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                                            Searc's Web Guide to 14th Century Ireland - Gearoid Iarla Fitzgerald (1335-1398)

Gearoid Iarla Fitzgerald, Third Earl of Desmond, was appointed Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1367. Three years later, during the Gaelic-Norman wars, Fitzgerald was imprisoned by Brian O'Brien of Thomond. While in prison Fitzgerald composed poetry in Irish and is accredited with introducing the Courtly Love motif into medieval Irish poetry. Under Fitzgerald's influence the Geraldines (supporters of the Normans in Ireland) abandoned the French language and spoke Irish thereafter, making Fitzgerald a pivotal figure in the Gaelicisation of Norman Ireland.
It is known that Fitzgerald disappeared in 1398, gaining a place in Irish folklore wherein, it is believed, he sleeps enchanted in a hill cave near Loch Gur, County Limerick. Legend has it that when Fitzgerald rises from his sleep and rides a silver shod horse, he will rule again over the plains of Desmond.
This version of Mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh is from T.F. O'Rathaille's Dánta Grádha (1926) with a verse translation Against Blame of Women by Eleanor Hull from Hubert Wolfe's Poems from the Irish (1927).©

Mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh!
bheith dá n-éagnach ní dáil chruinn,
a bhfuaradar do ghuth riamh
dom aithne ní hiad do thuill.

Binn a mbriathra gasta a nglór
aicme rerab mór mo bháidh;
a gcáineadh is mairg nár loc;
mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh.

Ní dhéanaid fionghal ná feall,
ná ní ar a mbeith grainc ná gráin;
ní sháraighid cill ná clog;
mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh.

Ní tháinig riamh acht ó mhnaoi
easbag ní rí dearbhtha an dáil,
ná príomhfháidh ar nách biadh locht;
mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh.

Agá gcroidhe bhíos a ngeall;
ionmhain leó duine seang slán,
fada go ngeabhdaois a chol;
mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh.

Duine aesaidh leathan liath
ní hé a mian dul' na dháil;
annsa leó an buinneán óg bocht;
mairg adeir olc ris na mnáibh!
Speak not ill of womenkind
'Tis no wisdom if you do,
You that fault with women find
I would not be praised of you.

Sweetly speaking, witty clear
Tribe most lovely to my mind,
Blame of women I hate to hear
Speak not ill of womenkind.

Bloody treason, murderous act
Not by women were designed.
Bells o'erthrown nor churches sacked
Speak not ill of womenkind.

Bishop, King upon his throne,
Primate skilled to loose and bind
Sprung of women every one
Speak not ill of womenkind.

For a brave young fellow
Hearts of women oft have pinned,
Who would dare their love to wrong?
Speak not ill of womenkind.

Paunchy greybeards never more
Hope to please a woman's mind,
Poor young Chieftains they adore
Speak not ill of womenkind.

© Searc's Web Guide 1997-2008
14th Century Ireland    Irish History Index
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