Monday, May 4, 2015

Aoibhinn beatha an scoláire - Sweet is the scholar's life!

The Scholar's Life (Beatha an Scoláire) is a seventeenth century Irish poem that describes the life of leisure and privilege enjoyed by the scholars of Ireland. I'm not sure where exactly this particular Irish scholar was studying, but it sounds very relaxed! Apparently in seventeenth century Ireland, school days were indeed the best days of your life! Here is Thomas Kinsella's translation.

Sweet is the scholar's life
busy about his studies;
the sweetest lot in Ireland
as all of you know well

No king or prince to rule him
nor lord however mighty;
no rent to the chapter house
no drudging, no dawn-rising

Dawn-rising or shepherding
never required of him;
no need to take his turn
as watchman in the night

He spends a while at chess
and a while with the pleasant harp;
and a further while wooing
and winning lovely women

His horse-team hale and hearty
at the first coming of Spring;
the harrow for his team
is a fistful of pens.

Seán Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella, eds. Duanaire, 1600-1900: Poems of the Dispossessed (Dublin: Foras na Gaelige, 1981), 16-17.


  1. I think you may have a moral obligation to share more of your thoughts in writing.

    Also, I used one of your earlier posts at my blog in a recent post:

    1. Hi James, thanks for the encouragement! :-) I read your blogpost. Very good.