Máire Brún - Mary Browne

Woman dancing

If the poem is Carolan's, it is one of his very best. The first two quatrains seem to have been composed during her lifetime, the rest after her death. This is a song composed by Carolan in praise of Mary Browne after her death. It shows the depth of Carolan's grief over her. According to the poem she seems to have been the wife of Squire Palmer This piece is also known as Maggie Browne's Favorite. ... Tomás Ó Máille.

le Turlough O'Carolan
1. Tá do Gháirdín pléisiúir gan ubhall gan sméara,
Gan cnó gan cáoraí ná áirní
Gan cuach, gan traonach, gan oiread an éinin,
Shinnfeadh ar théud ná ar chláirsigh.

by Frank Osborne
Your pleasure garden is without apple or blackberry,
Without nuts or berries or sloes,
Without cuckoo, without corncrake, or even a little bird,
Who would play on string or harp.

2. Nuair a mhothuigim féin do chóistí
Tig lionn dubh ro-mhor orm a's buaidhreadh,
Fá do chuid eachraidh breág mómar bheith aig imtheachth fá na gclócaí
A's do leanabán bog óg ag cruadh-ghul.

When I think of your funeral coaches
A deep melancholy comes over me, and grief,
About your fine graceful steeds passing under the shrouds
And your soft young baby crying bitterly.

3. Cuirim féin an triúr sin fó choimirce a's air ciomhdach,
Ard-riogh na ndúl tá i bParrthas,
Mur bhfuil Ruaidhrí, an chraobh-cúmhra a's an stáid-bhean do na Brúnaigh,
Sé is ainm don gcúilinn Máire.

I put these three under the protection and keeping
of the High-king of Hope who is in Paradise
Namely Rory, the fragrant branch, and the stately Lady Brown,
The name of the fair-haired one is Máire.

4. A samhail dar mo chubhais daóibh , ní bhfaca mé sa dún seo,
Tá an chraobh léi ó Mhuardh go Cionn tSáile,
Go mbu fada a's go mbu bhuan bheas oighre na dúithche seo
An Cornél cliútamhail Pálmer

Their likes, by my honor to them, I never saw in this castle,
She holds the prize from Muard to Kinsale,
Lengthy and successful may the line of this estate be
The famous Colonel Palmer. [4]

5. Tá an ghealach a's an ghrian le fada air a dtriall,
S'd caitheadh dhá dtrian dá ndeallraidh,
Tá do leanabán na gciabh 'na sheanduine liath,
A's cúl air iasg an tsamhraidh.

The moon and the sun are long on their way,
Two-thirds of their radiance spent,
Your child of the tresses is now old and grey,
And an end of the fishing of Summer.

6. Dha mbheith na machairi mar bu dúthach nó coillte breágh dlúth
Tá gan fasgadh air bith fútá ná bláth orthú,
A's tá do chuid beachadh breágh a súthadh a gcuid mealadh le cumhaidh,
Ó d'imigh Máire Brún táim fágtha.

If the plains were tilled or woods nice and thick,
Which are void of all growth or flowering,
And your fine bees are lonely recovering their honey,
Since Mary Brown departed I am forsaken.

7. Thigeadh binneas in mo mhéaraibh a'sinnm air na téudaibh,
An uair do chinn féin an spéir-bean de Bhrúnach:
A's go mbiodh sonas a's an séub ar dhuine ar bith sa tsaoghal-sa
D'féachadh sa taobh an chúilionn.

Sweetness would come to my fingers playing on the cords,
When I think of the fairy-woman of the Browns:
And happiness and gentility would come to all in this world
Who would look askance at the fair-haired one [1a]

8. Cróidhe geal na féile, lámh an einnigh a's an réidhtigh
Sgapfadh dá mbu léi-si an saoghal seo,
A's gurab aici atá an chraobh ag dul sios insa gcré,
Agus dar go deimhin daoibh ni bréug adúbhras.

Bright heart of the feast, hand of unity and conciliation
Who would share, were it her's this world,
And she the prized one going down into the grave,
And to you, truly, I affirm no lie have I told.

9. Deireadh lae, Dia Máirt, chaill Connachta an sbháidh,
M' anacuir! is cráidhte na sgéula,
A's go bhfuil an Squire Palmer feasta gan Mháire,
Hata(?) air a's atáim-se fá bhuaidhreadh,

Close of day, Tuesday, Connacht lost her suavity, [1] [3]
My distress! it is a story of torment,
And the Squire Palmer is henceforth without Máire, [4]
My hat is off to him and I am grieved, [2] [4]

10. Shiubhail mé ceithre ceárdaibh na Frainnce agus na Spáinne,
Sasana thall agus Éire.
Do shamhai níl le fághail feasta ná go brách,
Agus ni bheannacht go Párthas náomh leat.

I walked the four corners of France and Spain,
England yonder and Éire,
Your likeness is not to be found henceforth or forever.
And no saint will be welcomed in Paradise like you.

11. Tá an eala air an gcuan chómh dubh leis an ngual,
Agus a cuid cleití anuas léi le fánidh,
Gach ribe dá dul air sileadh léi anuas,
Agus a Mhuire, nach truagh a h-ádhbhar.

The swan in the harbour is black as the coal,
And her feathers hanging down in disarray,
Every rib of her plumage drooping down from her,
And, O Mother Mary! is it not a sorrowful matter.

12. "Mo brón!" arsa'n chuach, agus í air creathadh le fuacht,
"Nach cuma dham cé'n uair a labhraim,
Mo chreach a's mo chumhaidh, mur dímigh Máire Brún,
Nó go sinnim dhi cumhaidh an tsamhraidh."

"My sadness!! said the cuckoo, and she shivering with cold,
"It matters not what time I speak,
My loss and my loneliness, that Máire Browne departed,
Or I would sing for her a lament of Summer."

13. Tá Clár bánta na bó(?) gan fruidh(?) ó leag dhi an chraobh,
Tá an donas air an taobh sin do Éire,
Cad a dhéanfas lucht sionsa nó leatruim an tsaoghail-sa,
Feasta cia bhfuighe sid téagar.

Clare of the pastures is without fruit since her branch fell,[3]
Misfortune afflicts that region of Éire,
What will the slow or afflicted of this world do,
Henceforth where will they receive shelter?

14. Lucht freastáil a bhídh againn air bhochtaibh agus air dhilleachtaibh,
Tabairt airgid dóibh bidh agus éadaigh,
Dia Sathirn, mo dith! a d'fága sí an saoghal,
A's ní thiocfa sí a choidhche bhféachaint.

The caregivers we had for the poor and abandoned,
Giving money to them, food and clothing,
Saturday, alas! she left this world, [1]
And she will nevermore be seen.

Note: 1a The word "askance" here has the meaning of "brief look" as opposed to a look of disapproval. The Lady Brown was so attractive that one quick look was all that was needed for one to be smitten

Note: 1 There is an apparent conflict, relative to the day of her death, between Tuesday and Saturday, (unless she died on Tuesday and Saturday was her burial day)?

Note: 2 The only gesture involving a hat, that I can think of, (if that's the right word here), would be a doffing of the hat as a sign of respect.

Note: 3 There is another apparent conflict here, between Connacht and Munster, (where Clare now is), but, Clare has been variously assighed to Connacht and Munster throught history. It may have been part of Connacht in the 1600's & 1700's.

Note: 4 If Squire Palmer was such a bad person, the poet would not be showing him respect, by doffing his hat. Nor would he care that the Colonel would be without his spouse. For that reason Palmer should be regarded as "famous" instead of "infamous."

Note: 5 One possible reason for the untimely passing of Máire Brun, may be due to her dying during childbirth. There is no evidence available to support this position, nor any to refute it. The poem itself contains a sufficient number of references (eg. a "young soft baby crying bitterly", in her absence), which makes this conclusion plausible, at least.

Notes for song

Notations are courtesy of Carolan, the Life and Times of an Irish Harper by Dónal O'Sullivan vol 1 Celtic Music Edition 1983

Courtesy of Vivian and Jack Hennessey, IrishPage,com
Replay background music: Mary Browne
Source: The poems of Carolan, Tomás Ó Máille, Irish Texts Society, 1916, pg. 177 No 65.
English translation and footnotes by Francis Osborne of Kansas City, Missouri.
The song is not found in O'Sullivan's listing.


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