A Curse

[Anonymous: from the Irish, 19th century]


Bruadar and Smith and Glinn
      Amen, dear God, I pray,
May they lie low in waves of woe,
      And tortures slow each day!
                  Amen! ...

Bruadar and Smith and Glinn
      May flails of sorrow flay!
Cause for lamenting, snares and cares
      Be theirs for night and day!
                  Amen! ...

For Bruadar gape the grave,
      Up-shovel for Smith the mould,
Amen, O King of the Sunday! Leave
      Glinn in the Devil's hold.
                  Amen! ...

Glinn in a shaking ague,
      Cancer on Bruadar's tongue,
Amen, O King of the Heavens! and Smith
      Forever stricken dumb.
                  Amen! ...

Smith like a sieve of holes,
      Bruadar with throat decay,
Amen, O King of the Orders, Glinn
      A buck-show every day.
                  Amen!

Hell-hounds to hunt for Smith,
      Glinn led to hang on high,
Amen, O King of the judgement Day!
      And Bruadar rotting by.
                  Amen! ...

May none of their race survive,
      May God destroy them all,
Each curse of the psalms in the holy books
      Of the prophets upon them fall.
                  Amen!

Blight skull, and ear, and skin,
      And hearing, and voice, and sight,
Amen! before the year be out,
      Blight, Son of the Virgin, blight.
                  Amen!

May my curses hot and red
      And all I have said this day,
Strike the Black Peeler too,
      Amen! dear God, I pray!
                  Amen!

                  Version: Douglas Hyde

                 [Reproduced from John Montague, ed., A Book of Irish Verse.]