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Archiver > IRELAND > 2001-12 > 1008141508

From: "Jean Rice" <>
Subject: [IRELAND] "The Woman Of Three Cows," Anon., 17th century -- James C. Mangan, translator.
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 23:18:28 -0800


O Woman of Three Cows, agra! don't let your tongue thus
Oh, don't be saucy, don't be stiff, because you may have cattle.
I have seen -- and, here's my hand to you, I only say what's
true --
A many a one with twice your stock not half as proud as you.

Good luck to you, don't scorn the poor, and don't be their
For worldly wealth soon melts away, and cheats the very miser;
And death soon strips the proudest wreath from haughty
human brows --
Then don't be stiff, and don't be proud, good Woman of Three Cows!

See where Mononia's heroes lie, proud Owen Mor's descendants.
'Tis they that won the glorious name, and had the grand
If they were forced to bow to Fate, as every mortal bows,
Can you be proud, can you be stiff, my Woman of Three Cows?

The brave sons of the Lord of Clare, they left the land to
Mavrone! for they were banished, with no hope of their returning.
Who knows in what abodes of want those youths were driven
to house?
Yet you can give yourself these airs, O Woman of Three Cows.

Oh, think of Donnell of the Ships, the Chief whom nothing
See how he fell in distant Spain unchronicled, unchanted!
He sleeps, the great O'Sullivan, where thunder cannot rouse --
Then ask yourself, should you be proud, good Woman of
Three Cows?

O'Ruark, Maguire, those souls of fire, whose names are shrined
in story:
Think how their high achievements once made Erin's greatest
Yet now their bones lie mouldering under weeds and cypress
boughs --
And so, for all your pride, will yours, O Woman of Three Cows.

Th' O'Carrols, also, famed when fame was only for the boldest,
Rest in forgotten sepulchres with Erin's best and oldest;
Yet who so great as they of yore in battle or carouse?
Just think of that, and hide your head, good Woman of Three

Your neighbour's poor; and you, it seems, are big with vain
Because, forsooth, you've got three cows -- one more, I see, than she has;
That tongue of yours wags more at times than charity allows;
But if you're strong, be merciful -- great Woman of Three

Now, there you go; you still, of course, keep up your scornful
And I'm too poor to hinder you; but, by the cloak I'm wearing,
If I had but four cows myself, even though you were my spouse,
I'd thwack you well, to cure your pride, my Woman of Three

-- Anon., translation, James Clarence Mangan

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