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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr 2018 8:49 pm 
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I think this request got lost in a longer thread, so I'm posting it again here separately. I'm having trouble with one line in the Irish-language version of the song, "The Minstrel Boy". Here's the text from verse three, first in the Irish version (old spelling), and then the English version which one usually hears sung, but which is not always a direct equivalent of the Irish (as is obvious here).

Do thuit an bard, ach má thuit go fóill,
bhí a chridhe neamh-eaglach, treunmhar,
a’s raob sé teuda chláirsighe an cheoil,
do scuab sé an trá bhí seunmhar.

The minstrel fell, but the foeman's chain
could not bring that proud soul under.
The harp he [wore/loved] ne'er spoke again.
for he tore its cords asunder.

My question has to do with the last line in the Irish version. I understand the words, but can't put them together in a translation which makes sense in context. In the Irish version, the last two lines are obviously in reverse order:

...
a’s raob sé teuda chláirsighe an cheoil,
do scuab sé an trá bhí seunmhar

...
and he tore the cords of the [musical] harp,
[then what?]

GRMA for any help here!

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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr 2018 4:27 am 
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My guess is

"and he took with him (to death) that happy moment"

This is what I imagine is the Modern Irish version:

Thit an bard, ach má thit go fóill,
bhí a chroí neameaglach, tréanmhar
agus réab sé téada chláirseach an cheoil
scuab sé an tráth a bhí séanmhar


And my imagined translation:

The bard fell (on the battlefield), but though he fell,
his heart was fearless and valiant
he tore up the strings of the harp
and took with him (to death) that happy moment

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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr 2018 2:04 pm 
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I'm having some trouble with the word "seunmhar", however, I'll offer this translation anyhow:

do scuab sé an trá bhí seunmhar
it swept the strand(/beach?) ...?

I like the idea of the broken harp's strings being like the bristles of a brush or broom, sweeping, but depending on what is meant by "seunmhar" it could well have extra meaning. It could be synonymous with "ceolmhar", and mean something like melodious. In this case the meaning could be something like "it swept the melodious strand", lit. "it swept the strand which was melodious".

Edit: eDIL's only use of "seunmhar" gives it as a form of "sénmhar", meaning prosperous or happy. So, perhaps:

it swept the strand [and it/he] was happy


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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr 2018 2:09 pm 
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Ade wrote:
I'm having some trouble with the word "seunmhar", however, I'll offer this translation anyhow:

do scuab sé an trá bhí seunmhar
it swept the strand(/beach?) ...?

I like the idea of the broken harp's strings being like the bristles of a brush or broom, sweeping, but depending on what is meant by "seunmhar" it could well have extra meaning. It could be synonymous with "ceolmhar", and mean something like melodious. In this case the meaning could be something like "it swept the melodious strand", lit. "it swept the strand which was melodious".

Edit: eDIL's only use of "seunmhar" gives it as a form of "sénmhar", meaning prosperous or happy. So, perhaps:

it swept the strand [and it/he] was happy


seunmhar, old spelling for séanmhar = lucky, prosperous, happy


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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr 2018 4:14 pm 
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Thanks, that was all very helpful, and I'm glad to learn that I'm not the only one who had to struggle with it a bit. Your ideas made me think it through better, especially the use of scuab and trá, which was what was really stumping me, and I think I have the meaning now (or something close to it).

FGB says that scuab can also mean "to ruin", and tráth can in some contexts mean a moment in time, or a time period, so I think this may be what was meant (at least, it would fit with the context):

do scuab sé an trá[th] bhí seunmhar
he ruined the [time/moment] which had been joyful

Any thoughts on that possibility?

I'm deleting the similar request from the other thread I mentioned, so that we don't end up with two discussions of the same topic.

Interesting additional thought: I wonder whether the Irish use of scuab with the meaning of "to ruin" might have been adopted into English and led to the expression "to scrub" something as meaning to cancel it, perhaps as part of the 19th century "cant" which saw a number of other Irish expressions make it into English (such as the word "galore")?

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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr 2018 5:23 pm 
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CaoimhínSF wrote:
FGB says that scuab can also mean "to ruin"

:??: how can this be? I read the entry a dozen times yesterday trying to figure it out. Where does it say that?

CaoimhínSF wrote:
led to the expression "to scrub" something as meaning to cancel it


I have never heard that before in English, let alone have an idea of its origins! *shrug*

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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr 2018 7:04 pm 
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To scrub something, meaning to end it, is quite common. NASA often used the term " the mission wa scrubbed" back in the days of space exploration


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PostPosted: Fri 27 Apr 2018 8:54 pm 
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Quote:
how can this be? I read the entry a dozen times yesterday trying to figure it out. Where does it say that?

Not sure about your copy of FGB, but mine has as an example:
Tá mé scuabtha
I have been cleaned out, ruined

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PostPosted: Sat 28 Apr 2018 9:27 pm 
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I don't know meaning but I'd guess it could be that he was happy walking on the beach, as in beach-combing. It was a habit people had in the old days when shipwrecks were common.


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PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2018 12:27 am 
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Bríd Mhór wrote:
I don't know meaning but I'd guess it could be that he was happy walking on the beach, as in beach-combing. It was a habit people had in the old days when shipwrecks were common.

So do you think Ade may have had it right, a Bhríd, that he was perhaps trailing the cords of the harp along the beach? In that case, I can't figure out how to work in the a bhí seunmhar part. Maybe something like "He trailed the cords along the beach, where he had been joyful"?

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