Text: A chláirsioch Chnuic Í Chosgair

This poem is written to a harp that may have belonged to Diarmaid son of Donnchadh Mág Eochagain, Lord of Cenél Fiachach, in Westmeath (†1387). It is likely to have been composed 1382×7. This seems to be the first long description of the clàrsach “Gaelic wire-strung harp.”

This text was translated by Michael Newton from the edition in Bergin, Irish Bardic Poetry, 66-9.

§ 1. O harp of Cnoc Í Chosgair who brings sleep to strained eyes: (you are) thundering, melodious, tasty, elegant, refreshing, easy.

§ 2. O smooth-board of power, with most smooth curve, o you who cries under red fingers; o musician who has beguiled us: o red one like a lion, truly melodious.

§ 3. You have tempted the bird away from its flock; o soother of the spirit; o brown, sweet-speaking engraved one; fervent, wondrous, passionate.

§ 4. O healer of every wounded warrior; o charm that deceives women; o traditional pilot over the dark water; o music sensual and autumn-sweet.

§ 5. O you who drowns all other instruments; o pleasant, tuneful pillar; o you who lives amongst the children of Conn; o deep-yellow, solid tree.

§ 6. You are the beloved of the learned; o ridged, musical one; you are a red star above síd [fairy] mounds, o breast-jewel of the High Kings. […]

§ 17. Now we will give you another name, o harp; the ferocity of battle is calmed from hearing you: you shall be called “Diarmaid’s Doinndearg” [“Dark-red one”].

§ 18. It is most likely for you to win renown in Diarmaid’s possession, o noble harp; his house is worthy of envy, as no harps are hidden in his keep. […]

§ 22. There is so much merriment in his peaked mansion of Mag Eoghegan – which all respect – that the harmonious playing of lyre and harp will cause (dancers) to bare all of the hillsides around.

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