An bhFaca tú mo Shéamaisín?

Play recording: An bhFaca tú mo Shéamaisín?

view / hide recording details [+/-]

  • Teideal (Title): An bhFaca tú mo Shéamaisín?
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 781514.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): Irish.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Cynthia Thiessen.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 03/1978.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): day class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): Fredric Lieberman.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

An bhFaca tú mo Shéamaisín?

An bhfaca tú mo Shéamaisín,
Mo bhuachaill óg, mo Shéamaisín,
An bhfaca tú mo Shéamaisín,
Is é dul siar an bóthar?

Ní raibh bróg ar bith ar a dhá choisín
Ar a dhá choisín, ar a dhá choisín,
Ní raibh bróg ar bith ar a dhá choisín
Ach a leabhairín ina phóca.

Curfá

Buachaill deas mo Shéamaisín,
Buachaill deas mo Shéamaisín,
Buachaill deas mo Shéamaisín –
Is gearr go mbeidh sé pósta!

Curfá

Translation

Have you seen my little James
My little boy, my little James
Have you seen my little James
Going west along the road?

There were no shoes on his two little feet
On his two little feet, on his two little feet,
There were no shoes on his two little feet,
But his little book in his pocket.

Refrain

My little James is a very nice boy,
My little James, my little James,
My little James is a very nice boy –
And shortly he’ll be married!

Refrain

Beidh Aonach Amárach i gContae an Chláir

Beidh aonach amárach i gContae an Chláir
Cén mhaith dom é? Ní bheith mé ann.

A Mháithrín, an ligfidh tú chun aonaigh mé?
A stóirín-ó, ná h-éiligh é.

Níl tú deich ná haon-déag fós!
Nuair a bhéas mé trí-déag beidh mé mór.

A Mháithrín, an ligfidh tú chun aonaigh mé?
A stóirín-ó, ná h-éiligh é.

Tá mé i ngrá le gréasaí bróg
Mara bhfaighidh mé é ní bheidh mé beo.

A Mháithrín, an ligfidh tú chun aonaigh mé?
A stóirín-ó, ná h-éiligh é1.

B’fhearr liom féin mo ghréasaí bróg
Ná oifigeach airm faoina lásaí óir2.

A Mháithrín, an ligfidh tú chun aonaigh mé?
A stóirín-ó, ná h-éiligh é.

Translation

There’s a fair tomorrow in County Clare
What good it’s to me, I won’t be there!

Oh, Mother, will you let me go to the fair?
My dearest dear, I do not dare!

You’re not ten or eleven yet!
When I am thirteen, I’ll be big.

Oh, Mother, will you let me go to the fair?
My dearest dear, I do not dare!

I’m in love with a shoemaker
If I don’t get him, I won’t live!

Oh, Mother, will you let me go to the fair?
My dearest dear, I do not dare!

I prefer my shoemaker
To an army captain with lace and frills.

Oh, Mother, will you let me go to the fair?
My dearest dear, I do not dare!

Notes

1. The literal translation of ná h-éiligh é would be ‘do not demand it’.

2. The literal translation of faoina lásaí óir would be ‘under his gold laces’.

These two songs, familiar to schoolchildren and Irish language-learners around the country, would likely have been dismissed as ‘school songs’ by the people in Joe’s community.

Beidh Aonach Amárach, however, represents a venerable type of song which Seán Ó Tuama termed the débat grá (‘love debate’). The subject matter of the song which, as here, takes the form of an argument between a girl and her mother about matters of the heart, has its roots in the troubadour and trouvère traditions of 12th-century France. The translation here is the one Joe himself developed for his students, a fairly literal rendering that has the added benefit of being singable. Compare his performance here — especially its speed — with the group rendition on this recording, where Joe is teaching the song to students at the University of Washington.

This was recorded while Joe Heaney was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington.