Meascra Cainnte.

VII. MEASCRA CAINNTE.

(A Miscellany of Talk.)

Diarmaid: An mar sin é?

Dermot: Is that the way?

Tadhg Dubh: Is mar.

Black Thade: Yes.

D. Cár ghabhais chúinn?

D. In what direction did you come?

T. Ó Thulaigh.

T. From Tallow.

D. Bhfuil aon nuacht ar siúl?

D. Is there any news going?

T. Blúire riamh.

T. Not a scrap.

D. Cé hé sin aniar?

D. Who is this (coming) from the West?

T. Dónall Buí.

T. Yellow Donald.

Dia s Muire dhuit, a Dhónaill Bhuí.

Good morning, Donald the Yellow.

Dl. Dia’s Muire dhuit, is Pádraig, a Thaidhg Dhuibh Uí Chróinín. Nách álainn an aimsir í?

Dl. Good morning to you, Black Thade Cronin. Is it not splendid weather?

T. Is álainn go léir, moladh le Dia dhá chionn, agus is ag dul i bhfeabhas atá sí.

T. Most splendid it is, praise be to God for it, and it is improving it is.1

Dl. Ní huiriste dhi feabhas mór do dhul uirthi feasta.

Dl. It is not easy for it to improve much now (from its present state).

T. Ambasa is fíor dhuit é. An mbeadh aon rud sa phíopa agat?

T. Really that is true for you2. Would you happen to have anything in the pipe?

Dl. Níl sé rófholamh agam, & má tá féin gheóbhaimíd rud uaitse le cur ann.

Dl. It is not too empty with me3, and, even if it is, we shall get a thing4 from you to put into it.

T. Gheófá agus fáilte, dá mbeadh sé agam.

T. You would, and welcome, if I had it.

Dl. Ní hea, ach gheóbhad agus fáilte, mar tá sé agat.

Dl. No, but I shall and welcome, because you have it.

T. Fágaim le huacht ná fuil blúire agam. Níl oiread & chuirfeadh fearg ar do shúil.

T. I protest I have not a morsel. Not as much as yould irritate your eye.

Dl. An seanascéal i gcónaí! Chuirfinnse geall anois, dá gcuardaíthí do phócaí, go bhfaighfí píopa breá crón agus faid an lae ’máirigh de phíosa tobac i gcúinne éigin agat.

Dl. The old story always! I would lay a wager now that, if your pockets were to be searched, a beautiful brown pipe and a piece of tobacco as long as tomorrow would be found with you5 in some corner.

T. Tá go breá! ‘Os a chómhair amach is usa bréag do chur ar dhuine’. Cuirfeadsa geall, má cuardaíthear thu féin, go bhfaighfar dhá phíopa bhreátha chróna agat, & faid an lae máirigh & an lae manarthair de théad tobac agat. Féach anois tu! Tair anso, a Dhiarmaid, agus cuardaímís é!

T. Very fine! ‘In his presence it is easiest to put a lie on a person’. I’ll lay a wager that, if you yourself are searched, two beautiful brown pipes and a rope of tobacco as long as tomorrow and after tomorrow6 will be found with you. [See now!] Come here, Dermot, and let us search him.

Dl. Ní hea, ach tair anso, a Dhiarmaid, agus cuardaímís Tadhg féin.

Dl. No, but come here, Dermot, and let us search Thade himself.

D. Ní hea, ach seasaídh mar atá agaibh agus cuardódsa beirt agaibh, agus ansan, an té go bhfuil an píopa agus an tobac is feárr aige, bíodh air a roinnt eadrainn.

No, but let ye stand as ye are7, and I’ll search the pair of ye; and then, the person who has the best pipe and tobacco, let him be bound to share it among us.

T. Sea go díreach! Agus cé chuardóidh thusa féin? Cá bhfios dúinn ná gur agatsa atá an tobac is feárr agus an píopa is feárr?

T. Yes, indeed! And who is to search yourself? How do we know but it’s you that has the best tobacco and the best pipe?

D. Seo! Cuardaidhse me, agus pé rud a gheóbhair bíodh sé agat.

D. Here! Do you search me, and whatever you get, keep it.

T. Ní chuardód. Dá mbeadh aon ní fónta agat, ní bheifá chómh toilteanach chun do chuardaithe.

T. I will not. If you had anything good, you would not be so willing to be searched.

D. Sea! ’sea! a Thaidhg, tarraig amach an píopa san agat, agus dearg é, nú is geárr go mbeidh scuimh ar ár bhfiaclaibh ó bheith ag feitheamh leis agus ag cuímhneamh air.

Dl. Come! come! Thade, pull out that pipe of yours and light it, or else my8 teeth will soon be on edge with waiting for it and thinking of it.

T. Tarraiceód láithreach, agus más ea ní bhainfidh sé an scuimh det fhiaclaibhse, go mbainidh sé dem fhiaclaibh féin ar dtúis é.

T. I will at once, but indeed, it will not take the edge off your teeth until it shall have taken it off my own first.

Tharraig Tadhg amach a phíopa. Bhí sé chómh dubh le sméarabhán agus snas ag taithneamh sa chloigeann agus sa chois aige. Chuir Tadhg an chos na bhéal agus bhain súrac as. Bhí sé stupaithe. Ní raghadh ann agus ní thiocfadh as. Do shín Tadhg a lámh sa bhféar a bhí ag fás na thímpall, agus bhain an dias [ léas] len’ iongain de. Ansan do sháigh sé an tráithnín trí chois an phíopa. Ansan do chuir sé an chos na bhéal arís, agus do tharraigh agus do shéid go breá bog réidh.

[Tadhg pulled out his pipe. It was pitch-black, with a gloss on its bowl and stem. Tadhg put the stem into his mouth, and tried to draw it. It was choked9. No air could pass either in or out. Tadhg stooped to the grass which was growing round about, and with his nail pulled the head off a blade of grass. Then he thrust the grass-stem through the stem of the pipe. Then he replaced the pipe in his mouth, and drew it and puffed in fine easy-going fashion.

“’Sea!” ar seisean, “bíonn daoine ag ceannach réiteóirí i siopaíbh. B’fheárr liom féin tráithnín mar réiteóir ná an réiteóir a gheófása thíos i dtigh an chúinne agus go dtabharfá dhá phingin gho leith air. An bhfuil sé anois agat?” Le Dónall Buí is ea do labhair sé.

Well!” said he, “people buy pipe-cleaners in shops; but I prefer a blade of grass to the pipe-cleaner you’d get below in the corner-house and that you’d pay 2½d. for. Have you goti t now?” It was to Dónall Buí he spoke.

Níor thugas-sa aon dá phingin gho leith ar aon réiteóir, thíos i dtigh an chúinne ná in aon tigh eile,” arsa Dónall, “agus pé duine aduairt gur thugas, do thug sé a éitheach.”

I never gave any 2½d. for an pipe-cleaner below in the corner-house or in any other house,” said Dónall, “and whoever told you I did, told a lie”.

Ambasa, a mhic ó,” arsa Tadhg, “ní gá dhuit aon fhearg a bheith agat chúmsa mar gheall air. Ní mise chúm na cheap é. Má chuala mar abhar spóirt é i measc daoine go bhfuil aithne mhaith acu ortsa agus ar thig an chúinne, cad é mo leigheas-sa air?”

Really, my dear fellow”, said Tadhg, “there is no reason why you should be vexed with me about the matter. It was not I who invented it. If I heard it told as a joke by people who know you and the corner-house well, how was I to blame?”

Dá mbeadh fhios agamsa,” arsa Dónall Buí, “cé hiad a bhí dhá tharrac chúthu mar abhar spóirt, ba gheárr go gcuirfinn a mhalairt de chúram orthu.”

If I knew,” said Dónall Buí, “who were the people who chose that as a subject to joke about, I should very soon give them something else to mind”.

Neósfadsa dhuit go cruínn cérbh iad cuid acu,” arsa Tadhg Dubh Ó Cróinín. “Bhíos féin thíos istigh i dtigh an chúinne lá an aonaigh, agus bhí Seán Óg agus an ghasra a bhíonn i gcónaí in éineacht leis, agus d’airigh mo dhá chluais é dhá ínsint dóibh go raibh réiteóir airgid agatsa, agus gur cheannaís ó mhnaoi an tí é ar dhá phingin gho leith, agus gur dhócha gurbh amhlaidh a theastaigh uait é bhronnadh. ‘Airiú! cé air go mbronnfadh sé é?’ arsa mise. ‘Ó go deimhin’, ar seisean, ‘is maith atá fhios aige féin cé air go mbronnfadh sé é.’ ‘Cé air, is dó’?’ arsa mise. ‘Ní Cé air’, ar seisean, ‘ach Cé uirthi!’”

I’ll tell you exactly who some of them were”, said Tadhg Dubh Ó Cróinín. “I was below in the corner-house on the fair-day, and so were Séan Óg and the group that always accompanies him, and I distinctly heard him telling them that you had a silver pipe-cleaner, and that you had bought it from the corner-house woman for 2½d., and that it was likely that you wanted to give it as a present. ‘Why! to whom would be give it?’ said I. ‘O, indeed’, said he, ‘he himself knows well who is the person he’d give it to’. ‘Who is he, then?’ said I. ‘It is not Who is he?’ said he, ‘but Who is she?’”

Bhí a phíopa féin í mbéal gach duine den triúr um an dtaca san, agus iad ag tarrac go breá bríomhar sóil. Ní túisce thit an focal déanach à béal Thaidhg ná do liúigh Diarmaid agus thig an píopa as a bhéal anuas ar an móinteán. Do chrom Tadhg Dubh a cheann, agus do chífá a ghuaille dá luascadh, agus a bhalla beatha ar crith, agus a anál ag teip air le neart suilt.

Each of the three by this time had his pipe in his mouth, and was puffing away to his heart’s content. No sooner had Tadhg uttered the last sentence than Diarmaid roared, and his pipe fell from his mouth on to the moor. Tadhg Dubh hung his head, and you might have seen his shoulders rocking with merriment (i.e., suppressed laughter), and his limbs shaking, and his breath giving way.

Bhí Dónall Buí thall agus cos a phíopa idir a fhiaclaibh aige, a cheann in áirde aige, agus ‘muc ar gach malainn leis’, agus oiread mo dhurainn ins gach aon chnapóig dataigh a bhí aige dá thiomáint amach as a bhéal, agus iad chómh ciardhubh agus chífá datach dá stealladh suas à simné go mbeadh tine ann & go mbeadh sú deich mblian dá loscadh ann.

Dónall Buí stood facing them, his pipe between his teeth, with head erect, and with frowning brows. Every puff of smoke that he blew out of his mouth was as big as my fist, and as black as the smoke you would see coming up out of a chimney on fire in which the accumulated soot of ten years would be burning.

Cheapas féin gur mhithid teacht uathu, agus do thánag.

I thought it was time to leave them, and so I came away.]

Foclóirín

abhar:ábhar in the CO. WM Irish distinguishes between abhar (originally spelt adhbhar, now pronounced /aur/), “material”, and ábhar (sometimes written ádhbhar, pronounced /ɑ:vər/), “amount”. Abhar spóirt, “something that creates a bit of fun, a matter of amusement”.

amáireach: “tomorrow”, amárach in the CO.” Pronounced /ə’mɑ:rʹəx/. While an adverb, this is also a noun, explaining the use of an lae máirigh in the genitive.

amanarthar: “the day after tomorrow”, or amanathar in the CO, pronounced /ə’mɑnərhər/. While an adverb, this is also a noun, explaining the use of an lae manarthair in the genitive.

ambasa: “indeed”, or ambaiste in the CO. While this appears to mean “by my hands”, the form ambaiste indicates the derivation is rather from the asseveration “by my baptism”, perhaps by way of a circumlocuation to avoid uttering an irreligious phrase.. Pronounced /əm’bɑsə/.

anál: “breath”, or anáil in the CO, where the historical dative has replaced the nominative.

aniar: “from the West”, but also “coming from the West”, in the same way that chút can stand elliptically for someone or something coming towards you.

arís: “again”. PUL generally used the spelling airís, indicating a slender r, /i’rʹi:ʃ/.

ball beatha: “limb”. The plural is generally baíll bheatha, but we have balla beatha here, using a variant nominative plural.

ceann: “head”. Dá chionn, “on account of it”, uses an archaic dative that is only used in set phrases. Moladh le Dia dhá chionn!, “God be praised for it!”

chun: “towards”, with chúm, chút, chuige, chúithi, chúinn, chúibh and chúthu being the WM prepositional pronouns.

ciardhubh: “jetblack”, pronounced /kʹiəruv/.

cnapóg: “lump”.

cos: “leg”, but also “handle” of something, e.g. a pipe.

crón: “nut-brown, copper-coloured, tan, tawny.”The foclóirín to the 1903 edition of PUL’s Aesop a Tháinig go hÉirinn says crón is the colour of strong tea.

cumaim, cumadh: “to form, shape.” The preterite has a long vowel, chúm, in WM Irish.

datach: “smoke”, or deatach in the CO, pronounced /də’tɑx/. This word is written with a slender d in the original, as edited by O’Rahilly, but CFBB shows the d is braod (p 272).

deargaim, deargadh: “to become red; redden”. Píopa dheargadh, “to light a pipe”. Pronounced /dʹarəgimʹ, dʹarəgə/.

dias: “ear of corn.” This word refers to a number of plants and is here used for the head of a blade of grass. IWM shows this was often léas in Cork Irish, one of several words where d gave way to l. CFBB also shows the pronunciation to be /lʹias/, and O’Rahilly appears to have edited this variant in parentheses into the original text here.

dó’: “hope, expectation; source of expectation”, or dóigh in the CO. Is dó’, “well, however, indeed”.

dorn: “fist”, with durainn in the genitive. Pronounced /dorən, duriŋʹ/. The CO has doirn in the genitive.

éineacht: used in the phrase in éineacht le, “together with”. Spelt aonacht in the original. I am unsure if a broad n version of this phrase exists.

éitheach: “falsehood”. Thug sé a éitheach, “he told a lie”.

féin: “self”. This is spelt fhéin in the text as edited by O’Rahilly, but that form seems suboptimal as fh has a zero pronunciation, rather than the h-pronunciation probably intended.

fiacal: “tooth”, with fiacla in the plural. The historical dative, fiacail, is used in the CO. Pronounced /fʹiəkəl, fʹiəkələ/.

gasra: “band, group of people”, pronounced /gɑsərə/. This word is feminine here, but masculine in the CO.

gheibhim, fáil: “to get”, where PUL maintains the historical distinction between the absolute gheibhim and the dependent faighim.

go leith: “and a half”, pronounced /gilʹi~ɣilʹi/. The original text, as edited by O’Rahilly, had ghuile, and so this has been edited as gho leith here.

guala: “shoulder”, with guaille in the plural. The historical dative, gualainn, has replaced the nominative in the CO, and the CO plural is guaillí.

i: “in”. I becomes ins before the article (in sna), and before gach in WM Irish.

ionga: “nail”, with iongain in the dative singular. Pronounced /uŋə, uŋinʹ/.

mala: “eyebrow”. The dative malainn is used here. Muc ar gach malainn leis, “his eyebrows wrinkled” (cf. PSD under muc).

me: disjunctive
form of the first person pronoun, pronounced /mʹe/ (or /mʹi/ through raising of the vowel in the vicinity of a nasal cononant). Always in the CO.

meascra: “medley, miscellany”. PSD gives meascra cainnte as “miscellaneous phrases”.

mithid: “high time”. Is mithid duit é, “it is high time for you (to do something)”.

móinteán: “moor, bogland”.

nách: the negative interrogative particle, or nach in the CO.

nú: “or”, , pronounced /nu:/.

nuacht: “news”, pronounced /noːxt/.

os cómhair: “in front of”. Pronounced /ɑs ko:rʹ/.

pé: “whichever, whatever”. Pé rud, “whatever”.

réiteóir: “pipe-cleaner”.

sáim, : “to thrust, plunge”. The preterite do sháigh sé is pronounced /də hɑːgʹ ʃeː/.

scuimh: “grimace, snarl”, or scaimh in the CO. Pronounced /skivʹ/.

seasaím, seasamh: “to stand”, or seasaim, seasamh in the CO.

simné: “chimney”, pronounced /ʃimʹi’nʹe:/.

sméarabhán: “soot”.

snas: “polish, gloss”.

sóil: “comfortable”, or sóúil in the CO.

stupaim, stupadh: “to stop; stop up, stuff up with something”, or stopaim, stopadh in the CO. Stupaithe,“stopped up”. CFBB shows the pronunciation of these forms is with /u/, /stupimʹ, stupə, stupihi/.

sú: “soot”, or súiche in the CO.

súrac: “suck, suction”.

tagaim, teacht: “to come”. The imperative is given as tair in the original, or at least as T. F. O’Rahilly edited it, corresponding to tar in the CO.

taithneann, taithneamh: “to be pleasing to; to shine”, taitníonn, taitneamh in the CO. Generally in the first declension in PUL’s works, pronounced /taŋʹhən, taŋʹhəv/.

tarraigim, tarrac: “to pull, draw”, or tarraingím, tarraingt in the CO. Pronounced /tɑrigʹimʹ, tɑrək/. The various forms of this verb exhibit the same changes: the imperative is tarraig /tɑrigʹ/. This verb was in the first declension in PUL’s works (do tharraigeadar), where modern Munster Irish would have do tharraigíodar. Ó Rahilly edited with a slender r, tairig, but this goes against the grain of the general spelling in PUL’s works with a broad r. Both forms existed (see Stair na Gaeilge 489).Rud do tharrac chút, “to take up or adopt something, to bring it up as a topic or conversation”.

tímpall: “around”, or timpeall in the CO. The broad p in WM Irish is preserved here: /tʹi:mʹpəl/.

tráithnín: “dry grass-stalk”.

tu, thu: disjunctive form of the second person pronoun, pronounced /tu, hu/. Always in the CO.

Tulach: Tallow, Co. Waterford. Tulach an Iarainn is the full Irish name, where tulach is a feminine noun meaning “assembly hill or mount”.

uacht: “will, testament”. Fágaim le huacht, “I vouch, I swear”, as an asseveration.

uiriste: “easy”, furasta in the CO. Fuiriste is also found in PUL’s works. The comparative, found here, is usa, where the CO has fusa.

1Recte: “it is improving”, with no “it is” appended. PUL’s English seems to be influenced by Irish.

2Recte: “actually you are right”. The addition of “for you” changes the meaning considerably in English.

3Recte: “it is not to empty”, with no “with me” appended.

4Recte: “something”.

5Recte: “found on you”.

6Recte: “the day after tomorrow”.

7Recte: “where you are”.

8Recte: “our”.

9Recte: “blocked, stopped up”.

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About dj1969

at the conservative end of the libertarian spectrum
This entry was posted in Contents, Papers on Irish Idiom. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Meascra Cainnte.

  1. David says:

    This is great, love to see the back and forth conversation.

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