This is the first of several poems that Carolan wrote for Bridget. His was a boyish love-affair, but the song, according to Charles O'Conor was a favorite with Carolan in later years. Carolan after the loss of his sight used to prevail upon some of his family or neighbors to lead him every fine day to the top of a moat or rath , at a still distance from his father's house , which he was in the habit of frequenting at every opportunity before the loss of his sight. Here he commonly lay for hours stretched before the sun and was often observed in an ecstacy. In one of these raptures he called on the boy attending him to lead him home in haste. There he called for his harp and composed this song in praise of Miss Bridget Cruise. ... O'Sullivan v 1 p 66.
le Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin |
1. A theagar agus a chuisle, ná tréig-si choidh mise,
B'féidir go dtiucfadh grásta ó Criost,
Go mbéinn-se agus tusa (i) n-éacth gan tuise,
A's nach tú d'fágaibh osna thrí lár mo chroidhe.
by Frank Osborne|
My comfort and my love, may she never leave me,
Maybe grace will come from Christ,
That I and you might achieve without measure,
And that you may not leave a sigh thru my heart's center.
2, Ní fhéadaim-se codladh aon oidhche go socair,|
Ach a' smuaineadh ort-sa (do) ló agus do oidhche;
A's lér mo bharamhla is tú an féirin fuair Paris,
Ó Bhénus air ar sgriosah go bráth an Traoi.
I cannot sleep one night soundly,|
For thinking of you by night and by day;
And clearly I believe you are the present Paris got,
From Venus for whom Troy was utterly destroyed.
3. A Bhrighid bheag dheas, a bhéilin meala,|
Le'r baoruigheadh leat-sa fearaibh Chric' Fáil,
A's gur éifechtaighe gach stair dhá léightear dhúinn air dheise:
Venus, Juno, Apollo, a's ná Déirdre an áigh.
O nice little Bridget, o little honey-mouth,|
With which you smote the men of Fáil's land,
And surpasses all history we read for beauty:
Venus, Juno, Apollo, and Deirdre is not victorious.
4. A sgéim rud'r a maise (i) n-éanacth gan easbhuidh|
Is léir liom go deimhin gurab agad-sa (a)tá;
Méara crúaidhe deasa is tréithigh a shineadh,
An réidh-phort clis air chaoin-chruit sháimh,
The beauty which adorns birds without absence|
Clearly to me you certainly possess;
Nice strong fingers most accomplished extending,
The smooth tune which fails the peaceful refined harp,
5. Tá na céadta fear cliste i n-éiclipse air misge,|
Sgéul é nach gceileann fáidh ná draoí,
(An) méid úd gan easbuidh 'g éagnach a leathtrom',
Fá bhé dheas na mbachall bán agus buídhe,
Hundreds of wise men are eclipsed in drunkeness,|
A story which exempts neither prophet nor wizard,
Those many without flaw bemoaning their misfortune, 
Around the pleasant maiden of the white and yellow ringlets,
6. Sí géagán na mban í, bréagán na bhfear í,|
Géag aig a mbíonn aithneamh, cáil agus gnaoí,
Mhéadaigh ar smál agus laghduigh ar ngean,
Do dhiaigh-se le seal ó d'fhágaibh tú an tir.
She is the woman of flowing hair, toy of the men is she,|
Branch which has wisdom, fame and beauty,
Misfortune increased and love decreased,
Shortly after your leaving the land.
7. Tá m' intinn air mearbhall agus m' intleacht dhá dhalladh,|
Le trom-chian ré fada do ló agus dó oidhch,
(l) ndiaigh do bhinn-bhriathra blasta, na gcrinn-chiocha geala,
Na gcíabh-fholt breágh daite is breáchta ar bith píob.
My mind is confused and my intellect blinded,|
With a heavy head for a long time, night and day,
After your sweet-accented words, the choicest bright breasts
The fine colored hair and most radiant throat on earth.
8. Do ghris-leaca tanaidh bherfadh fáothughadh do lucht galair,|
D'fágais pían mhór air fheraibh trát do do dhith,
Más binn libh le n-aithris sí an fhirinn a chanaim,
Nach aoibhinn don talamh air ar tharla si, Bríghid.
Your slender glowing cheeks would bring health to the sick,|
You leave great pain on men at the time of your absence,
If it is sweet for you to hear 'tis the truth that I sing,
Is it not pleasant for the ground where stands she, Brighid.
9. Sí Venus na finne an péarla maiseach leinbh,|
Agus feuchadh gach duine an chúis mur is cóir,
A's gur ina h-éadan tá'n lile, geimhreadh na gile,
Dréim an tsaoghail ré bule, spairnigheacd ris an rós,
She is Venus of the white hair the elegant pearl child,|
And each one considers the cause as is right,
And in her face is the lily, the winter brightness,
Expectataion of a lifetime, contending with the rose,
10. Feuchaigidh sibh-se comhrac na deise,|
An báire ní chaillfidh an rós dá deóin,
Buaidh ní thiubhraidh an lile, a Dhia nach cruaidh an imirt,
Gluaistear ris a nglaise, a gruaidhe, mar an rós.
Look you all at the battle of the beauties,|
A contest the rose will not lose willingly,
Victory the lily will not concede, God is the play not hard,
Driven by their brightness, their cheeks, like the rose.
This ode to Bridget Cruise has always been considered one of the tenderest and most harmonious of all Carolan's works. "I have often listened,"says Charles O'Conor to Carolan singing this ode to Miss Cruise. I thought the stanzas wildly enthusiastic , but neglected to preserve them. Mr. Walker called it his 'chef-d'oeuvre,'and says it came warm from his heart while his genius was in full vigor. An even superior poem is his second song to Bridget Cruise.
Irish Lyrics: The poems of Carolan, Tomás Ó Máille, Irish Texts Society, 1916, pg 119 No 9.
English Lyrics: Frank Osborne of Kansas City, Mo.
Notations: Dónal O'Sullivan, Life and Times of an Irish Harper vol 1 pg. 179 No. 26.
Courtesy of Vivian and Jack, IrishPage.com 2004.
Replay background music: Bridget Cruise
For phonetics consult the pocket dictionary Fóclóir Póca.