Coaineadh Na dTri Múire - Lament of the Three Marys

3 Marys
The three Marys discover the empty tomb

This song is about keening the death of Christ. Keening was a practice common in Ireland where women would come to the wake and loudly lament the loss of a loved one. There were sometimes professional keeners who did their keening for a fee.

This picture above is of Mary Magdalene, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary the mother of Jesus. It is an uncommon scene in depictions of the Gospel. Readers will nonetheless be familiar with the episode from the varying versions in Matthew 28, Mark 16, and Luke 24. In the poem below, it is Mary the mother of Jesus who is speaking. The inclusion of Mary, the mother of Jesus seems to me to be a medieval conjecture. There are three octaines and one quatraine to this song.
Throughout Ireland these sacred songs were felt to function both as prayers and as direct substitutes for the caoineadh (‘keening’, women’s funeral lament) which was suppressed by the Church.

Traidisiúnta
1. A Pheadair, a Aspail, a bhfaca tú mo Ghrá geal?
Ochón agus ochón ó!
Do chonaic mé ar ball é i lár a namhad
Ochón agus ochón ó!

Gabhaigí ‘leith, a dhá Mhuire, go gcaoine sibh mo Ghrá liom
Ochón agus ochón ó!
Céard tá le caoineadh ‘gainn muna gcaoinimid a chnámha
Ochón agus ochón ó!

Traditional
1. O Peter, apostle, have you seen my love so bright?
"Alas and woe to me"
I saw him in the midst of his enemies tonight.
"Alas and woe to me"

Come to me you two Marys (Mary Magdalene & Mary of Cleophas,) and mourne with me.
Alas and woe to me!
What have we to mourne without his bones?
Alas and woe to me!

2. Cé hé an fear breá sin ar Chrann na Páise?
Ochón agus ochón ó!
An é nach n-aithnír do Mhac, a Mháthair?
Ochón agus ochón ó!

An é sin an Maicín a d’iompair mé trí ráithe?
Ochón agus ochón ó!
Nó ‘n é sin an Maicín a rugadh sa stábla?
Ochón agus ochón ó!

2. Who is that fine man upon the passion tree?
Alas and woe to me!
It is your son, O Mother, don't you recognize me?
Alas and woe to me!

Is that the wee babe I borne nine months in my womb?
Alas and woe to me!
That was born in a stable when no one would give us room?
Alas and woe to me!

3. Nó an é sin an Maicín a hoileadh in ucht
Mháire?
Ochón agus ochón ó!
Éist a Mháthair is ná bí cráite

Ochón agus ochón ó!
‘S an é sin an casúr a bhuail Tríot na tairní
Ochón agus ochón ó!
Nó ‘n í sin an tsleá a chuaigh trí Do lár geal
Ochón agus ochón ó!

3. Is that the wee Son that was nourished at Mary's breast?
Alas and woe to me!
Listen, mother, and do not be sorrowful.
Alas and woe to me!

And is that the hammer that drove the nails through You?
Alas and woe to me!
Or is that the spear that pierced Your pure heart through?
Alas and woe to me!

4. * A Leinbh, is mor e tualach is leig cuid de ar do Mhathair.
Ochone is ochone o!"
"Iompruiodh gach einne a chrosa, a Mhaithrin."
"Ochone is ochone o!"

4. * My Son, big is your burden, let your mother help you carry it.
Alas and woe to me!
Little mother, we each must carry our own cross.
Alas and woe to me!

* The fourth verse here added to the original three is taken from another poem, Coaineadh na Maighdine
Courtesy of Vivian & Jack. IrishPage.com 2005.
Illustration by Schnorr von Carolsfeld
Text: Taisce Duan, 1992 ISBN 1 85371 118 7 pg. 224
The music to this song, if any, ae nowhere to be found.
So a replacement has been made here that suits the air
Replay background music Sea Maiden