Owen Roe O'Sullivan: Even the Sassenachs might die


The world laid low, and the wind blew-- like a dust--
Alexander, Caesar, and all their followers.
Tara is grass; and look how it stands with Troy.
And even the English—maybe they might die.

       —Owen Roe O'Sullivan/ Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin (1748-1784). tr. Thomas Kinsella, with Seán Ó Tuama, from An Duanáire: Poems of the Dispossessed.

From Sedulia: Owen Roe lived at the worst time in history for an Irish poet, when the Penal Laws were killing the ancient way of life and when Catholics had no legal way to make a professional living. He was a brilliant, red-haired, hard-living brawler, called "Owen of the Sweet Mouth" (Eoghan an Bhéil Bhinn) and in Munster I have myself still met Irish speakers who passed down the folk memory of his great charm.

Do threascair an saol is shéid an ghaoth mar smál
Alastrann, Caesar, 's an méid sin a bhí 'na bpáirt;
tá an Teamhair 'na féar, is féach an Traoi mar tá,
is na Sasanaigh féin do b'fhéidir go bhfaighidís bás!

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