorca aréir
Go réidh a bhean na ttrí mbó.


Díodh ar mfallaing a ainnir as uaibhreach gnúis
Do bhíos gan dearmad seasmhach buan sa tnúith
Tríd an rachmus do ghlacais red bhuaibh ar túis
Da bhfaghainnsi reilbh a ceathair do bhuailfinn tú.

That was Woman Of Three Cows, in case you could not tell.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Dec 15 - 04:00 PM

I should like to put in a word for Ellen Shannon-Mangan. This writer contributed to the Irish Academic Press edition of the complete works of James Clarence Mangan, a monumental assignment getting all of that sorted and published in a critical, scholarly fashion.

Mrs. Mangan came by this name by marriage; her husband, who had died by the time the poetry and volumes were available to the public, had the last name of Mangan and had some blood connection to the poet. I always feel a little funny, though, when such relatives are spoken of as descendants; James Clarence Mangan never fathered children that I heard of.

Mrs. Mangan took on the task of a biography of the poet. There already existed other such works. And, Mangan being Mangan, he had written his own autobiography, the conclusion of which was lost; what remains, ends in mid-sentence. This man is a formidable challenge to a biographer. As for Ellen Shannon-Mangan, I venture to say that not only is her self-deprecating approach to biography -- let me back up and start again -- not only is her contribution, in one volume, not THE definitive Mangan biography, but she fully realizes that it cannot be such. Read carefully and critically, there are many clues in Mrs. Mangan's, guess I ought to say Mrs. Shannon-Mangan's, writing that she expects, and hopes, that one day her book will help a future author to compose a Mangan biography as great as its subject deserves.

As for me, I find it refreshing that Ellen Shannon-Mangan is so unpretentious and straight-forward in writing about an artist who went by many personae and was something of a frustrated playwright and actor, a lyrical poet in whose poetry and prose there is much drama on an intimate scale -- an artist, moreover, who was devoted to heroism on a national scale, who venerated Ireland's ancient heroes.   James Clarence Mangan was, and is, a lot to contend with.

Now, I personally could wish for a recording some of his written work. Some of his poems, be they translations or originals, beg to be declaimed aloud.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Dec 15 - 04:52 PM

With all possible respect, "~Q~," why don't you just call yourself "quintusscripsit" and have done with it? I know how you feel about preserving your anonymity online, that's why I call myself keberoxu. No disrespect intended. I'd PM you but guests don't get PMs do they?

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Dec 15 - 07:29 PM

Oh, dear. I neglected to cite my source for the Gaelic in the message from December 11. At it is possible to find a digital version, online, of -- what was it called again -- the Irish Penny Journal, or some such. I found the very article in which Mangan submits his translation to the press for the first time, and the Gaelic original is there too. Had a heck of a time working out the characters, never having studied the guid Sc- OOPS-- the Irish language.

I now have before me the Gaelic poem and in this more recently printed version, the spelling is much changed (from Galway, Cló Iar-Chonnachta). I wonder how far off-track my own attempt at spelling was.

An outspoken author named Criostoir O Floinn has printed and published his own translation of Woman of Three Cows. Very opinionated, this one. Mangan gives him fits, in fact. Well, I sympathize. Mangan is made of stern stuff, from the literary standpoint, to have endured and survived -- his work, I mean; I think it does not have to be locked up behind a glass cupboard door. No doubt others who are fond of Mangan will be outraged, but too bad -- this is a forum, not a blog. And personally, Mangan provokes me to extremes myself. Sometimes I cherish him. Then I read something else he published, and I want to hurl the book through a window. And everything in between. I have said before, and I say again, the man is a lot to contend with.

O Floinn, in truth, writes that he prefers the opening and closing stanzas of the Gaelic, and could take or leave all those stanzas in the middle which all conclude with, Go Easy, O Woman Of Three Cows! He didn't like being stuck with that in translation. (TOO BAD.)

Before getting too far off-topic, I will wrap up this message with the bits that O Floinn likes: his translation of the opening stanza and the closing stanza of "BEAN NA dTRÍ mBÓ." (See what I mean about the spelling?)

This was published in 1995; under copyright, no doubt, and no disrespect intended.

Verse 1: Easy now, woman of three cows!
Don't be so proud of your fine herd,
A woman I know -- 'tis no lie now --
Can double that in cows well-fed.

The "Summing-Up" (envoi) stanza:
--I swear by my cloak, O lady of haughty glance,
Persistent and prickly in watching for every chance,
By your setting three cows as the measure of wealth so grand
If I should get four to own, you'd be surpassed!

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 12:45 PM

Gregory A Schirmer contributes these opinions to his anthology, After The Irish.

James Clarence Mangan's achievement as a verse translator in the dark years of the 1840's has much to do with his own melancholic romanticism....his translations often powerfully internalise the political and social deprivation that he saw around him....his translations were capable of inspiring strong cultural feeling, and, at times, quite revolutionary nationalist as well as romantic sentiment.

--page 85

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: Thompson
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 03:38 AM

Mangan grew up in Fishamble Street, in beside Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, and then a classy, fashionable street where his father had a pub or coffee house. His hilly childhood Dublin was a place where the rich were carried around in sedan chairs, gossiping to each other through the curtains, and where the large street Fishamble Street leads to, Dame Street where Dublin Castle is, was the site of many unequal fights by the pinking dindies of Trinity College with town boys - the Anglo boys of Trinity, who were allowed to wear swords, would shoulder poor lads off the pavements and then accuse them and attack them.

All the nobles named in Woman of Three Cows were intensely political references; each had been deprived of land and killed or forced into exile during the 16th-century genocide of the Gaelic lords in Ireland. The names would have been well known to Irish people, but resolutely forgotten by Anglo-Irish.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: Thompson
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 04:24 AM

Oh, and a note about verse translations: any poet I've known who did excellent translations worked with an intelligent and erudite native speaker, who first made a direct translation, and then worked together with the poet, explaining subtleties of language, references and so on.

It's good to see that Irish Academic Press sell these books for sane prices. So much of Irish academic publishing involves tiny print runs and enormous prices; the result is that most Irish people learn their own history and culture only through quotations in English popular history books (which have their own focus and agenda). I've been looking for one particular book for almost a year now. It's a superb and much-cited-by-historians book, also racy and fascinating. It was published at something like €40 - far out of reach of ordinary readers - and quickly went out of print. It hasn't been reprinted, or published as an ebook. Probably doesn't matter so much to the author, who's a professor with a good and steady salary, but for readers, it's horrible. And it leads to pirating of books. The effect is that much academic publishing comes to seem like a kind of vanity publishing.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: MartinRyan
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 05:08 AM

Coming belatedly to this thread and enjoying it...

Reminds me of a bizarre conversation I had at a conference on computer-based learning way back in the 1980's, somewhere in the North of England. ( I think it was mostly about use of Hypercard or such - shows how long ago it was!). About 2 o'clock in the morning, I found myself discussing "In Siberia's Wastes ..." with a guy who had just completed a Ph.D. on Mangan, who had been a favourite of mine as a schoolboy. I think I was astonished to find that anybody actually knew of Mangan!


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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 01 Feb 16 - 03:04 PM

This "Ghazel," which is a category of poem structure, will not be to every taste. Mangan was dying when he wrote it, he only had months to live. It is resolutely serious. This is the kind of thing that would give William Butler Yeats pause (Yeats was an unashamed admirer of Mangan). Not only is it brilliant, but it is profound.


All that hath existence is eternal;
Therefore Bliss and Glory are eternal.
All that hath existence must remain;
Therefore Pain and Darkness are eternal.

All that hath existence must be twofold;
Wouldst thou have this proved? Behold the proof old
As the days of Abel and of Cain,
As the day when Abel perished, slain
By his murderous anti-brother Cain.

Love, and therefore Hate, -- Good, therefore Evil, --
GOD, and therefore Man, -- Man, therefore Devil.
Life, with all its well-known ways, and therefore
Death, with all its mysteries. 'But wherefore
Doth not GOD abolish Hell and Pain?'   
Friend! He cannot. He can not. The twain
Have their being in a source eternal.   

Action and Reaction. Here behold
The One Law by none to be controlled!   
Leaven with Lump, or neither Lump nor Leaven --
Heaven and Hell, or neither Hell nor Heaven --
Such is Nature, seen through Truth eternal.

GOD created Man first in His own
Image -- but an image gives again
Back to thee the thing reversed -- though fain
Would I, too, deny this truth eternal.
See this. Sift this. Test it. Know it. Plain
As the world it lives a truth eternal.   

Have I spoken from a mind insane?   
Am I cruel, or unkind, or vain?
Ah, friend! thou wilt know, when GOD's eternal
World of all worlds only shall remain,
That my tears were poured like wintry rain,
Even for him whose doom the Prophet Issa
Wailed for, too, in words that rest eternal.   

More I say not now. The worst abyss a
Poet falleth down is tedious length.
Briefness is essential unto strength --
So, we part: -- yet, take these words from me:
Blame not any. Love. Believe. And see
That thou keep thy conscience pure from stain.
Conscience also hath a life eternal.

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Subject: RE: James Clarence Mangan: thread of his own
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Sep 16 - 02:24 PM

In the 1950's, there was a character actor who got into the business and put together a nice body of work both in films and in the burgeoning television medium. His stage name was Richard "Dick" Shannon and if you look in places like, and search on his name, you can see what I am talking about. He disappeared from the performing business when he and his family of young children relocated away from southern California to pursue a more family-friendly way of life; he has been dead for some time.

His name at birth is given as Richard Esberry Mangan. James Clarence Mangan, as far as I have learned, never sired children and had no direct descendants. The poet did, however, have blood relatives and the actor known as Richard Shannon is said to be descended from these.

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