Táim sínte ar do thuama
I am stretched out on your tomb
|Véarsa 1||Verse 1|
|A ógánaigh an chúil chraobhaigh, cad é ‘n taobh dinn ar a mbíonn tú?||‘O young man of the curling hair, where are you to be found?|
|Ar phósais-se féinig nó an ndéanfair arís é?||Have you married yet or will you ever do so again?’|
|Do phósas, a lao ghil, is ní dhéanfad é choíche.||‘I was once married my dear and I will never do it again.|
|Cé hí tú am’ éileamh nó an aon bhean don tír thú?||Who are you to be questioning me? Are you a woman of this world?’|
|Véarsa 2||Verse 1|
|Ná aithníonn tú mé féinig a lao ghil mo chroí ‘stigh,||‘Don’t you recognise me at all, dearest love of my heart?|
|An cailín ciúin tréitheach [a] bhíodh taobh leat san oíche?||I am the quiet, clever girl who used to lie with you at night.’|
|Ní aithním thú [in] aon chor mar nach bhfuil aon phioc dá gnaoi ort.||‘No, I don’t recognise you at all because you look nothing like her.’|
|Mar sin a mhill an chré me, dath na gréine is na gaoithe.||‘That is how the grave has ruined my appearance, destroyed by the heat of the sun and the wind.’|
|Véarsa 3||Verse 3|
|Fógraím croí cráite ort [a] Cháit Bhán is tú marbh.
Do fuairis-se bás uaim le ráithe agus tuilleadh.
|‘I wish you heartache, fair-haired Cáit, now that you are dead.
You went and died on me more than three months ago,
|Fuairis, a ghrá ghil agus níor sháraís an cumann||You did, my bright darling, but that did not defeat our love,|
|Is thugais barr breáthacht leat ó mhnáibh bhreátha an tsaoil.||And you surpassed in beauty all the most beautiful women in the world.|
|Véarsa 4||Verse 4|
|Nuair sílid mo mhuintir gur im’ luí bím ar mo leabaig||When my family thinks I am in bed at night,|
|Ar do thuama ‘sea bhímse ó oíche go maidin.||I am lying on your tomb from night till morning.|
|[Ag] síor-insinn mo scéil duit is a’ géarghol fé mhairg,||I tell you all my worries and I weep bitterly in sadness,|
|A’ triall ar t’annsacht go meallfainn liom thú abhaile.||Seeking your beauty to entice you to come home with me.’|
Versions of this song can be found all over Europe and in North America. Francis J. Child refers to it under the title ‘The Unquiet Grave’ in his The English and Scottish Popular Ballads and six versions collected in England appear in the Journal of the Folksong Society. A.M. Freeman mentions similar songs from Cornwall and from Denmark.
When I first began to sing this Goodman song I was aware that his words were very close to the version extant in Corca Dhuibhne but that Goodman’s melody was different. I then heard a version almost exactly the same as Goodman’s on a CD by the fine Múscraí singer Eilís Ní Shúilleabháin and I concluded it was a Múscraí song. A meeting with Éilís at Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh in An Buailtín, some time later gave me an opportunity to ask. She had been given the song many years before in Cork city by Seán Óg Ó Tuama and had no idea where it originated. Certainly, A.M. Freeman collected a version called Cailín an Chúil Chraobhaigh from Crothúr Ó Cochláin in Doire na Sagart in Múscraí around 1911. Fionán Mac Coluim published a version from Uíbh Ráthach in An Lóchrann in 1917. Dónal O’Sullivan published the song in Songs of the Irish in 1960 and gave Edward Walsh’s English verse translation.
Versions of this song can be found elsewhere in the Irish song tradition too. It can be found in Duanaire Gaedhilge (ed. Róis Ní Ógáin) and under the title Ceaitín in Ceol na nOileán (ed. An tAthair Tomás Ó Ceallaigh). Although Ceaitín was collected in the west of Ireland, three of its verses are close to Goodman’s text.
An Ulster song called Brighid an Chúil Ómra in Énrí Ó Muirgheasa’s Dhá Chéad de Cheoltaibh Uladh asks more or less the same question as appears in Goodman’s first verse: ‘Cé hé sin ag caint liom, nó an bhean as mo thír fhéin thú?’ but Goodman’s version ‘an aon bhean don tír thú?’ seems to suggest someone or something beyond the natural world as does Crothúr Ó Cochláin’s line ‘nó an éinne beó ‘n tír é.’ This is borne out by the account given by the man in verse two of being able to see that Cáit’s beauty has been destroyed by the grave. The supernatural element is highlighted too in a song from Rinn Ó gCuanach called Máire ‘n Chúil Umair collected by R.A. Breatnach from Maidhc Traoin (or Turraoin) in the 1940’s. (Éigse Vol 2 Part 4 p.243).
In 1847 Edward Walsh published a translation of the song called From the Cold Sod That’s O’er You. It has six verses to Goodman’s four but both songs are quite similar in theme although Walsh’s consciously ‘poetic’ translation lacks the raw emotion of the Irish language versions. Walsh also stated, in relation to his song translations as a group: ‘I have admitted nothing among them calculated, in a moral or political point of view, to give offence.’ This attitude is also evident in the collections of P.W. Joyce and George Petrie. Goodman, on the other hand, did not censor what he collected.
A west Kerry version of this song called Atáim Sínte ar do Thuama was published in a booklet called Bínsín Luachra: Cnuasacht de 22 Amhrán ó Chorca Dhuibhne (ed. Ó Duláine agus Ó Néill) in 1973. The song is close in parts to Goodman’s but is longer.
The most recent Munster version I have seen, Táim Sínte ar do Thuama was published in An Blas Muimhneach (Vol. 1, 2007) by Breandán ‘ac Gearailt. He gives a local singer Nell Ní Chatháin, Clochar, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh as his source. Only one of ‘ac Gearailt’s six verses corresponds with a verse in Goodman’s song. He concludes by saying: ‘Deirtear go minic gur freagra é seo ar an amhrán Dónall Óg,’ [It is often said that this song is a reply to Dónall Óg]. This is an interesting idea and not one I have found elsewhere.
The words of Goodman’s song clearly relate to A Ógánaigh an Chúil Chraobhaigh, as well as to its title Táim Sínte ar do Thuama. It is also clear that both songs are very closely linked.
Both songs are to be found in Leabhar Mór na nAmhrán (2012, collected by Ó Conghaile, ed. by Ó Tuairisg and Ó Ceannabháin) as is a Conamara song called Ceaite an Chúil Chraobhaigh which has three verses (1,2 and 5) in common with Goodman.