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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2000 (July-December) » Translation, please! « Previous Next »

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Nichole (spider-tr032.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.201.187)
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2000 - 10:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Please give the English translation for the following:

'Se mo laoch mo ghile mear
'Se mo chaesar, ghile maer
Ni fhuaras fein aon suan ar sean
O chuaigh I gcein mo ghile mear

It is part of a traditional Irish song sung by Mary Black.

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Lúcas (bg-tc-ppp731.monmouth.com - 209.191.63.167)
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2000 - 05:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Nichole, a chara,

I think there are a couple of typos in the version you gave us. Let me offer a slightly different spelling.

'Sé mo laoch mo ghile mear
'Sé mo Chaesar gile mear
Ní fhuaireas féin aon suan ná séan
Ó chuaigh i gcéin mo ghile mear.

Here is a less poetic English transalation.

He is my hero, my impetuous love
He is my Caesar, [my] impetuous love
I've got no sleep or happiness
Since my impetuous love went far away.

"Mo ghile mear" literally means "my spirited brightness." However, Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill wrote this piece as an allegory. The singer is Éire and mo ghile mear is Prince Charles Stuart. She laments the loss of her lover who was exiled on the continent in his youth. That is why I used the word 'impetuous.' 'Brightness' is an old Celtic form of endearment, and so I used the word 'love.' My English does not do much justice to Mac Domhnaill's Irish.

Lúcas

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Nichole (spider-tf082.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.197.212)
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2000 - 10:22 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thank you, Lucas for your kind reply. I understand that meaning often gets lost in translation, but at least now I have your informative response to guide me. Now I must research the story! You have been most helpful.

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Marguerite Lynch (pc-19-28.mountaincable.net - 24.215.19.28)
Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 12:19 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

re: translation of Mo Ghile Mear. In his Sept. 9 reply to Nichole, Lucas says the above means "my spirited brightness. However, in the notes enclosed in the Chieftains' Long Black Veil CD, Paddy Moloney's gives the translation as "Our Hero." For very personal reasons, I am hoping that Moloney's translation is the correct one. Can someone please advise with certainty? Many thanks. Marguerite Lynch. Ontario, Canada.

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Seosamh (2cust29.tnt11.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.23.133.157)
Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 12:40 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

In the sentence 'Sé mo laoch mo ghile mear' that Lúcas has translated as 'He is my hero, my impetuous love', the word that means 'hero' is 'laoch'.

'Gile', as Lúcas points out, is a term of endearment and, as he implies, derives from the literal meaning, 'brightness'.

I have also been told that 'gile' in this song was originally 'gille' (Scots Gaelic for giolla, young man) which was then misunderstood for 'gile' as the years went by. In any case, it doesn't mean 'hero'. (Is dócha go mbeadh an freagra ceart agus an focal scoir ag Donncha.)

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