Poem to learn the Dual

In the August 1911 edition of the Letiriú Shímplí newspaper Glór na Ly, there is a short piece on page 2, entited Ghá Cheann, a poem composed by Eóghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin to get a drink from two women milking cows. The poem was taught by PUL to Shán Ó Cuív in order to teach him the dual. This is listed in Fr. Shán Ó Cuív’s bibliography of PUL’s works, but it seems to be Eóghan Rua’s really. Anyhow, this is it:

[Note the plural adjective, lenited, that goes with the dual of both genders. Note the rarish use of bhuin in the dual. Chuin (from cú) and bhuaraigh (from buarach) are also worthy of note.]

Dhá Cheann

Chím dhá chuaich dhúbha ar an móin,

Dhá chapall chóra, dhá chuin,

Dhá mhuic, dhá chaíora, dhá uan,

Dhá mhnaoi, dhá bhuaraigh, dhá bhuin.


cuach: maybe cuckoo, of which cuaich is the dual.

cóir: just, but is this context decent. Two decent horses.

buarach: spancel (rope for milking cows) – feminine, so buaraigh in the dual.

You could translate:

I see two black cuckoos on the moor,

Two decent horses, two dogs,

Two pigs, two sheep, two lambs,

Two women, two milking-ropes, two cows.


About dj1969

at the conservative end of the libertarian spectrum
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