Queens

Original Text: 
J. M. Synge, Poems and translations (Churchtown, Dundrum: Cuala Press, 1909). del S993 A15 1909 Fisher Rare Book Library.
3All the rare and royal names
4Wormy sheepskin yet retains,
11Queens whose finger once did stir men,
12Queens were eaten of fleas and vermin,
14Or slew with drugs in Rome and Pisa,
17Queens acquainted in learned sin,
21Queens who wasted the East by proxy,
23Yet these are rotten -- I ask their pardon --
24And we've the sun on rock and garden,
25These are rotten, so you're the Queen
26Of all the living, or have been.

Notes

1] dog-days: the hottest time of summer, usually reckoned in the Northern hemisphere as between early July and late August. Back to Line
2] Glenmacnass: mountain valley with waterfall in county Wicklow, just south of Dublin, near Glendalough. Back to Line
5] Etain, Helen, Maeve, and Fand: Etain was a woman of the Sidhe, the faeries, married to the god Midir of Bri-leith; Helen of Troy was wife of Menelaus, mistress of Paris, the Cause of the Trojan war; Fand was queen of the world of the Sidhe, wedded to Manannán, god of the sea. Back to Line
6] Deirdre: . Back to Line
7] Bert, the big-foot, sung by Villon: François Villon (1431-after 1463), French poet in whose Grand Testament appears the character "Bert au grand pié", Bertha, wife of Pepin le Bref, taken from a medieval chanson de geste entitled Henri de Metz. Back to Line
8] Cassandra, Ronsard found in Lyon: Piere de Ronsard (1524-1585) wrote a sequence of love poems about and to Cassandra Salviata, an heiress of Blois, who nonetheless rejected him. Back to Line
9] Queens of Sheba, Meath and Connaught: . Back to Line
10] Coifed: covering the hair. Back to Line
13] Monna Lisa: Leonardo da Vinci's Giaconda, so named by reason of her interesting smile. Back to Line
15] Lucrezia Crivelli: one of Ludovico Sforza's mistresses, conceivably painted by Leonardo da Vinci in his La Belle Ferronière. Back to Line
16] Titian's lady with amber belly: likely a nude by the Venetian painter (1499?-1576), perhaps his Venus del Prado. Back to Line
18] Jane of Jewry: unidentified. Back to Line
19] the bogs of Glanna: unidentified. Back to Line
20] Judith of Scripture, and Gloriana: the apocryphal book of Judith tells how she murders Holofernes to save her Jewish city of Bethnia; Edmund Spenser names Elizabeth I Gloriana in his Faerie Queene. Back to Line
22] a tinker's doxy: the whore or mistress of a mender of pots and pans. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1909
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1999.
Form: