Marbhna ar bhás a mhná, Máire Ní Guidhir
Elegy on the death of his wife Molly Maguire

Carolan alone

Carolan married Mary Maguire of County Fermanagh in 1720, when he was 50 years of age. Upon their marriage, Carolan and Mary settled upon a small farm near Mohill, Co. Leitrim where he built a 'neat little house'. They had seven children, six daughters and a son. His wife died in 1733 and he is said to have never fully recovered from the bereavement. He wrote one of the most beautiful poems in her memory.

Of Mary it was said that "faithful and fond as Penelope, she repels with scorn, every attack on her chastity; and prays for the safety, and fondly wishes the return of her wandering husband." Around her as she sits employed in some female task, sport her little children, on whom she ever and anon casts a glance of delight, then heaves the sigh of apprehension for their absent father.' No music was ever written for this elegy. ... Donal O'Sullivan, Celtic Music edition vol. 1 pg. 38.

Intleacht na h-Éireann, na Gréige, 's na Róimhe,
Bíodh uile i n-éinfheacth i n-aon beartin romham-sa;
Ghlacfainn mar fhéirín thar an méid sin de na seodaibh
Máire 'on Éirne a's mé féin bheith dhá pógadh.

Is tuirseach, tinn, tré-lag mé féin gach tráthnóna,
'S air maidin ag éirghe mar d'eag uaim mo nuachar;
Dá bhfáighinn anois treuda 's gach saidhbhrear dár nósadh
Ní Ghlacfainnna dhíidh sin aon bhean le pósadh.

Intellect of Érin, Greece, and Rome,
All together in one small bundle before me;
I would accept as a present over a like amount of jewels
Mary from the Erne (river) and myself kissing her.

Tired, sick, exhausted, I am each afternoon,
And on rising at morning, I feel the death of my bride,
If I were to receive, now, all treasures and wealth ever known
I would not accept to marry any other woman instead of her.

Fuair mé seal i n-Éirinn go haerach 's go sóghamhuil,
Ag ól le gach tréan-fhear bíéifeachtach ceolmhar,
Fágadh 'na ndéidh sin leam féin mé go brónach,
I ndeireadh mo shaol 's gan mo chéile bheith beo agam.
I was for a time in Érin merry and satisfied,
Drinking with every hearty, capable, musical man,
Leaving me later by myself and sorrowful,
At my life's end without my beloved alive with me.

M'intleacht mhaith aeracht ní fhéadaim a chumhdach,
M'intinn na ndéidh sin is léir go bhfuil smúiteach,
Go deimhin id' dhiaidh-se fhéadaim a bheit súgach,
A Mháire na céille insan tsaol bhí go cliúiteach.
My good joyful mind, I cannot recover,
My mind, after this, clearly is shattered,
Certainly after you I could be tearful,
O Mary of the good sense in life who was renowned.

Courtesy of Vivian and Jack, May 2004.
Replay background music:Molly Maguire sequenced by the contemplator.
Irish Gaelic text: Poems of Carolan by Tómas Ó Máille Irish Text Society,1916, pg 161 No 49.
Cabhair ó Proinsias Osborne



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