This song was written in the 16th century and is attributed to Antoine Ó Raifteiri, though almost certainly predates him. Originally translated from the Irish language by James Clarence Mangan, this translation is credited to Pádraig Pearse.
The song is named after Róisín Dubh, probably one of the daughters of Aodh Mór Ó Néill, earl of Tyrone in the late 16th Century. The song is reputed to have originated in the camps of Aodh Rua Ó Domhnaill.
D'fhoghlaim mé an t-amhrán seo i gceardlann ar amhránaíocht an tsean-nóis leis Gearóidín Bhreathnach in Oideas Gael i Mí Iúil 2010. I learnt this song in a sean-nóis singing class with Gearóidín Bhreathnach at Oideas Gael in July 2010.
A Róisín, ná bíodh brón ort fé'r éirigh duit,
Tá na bráithre ag teacht thar sáile is iad ag triall ar muir,
Tiocfaidh do phárdún ón bPápa is ón Róimh anoir
Is ní spárálfar fíon Spáinneach ar mo Róisín Dubh.
Is fada an réim do lig mé léi ó inné go dtí inniu,
Trasna sléibhte go ndeachas léi, fé sheolta ar muir,
Is an Éirne do chaith mé de léim í, cé mór é an sruth,
Is bhí ceol téad ar gach taobh díom is mo Róisín Dubh.
Mhearairgh tú mé, a bhrídeog, is nára fearrde duit,
Is go bhfuil m'anam istigh i ngean ort, is ní inné ná inniu,
D'fhág tú lag anbhann mé i ngné is i gcruth;
Ó ná feall orm is mé i ngean ort, a Róisín Dubh.
Shiúlfainn féin an drúcht leat is fásaigh ghoirt,
Mar shúil go bhfaighinn rún uait nó páirt de m' thoil.
A chraoibhín chumhra, gheallais domhsa go raibh grá agat dom
Is gurb í fíorscoth na Mumhan í, mo Róisín Dubh.
Beidh an Éirne ina tuilte tréana is réabfar cnoic,
Beidh an fharraige ina tonnta dearga is doirtfear fuil,
Beidh gach gleann sléibhe ar fud éireann is móinte ar crith,
Lá éigin sul a n-éaga mo Róisín Dubh.
Little Rose, be not sad for all that hath behapped thee:
The friars are coming across the sea, they march on the main.
From the Pope shall come thy pardon, and from Rome, from the East-
And stint not Spanish wine to my Little Dark Rose.
Long the journey that I made with her from yesterday till today,
Over mountains did I go with her, under the sails upon the sea,
The Erne I passed by leaping, though wide the flood,
And there was string music on each side of me and my Little Dark Rose!
Thou hast slain me, O my bride, and may it serve thee no whit,
For the soul within me loveth thee, not since yesterday nor today,
Thou has left me weak and broken in mien and in shape,
Betray me not who love thee, my Little Dark Rose!
I would walk the dew with thee and the meadowy wastes,
In hope of getting love from thee, or part of my will,
Frangrant branch, thou didst promise me that thou hadst for me love-
And sure the flower of all Munster is Little Dark Rose!
The Erne shall rise in rude torrents, hills shall be rent,
The sea shall roll in red waves, and blood be poured out,
Every mountain glen in Ireland, and the bogs shall quake
Some day ere shall perish my Little Dark Rose!
Lyrics and translations for this song