Restrain

Kill

Liberate:

Parsing the Language of Blocking Sickness in Irish Charms

 

Nicholas Wolf, New York University

Ortha anaghaidh na h-Achma Charm against the Farcy

Marbhaim arpuidhan achma úr
Marbhaim cnumh an fhéir
Marbhaim an phéist úr
Cuirim ortha-nimhe nimhneach
Ar an gconach marbhthach
Ortha do chuir Peadar agus Pól
Mharbhas na cnuimh i bhfeóil
Mharbhas cnuimh i ndéid agus
i n-éaduigh

I kill _____ fresh farcy
I kill the maggot of the grass
I kill the fresh worm
I put a poisonous poison-charm
On the deadly murrain
A charm that Peter and Paul sent
That kills the maggots in the flesh
That kills maggots in teeth and clothing

Source: Douglas Hyde, Abhráin Diadha Chúige Connact (1906): 2:387

  • marbhuigheadh / marbhaim
    (modern Irish maraigh)

  • cosg / coisg
    (modern Irish cosc)

  • saor

Words of Healing and Vanquishing Illness

in 18th- and 19th-Century Irish-Language Charms

Words of Healing and Vanquishing Illness

in 18th- and 19th-Century Irish-Language Charms

  • slánadh / slánaigh = heal, restore to health

  • fóir / fóirthint = help/relieve/save

  • leigheas = cure/remedy by way of medicine
Orrtha mharbhuigh achma asbuin, no peiste a bfeoil A charm for the killing of _____ farcy, or worms of the flesh

Marbhuim thú a pheist ruadh
Marbhuim thú a pheist ceannruadh
Cuirrim Criost dod lagan, Dia fire don lagan
Na 9 noird Ainglidhe ata a bflaithios

Dod ruagadh agus dod lasgad as do leabaigh
Agus na raibh do shaoghal agad a pheist
Acht go ndearfaid missi mo phaidir

I kill you, red worm
I kill you, red worm
Christ places _____, the true God of ______
The nine orders of angels that are in heaven
Your expulsion and your _____ from your bed
And you will not have your life, worm

When I will say my prayer

Source: RIA Ms 23 E 7, Brian Ó Fearrghaile (ca. 1770s-1780s)

Ortha na Fola do Chosg Charm to Staunch Blood

Allevemus ainm an fír do sgoilt air taobh an dáluigh(?) *hug


uisge fuil & fion amach air taobh árdrighe

An nomine patrie cois an fuil et fili tá camhair

spiriti sancti amen Jesus coisg an fhuil & tá si trean

Allevemus [i.e. Longinus] is the name of the man who split the side _______

water, blood, and wine on behalf of (to the side of?) the High King

In nomine patrie staunch the blood et fili help it

spiriti sancti amen Jesus staunch the blood that is flowing strongly

Source: NLI Ms G 233, Tomás Ó Conchubhair (1791)

Ortha Cosgtha Fola Charm for Stopping Blood

Taraidh a athair le do chabhair
Taraidh a mhic agus fóir
Taraidh a Bhrighid a bhan-naoimh
Agus an dá abstol déag
Agus cuir coisg ar an fhuil
Ata teacht go tréan

Come, Father, with your help
Come, Son, and relieve
Come, Bridget, female saint
And the twelve Apostles
And put a stop to the blood
That is coming powerfully

Source: Douglas Hyde, Abhráin Diadha Chúige Connact (1906): 2:381

Artha Mná a d-Tinneas Cloinne Woman's Charm for Child Pain 

Do dhá gheal cioch, a Mhuire, máthair agus búime Iosa,
ó n-gádh rug slán sin a tabhairt fóir a’s fuasgladh anála
don m-ban so tinn a b-pianta gaibhtheach.
Saor í a athair, saor í, a mhic, ó s tú fuair thús baisde
do ghein a Spiriod naomh,
fhág do cabhar aguinn agus beir leat isi slán.

Your two white breasts, Mary, mother and nurse of Jesus,
from distress carried safe, give help and release breath
to this women sick from dangerous pains
free her, Father, free her, Son, as you who received a baptismal start
born of the Holy Spirit
leave us your help and carry her safe.

Source: NLI Ms G 1252, Daniel Sheahan (1860)

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