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Pangur Ban - meaning ?

GUEST,Leonard 15 Nov 01 - 04:57 AM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Nov 01 - 05:19 AM
Fibula Mattock 15 Nov 01 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Mikey Joe 15 Nov 01 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,chrisj 16 Nov 01 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Leonard 16 Nov 01 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,chrisj 17 Nov 01 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Robbie ó Daimhín 17 Nov 01 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Leonard 18 Nov 01 - 10:12 AM
Brían 18 Nov 01 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,chrisj 19 Nov 01 - 01:19 AM
Áine 19 Nov 01 - 08:11 AM
Matthew Edwards 19 Nov 01 - 10:52 AM
Áine 19 Nov 01 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,chrisj 20 Nov 01 - 01:53 AM
GUEST,Mary Scammell 06 Apr 09 - 12:17 PM
Jack Campin 06 Apr 09 - 01:48 PM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 06 Apr 09 - 04:46 PM
michaelr 06 Apr 09 - 09:45 PM
Gweltas 07 Apr 09 - 12:10 AM
michaelr 07 Apr 09 - 07:28 PM
GUEST 15 Mar 10 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,Russ 15 Mar 10 - 09:41 PM
GUEST,o diomasaigh 02 Apr 10 - 10:11 PM
GUEST,grendel 14 Apr 10 - 03:58 PM
GUEST 15 May 10 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Sionnedd 16 Oct 10 - 08:41 PM
GUEST 16 Oct 10 - 08:42 PM
Fergie 17 Oct 10 - 07:13 PM
GUEST 17 Oct 10 - 08:58 PM
Desert Dancer 18 Oct 10 - 01:13 AM
Desert Dancer 18 Oct 10 - 01:14 AM
Mo the caller 18 Oct 10 - 06:13 AM
Desert Dancer 18 Oct 10 - 10:51 AM
ollaimh 18 Oct 10 - 11:09 PM
Charmion 19 Oct 10 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Shortie 25 Oct 10 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Soupdragon 12 Feb 11 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,milica 04 Mar 11 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,guest jaya 20 Sep 11 - 10:46 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 13 - 06:38 PM
keberoxu 25 Dec 15 - 12:38 PM
Thompson 25 Dec 15 - 02:25 PM
Jack Campin 25 Dec 15 - 08:55 PM
keberoxu 30 Dec 15 - 01:02 PM
Thompson 31 Dec 15 - 03:21 AM
keberoxu 04 Jan 16 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Jan 16 - 11:41 AM
keberoxu 06 Jan 16 - 12:09 PM
Thompson 07 Jan 16 - 02:42 AM
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Subject: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Leonard
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 04:57 AM

Does the name Pangur Ban (name of the famous cat in poem of same name,)have a literal meaning in Gaelic? Also, the Irish Jig, "The Frieze Breeches" - what does this mean, if anything? Is it corrupted Gaelic? Sensible answers are preferred please.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 05:19 AM

Frieze is rough, heavy woollen cloth; this English word derives from the French frise.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 05:53 AM

Pangur is the cat's name, but I'm not sure what it means in a literal sense. Ban means "white".


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Mikey Joe
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 08:23 AM

I've heard The Frieze Britches ( as in Frieze (as described above and Britches as in trousers) played as

wait for it

Freeze, Bitches !!

Sorry!!!


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 04:51 AM

Robin Flower the noted English scholar of medieval literature, translated this poem from the Irish but unfortunately for us retained the cat's name untranslated. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the word 'Pangur' was Welsh, but I wouldn't be sure. Without the accent on the middle 'a' in Bán (= white, pronounced 'bawn') it is meaningless.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Leonard
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 11:03 AM

Chris - you are right, I missed out the accent, sorry. I was just interested to know if PB had a literal meaning or indeed any sort of meaning as most names do, Leonard meaning Lionhearted (I'am as timid as the next man actually!)and Robin is a version of Robert meaning fame-bright, according to Chambers. I was just guessing that it might be Gaelic.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 07:26 AM

Leonard, I'm sure the name 'Pangur' does have a meaning but I just can't remember what I've read about it, it was some time ago. There have been several translations of the poem but I like Flower's best. As I recall the original poem was discovered written in the margins of an old manuscript in some one of the monasteries of Europe and is one of the earliest known examples of written Irish.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Robbie ó Daimhín
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 12:17 PM

Hi, Pangur is an old irish word which means white. Bán also means white. The poet is trying to convey that the cat was pure white or bright white.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Leonard
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 10:12 AM

Thanks Robbie, so now we know!


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Brían
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 08:02 PM

Thanks, Robbie. I did ask my Irish Language teacher about this, but neither she, nor her mother(a native speaker) did not seem to be familiar with the poem.

Brían


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 01:19 AM

Brían, I'm not surprised that even native speakers might not be familiar with this poem as it is in a very old version of the language and was never on the schools curriculum to my knowledge. It would be well over a thousand years old I daresay!


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Áine
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 08:11 AM

For those Mudcatters who would like to read a translation of this poem, I found two translations in English here and the poem in Old Irish here.

And yet another Old Irish/English version here.

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 10:52 AM

Áine - thanks for all those links, especially to the translation by Eavan Boland. I have managed to find a site with Robin Flower's translation Flowers, trans. Pangur Bán (with a Celtic mood music accompaniment!!) Frank O'Connor commented that Flower's translation "in the metre of 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star' ignores the slowness of the original".

The translation by Kuno Meyer can be found along with other translations by him at Translations by Meyer (This same site has a lot of other useful resources for Irish literature and poetry.)

The Cork University online Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT) also gives the Irish text with background details and bibliographical information.

I can't find an online text of Gerard Murphy's translation from his 'Early Irish Lyrics; 8th to 12th Centuries' (Oxford, 1956), so if anyone wants that they will have to buy the book!

html code fixed by mudelf ;-)


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Áine
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 11:43 AM

Thanks, Matthew, for your own great links to some excellent sources for information on this poem.

I don't have time at the moment to go hunting through my boxes of books; however, I do believe that I have a 'Modern Irish' version of this poem in an old leaving cert. revision book somewhere . . . If I find it, I'll be sure and post it here.

Le meas, Áine


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 01:53 AM

Brilliant Áine and Matthew, I'm going through every reference you've provided. Good old Frank O'Connor, he would find that Flower had failed to give his translation the necessary 'gravitas' such a subject deserved!


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Mary Scammell
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 12:17 PM

According to Seamus Heaney Pangur is the Irish spelling of the Welsh word for 'fuller' - Pannwr. It makes sense when you consider the habit of contented cats with the woolen clothing of their doting humans. Ban (with accent), of course is white. I can imagine a cat called White Felter!


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 01:48 PM

Philp Davis, in "Thomas Gray, Philosopher Cat", reports an alternative analysis of the name as "Pan Gurban", which would be Slavic (Pan = lord, Gurban = hunchback, I think). Mediaeval scribes wrote as if spaces and upper-case were a waste of parchment. Lord Archback seems just as good a name for a cat.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 04:46 PM

If Fibula doesn't know what the name means, I would treat all speculation by anyone else here cum grano salis.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: michaelr
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 09:45 PM

In the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College, Dublin, I first came upon an English translation of "Pangur Ban". It was similar, but not identical, to the Robin Flower version linked above. I've searched both my computers but cannot find the darned thing.

Does anyone have the version adorning the wall of the Book of Kells exhibit? Or, if you're in Dublin, do you mind nipping 'round to jot it down?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Gweltas
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 12:10 AM

From an article posted to MEDTEXTL, by James Marchand:

"This being St. Paddy's day, I thought I would regale you with one of the finest poems ever written, Pangur Bán. When Kate Campbell wrote her dissertation on "The Lyric Moment in Medieval Literature," we both decided that it had to begin with this poem. Like so much of Old Irish, it is found in German-speaking territory, in the Monastery of St. Paul up in Carinthia (no. sec. xxv. d. 86). The manuscript has four leaves, and this poem is on 1 verso. It is dated by Windisch 8th c., most people put it in the 9th, as the language seems to indicate. It is printed in Stokes and Strachan, 2.293 f. The meter is deibide, with seven syllables per line, with an unstressed final syllable in the off-verse rhyming with the on-verse. Alliteration is common. This may be the ancestor of scaldic meters. In fact, scald may come from sceal "tale, story", just as our scalliwag comes from scealaige "story- teller; poet". The British of the 16th and 17th turned thumbs down on the poets, whom they thought incited the people. I translate Pangur as Felix, in honor of my cat; Pangur would have been recognized as a cat's name in those days. The Irish loved cats; there is a fine book, The Comical Celtic Cat, by Norah Golden (Mountrath, Portlaoise: The Dolmen Press, 1984; ISBN 0-85105- 901-5), and there are cats in the Book of Kells. Wayne Craft naturally called his book company Pangur Bán; many thought he must be Indian. If you want to read some grand Early Irish Lyrics with translation, read the book by that name by Gerard Murphy (Oxford, 1956)....

My translation is my own, but it sounds like Murphy. St. Jerome once said: Cursed be those who said what we said before we said it. I could add grammatical remarks if you like. My text is from Stokes and Strachan, who have expanded 7 to ocus, as one usually does (e.g. in Old English), but done little else. I have done some punctuating and word-breaking. The apices are in the manuscript".

"I and white Felix,
Each of us two (keeps) at his specialty:
His mind is set on hunting,
My mind on my special subject.
I love (it is better than all fame)
To be quiet beside my book, with persistent inquiry.
Not envious of me White Felix;
He loves his childish art.
When we two are (tale without boredom)
Alone in our house,
We have something to which we may apply our skill,
An endless sport
It is customary at times for a mouse to stick in his net,
As a result of warlike struggles (feats of valor).
For my part, into my_net falls
Some difficult crux of hard meaning.
He directs his bright perfect eye
Against an enclosing wall.
Though my (once) clear eye is very weak
I direct it against acuteness of knowledge
He is joyful with swift movement
When a mouse sticks in his sharp claw.
I too am joyful
When I understand a dearly loved difficult question
Though we are always like this,
Neither of us bothers the other:
Each of us likes his craft,
Rejoicing alone each in his.
He it is who is master for himself
Of the work which he does every day.
I can perform my own task,
Directed toward understanding clearly that which is difficult".
----------------------------------------------------------------

Personally I much prefer Robin Flower's ("Bláthín's")translation:

I and Pangur Bán, my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will;
He, too, plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our task how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
Into the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den.
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine, and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade ;
I get wisdom day and night,
Turning Darkness into light.'


As far as I know, a 9th century Irish monk SOMEWHERE, who could either have been studying abroad in any of several places of learning, including Switzerland, or who could have been at home in Ireland, wrote this poem in the margins of a copy of St.Paul's Epistles that he was either copying or reading, and that manuscript, some two hundred years later ended up in the Carinthia monastery's library. Or, possibly, this poem might have been copied onto the manuscript in Carinthia by a monk who is not supposed to be the 9th Century author?

After all, the monastery of St. Paul's in Carinthia was not founded till 1091. It had a famous and extensive library of manuscripts collected and copied from far and wide.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: michaelr
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 07:28 PM

Nevermind -- I found it. (Now can someone tell me why a search of my computer didn't find the file?)

That is the Robin Flower translation (minus verses 3, 6 and 7) on the wall of the Book of Kells exhibit.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 07:40 PM

it means, from what i saw, danger. but i could be wrong. i saw it when i typed it in before.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 09:41 PM

Samuel Barber set the Pangur poem to music. It is found in his collection "Hermit Songs." They are nifty.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,o diomasaigh
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 10:11 PM

i read somewhere it means white ball of fluff/wool/fleese,a common name for a cat in 9th century ireland.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,grendel
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 03:58 PM

Going on the "fuller" translation (felt worker), then it could be translated as "hairball".
An appropriate name for a cat...little white hairball.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 10 - 04:29 PM

Pangur Ban is "the white fuller"... as in a fuller, a person who works with/makes cloth. This is according to Fay Sampson, the english author who wrote a series of children's stories on pangur ban the white cat.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Sionnedd
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 08:41 PM

Just named a new acquired kitten for the poem - can anyone help me with pronunciation?


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 08:42 PM

and with all the translations available here, wonder why it won't do English to Irish?


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Fergie
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 07:13 PM

pan rhymes with ran
gur rhymes with fur
bán rhymes with fawn


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 08:58 PM

thanks - that's pretty much what I thought based on my limited knowledge of Scottish Gaidhlig, but asking where people would be most likely to know seemed a good idea. Thanks again!


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 01:13 AM

Pangur Ban appears in the animated film, The Secret of Kells.

a clip from the film

A note in the LA Times:

For the film, the artists drew from the scroll-work designs and microscopic detailing of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Four Gospels likely dating to the early 8th century. The attention to detail did not stop there; one of the characters, Brother Aidan, has a cat named Pangur Ban -- which happens to be the title of an ancient poem jotted down by an unknown Irish monk in the margin of a manuscript. Mick Lally, the voice of Brother Aidan, chants the poem in the original Old Gaelic over the closing credits of the film.

Director Tomm Moore says, "We learned the poem in school, along with the story that a monk had written it in the corner of a page he was illuminating. It was only later that I learned that the last line can be translated as 'turning darkness into light' or 'turning ink into light,' which I thought was a nice reference to creating an illumination."

(It's now out on video.)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 01:14 AM

By the way, it's "Brendan and the Secret of Kells" when it's at home, the shorter title in North America. A wonderful thing to see.

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 06:13 AM

Someone suggested, up the thread (a few years), that the poem isn't on any school curriculum.
It can be found in many books of poems and essays for cat lovers.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 10:51 AM

Apparently it was in the curriculum of at least one class in Thomm Moore's (b. 1977) Kilkenny schooling...


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: ollaimh
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 11:09 PM

call me a cape bretoner but i always knew the word as little white killer, as in mousser.   and thats what the poem is about as well.

its a remarkable poem writen in a monastary in what is now slovenia, in the marguns of a book the monk was copying in the scriptirium. back then almost all literate people in western and northern europe were irish monks or educated by irish monks(bede foe example was educated at a momastary that waS FOUNDED FROM LINDISFARNE). we gaels saved civilization. your welcome


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Charmion
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 02:13 PM

If Pangur means "fuller", could it apply to a cat because the fulling process includes kneading and hauling at the cloth?


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Shortie
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 09:22 AM

Strange enough, I came across an article that proclaimed that (excuse my language), it means "White cat, go into the tall room and get the shi*." or such. I'm probably wrong.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,Soupdragon
Date: 12 Feb 11 - 01:20 PM

Pangur Ban means "white fuller"

Cats "knead" the tummy and clothes of their owners when they sit on them, thats the explanation of Pangur Ban being a "fuller" as far as I know...

I've also heard it explained as a "fuller" as cleaning the cloth, in the same way a cat grooms itself.

HTH


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,milica
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 12:44 PM

Pangur Ban means "white foller" in Gaelic. Ban, as others have mentioned, means white and pangur means fuller. A fuller is a person who full cloth. In this case, the monk who originally composed the poem Pangur Ban about his cat probably was thinking of the way that cats clean themselves and that it resembles working with cloth. The poem itself is in many books of medieval Irish poetry, but I highly recommend an older collection edited and annotated by Thomas Kinsella. The poem itself is a contemplation and comparison of the monk's scholarly pursuits with the hunting pursuits of his pet cat.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,guest jaya
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:46 PM

what does the rest of the poem mean?


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 13 - 06:38 PM

I've only heard White, with Pangur being meaningless, but the cat plays a large role in this pretty recent movie which is SOO GOOD. and won several awards. The wikipedia article also has links to all the translations of the poems about Pangur Ban http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_of_Kells

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMPhHTtKZ8Q


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Subject: Lyr Add: Pangur Ban
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Dec 15 - 12:38 PM

Here is the Gaelic, redacted by the project Corpus of Electronic Texts, or CELT for short, at University College Cork.

Messe ocus Pangur Bán,
cechtar nathar fri saindán:
bíth a menma-sam fri seilgg,
mu menma céin im sainchaeirdd.

Caraim-se fos, ferr cach clú,
oc mu lebrán, léir ingnu;
ní foirmtech frimm Pangur Bán:
caraid cesin a maccdán.

Ó ru biam, scél cen scís,
innar tegdais, ar n-&oeacute;endís,
táithiunn, díchríchide clius,
ní fris tarddam ar n-áthius.

Gnáth, h-úaraib, ar gressaib gal
glenaid luch inna línsam;
os mé, du-fuit im lín chéin
dliged n-doriad cu n-dronchéill.

Fúaichaid-sem fri frega fál
a rosc, a n-glése comlán;
fúachimm chéin fri fégi fis
mu rosc réil, cesu imdis.

Fáelid-sem cu n-déne dul
hi n-glen luch inna gérchrub;
hi tucu cheist n-doraid n-dil
os mé chene am fáelid.

Cia beimmi a-min nach ré
ní derban cách a chéle:
maith la cechtar nár a dán;
subaigthius a óenurán.

h-É fesin as choimsid dáu
in muid du-ngní cach óenláu;
du thabairt doraid du glé
for mo mud céin am messe.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Thompson
Date: 25 Dec 15 - 02:25 PM

What I love about this poem is that this - marginalia, written for fun as a break from work - must be one of the first poems about pets. (And 'pet' comes from Irish too, by the way.)


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Dec 15 - 08:55 PM

I'd bet the Egyptians did it a couple of thousand years before. (Their word for cat was "mau", which might look familiar).

And the Norse goddess Freya had two cats. There must have been songs featuring them too.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: keberoxu
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 01:02 PM

Responding to the 2010 message which name-checks composer Samuel Barber, and his opus 29, the Hermit Songs.

At most, five verses translated from Pangur Ban make their way into Samuel Barber's song setting, so several verses are missing. Then there is the question of translators, plural. Barber began with Sean O'Faolain's The Silver Branch, attracted to several of the translations therein of monastic anecdota or marginalia. But then, after using some of them, he looked at some of the others -- Pangur Ban, for instance -- and considered that another English-language poet might improve upon O'Faolain.

Therefore, "The Monk and His Cat," the Barber song which takes its name from the translation, is the English-language work, not of Sean O'Faolain, but of W. H. Auden, whom Barber specifically commissioned to translate Pangur Ban for him.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Thompson
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 03:21 AM

Vikings brought the first cats to Ireland; about 30 years ago a PhD student did his doctoral thesis on tracking which cats came from Viking origins - the Viking cats were white (which of course means that they carry a gene for deafness). Sure enough, white cats were found in much higher numbers in Viking towns and areas like Ringsend and Oxmantown in Dublin, in Waterford, etc.


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Subject: from Pangur Bán to Etan Bán
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Jan 16 - 08:40 PM

Researching the Irish poetry which Sean O'Faolain presented in The Silver Branch, from which Samuel Barber selected several English translations for his Hermit Songs, led me to a complete surprise.

O'Faolain included a little verse -- it loses its rhyme in translation -- about fair Etan/Aiden who will not sleep alone tonight. Barber turned it into one of the Hermit Songs, with the title Promiscuity. It pops up in the cycle and provides a bit of relief from some of the weightiness of the other selections. I was having a hard time tracking this down in the source material for the Hermit Songs.

And no wonder. It comes from the Red Branch saga with Cuchullain. In fact it comes straight out of Cuchullain's mouth, and he is looking right at Etan Ban -- "fair Aiden" -- when he says it! It has nothing whatsoever to do with hermits, ascetics, cloisters, or Christianity.

In the Old Irish it is a notable example of metrics and rhyming, so the scholars publishing around 1900 snatched it out of context and put it in more than one of their academic publications, to show off. And somehow, by singling it out in that fashion, the academics set up this little verse to travel far from Cuchullain and the Red Branch to the cycle of poems/songs about Pangur Ban, Isucan, Brigid's Heavenly Banquet, St Patrick's Purgatory at Loch Dearg, and all the rest of it. I wonder if Samuel Barber had the slightest clue that he had set a witticism of Cuchullain to music?? I rather doubt that he took any notice!

Oh, the verse? The Old Irish is tricky. I'll do my best here.

Ni fetar
cía lasa faífea Etan;
acht ro-fetar Etan bán
nochon faífea a óenarán.


Roughly:
It is not known
with whom will sleep Etan
but I know that Etan the Fair [white, bán]
will not sleep alone.

Oh, and yes, Etan shared Cuchullain's bed that night, and the next day when he took his leave (he was on a mission to find three exiled sons of somebody's), he gifted Etan Bán with a thumb-ring heavy with solid gold.


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Jan 16 - 11:41 AM

Thompson, it seems that cats with white coats AND blue eyes are the cats subject to deafness. Here's info from the International Cat Care site:

"If a white cat has 2 blue eyes, it is 3-5 times more likely to be deaf than a cat with 2 non-blue eyes, and a cat with 1 blue eye is about twice as likely to be deaf as a cat with 2 non-blue eyes. In addition, longhaired white cats are 3 times more likely to be bilaterally deaf."

Tell us more about 'pet' coming from the Irish.


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Subject: Pangur Ban - origins
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Jan 16 - 12:09 PM

Bilingual poet Criostoir O'Floinn, in his (not so recent) anthology from Cló Iar-Chonnachta of "Irish Comic Poems," decided against including "Pangur Ban," making room instead for lesser-known Old Irish poetry. Yet even he cannot resist name-checking the monk's cat in several of his commentaries; I will abstract therefrom here.

(Copyrighted) quote:
This poem was probably composed by a poetic monk in some Irish monastery....
Even the best-known of such poems, in which a monastic scribe compares his cat, Pangur Bán, chasing mice, to himself seeking the "mot juste," was written as a mere "obiter dicta" in the margin of a manuscript in which the poet was dutifully transcribing the Epistles of St. Paul. I sometimes wonder what penance the abbot would have prescribed for such doodling, however artistic....
Many monks in the early centuries of Christianity in Ireland were probably trained by professional poets, and so the ancient bardic lore and poetic skills were thus preserved and passed on to later generations of monastic scribes.
Irish prosody presents the translator with two problems: the older poetry of the bards was syllabic, the most common form being a four-line stanza in which each line contained seven syllables....From the seventeenth century onwards, the poets tended to abandon these difficult syllabic meters and to write in the common European stress meter; but they still retained an amazingly complex system of rhyme and of internal assonance which is impossible to match in English.

....the bardic schools where a seven-year course in theory and practice was the normal apprenticeship even to the technical craft of poetry, the art [of same] being left to the Muses or the Divine Spirit to inspire whom they would....
(preceding quotes from pp. 17 - 27)

As in the case of the anonymous monastic author of "Pangur Bán," one can only regret that such a gifted author probably expended most of his mental energy on tedious spiritual hack-work, making copies of the Scriptures, and dashing off a poetic gem like this only as an afterthought, perhaps to amuse a few of his confrères who were "birds of a feather" in the poetic sense.
(preceding quotes from pp. 47 - 48)


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Subject: RE: Pangur Ban - meaning ?
From: Thompson
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 02:42 AM

On the other hand, the fact that Pangur Bán made it into the finished book suggests that it was liked by the abbot and others.


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