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An Naoidhe Naomh: The Sacred Child

21 Dec
Nativity scene courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This poem from An Naoidhe Naomh comes from An Duanaire 1690-1900: Poems of the Dispossessed, edited by the late Seán Ó Tuama, UCC, translations by Thomas Kinsella, Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1981.

As: An Naoidhe Naomh  (translation into English below)

Dia do bheatha, a naoidhe naoimh,

Isin mainséar cé taoi bocht,

Meadhrach saidhbhir atá tú

‘s glórmhar id dhún féin a-nocht.

 

Ar neamh dhíbh gan mháthair riamh,

Gan athair ‘nar n-iath a-nos,

it fhírDhia riamh atá tú

Is id dhuine ar dtús a-nocht

 

Tabhair, a rí, gé nach ceart,

áit id thuama don treas brúit,

i measc na ngadhar ón tsliabh

lér chosmhaile raimh ar ndúil.

 

A Mhuire, a mháthair, a ógh,

oscail doras an chró dhamh

Go n-adhrainn ardrí na ndúl-

Nach córa dhúinn ná do dhamh?

 

Do-ghéan seirbhIs do Dhia I bhfos,

Faire go moch is go mall;

Gadhair na mbuachaill ón tsliabh

Bualifead ón triath atá fann.

 

An t-asal fós is an damh

Ní leigfead I ngar don rígh;

Do-ghéan féin a n-áistsin dó-

Asal mé is bó Mhic Dé Bhí.

 

Do-bhéar usice liom go moch,

Scuabfad urlár bocht Mhic Dé;

Do-ghéan teine im anam fhuar

‘s tréigfead tré dhúthracht mo chorp claon.

 

Nighfead a bhochtbhréide dhó,

Is dá dtuga, a ógh, cead damh,

mo cheirt féin do bhainfinn díom

dá cur mar dhíon ar do mhac.

 

Biad mar chócaire ‘gan bhiadh

‘s im dhoirseoir do Dhia na ndúl,

‘s ó tá orthu fo mór m-fheidhm,

iarrfad fair mo dhéirc do thriúr.

 

Ní iarrfad airgead ná ór

Acht uair san ló póg dom rígh;

Do-bhéar mo chroidhe féin uaim

‘s glacfaidh é mar luach an trír.

 

A Phádraig ón leanbhsa fuair

bachall Íosa mar bhuaidh grás,

A ghein gan domblas id chlí,

‘s a Bhrighid, bí linn de ghnáth.

 

A phátrúin oiléan na naomh,

faghaidh grása ó Dhia dhúinn;

Mar chruimh in uamhaidh Dé a-nocht

glacthar bráithrín bocht ó Dhún.

 

Míle fáilte a-nocht I gclí

Le mo chroidhe dom rígh fial;

In dá nádúir ó do-chuaidh,

póg is fáilte uaim do Dhia.

 

From: The Sacred Child

God greet You, sacred Child,

poor in the manger there,

yet happy and rich tonight

in your stronghold in glory.

 

Motherless once in Heaven,

Fatherless now in our world,

true God at all times You are,

but tonight You are human first.

 

Grant room in Your cave, O King,

(though not of right) to this third brute

among the mountain dogs

-for my nature was ever like theirs.

 

Mary, Virgin and Mother,

Open the stable door

Till I worship the King of Creation

Why not I more than the ox?

 

I will do God’s service here,

watchful early and late.

I will chase the hill-boys’ dogs

away from this helpless Prince.

 

The ass and the ox, likewise

I will not let near my King;

I will take their place beside Him,

ass and cow of the living God!

 

In the morning I’ll bring him water.

I’ll sweep God’s Son’s poor floor.

I’ll light a fire in my cold soul

and curb with zeal my wicked body.

 

I’ll wash his poor garments for Him

and, Virgin, if you let me,

I’ll shed these rags of mine

As a covering for your Son.

 

And I’ll be the cook for His food.

I’ll be doorman for the God of Creation!

On behalf of all three I’ll beg,

since they need my help to speak.

 

No silver or gold I’ll ask

But a daily kiss for my King.

I will give my heart in return

And He’ll take it from all three.

 

Patrick, who through this Child

by grace got Jesus’ crozier

-O born without body’s bile-

And Bridget… be with us always.

 

Patron of the Isle of Saints,

obtain God’s graces for us.

Receive a poor friar from Dún

As a worm in God’s cave tonight.

 

A thousand greetings in body tonight

from my heart to my generous King.

In that He assumed two natures

here’s a kiss and a greeting to God!

 

With thanks to Seán Ua Súilleabháin, Department of Modern Irish, UCC

For more about research and courses in the Department of Modern Irish visit here

 

 

 

 

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 YN60

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