Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Irish Curse

The Irish language is famous, from bardic times, for its curses; a poor host  got a verbal flaying. Likewise praise can be most eloquent an elaborate.  Declarations of love: off the scale.

James Stephens gives a fine example in  the following poem of a blood-curdling curse.

The Glass of Beer

The lanky hank of a she in the inn over there
Nearly killed me for asking the loan of a glass of beer:
May the devil grip the whey-faced slut by the hair
And beat bad manners out of her skin for a year.

That parboiled imp, with the hardest jaw you will ever see
On virtue's path, and a voice that would rasp the dead,
Came roaring and raging the minute she looked at me,
And threw me out of the house on the back of my head!

If I asked her master he'd give me a cask a day;
 But she with the beer at hand, not a gill would arrange!
May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten and may
The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange.

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