The following is contributed by an Irishman (I'm guessing circa mid-1600's). Occupation 'Poet' ....rewards of the soul only.
My Son, Forsake Your Art
(A mhic, ná meabhraigh éigse)
(Mathghamhain Ó Hifearnáin)
The Book of Irish Verse: An Anthology of Irish Poetry from
the Sixth Century to the Present.
edited by John Montague
London: The Macmillan Company,, 1974
translation by Máire Cruise O'Brien (Máire Mhac an tSaoi)
My son, forsake your art,
In that which was your fathers own no part --
Though from the start she had borne pride of place,
Poetry now leads to disgrace.
Serve it not then, this leavings of a trade,
Nor by you be an Irish measure made,
Polished and perfect, whole in sound and sense --
Ape the new fashion, modish, cheap and dense.
Spin spineless verses of the commonplace,
Suffice it that they hold an even pace
And show not too nice taste within their span --
Preferment waits upon you if you can.
Give no man meed of censure nor just praise,
But if needs must your voice discreetly raise,
Not where there's only hatred to be earned,
Praising the Gael and for your labour spurned.
Break with them! Reckon not their histories
Nor chronicle them in men's memories,
Make it no study to enrich their fame,
Let all be named before an Irish name.
Thus you may purge your speech of bitterness,
Thus your addresses may command success --
What good repute has granted, do you hide,
Asperse their breeding, be their blood denied.
The good that has been, see you leave alone,
That which now goes for good dilate upon;
Polish the praises of a foreign rout,
Allies more likely as has come about.
The race of Miled and the sons of Conn,
Who now maintains it, that their sway goes on?
A lying prophet in men's eyes to stand,
Proclaiming alien dynasts in the land!
The tribe of Lorc, proud Carthach's company,
Be these your strangers come from oversea,
Over Flann's ground girt with the smooth sea-ring,
Let non who bore their name bear it as king.
Conn of the Hundred Battles he forgot,
The son of Eochaidh hold you now as naught:
The stock of Conn, modest and generous,
Who had deserved a better fate from us.
Drive out of mind thought of their excellence,
Gerald's king-blood, our store of recompense,
Whom might no man for love of pelf-condemn --
No poem ponder thou in praise of them.
For, since none now care,
For knowledge and the comely things that were,
And were not then like fencing in a plot,
The making of a poem shall profit not.
It has proven difficult to find a modern copy of the original text of A mhic ná meabhraigh éigse - but a very early copy is available online.
According to the Bardic Poetry Database / Bunachar Fhilíocht na Scol ( Dr Katharine Simms, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin), A mhic ná meabhraigh éigse appears in several 17th C. manuscript collections, including The Book of O'Gara, which is in the Royal Irish Academy archives.
The wonderful website Irish Script on Screen offers access to descriptions & images of manuscripts in 9 major collections, including the RIA:
Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in Royal Irish Academy17th cent. […] Scribe : Feargal Dubh Ó Gadhra, … for some account of whom see p. iii of the ms., where he is also called an tAthair Nicolás. It was written in the Low Countries (san Tír lachtuir…), more particularly in Lille … and Brussels …, during the following years : 1655…, 1656 …, 1657 …, and 1659…. From the scribe's table of contents (p. viii) we see that the ms. originally contained at least 40 pp. more at the end, in which were 24 poems …. These poems had already been abstracted from the MS. as early as 1686, as we learn from the preface (p. iv). […] Bound in leather, tooled, and gilt; gilt edges. A note on p. ii runs : '' This Book was bound by Bryan Higgins of the Citty of Dublin, gent., in the month of October 1715." (This Brian Ó Huiginn, a native of North Connacht, was a lawyer in Dublin, and died in December, 1715…. The inscription "Charles Gara his book" appears on p. 215.
2. MS 23 F 16: The Book of O'Gara
item 94: Mathghamhain Ó Hifearnáin. A mhic, ná meabhraigh eigsi