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Seanduine Dóite, An

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An Seanduine DóiteWell, this is about an old man who marries a young woman, and the young woman is crying that if she ever got the chance, she’d drown him, or suffocate him, or break his bones. But there’s no danger – it’s getting better he was, all the time!
This is the way I sing the ‘Seanduine’ now – it’s not the same words as here:1

Óró, a sheanduine, a sheanduine dhóite
Óró, a sheanduine, briseadh ‘gus stró ort
Óró, a sheanduine, mo dhíomú go deo
Is dhá mbeinn ag an doras nár bheiridh mé beo ort!

Chuir mé mo sheanduine chun Aifrinn Dé Domhnaigh
Uisce na bhfataí mar starch ina ghúna2
D’at a chuid polláirí is thit a chuid fiacla
Is tháinig sé abhaile ina bhromachán3 bliana!

Óró, a sheanduine, a sheanduine dhóite
Óró, a sheanduine, briseadh ‘gus stró ort
Óró, a sheanduine, mo mhallacht go deo
Is dhá mbeinn ag an doras nár bheiridh mé beo ort!

Dhá ngabhfadh mo sheanduine an oiread mar ba chóir dhó
Braon de shubh sicín agus greamannaí feola
Naoi n-uibhe circe bruite sa ngríosach
Rachfainnse i mbannaí go seasfadh sé an oíche!

Óró, a sheanduine, a sheanduine dhóite
Óró, a sheanduine, briseadh ‘gus stró ort
Óró, a sheanduine, mo mhallacht go deo
Is dhá mbeinn ag an doras nár bheiridh mé beo ort!

Chuir mé mo sheanduine suas ar an áiléar
Shíl mé go raibh sé chomh daingean le táirne
Thit sé anuas agus briseadh a chnámha
Agus briseadh a fiddle ar pholl an phléaráca!4

Translation

Oh, old man, old dried-up man, breakage and stress on you. Oh, old man, bad cess to you – and if I were at the door, let me not catch you alive!

I sent my old fellow to mass on Sunday, potato-water2 for starch in his shift; his nostrils swelled and his teeth fell out, and he came home as useless3 as ever!

If my old man ate all that he should – a drop of chicken soup, and bits of meat, nine hen’s eggs roasted in the ashes – I bet he’d be able to keep it up all night!

I put my old fellow up into the loft; I thought he was as secure as a nail; he fell down and broke his bones, and his johnson got smashed on the glory hole!4

Notes

1 Presumably Joe and Jim have been looking at another text for this song. For obvious reasons, Joe’s text is unlikely to have appeared in print anywhere. There are additional verses to this song in oral circulation, and they only get worse; see CBÉ 160: 451-2 and CBÉ 1134:269 for two additional versions collected in the Carna district. Cathy Ryan has recorded a less racy version; her text can be found online.
2 The word bromachán is defined by Tomás Ó Máille as ‘duine mór garbh nach bhfuil aon chur ar a shon féin ann’ – a big rough man who can do nothing for himself. Quoting from this song, Ó Máille reports that it is a said of a person who is unsuccessful in life, ‘go dtáinig sé abhaile ina bhromachán bliana’ (An Béal Beo, 2002 edition prepared by Ruairí Ó hUiginn, p. 221)
3 Presumably the starchy water in which the spuds had been boiled, rather than the water used to wash them before boiling.
4 Joe translates poll an phléaráca for Jim Cowdery as ‘the hole in the hearth.’ Every native-speaker source I have consulted, however, has given me a queer look when asked about this. Literally, ‘poll’ means ‘hole,’ and ‘pléaráca’ means ‘revelry.’
The air is a jig: An Seanduine Dóite or The Burnt Old Man.

 

 

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