Medieval Irish Lyrics


Medieval Irish Lyrics

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Well known for her translations of the poetry of classical Greece, ancient Egypt, and medieval Portugal, Barbara Hughes Fowler once again makes the poetry of another era accessible to a new generation. This anthology offers modern readers modern, new translations of the lyric poetry transcribed or written by medieval Irish monks. Irish poets were the first Europeans to write in the vernacular, though few people now read this poetry in its original.

The 35 lyrics in this book were composed between 800 and 1200 A.D., all of them anonymously, although some are attributed to legendary or historical figures who had died centuries before. Irish monks wrote them in the margins of the manuscripts they were copying, or they interpolated poems they either knew or composed into the pagan tales they were recording.

Many of these poems are about what the Irish called Tir na n Og, the Land of the Young. This was not a place you went after death if you behaved yourself in life. It