Sunday 28 May 2023

Domhnach na Cincíse: An Spiorad Naomh umainn


To mark the feast of Pentecost below is a short poem, an Invocation of the Holy Spirit, by Maol Íosa Ó Brolcháin, a scholar saint of Donegal, who died in 1086 and whose feast day is commemorated on January 16. A 2013 post on the saint and his work can be found in the blog archive here. The original Irish text and a Modern Irish version can be found in Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin's 1986 study Maol Íosa Ó Brolcháin, below is the text in Modern Irish plus an English translation from George Sigerson's 1897 anthology Bards of the Gael and Gall:

An Spiorad Naomh umainn
ionainn agus linn,
an Spiorad Naomh chugainn;
tagadh, a Chríost go tobann.
An Spiorad Naomh ag áitreabh
ár gcoirp is ár n-anama;
dár slánú go réidh
ar ghuais, ar ghalar,
ar dheamhain, ar pheacaí
ar ifreann lena ilolc;
A Íosa! go mbeannaí
agus go saora do Spiorad sinn. 



Holy Spirit of Love
In us, round us, above;
Holy Spirit, we pray
Send, sweet Jesus! this day.
Holy Spirit, to win
Body and soul within,
To guide us that we be 
From ills and illness free,
From sin and demons' snare,
From Hell and evils there,
O Holy Spirit, come!
Hallow our heart, Thy home.

* Maelisu, grandson of Brolcan, of Derry, died in the year 1038. 'Mael-Isu" means "Client of Jesus" (literally, the "Tonsured of Jesus".

George Sigerson, Bards of the Gael and Gall (London, 1897), 192.

Note: Sigerson has given the date of the poet's death as 1038. The Annals of Ulster however record Máol Íosa's death in 1086, describing him as 'eminent in wisdom and piety and in poetry in both languages ', i.e. Irish and Latin. A more literal translation can be found in Gerard Murphy's 1956 anthology, Early Irish Lyrics: Eighth to Twelfth Centuries.

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