Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Pellente Lascivos Amores Canitie

Duanaire Finn. The Book of the Lays of Fionn, Part I: Irish Text, with Translation into English by Eoin Mac Neill (London: David Nutt, 1908), p. 194 (no. XXV):
Once I was yellow-haired, ringleted,
    Now my head puts forth only a short grey crop.

I would rather have locks of the raven's colour
    Grow on my head, than a short hoary crop.

Courting belongs not to me, for I wile no women;
    To-night my hair is hoar, it will not be as once it was.
The same, tr. Eleanor Hull, The Poem-Book of the Gael. Translations from Irish Gaelic Poetry into English Prose and Verse (Edinburgh: Ballantyne, Hanson & Co., 1913), p. 91:
Once I was yellow-haired, and ringlets fell
In clusters round my brow;
Grizzled and sparse to-night my short grey crop,
No lustre in it now.

Better to me the shining locks of youth,
Or raven's dusky hue,
Than drear old age, which chilly wisdom brings,
If what they say be true.

I only know that as I pass the road,
No woman looks my way;
They think my head and heart alike are cold,—
Yet I have had my day.
The same, tr. Barbara Hughes Fowler, Medieval Irish Lyrics (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), p. 97:
Once I had golden curls.
Now my crown sprouts only
a short crop of hoary hair.

I'd prefer to have raven locks
upon my head rather than
this scanty crop of hoary hair.

Wooing is not for me. I wile
no women. Tonight my hair is hoar.
I'll never be as I once was.
The original:
Do bádussa úair
fa folt buide chas,
is nách fuil trem chenn
acht finnfad ferr glas.

Robad luinne lem
folt ar dath in fíaich
do thoidecht trem chenn
ná finnfad gerr líath.

Suirge ní dluig dam,
óir ní mellaim mná;
m' folt in-nocht is líath;
ní bía mar do bá.

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