Sunday, May 20, 2018

I Sacsaiḃ na Séad

I Sacsaiḃ na Séad is an 18th century poem of Eoġan Ruaḋ Ó Súilleaḃáin. The title translates as "In England of the Treasures." The poem is a beautiful example of the Aisling form. The version below was taken from "Na hAislingí, Vision Poems," a compilation of Eoġan Ruaḋ's verses published by The Aubane Historical Society in 2002. I took to doing a translation of the poem into Spanish and it seems to suit the language, there is a natural bounce to it that doesn't come across easily in English, for example. I had help in my translation from many hands, last of whom was Marcela Acevedo, who helped me put a proper snas on it! I've included the literal English translation first from Na hAislingí, the Irish text is below that, and the Spanish, is at the end of the post. The carving below (from the 16th century) is of Sily Nig Donogh MacCarthy Reagh, wife of Donogh O' Sullivan More. 

In England of the treasures far from my homeland
In the shadow of the masts by the quays of the tall ships,
And I pondering on the passing of the nobles and the heroes
Done to death in the land of Céin,
By savages in a whirlwind of conquest,
Helpless, valiant though I am in ventures,
Shedding my tears copiously in sorrow,
Without delight, powerless, without pleasure.

I beheld a lady, Grecian, elegant, 
Bright, clever she was of fair appearance,
Feminine, well bred, soft lipped, elegant,
Dignified, modest, well-shaped,
Beautiful, of fair mien, majestic, estimable,
Lively, mature, courteous, 
Coming in haste, light of gait,
She descended next to me a while.

Her thick hair was twisting, 
From the crown of her head to the grass,
Flowing in swift tremors,
Her eyebrows were slender, her eyes were inviting,
Her face and appearance were lustrous,
The ember was red on the fresh lily,
In her cheek seeking supremacy,
And more elegant was every verse her voice uttered,
Than the plucking of fingers on a gentle harp.

Her teeth were of the likeness of a swan's appearance
on the foam wet fury of the sea,
her keen breasts were undefiled 
by the wanton tricks of Cupid;
Her ready slender hand inscribed very clearly 
Bears and tall ships, 
the battles of hundreds, savage wolves,
Fishes and feathered flocks.

Her fine, graceful body doubled my pangs,
From the crown of her head to the grass in correct proportions,
From which my appearance crumbled and I was struck dumb;
My vigorous limbs were enfeebled,
I was blinded after all these events, 
Though I spoke to her timidly,
And I enquired of the lady her name and her story,
Her tribe and her company to tell me.

I took heart after her words, 
I was silent awhile I deferred to her, 
I desired her beauty, her mein and her person,
A circumstance that was no disgrace to me; **
Every organ of my limbs was active, strong,
I was not long faint and at a loss,
Whenever I supposed that the woman was one who was devoted to
The forms and sins of lust.*

Answer me, are you the illustrious lady 
who brought about the fury war of the guiltless Troy?
Or the maiden who wrought the grief and overthrow of the Irish
In the lands of Céin and Iughgoin,
That left the nobles and bards of those lands
In weakness under the yoke of churls?
Or the lady who leaped afar over the sea,
From Eamhain, with a knight in his strong ship?

I am none of those you tell of in your lying stories
And I shall not relate a story to a savage such as you,
A scion of the clan of Luther,
A savage in mien, in outlook and in treachery,
A rake and a coxcomb from London,
Who are in arms and armour arrayed, lacerating
The limbs and shelter of my prince.

Do not insult me, O bright countenanced lady of fair hair,
By this book in my hand, I am not one their blood,
But I am a feeble traveller who goes over the raging ocean,
Who was torn far away by the hair of my head, 
Aiding the person I was not of a mind to,
In the gunships on the foaming ocean,
And my tribe is of the strain of the bloodstream of the Irish
In Caiseal of the provincial kingships.

As it is true that you are one of the Royal blood of Caiseal
Then for a while I was united with you,
I shall myself relate to you the exploits of my travels,
And I will tell you my true name;
Poets call me deceitful Éire,
A hussey of treacherous ways,
Who gave insult and injury,
Through deceit with the foreigners,
To the company of my native homesteads.

From the lands of Céin and the worthy Éibhear,
Over the ocean of ropes I fled easily,
With a message of news from the clans of the Irish, 
That soon they would make a conquest,
That they would scatter every bear of the company
Of mercaneries of the root-stock of London,
Here's to the life of the heroes, and he shall return in power
My champion, as king, to Dún Luirc.

Bards of verse and knowledge prophesy,
His coming in battle ranks and troops,
Strong, valiant, chivalrous, thrashing
Fat bucks of foreign manners,
From the examining of every story their time is spent,
By which they must submit,
And adopt different manners, though it is bitter for them to accept it
And yield authority to authors.

I fear, oh illustrious maiden!
That this tale you devise is a lying pastime
The savages are too strong in their ships that have no care
For King Charles, your prince,
Every measure of assistance is wanting,
And the Irish people are cowed,
Without freehold lands as their clerics were accustomed
who waxed strong in noble Ireland.

I must keep silent, perforce
In the land of the beast-like foreigners,
Since I happen to be a while in bondage, 
A circumstance that left me truly downcast;
Tell my story to the poets at home,
And they will send a verse to me,
That will scatter my grief, though full of streams
Of tears so that I am blinded senseless.

By the river of the moor is the worthy phoenix,
Manly, festive, feasting, generous, 
A support in clearly analysing texts,
And wise, learned, subtle,
Who would compose every verse without stupidity,
Do not forget to call in his house
And he will protect you kindly in his company while he reads
In verses every step of your adventures.

Of the true-stock of the Irish is the keen, pure scion,
A true pearl of his native land,
who is descended from the blood of the bards and knights who were not cowardly
In conflicts of hard-fought battles,
Noble, sturdy Séan of the root-stock of Eachaidh,
It is he who will take you in his affection
And grant you to himself, above any of my relatives,
My lady without protection for her treasures.

*Here it should be translated as ¨us¨ as opposed to me. ¨Dúinn-ne.¨
** This is an important crux of the poem, the translation here seems wrong to me. The ¨spéirbhean¨ is defying the sins of lust not yielding to those sins. The word in Irish ¨greannaigh¨ means defying not yielding.

En Inglaterra de los tesoros, lejos de mi patria,

a la sombra de los mástiles, en los muelles de veleros,

pensando en los nobles y héroes ya desaparecidos,

muertos en la tierra de Céin,

por salvajes en un torbellino de conquista.

Indefenso, aunque valiente y aventurero,

lloro abundantes lágrimas de tristeza,

sin felicidad, sin poder, sin placer.


Vi una doncella griega, elegante,

deslumbrante, reluciente y muy bella,

femenina y de estirpe, de suaves labios, deliciosa.

Noble, sincera, respetable,

con preciosa figura, hermosa, de bello aspecto, majestuosa,

animada, madura, amistosa.

Rápidamente, a paso ligero,

descendió un momento a mi lado.


Su cabello abundante se ondulaba

formando remolinos que acariciando la hierba,

se deslizaban y se sacudían con fuerza.

Sus finas cejas, su mirada gacha, 

su aspecto y su rostro brillantes,

un ascua ardiente en el lirio fresco.

Sus mejillas de color rosa me tentaban.

Cada palabra suya era más dulce

que el rasgar de los dedos en la suave arpa.


Sus dientes, blancos cual cisne

en la espuma del mar bravo.

Sus pechos amplios nunca cayeron 

en los engaños arteros, depravados de Cupido.

Sus finas, dóciles manos

dibujaron osos, veleros,

combates de cientos, lobos feroces,

peces y bandadas de plumosos pájaros.


Mi dolor creció ante su bello cuerpo esbelto.

Sus finas formas de la coronilla a los pies

me dejaron sin habla, destruido;

quedaron frágiles mis miembros vigorosos.

Ciego quedé ante tanta maravilla,

mas le hablé tímidamente,

y le pregunté su nombre, su historia;

le rogué que me dijera su clan y su tribu.


Ardió mi corazón por sus palabras,

sentí humildad al escucharla.

Deseaba su belleza, su alma, su presencia,

sin que esto nos trajera deshonra.

Urgente, firme, cada miembro de mi cuerpo;

al instante quedé destrozado

al comprender que ella se oponía al pecado y la lujuria.


Respóndeme, ¿eres tú la dama radiante

que trajo furia y guerra a la Troya inocente?

¿O bien la que causó la miseria y destrucción de los gaélicos

en las tierras de Céin y Lughoine?

¿Eres tú quien heredó su nobleza y sus bardos de aquellos,

y luego huyó con angustia? 

¿O la ninfa que atravesó las aguas del mar,

desde Eamhain con sus héroes y barcos?


No soy ninguna de las que mencionas en tus falsas historias,

y no compartiré mis narraciones con un callejero como tú,

heredero del clan de Lutero,

con tu feroz aspecto, tu mirada traicionera,

tu aire salvaje, infame y embustero.

Vagabundo arrogante de Londres,

que vistes tu uniforme de guerra, cortas los miembros

de mi príncipe y destruyes su refugio.


No me insultes, resplandeciente dama de fulgurantes cabellos.

Te juro ante este libro que no soy de la misma estirpe.

Soy un viajero fatigado que navega eternamente en océanos furiosos.

Fui arrastrado de los pelos hacia estas tierras lejanas,

a prestar ayuda en contra de mi voluntad,

en los barcos guerreros del océano espumoso.

Mi fuerza viene de la sangre gaélica que corre por mis venas,

desde Caiseal de los cinco reinos.


Como eres de la estirpe de los reyes de Caiseal,

por un instante estrecharemos lazos.

Te contaré las hazañas de mis viajes

y pronunciaré mi verdadero nombre.

Los poetas me llaman Irlanda, la engañosa,

meretriz de arteras maniobras,

que insultó e hirió a su patria

entregándosela a los forasteros.


Desde las tierras de Céin y de la valiente Éibhear

por el muelle, amarrada, huí fácilmente,

portando noticias de los clanes irlandeses,

que pronto lograrán una conquista

arrancando de nuestra tierra al coloso enemigo,

mercenario de profundas raíces londinenses.

¡Brindo por la vida de los héroes, por que sea coronado rey

mi guerrero en Dún Luirc!


Los bardos profetizan con sus versos y su sabiduría

una llegada aguerrida y arrolladora.

Fuertes, heroicos, valientes,

irán castigando a los buitres intrusos.

La profecía no ofrece duda: les ha llegado la hora,

deberán rendirse,

someterse a la autoridad,

cambiar sus usos, ¡qué ardua tarea!


Temo, ¡oh, dama ilustre!

que esta historia que engendras sea falsa.

Los salvajes y sus naves son poderosos en demasía,

no les importa Carlos Estuardo, tu príncipe.

Toda ayuda está ausente.

El pueblo irlandés fue acallado y está sin tierras,

a diferencia de sus sacerdotes,

que vivían libres en la noble Irlanda.


¡Cómo escuchar cuando uno está tan oprimido,

en tierras de extranjeros despiadados!

Yo mismo estuve envuelto en cadenas,

que me dejaron sin esperanzas.

Cuenta mi historia a los poetas de mi patria

y ellos me enviarán versos que curarán mi amargura,

 y secarán las abundantes lágrimas,

que me han dejado ciego y en penas.

Junto al río en el páramo está el ave fénix poderoso,

varonil, festivo, alegre, generoso. 

Él te ayudará a comprender los textos,

con precisión, prudencia y sabiduría,

y redactará cada verso con profundidad.

No lo olvides, detente en su refugio,

él te cuidará, te hará compañía

y leerá verso a verso cada paso de tu aventura.


De la auténtica estirpe gaélica, él es heredero, el tesoro,

raudo guerrero, genuina perla de su patria,

sangre de poetas y héroes que no se amedrentaban

en arduos combates montados.

Solemne y libre, del linaje de Eocho,

Seán es quien te tomará en sus brazos,

y te servirá más que cualquier otro.

Mi musa, ¡regresa y protege tus joyas!