Lament of Créide for Dínertach (From Old Irish)

This poem preserved in the West Munster cycle. According to the prose preface there, Dínertach had come to fi ght for Guaire of Gort in 649 and was killed in battle, and the poem was made by Guaire's daughter Créd who had fallen for him. This does not make overmuch sense, as the poem is more intelligible if it is Guaire's wife who is speaking. The language of the poem, as reconstructed from a later copy, puts it in the late 9th century, hundreds of years after the events that supposedly occasioned it. It gives me the impression of having been originally an independent work that was eventually sutured into a prose narrative.

Créide's Lament for Dínertach (ca. 9th century)
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

These sleep-slaughtering arrows strike
Every hour in cold of night:
Pangs for time spent after dark
With the man from Roigne's march.

Mad love for an outlander
Who outstripped his every peer
Has stripped my bloom, bleached my cheek,
And will now not let me sleep.

He spoke sweeter than men sing
Save those hymning heaven's king:
My great flame who spoke no bluff,
My sleek, tender-sided love.

As a girl I was modest,
Had no truck with lust or tryst.
Now in my uncertain age
Wantonness plays its charades.

Here I've got every good thing
With Gúaire, cold Aidne's king.
But the mind will out afar
From my folk to Irluachar.

Here they sing round Cell Colmán
In grand Aidne of that man
From past Limerick's grave-track,
The great flame named Dínertach.

Christ! It mutilates my heart
How they killed him in the dark.
These sleep-slaughtering arrows strike
Every hour in cold of night.

The Original:

It é saigte gona súain,
cech thrátha i n-aidchi adúair,
serccoí, lia gnása, íar n-dé,
fir a tóeb thíre Roigne.

Rográd fir ala thíre
ro-síacht sech a chomdíne
ruc mo lí (ní lór do dath);
ním-léci do thindabrad.

Binniu laídib a labrad
acht Ríg nime nóebadrad:
án bréo cen bréthir m-braise,
céle tana tóebthaise.

Imsa naídiu robsa náir:
ní bínn fri dúla dodáil;
ó do-lod i n-inderb n-aís
rom-gab mo théte togaís.

Táthum cech maith la Gúaire,
la ríg n-Aidni adúaire;
tocair mo menma óm thúathaib
isin íath i n-Irlúachair.

Canair a i n-íath Aidni áin,
im thóebu Cille Colmáin,
án bréo des Luimnech lechtach
díanid comainm Dínertach. 

Cráidid mo chride cainech,
a Chríst cáid, a ̇foraided:
it é saigte gona súain
cech thrátha i n-aidchi adúair.

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