A Lament for Art O’Leary. Cuala Press (1940)

Author: Frank O'Connor

Book ID: 67928

Price: 495.00

A Lament for Art O’Leary. Translated from the Irish by Frank O’Connor, with Six Illustrations by Jack B. Yeats. Dublin: The Cuala Press, 1940. Small folio, original linen-backed boards with lettering piece on upper cover, and title label to spine. Ex library copy, with stamps. Covers dust soiled, contents in good condition.

The six drawings are hand coloured. One of the scarcest of the Cuala Press publications.

Frank O’Connor, although better known for his short stories, was a scholar of the Irish language and translated many poems into English. His version of the ‘Lament’ is regarded as magnificent, capturing Eibhlín Dubh’s passion and fierceness and the rhythm and cadence of her keen. 

Art O’Leary was a handsome young cavalry officer in the army of Maria Theresa of Austria. He returned to Ireland upon his marriage to Eibhlín Dubh and they had two children. She was pregnant with a third when he was shot dead by order of Abraham Morris, a local magistrate, when Art refused to sell Morris the horse he had brought back from his service in the Austro-Hungarian army for £5, as required by the Penal Laws (The Penal Laws stated that no Catholic might own a horse worth more than £5 and could be forced to sell a more valuable one on demand to any Protestant at this price). His wife Eibhlín composed this long poem “Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire” (Lament for Art O’Leary), mourning his death and calling for revenge.  O’Leary is buried at Kilcrea Friary near Ovens, County Cork.

“Lo Arthur Leary, generous, handsome, brave, / Slain in his bloom lies in this humble grave.”

Out of stock

SKU: 67928 Categories: , ,