A Portrait

Author: J. G. O’Keeffe

An electronic edition

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p. 247.

1. The mind of my dear comrade
seek ye not for fear of reproach;
even were it possible to find it
tis certain its like could not be found.

2. Reserved is the mind of Ua Fiachrach.
ever-gentle, soft-spoken youth;
friendly towards all to whom he comes,
yet loving not one in twenty.

3. A trick at each corner of the board
even to the extent of changing the chessmen;
as he places his snares destruction is certain (?);
that is the secret of my companion’s gambling.

4. A fickle man who is of us and of you,
a hand with every hand that is strongest
even to the extent of throwing the dice;
the most faithful man in the world.

5. Of the Ulstermen in the hour of their strength
was this well-beloved friend;
of the Plain of Meave at another time,
until the hour when it was put to shame.

6. At once a black foreigner and a scion of Gaedhal Glas,
from the Moy, the Nore, the Fergus;
a Munsterman, yet a Meathman,
out of Moylinny, Looney and Leinster.

p. 249.

7. He, though a Meathman, is of Hy Maine;
a Dalton and a Dillon,
two men in one, from the Bann and from Berehaven,
a Burke, a Barry, a Butler.

8. The Sinon of the ancient isle of the Finns,
Judas of the land of Erin,
certain ill-luck to his race;
a Conán who injures his own people.

9. Never was there created under the cover of the clouds
a flock of which he was not a bird —
except alone the flock from which he is;
’tis a miracle if that bond of love is a bond.

10. Now or last year seek him not
two nights on the same hill;
every hill that is nearest the sun
is the hill of the fellow from the black mountain.

11. Therefore keep watchful service
in the company of strangers;
let no man bow to our prince;
difficult is the knowledge of (men’s) natures.

© 2008 Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae

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