Poem for Sir Richard Cox, Conalis House
8.X.LO.014

Donal O'Sullivan, 'A Courtly Poem For Sir Richard Cox'
Éigse 4(1943-4)284-7

[f.[1]r] Cormac an Chúil mac Uí Luinín1
             .i. ard-ollamh Éireann do Sir Risteārd Cox
                                     cc.

1           A Risteārd mhuirnidh na ccreach,
             go maire tú fā oineach ;
             nār théidh tú go hifrionn na cceall,
             's go raibh tú beó againn tamull.

2            Nār fhaice tú choidhche an ghrís īochtrach,
             's go raibh flaithios 'do choinne ro-chríochrach ;
             cam roilge nār bhainidh dhuit
             nō go mbeire tú do chos ō do námhaid.

3           Má théid tú go hifrionn le fán,
             go raibh mé 7 tú ar áon-tiomáin ;
             nō, gidh bé háit a ngeóbhthar leat,
             go raibh mé et tú a n-éineacht.

4           Nār fhága mē féin nō thú an sáoghal
[f.[1]v] nō go raibhmíd aráon gan áon-bháoghal ;
             's nār fhága mé an sáoghal choídhche, a Choxi,
             nō go raibh mé et tú gan uireasbhaidh.

5           Fuil do chroidhe nā raibh 'do bhrághaid,
             's nā raibh sláis-bhean fúd a' sīor-chnáid ;
             bail a' diabhail nā raibh ort,
             a sgraith fhíalmhar na mbeannacht,

6           Nār leagthar thú a ttigh an óil
             le bata ceárnach as crúib tascóir;
[f.[2]r] nār thuitidh crann gábhacáin ort;
             nār bhrisidh an námhaid do charbad.

7           Nā ráibh tú 'do shuidhe air an láir bháin
             is neasgóid cháoch ar do leath-mhás ;
             's mā bhainionn chaoíche dhuit a' dul amach
             go seachnaidh Críost ort a' spioralach.

8           Nā raibh gearbōg nimhneach ad chúl
             is tú dol a bhoxáil le saighdúir ;
             nār thuitidh do bhrísde dhíot [a] ccath
             's gan cnaipe nō poll 'na bhásta
             is retréut ort go sgárrtha sganlach.

9           Nā raibh mailc bhéul gaile air do chruit
             ō iomchar cléibhín go minic ;
             'sgúabadh sráide nār faicthear thusa,
             a mhic mhágaidh do mháthar-sa.

10         Nā raibh tú et cailleach an hata
             ag crois margaidh lá geimhriota,
             is caimbéul ort go suighe do chlúais,
             a' bollsaireacht bailéd go crithfhúar.

11         Galar sgrathach nā raibh ort
             is sgafach iongan a n-ēinfheacht
             le bruid thochais, is tú ar crith,
             ag síor-chur do th;ōn le gríosaigh.

12         Nā raibh tú 'do dheóraidhe bhocht
             ar feadh Fódhla ad fhuighioll mallacht,
             gan bhíadh, gan éudach, gan mhaoín,
[f.[2]v] ag [sío]r-dhéirce go díomhaoin.

13         Nár bheiridh an parantóir ort ar speir2
             is tú 'ndeireadh na dreisi ar do mháthair ;
             's ná raibh bratlín ghlégheal fād chionn
             'do bhollsaire a lár teampaill.

14         Ná raibh tú 'cóimhling ar son h'anma
             air chapull mhailceach dho-dhealbhdha,
             gan diallaoíd, gan srían, gan spuir,
             dot chíapadh, 's a' tsían ad shúilibh,

15         An gháoth neartmhar, is í ō thuaith,
             an h'aghaidh go díreach bith-bhúan,
             hata múlla áird ar do chionn,
             's do chrága ann, d'eagla tuitim,

16         Sdad sgárrtha do bheith innte
             a lár gach átha 'san ccoimhling-se,
             tú 'greadadh do shál, 's gan mhaith ann,
             nō gurbh éigin 'san áit sin turling.

17 [f.[3]r] Iar ccáill an rása, 's ar ndol don mbuta,
             nár chaithidh thú go hárd curata
             ar chlár h'éudain 'sa' sgreagach cloch
             nō go bhfágaidh a néul thú go dochrach.

18         Fearaibh Fáil, is bíd3 'na díaigh,
             nach mbeirdís [or]rthaibh4 a n-aon-rían;
             's nā an ghaoth Mhárta gur luaithe isi
             ar a hais chum na háite ō ar ghlúais sí.5

19         Chuirfinn challenge ar bhás na cceárd
             dā leagadh a mhéur ort, a Risteárd ;
             bhuailfinn do dhóirn é ar an tsúil
             nó go bhfágbhuinn é ar a leath-ghlún.

20         Na crúba a' coisreagadh an tuill
             d'fhúigfinn aige 'san iorghuill,
             's 'na sheasamh air a theangaidh 'san ccac
             nō go ccuirinn Risteārd as amharc.

21 [f.[3]v] Fear mór f[a]da bhus cneasda do ríghthibh Fáil,
             's ar n[d]ōigh nach bhfaicthear a shamhail go ttí an lá bráth,
             crann seóil snasda nach nglacadh siúd spíd ō chách,
             oil óil go maire sé 'fhad is bhías grian ar áier!

The above poem is written on three loose sheets in the library of the O'Conor Don at Clonalis, County Roscommon, the handwriting being that of Charles O'Conor of Belanagare (1710-1790). The words críochrach (2), sláis-bhean (5), crann gábhacáin (6), spioralach (7), parantóir (13), oil óil (21),6 are unknown to me; and I am not sure of the meaning of 1. 2 of q. 13. I have not found any information regarding the poet, Cormac Ó Luinín, who is named as the author. The verses must have been composed after the 5th November, 1692, when the subject received his knighthood.

Sir Richard Cox (1650-1733) was born at Bandon, County Cork, the son of Captain Richard Cox and his wife Katherine, the daughter of Walter Bird of Clonakilty. He was a lawyer by profession and a strong Tory in politics. Except for a brief period in the time of King James II, his whole life was spent in Ireland, and during the period 1690-1714 he was easily the most striking judicial figure in the country, holding successively the offices of Justice of the Common Pleas (1690), Chief Justice of the Common Pleas (1699), Lord Chancellor (1703) and Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench (1712).

Cox was present at the Battle of the Boyne, and throughout King William's reign he was active in regard to Irish politics, being an early and strong advocate of the parliamentary union with England. In 1698 he published a pamphlet on the restriction of the woollen trade, as well as "An Essay for the Conversion of the Irish, showing that 'tis their duty to become Protestants, in a Letter to Themselves." A few days after he became Lord Chancellor in 1703, the Parliament in which he was the dominating figure passed, without a single dissentient, "an Act to prevent the further growth of Popery," which is one of the most penal of the penal laws.

Cox's country seat was at Dunmanway, where he died and is buried. According to his letters in Trinity College, he made "paradise cheese" there and kept "the best Welsh ale in Europe," as well as " the best claret in the world." It may be thought odd that a man of his type and outlook should be the subject of an adulatory poem by a contemporary Irish poet; but the social relationships of the penal days were often very difficult from what a reader of the political history of the time might suppose them to be. According to Walker (Irish Bards, 2nd. ed., p. 303, footnote), Sir Richard Cox was an intimate friend of another Irish poet, Hugh Magauran of County Leitrim, whose " Pléaráca na Ruarcach" was translated into English by Swift and set to music by Carolan.


1  MS. Luínin.
2  MS. spéir.
3  MS. biodh,
4  Read perhaps nach mbéardaois oraibh 'that they would not catch you ' (i.e. because of the swiftness of the horse, wished for in the next line).
ghlúaisis-si would suit the metre better.
Oil óil may be a mere ejaculation like ó bó.