LAY LXV OF THE
...............DUANAIRE FINN
THE ADVENTURES OF THE
.............................MAGIC CLOAK
Traditional tr. Michael Smith

La da raibh Fionn ag ol
a n-Almhain ar bheagán slóigh
seisior ban f seisior fear
giolla & innilt uchtghlan

Fionn ann & Diarmaid gan -on
mac Reithe Oisin is Osgar
Conán máol. nar lag ar muir
anu & mna na sé láochsin

An uair do gabh meisge na mná
do-chuadar dha iomrádh
nach raibh ar talmain tric
seisior ban bú comionnraic

Do ráidh Fionn fath gan on
colach ceirdeach é an domhan
cidh maith sibhsi. is iomdha bean
nar fheis riam acht re haoínfear

Ni fada do badar mar soin
an úair tainic bean da ffechain
donbrat uimpe go n-aille
& í 'na hádontshnáithe

Fiafraighis mac Cumhaill áin
dingin in bhruit órtshnálith
a bhean in bruit go n-aille
gad bheir tú gan áontshnádite

Búaidh an bhruit go n-aille
bean ann gan aontshnaithe
nach bfaghann a diol don bhrot
acht bean aoínfhir gan rólocht

Tabhair an brat do mo mhnaol féin
do ráidh Conán máol gan cheill
go bfechmaois don bhreithir mhir
glór na mban ó chíanuibh

Glacais bean Condin in brat
& gabhuis uimpe go prap
fa geis ar a méin go beacht
mar do leig ris a n-aoñinfheacht

Mar do-connairc Conán máol
an brat ag filleadh fana táobh
tógbhais a chraoíseac gan on
& marpais an ingin

Glacais bean Diarmada shaoir
an brat ó mhnaoí Conáin mhaoíl
gerbh isi in tsaoí gan locht
nir folaigh sé a gealocht

Glacais bean Osgair a ccein
an brat comfada coimréidh
ger ffada in brot sgothach fionn
níor fholaigh sé a himflionn

Glacais bean Oisín amhra
an brat fa cúis labhra
an t-edach nar foghain di
fa nár dhi a chur uimpe

Glacais Maighean bean Fhinn
an brat fa cúis mhíghrinn
do chrap is do crúflaidh mar soin
an brat súas fana clútasaibh

Tabhair in brat do ráidh mac Reithe
dom mhnaoi 's ni cúis cleithe
go ffechmaois an ionann dáil
dhi is dona eodmhnáibh

Nochtais bean mhic Reith in taobh
& gabhais uimpe an brat lancáomh
do-chúaldh in brat sleamhuin slán
dhigo ladhair a láodagán

An pog tugus gan fhios.
do mac í Duibhpe do Dhiarmaid
do rachadh in brat dam'go lár
muna bheith sin 'na haonarán

Racha misi uaibh amach
is fuicfe mé bar tteac a mhná
sgel ní ffuil agaibh oram
sgél agam oruibh atá

Beir do mhallacht imthigh uainn
do ráidh mac Cumaill armrúaidh
d´fagbhais sinn fa mhéla bhróin
na tarr dar ffechain enló

Though a small group of familiar friends
With similar ends, the talk was tentative
Till drink loosened private knots
And men forgot their wives were talkative.


Drink gone to their heads, as one these boasted
With toasts their own purity, drawing
From Fionn MacColl, that learnèd man,
These words for which he had good cause.



'The world is full of sin. Though few,
My dears, as you, be good, many
A woman has lain with one man only
On that most vicious bed of sexamoaney.'


Just then a female danced through doorway,
Naked cap-a-pe but when
Betimes a golden cloak occluded
Nipple, thigh, delicate juncture.



Arrested drink in gullet growled,
Jowls dropped and jarred minds
Whirled as she statuesqued
From flowing silk to golden bars.


'Now let us see,' this female said,
'Who's lain on but a single bed;
My golden cloak will only cover
Her who has but loved one lover.'



'Give my wife the cloak,' cold-headed
Conawn said. 'We' see who gives
The lie or truth. Take off your clothes,
Brigid, and cloak your flawless pelt.'


When bald Conawn saw the cloak
Crawling up his wife's behind,
Enraged, he drew his rigid sword
And gored his Brigid through the hide.



Then Diarmuid's wife, renowned afar
As caste of heart, in haste undressed
To struggle with magic cape, connived
In vain to hide white bobbing breasts.


Next Osgar's wife, fully determined
With Laöcoon to share a fable,
Wriggled, squirmed, groped in fold,
But failed to cloak a shapely navel.



The fourth to try, Oisin's wife,
Stript for strife, forgetting Venus;
But she, too, found her combatant was
Unfitting as a flaccid penis.


Fionn's wife kicked up religious fuss
Despite her husband's sage injunction;
Yet cloaked, she laughed, then nearly choked
When the cloak uncloaked her extreme unction.



Compelled by an over-zealous spouse
To lay her gown for silken tangle,
Mac Reithe's wife, when once encaped,
Scarcely escaped being cruelly strangled.


On this, the lady danced through doorway,
Naked cap-a-pie but when
Betimes a golden cloak occluded
Nipple, thigh, delicate juncture.


And though a small group of familiar friends
With similar end, the talks was tentative
Till drink loosened private knots
And men forgot their wives were talkative.


Translator's note: The Irish text is that established by Gerard Murphy, Duanaire Finn Part II, The Irish Text Society, London, 1933.
Letters in italics are Professor Murphy's emendations. I have, however, omitted the line indentations of the Irish text.
The English poem is based on the Irish original.

Trans. copyright © Michael Smith 2004


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