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The Lismore Rat Incantation

21 Feb

Something slightly different now, a spell against rats (with a loose translation):

Aor Nan Eadan

Mìle marbhaisg ort, a radain!
A shlaideare nam badan arbhair;
Cha leòr leat sop ach an Iàn sguab dheth,
Dh-fàg thu ‘m bualadh dhomh nèo-tharbhach.
Rinn thu gradan de’m chuid eòrna,
A mhèirlich gur mòr do cháil dheth;
Na’n robh do cheann agam air innean,
‘Smise nach tilleadh mo lamh dhiot!

Cha d’fhàg thu mulan anus san iolainn
Nach do mhil thu ‘s nach do mhab thu,
Cha d’fhag thu poca ‘san t’sabhal,
Nach do tholl thu ‘s nach do shlaid thu;
Mo thruaighe mi aig àm ‘cuir coirce
An t’seann lairdhonn bi ‘bochd da-rireamh;
Mhic an Radain ‘s mòr do pheacadh,
Mar a chreach thu de gach nì mi!

Ach èirich a laochain a’s dean imric,
Imich th’ar a chaol gu séolta,
Thu fein ‘s do chuid daoine uile
Falbhaibh gu builleach mar chomhla’
Air Michail ‘sair Brìde mìn,
Eirich, imicli as mo thìr!

The Gaelic is uncommonly good, and there is a touch of humour in the whole that is very difficult to catch and reproduce in a translation ; but we have ventured upon the following version, which we warn the reader, in order to prevent future quarrel on the subject, is more of a paraphrase than a metaphrase:

The Rat-Expelling Incantation

A thousand ills befall thee, greedy rat!
Expertest thief that ever yet was born!
In barn and stack-yard, maugre trap and cat,
Sad is the state of all my stock of corn;
Nor does a handful serve thee, shameless thief,
Unblushing rogue, thou claimest the whole sheaf!

My barley thou hast millered into meal,
Chaff and small dust together close commingled;
Thou spoilest more than ever thou canst steal;
Hadst thou but any shame, thine ears had long since tingled;
I wish I had thy head upon a stithy,
I’d rap it with the biggest hammer in the smithy!

Nor corn in sheaf, nor barley snugly stacked,
Could serve thy turn; but all my garner’d grain,
In well-tilled sacks is next by thee attacked,
And all yspoiled, thou thief of fertile brain.
And all my sacks are nibbled too, and holed, —
A sight most aggravating to behold.

Alas, for all my seed corn in the spring!
Alas, for all thy keep, my good brown mare!
But take advice, and leave me, rat; and bring
All thy companions with thee; else beware
My malison shall fall withouten fail
On thee and thine, from whisker-tip to tail!

So rat be warned; away! across the Ferry,
And in some quarter new be sleek and merry;
By good St. Michael, and by chaste St. Bride,
I charge thee, leave me ere the morning tide!

(Exeunt Ratti tumultuously, and best foot foremost.)

Stewart, ‘Twixt Ben Nevis and Glencoe, 1885, p4-6.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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