Gin gan Teimheal

I found PUL’s translation of the Roman Catholic Marian hymn “O Mother, I could weep for mirth!”, which I think is also known as “Immaculate, Immaculate”, in Gearóid Ó Nualláin’s autobiography, Beatha Dhuine a Thoil. I had never heard of this hymn, but I believe it is well known as part of Irish heritage. The first verse and chorus of this hymn in English is:

O Mother! I could weep for mirth,
Joy fills my heart so fast;
My soul today is heaven on earth,
Oh could the transport last!

I think of thee, and what thou art,
Thy majesty, thy state;
And I keep singing in my heart—
Immaculate! Immaculate!

PUL seemed to dislike the English words. he wrote (in a letter, written in English, dated March 24th, 1919, which Ó Nualláin translates into Irish):

Roinnt laethanta ó shin fuaras leitir ón Athair Ailbhe, O.S.F.C., dhá iarraidh orm roinnt dánta diaga d’aistriú ó Bhéarla go Gaelainn. Ceann díobh san ab ea an dán san, ‘Immaculate, Immaculate.’ Duart leis ná féadfainn é sin aistriú go Gaelainn, mar ná raibh brí ná ciall leis. Má fhéachainn tú ar an ndán san chifidh tú ná fuil ann ach ‘ráiméis.’ ‘Oh! Mother, I could weep for mirth!’ Ní fhéadfainn ‘ráiméis’ d’aistriú go Gaelainn. ’Sé rud a dheineas, an ‘brí’ ba chóir a bheith sa Bhéarla a chur síos sa nGaelainn. Agus seo chút cóip dem dhánsa:—

1.

‘A Mháthair Aonmhic Dé na gcómhacht,
Táim lán de mhórtais croí,
Ag trácht im smaointe ar ní thar meóin,
Do ghabháilse, a Stór, gan teimheal!
A Ghin gan Teimheal,
A Ghin gan Teimheal,
Is iúnadh saeil tu i gceart!
A Ghin gan Teimheal,
Mo ghrá do chroí!
A Mháthair Rí na bhFeart!

[mórtais: high spirits, exultation
meóin: mind, whim, fancy
gabháil: to be conceived; teimheal: tarnish, stain; gan teimheal: immaculate, without stain of sin]

2.

‘Do fágadh daoine ag tíocht i mbrón
An bháis, le fóirneart fíll,
Do sháraigh Íosa an íde rómhatsa—
A Pháis ba ghlórmhar díon,
A Ghin gan Teimheal,
A Ghin gan Teimheal,
Is iúnadh Naomh tu ar Neamh,
Do thugais dóibh
An Slánaitheóir,
’S do’n chine daonna ar fad.

[tíocht: coming, arriving
fóirneart: brute force
íde: plight]

The meaning of do sháraigh Íosa an íde rómhatsa—, A Pháis ba ghlórmhar díon is unclear to me. If someone understands this, I would welcome help on this.

3.

‘Do mheall an annsprid meabhair na mná,
Chuaigh an nimh trí lár a croí,
Ach do chas an feall ar an namhaid i dtráth,
Den nimh dhein grá neamhní.
A Ghin gan Teimheal,
A Ghin gan Teimheall,
Is iúnadh deamhan tu, thíos!
Do shál ar cheann
An Rí go teann,
’S a tháinte fann dá dhruím!

[i dtráth: in due course
sál: heel, a reference to Mary crushing the serpent of Eden in the head
teann: firm?
táinte: wealth; fann: feeble]

The meaning of the final sentence here is also unclear to me.

4.

‘A Mháthair Aonmhic Dé na gcómhacht,
Táim lán de mhórtais croí,
Ag trácht im smaointe ar ní thar meóin,
Do ghabháilse, a Stór, gan teimheal!
A Ghin gan Teimheal,
A Ghin gan Teimheal,
Beir leat me suas chun Dé,
I radharc na soíllse,
I radharc an aoibhnis,
I radharc an TRÍR ’na nAON!’

The letter then goes on (in Ó Nualláin’s translation):

Níl aon ‘smaoineamh’ gur fiú trácht air sa ndán Béarla. Tá roinnt smaointe fé leith curtha síos agamsa. Ar an gcéad dul síos ‘iúnadh saeil’ ab ea an ghabháil gan teimheal. Ar an dtarna dul síos d’ ‘iúnadh Naomh ar Neamh’ í. Ansan, b’iúnadh uathásach do sna deamhanaibh atá in Ifreann thíos í. Tá dá bhrí leis an bhfocal Laidne Conceptio: ciallaíonn sé an ‘gníomh’ lena ngabhthar an ghin; agus ciallaíonn sé an ‘duine’ do gabhadh. Sa Ghaelainn, ‘gabháil’ is ea an gníomh, agus ‘gin’ is ea an duine. Fágann san gurb ionann ‘Gin gan Teimheal’ agus ‘Immaculate Conception,’ nuair a bhíonn tagairt a dhéanamh don Mhaighdean Ghlórmhair féin. Is minic d’airís an focal, ‘tá sé sin thar meóin ar fad!’

3 thoughts on “Gin gan Teimheal

  1. Do sháraigh Íosa etc.
    This means that Jesus exceeded (in suffering) the abuse (suffering) which was to befall you. Literally Jesus exceeded the abuse before you.

    A Pháis ba ghlórmhar díon means His passion a glorious protection (against the prevelance of evil)

    A Ghin gan Teimheall,
    Is iúnadh deamhan tu, thíos!
    Do shál ar cheann
    An Rí go teann,
    ’S a tháinte fann dá dhruím!
    Immaculate Conception, you are the wonder of demons below, your heel firmly on the head of the king, and his hosts (troops, warriors etc) weak as a result.

  2. Ni nach ionadh, nar chualais e! Ni cuid d’adhreacht spridalta na nGeal e. B’fhearr go mor eagran an Athar Peadar.

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