The Lament of the Hag (or Nun) of Beare.This is just the first part of a tenth century Irish poem, translated in 1913 by Dr Kuno Meyer. Perhaps we should get Simon Armitage (after his Gawain and the Green Knight) on the case for a modern version?
I am the Hag of Beare,
An ever-new smock I used to wear;
Today - such is my mean estate -
I wear not even a cast-off smock.
The maidens rejoice
When May-day comes to them;
For me sorrow is meeter*,
I am wretched, I am an old hag.
Amen! woe is me!
Every acorn has to drop.
After feasting by shining candles
To be in the gloom of a prayer-house!
I had my day with kings,
Drinking mead and wine;
Today I drink whey-water
Among shrivelled old hags.
And the second ebbtide-
They have all reached me,
So that I know them well.
There is scarce a little place today
That I can recognise;
What was on flood
Is all on ebb.
I found it quoted on p227 of
Legends and Traditions of the Cailleach Bheara or Old Woman (Hag) of Beare
Folklore, Vol. 38, No. 3. (Sep. 30, 1927), pp. 225-254.
(*sic. can't find what this means? meat as in what sustains her (or not)? or it meets her? hmm.)
Posted by Rhiannon
22nd May 2007ce
Edited 22nd May 2007ce