An Eaglais Ghallda - The English Church

Anraí VIII Rí Sasana
King Henry VIII of England

Loud in his praise of those who helped him, the blind Irish poet lauriate Raifteirí's sharp tongue was used against those who incurred his wrath. An example of this is the story and poem that follows: A proselyting Protestant minister decided that the poet Antaine Raifteirí would be a valuable catch, as he would then compose poetry which would encourage other Catholics to convert. Realizing what was happening, Raifteirí composed an impromptu retort:

Antaine Ó Raifteirí (1784-1835)

Fág uaim do eaglais ghalla
Is do chreideamh gan bonn gan bhrí
Mar gurb é is cloch bonn dóibh
Magairlí Anraí Rí


Away with your English religion,
And your baseless meaningless faith,
For the only rock it is built on,
Are the balls of Henry the Eighth.

The quatrain above is based on the Scripture in Matt 16:18. Here Christ says to Peter as they walked on the road to the town of Caesaria Philipi: "You are Peter, the rock upon which I will build my Church."

Raftery is said to have spent some months in Galway jail according to Douglas Hyde because of a poem of his critical of the Protestant church. However it seems more likely that the jail time was due to his writing the poem about the White Boys.

Courtesy of Jack & Vivian, August 2005
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Filleadh go liosta
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