Mudcat Café message #936661 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #45138   Message #936661
Posted By: Felipa
19-Apr-03 - 05:33 PM
Thread Name: Meaning of 'The Coolin'
Subject: Lyr Add: AN CHÚILFHIONN / COOLEEN / COOLUN
it would be hard to pull all the threads together, but most of the information is in this thread. Maybe messages about particular sets of lyrics could be grouped together in an edited thread (Hyde lyrics/Ferguson lyrics/Ballinagar lyrics/Carroll Malone lyrics/word meanings, etc!)? Much work!

There are two versions, with translation, of An Chúilfhionn / The Coolin in Douglas Hyde, Love Songs of Connacht, first published 1893; facsimile edition (therefore retains older spelling) Shannon: Irish University Press, 1968.

AN CHÚILFHIONN

Ceó meala lá seaca, ar choilltibh dubha baraighe
A's grádh gan cheilt atá agam duit a bháin-chnis na ngeal-chíoch
Do chom sreang, do bheul tana, a's do chúilín bhí cas mín,
A's a chéad-searc ná tréig mé, a's gur mhéaduigh tú ar m'aicid

A's cia chidhfeadh mo ghrádh-sa ar cheart-lár an aonaigh,
'S gur marbhadh na mílte óganach le pósaibh a h-eudain,
A gruaidh mar an g-cocan, 's í budh bhreághta ar domhan sgéimhe
A's gur dóigh le gach spriosán gur ab áilleán dó féin í.

An té chidhfeadh an Chúilfhionn 's í ag siúbhal ar na bántaibh
Ar maidin laé samhraidh 's an drúcht ar a brógaibh
'S a liacht ógánach súil-ghlas bhíos ag tnúth le na pósadh
Acht ní bhfághaidh siad mo rún-sa ag an g-cúntas is dóigh leó

A Neilidh, mo ghrádh-sa, an dtiocfá liom faoi shléibhtibh,
Ag ól fíona a's bolcáin, a's báinne an ghabhair ghlé-gil,
Ceól fada a's imirt do thabharfainn le d'raé dhuit,
A's cead dul a' codladh i mbrollach mo léine.

"This translation is nearly in the metre of the original" wrote Hyde:

THE COOLEEN or COOLUN

A honey mist on a day of frost, in a dark oak wood,
And love for thee in my heart in mer, thou bright, white, and good;
Thy slender form, soft and warm, they red lips apart,
Thou hast found me, and hast bound me, and put grief in my heart.

In fair-green and market, men mark thee, bright, young and merry,
Though thou hurt them like foes with the rose of thy blush of the berry;
Her cheeks are a poppy, her eye it is Cupid's helper,
But each foolish man dreams that its beams for himself are.

Whoe're saw the Cooleen in a cool dewy meadow
On a morning in summer in sunshine and shadow;
All the young men go wild for her, my childeen, my treasure,
But now let them go mope, they've no hope to possess her.

Let us roam, O my darling, afar through the mountains,
Drink milk of the goat, wine and bulcaun in fountains;
With music and play every day from my lyre,
And leave to come rest on my breast when you tire.

more literal translation
Mist of honey on day of frost over dark woods of oak, And love without concealment I fave for thee, O fair skin[or form] of the white breasts. Thy form slender, thy mouth thin, and thy 'cooleen' twisted, smooth. And, O first love, forsake me not, and sure thou hast increased my disease.

And who would see my love upon the middle of the fair, And sure the thousands of youths were slain with the roses of her face. Her cheeks like the poppy [or rosebud], and she was the finest in beauty of the world, And sure every fopling thinks that she is his own darling.

He ho would see the Cooleen and she walking on the meadows Of a morning on a day in summer, and the dew on her shoes. And all the grey-eyed youths who are envious to marry her. But they shall not get my darling as easily as they think (Literally, on the account that is hope with them).

O Nelly, my love, woulds thou come with me beneath the mountain, Drinking wine and bulcaun [a dram of whiskey or spirits? ] and the milk of the white goat. Long-drawn music and play I would give thee during thy lilfe; And leave to go sleep in the bosom of my shirt.

[I see no reason not to use "you" and "your" instead of "thee" and "thy", but I quote Hyde who presumably used the poetic form of his time]

"Here is now the fourth copy of the same renowned song, which is altogether different from the other three. I leave out the second and third stanzas of it, for they are in the version which Hardiman gave; those are the stanzas beginning Gibé chífeadh an Chúilfhionn, 'whoever would see the Coolin', and An cuimhin leat an lá úd, 'Do you remember the day.' "

AN CHÚILFHIONN (cóip eile)   

A's éirigh do shuidhe a bhuachaill a's gleus dam mo ghearrán
Go rachaidh mé go luath ag cur tuairisg mo dhian-ghrádh,
A's tá sí d'a luadh liom ó bhí sí 'na leanabán
'S gur budh bhinne liom naoi n-uaire í ná cuach a's ná orgáin*

[*changed, for comprehensibility, from "na narragain" in ms]

An cuimhin leat an oidhche úd do bhíomar ag an bhfuinneóig
Ann a rug tú ar láimh orm 's gur fhasg tú orm barróg.
Do shín mé le do thaobh, 's ann mo chroidhe ní raibh urchoid,
A's do bhí mé ann do chomhluadar no g-cuala mé an fhuisóg.

'Sí mo rún í, 'sí mo ghrádh í, is í mo dhalta,
'Sí grianán na bhfear óg í gach aon lá 'san tseachtmhain,
Tá a gruaidh mar an rós a's a píob mar an eala.
'Sé mo chumha gan mé i gcomhnuidhe mar a g-coraigheann sí a leabaidh.

Ní'l airgead ní'l ór agam, ní'l cóta, ní'l léine,
Ní'l pighin ann mo phóca 's go bhfóiridh Mac Dé orm
Do gheall mé faoi dhó dhuit, sul a phóg mé do béilín
A mhaighre an chúil ómraigh nach bpósfainn le m'raé thú.

A mhuirnín a's a annsacht bí dileas a's bí daingeann,
A's ná tréig-se rún do chroidhe-stigh mar gheal ar [a] bheith dealbh.
Do bhearfainn an Bíobla* a's nidh ar bith ar talamh
Go dtiúbhraidh Mac Dé cuid na h-oidche dhúinn le catabh.

[* "an Bíobla seoch" in ms., meaning of "seoch" in this context not known - enduring?]

A mhuirnín a's a annsacht, do* mheall tú mé i dtús m'óige
Le do chluainigheacht mhín mhanla gur gheall tú mé phósadh
Má thug mo chroidhe gean duit dar liom-sa is leór sin,
A's gur fhag tú i leanndubh mé ag teacht an trathnóna.

[* "le nar meall tu" in manuscript]

THE COOLUN (another version, translated)

And rise up lad, and get ready for me my nag,
Until I go quickly to enquire for my desperately-loved,
and she is betrothed to me since the time she was a little child,
And, sure, I thought her nine times more melodious than cuckoo or organ.

Do you remember that night that we were at the window,
When you caught my hand and pressed an embrace upon me.
I stretched myself at thy side, and in my heart there was no harm,
And I was in thy company until I heard the lark.

She is my sister, she is my intended, she is my love, she is my dear*
She is the greenawn (sunny chamber) of the young men every day in the week;
Her countenance is like the rose, and her neck like the swan,
'Tis my sorrow I am not always where she dresses her couch [makes/prepares her bed]

I have no silver, I have no gold, have no coat, have no shirt;
Have no penny in my pocket - and may the Son of God relieve me,
I promised thee twice before I kissed thy little mouth,
O maiden of the amber 'cool' [locks], that I would not marry thee during my life.

My sweetheart, my affection, be faithful and be firm,
And do not forsake the secret love of your inner heart on account of him being poor*
I would take the Bible (as oath) or any (other) thing on earth,
That the Son of God will give us ouor nights' portion to eat.

My sweetheart, my affection, you deceived me in the beginning of my youth,
With your soft pleasant roguishness, sure, you promised ot marry me,
If my heart gave you love, I think myself that that is enough,
And, sure, you left me in melancholy on the coming of evening,

[* I changed this line; Hyde has "She is my sister, she is my secret, she is my love, she is my betrothed (?)" and he does explain that "rún" , as well as meaning 'secret' is used in speaking of a loved one. And I changed "on account of him to be poor" to what I think is better English.
For the second line of verse 2, I have used the corrected words given in Hyde's notes, rather than a questionable line in the main text. Hyde was quite open about saying at times that he wasn't sure of the meaning of certain words.]