The two opening quatrains of the poem seem to have been written by some
third party, who expresses his regret that the sack was not wide enough
to accomodate both Carolan and MacCabe. He evidently thinks that both
deserved to be sacked for acting the way that they did.
But Charles MacCabe had failed to take the joke in the spirit in which it was intended, and so provoked Carolan into the first half of the scolding match. The second half constitutes MacCabe's rejoinder. The entire piece is clearly a verbal, semi-humorous passage-at-arms, composed without rancor on either side.
le Údar gan ainm|
Sé sac Uilliam Eaclis do thug buaidhirt don tír,
Trap an mhic mhallachtain gach uair sa' tsighe;
Níl sgafaire dá ngafaire dá ngabhann anuas ná 'nlos
Nach rachaidh isteach ann má castar é i mbuaire dighe.
It is William Eccles's sack that has brought trouble to the village,
The devil's own trap constantly on the road;
There's no hearty lad who travels up or down
Who will not get trapped if he comes to grief in drink.
A Mhic Gearailt, ni maith liom nach dtárla daoibh|
Sac fairsing, gidh bé h-aca cnáib nó líon;
An dá sgraisde chur isteach ann is do b'fhearrde an tír,
Mar theagaimh do Chathaoir Mac Cába sa'tslighe!
Fitzgerald, I am sorry that ye didn't happen to have|
A wide sack, whether made of hemp or linen;
If the two men were put into it the locality would be better off,
As happened to Charles MacCabe when he came that way!
le Turlough O'Carolan|
I Fuair Mac Cába duais a dhána.
Nós gach file;
Uaim gan ghailligh mas na caillighe
Chuaidh ar mire.
III Is airde sgal uadh i n-aimsir féasda,
IV Is bréaga mar dubhrais gur ghnáth buan
Mac Cabe received the meed of his lay,
As poets do;
From me without fail, the son of a hag
Went in a frenzy.
Louder his cry in time of feasting,
It is lies you told that is usual
Excerpts from Mac Cabe's Part of the Scolding Match
le Cathaoir Mac Cába|
I Jesus, Maria! cumhachta Dia umainn!
A dhiabhail bodaigh!
Sé so an t-iaramh tá tú dhéanamh,
'S gan é 'na chogadh!
III Níl ó Ghaillimh fear dá chapall
VII Tug seanbhan liath dhuit thíos i Liathtruim
Jesus, Maria! God help us!
You boorish devil!
So this is the attempt you are making;
Though it is not war!
There is not a man who ownes two horses
A grey-haired crone down in Leitrim
William Eccles who was the owner of the sack is the subject of one of Carolan's other poems. Nothing is known of Fitzgerald but he apparantly took part it tieing MacCabe up. The verses above are excerpts and are numbered on the left side, as the entire poem is much longer. Carolan's original music to this poem, if there ever was any, has not been preserved. It is not included in O'Sullivan's list of the 214 musical pieces that have survived.
Consult the dictionary Foclóir Poca for phonetics
The author of the English translation is unknown.
Donal O'Sullivan, Life and Times of an Irish Harper vol 1 pg 75-9
Courtesy of Jack and Vivian IrishPage.com June 2, 2004
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