Wednesday, February 03, 2016


A Scottish Glen

Author unknown (Irish, 14th century?), "Deirdre Remembers a Scottish Glen," tr. Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson (1909-1991), A Celtic Miscellany (London: Penguin Books, 1971), pp. 72-73:
Glen of fruit and fish and pools, its peaked hills of loveliest wheat, it is distressful for me to think of it — glen of bees, of long-horned wild oxen.

Glen of cuckoos and thrushes and blackbirds, precious in its cover to every fox; glen of wild garlic and watercress, of woods, of shamrock and flowers, leafy and twisting-crested.

Sweet are the cries of the brown-backed dappled deer under the oak-wood above the bare hill-tops, gentle hinds that are timid lying hidden in the great-treed glen.

Glen of the rowans with scarlet berries, with fruit fit for every flock of birds; a slumbrous paradise for the badgers in their quiet burrows with their young.

Glen of the blue-eyed vigorous hawks, glen abounding in every harvest, glen of the ridged and pointed peaks, glen of blackberries and sloes and apples.

Glen of the sleek brown round-faced otters that are pleasant and active in fishing; many are the white-winged stately swans, and salmon breeding along the rocky brink.

Glen of the tangled branching yews, dewy glen with level lawn of kine; chalk-white starry sunny glen, glen of graceful pearl-like high-bred women.
Original in Thomas F. O'Rahilly (1883-1953), ed., Measgra Dánta: Miscellaneous Irish Poems, Part II (Dublin and Cork: Cork University Press, 1927), pp. 122-123 (with notes on pp. 195-196), also available here.

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