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Origin: Cathleen (tr. Thomas MacIntyre)

GUEST,johntm 23 Mar 02 - 01:15 AM
ciarili 23 Mar 02 - 02:58 AM
ciarili 23 Mar 02 - 02:59 AM
GUEST 23 Mar 02 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Joep 18 Aug 14 - 06:28 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: CATHLEEN (tr. Thomas MacIntyre)
From: GUEST,johntm
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 01:15 AM

Does anyone know the Irish for this?


Lovely whore though,
Lovely, lovely whore,
And choosy –
Slept with Conn,
Slept with Niall.
Slept with Brian,
Slept with Rory.
Slide then,
The long slide.
Of course it shows.

Translation by Thomas MacIntyre

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Subject: RE: Cathleen 9th Century Irish..Lyric Reques
From: ciarili
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 02:58 AM

OK, that's really weird. Some historical backround might be in order, though I don't know the particular work you're talking about, and nobody will make much headway for you without that.

Firstly, it was perfectly kosher for everybody to sleep around in ancient Gaelic culture. If this woman is referred to as a prostitute, it's because by the ninth century, Christianity's mores had taken firm root. The monks were writing all this stuff down, after all. Oh - and priests were still allowed to marry at this point in history - the ninth century, I mean. *Yes, my head's filled with arcane tidbits....*

The word whore is kinda distasteful. The Saxons started using the word the way we know it today when they conquered parts of Cornwall. In Cornish, the word means "sister," so you can see how they adopted it for the purpose of being derogatory. Nobody knows that, so it's not really un-PC (like I care about PC), but it's a tidbit to ponder. Once I found that out, I stopped using it. Now I only tease my close girlfriends with, "Hello, Whore!"


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Subject: RE: Cathleen 9th Century Irish..Lyric Reques
From: ciarili
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 02:59 AM

p.s. I think the University of Leinster has a lot of ancient texts online, or it might be U. of Cork....Try to find out.

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Subject: RE: Cathleen 9th Century Irish..Lyric Reques
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 03:27 PM

thank ciarili..the english is in "the book of irish verse", edited by john montague, that came out in 1977, i think. i saw the poem in a review. review says there is no information about the poem in the book.

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Subject: RE: Origin: Cathleen (tr. Thomas MacIntyre)
From: GUEST,Joep
Date: 18 Aug 14 - 06:28 PM

It's a very loose rendition of the generic Gaelic "aisling" tradition addressing Ireland as "Kathleen" or "Kathleen Ni Houlihan". As the personified sovereignty-goddess she was supposed to be the spouse of the land's king. The poem enumerates her earlier spouses or High Kings: Conn stands for Connacht, Niall for Ulster, Brian for Munster, Rory for Leinster. But now (after the English conquest) she has no true spouse, and the poet bitterly confronts Ireland's/Kathleen's lost honour and esteem, like an aging prostitute.
I think it's a brilliant modernization of the 18th-century model, very concise and terse but pregnant with emotion and meaning, and with all the mixed feeling of compassion and bitterness.

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