Cathain ’ Bheam Saor?

This poem was by Pádraig Ó Laghaire (not PUL), but was included at the back of PUL’s Sliabh na mBan bhFionn. There were two Pádraig Ó Laoghaires, one who lived 1853-1932 and wrote Cainnt na nDaoine, and the other, a Republican activist in the IRB who lived 1871-1896 and reportedly died from exertions for the Republican cause. I think this is probably the latter, as PUL says that this Pádraig Ó Laoghaire came from Béarra, and the second Pádraig did indeed come from Inches, Eyeries, in the Bearra peninsula. Pádraig Ó Laoghaire also wrote seven volumes of folktales in Munster Irish.

Cathain ’ bheam saor?

Cathain ’ bheam saor?
Cathain ’ bheam saor?
Cathain ’ bheam saor ón nasc?
Cathain ’ bheam saor
Mar cheiliúradh éin
Amu’ i’ san spéir
Ó cathain ’ bheam saor ar fad.

Ní bheimídna saor,
Ní bheimídna saor,
Ní bheimídna saor ón nasc,
Ní bheimídna saor
Go n-ainteóm sinn féin
Idir pór agus préamh
’S go gcuirfam le chéile i gceart.

Conas is féid,
Conas is féid,
Ár n-aithne féin gan stad?
Le teagasc is céill
’ Bheith ag an bpobal go léir
Is le fuath agus daod
Do dhíbirt dá chéile ar fad.

Conas is féid,
Conas is féid,
Cuir lena chéile i gceart?
Seasam mar aon,
Le dó’ asainn féin,
Is gearram ó phréimh
An daoirse go léir amach.

Pádraig Ó Laeire ó Bhéarra do cheap.

Foclóirín

aintím: I can’t find this word in any dictionaries, but PUL glosses go n-ainteóm as “till we know”. Possibly a Béarra peninsular form of aithním?
ceiliúradh: “chirping, warbling (of birds)”.
céill: “sense”. Pádraig Ó Laoghaire uses the dative for the nominative here, where PUL would normally have ciall.
cuirim, cur: “to put”. The verbal noun, spelt cuir in the original above, is retained in the original spelling, as cur is sometimes pronounced cuir. Cur le chéile, “to co-operate”.
daod: “hatred, spite, envy”, or taghd in the CO. Taghd is glossed as “fit, impulse” in Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, but Dinneen, under daod and taod, shows that this is the same word.
daoirse: “slavery, bondage”.
dó’: “hope, trust, confidence”, or dóigh in the CO. This was also spelt dóigh in the original, but the correct pronunciation has been used in the editing here. Le dó’ asainn féin, “with confidence in ourselves”.
féid: “possible”, a variant of féidir. Conas is féid ár n-aithne féin gan stad? “how can we come without delay to a knowledge of ourselves?”
nasc: “bond, fetter, link”. PUL has naisc in the dative singular for this word, but I haven’t found it in the nominative yet in PUL’s works. Amhlaoibh Ó Loinsigh (see Cnósach Focal ó Bhaile Bhúirne) had neasc in the nominative and neaisc in the dative (and neascacha /nʹis’kɑxə/ in the plural).
pór: “seed, stock, race”.
préamh: “root”, or fréamh in the CO. The dative préimh is also used here.
táim, bheith: “to be”. Bheam is a variant of bheimíd.

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5 thoughts on “Cathain ’ Bheam Saor?

  1. Caithfidh go bhfuil an ceart agat. Cainteoir dúchais ab ea mo mháthair agus dob i mBéarra a tógadh í. Bheadh fhios ag Riobáird ó hÚrdail, cinnte dá mba amhlaidh go raibh a leithéid d’fhocal ann.

  2. A small question, if you don’t mind. You say bheam is a variant of bheimíd. Do you happen to know what particular area or dialect is it associated with? Is it a Béarra form?

  3. No bheam is not just a Béarra form. The future forms all have 2 variants in the 1st person plural: bheam, bheimíd, glanfam, glanfaimíd etc. This is just standard Cork Irish. And the imperative and present subjunctive can go the same way: glanam é, let’s clean it!

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