The Vision of Deirdre


At her birth, a druid prophesies that Deirdre will be the most beautiful woman in the world. He warns, however, that if she is not killed immediately, her beauty will cause the downfall of her clan. Her father cannot bear to kill her, so he has her spirited away to be raised in solitude.

When she comes of age, she begins to have visions. First, she sees the face of her beloved, Naoise (a handsome lad from a rival clan who is not her betrothed). Her nurse shrugs the visions off as girlish dreams until Naoise appears in their camp and Deirdre runs away with him. This action kicks off a war, and Deirdre’s visions become darker and darker. She frantically tells Naoise, who dismisses these thoughts as a woman’s fears.

All of Deirdre’s visions come true, however, and the tragedy ends when Deirdre finally takes her own life.

DEIRDRE:
Chunnas na tri calamana, geala,
Leis na tri batagama meala ‘n ‘am beul.

‘S O Naoise, Mhic Uisne,
sorchair thusa dhomh dubhar mo sgeuil.

NAOISE:
Cha ‘n ‘eil ann, ach bruaillean pràmh
is lionndubh mna, Dheirdre mo ghaoil.

DEIRDRE:
Chunnas na tri seabhaga duairc,
Leis na tri braona, fala, fuarfhuil nan treun.

‘S O Naoise, Mhic Uisne,
Ssorchair thusa dhomh dubhar mo sgeuil.

NAOISE:
Cha ‘n ‘eil ann, ach bruaillean pràmh is lionndubh mna, Dheirdre mo ghaoil.

DEIRDRE:
Chunnas na tri fitheacha dubha,
Leis na tri duilleaga dubhach,
Crann iubh ar an éig.

‘S O Naoise, Mhic Uisne, sorchair thusa dhomh dubhar mo sgeuil.

NAOISE:
Cha ‘n ‘eil ann, ach bruaillean pràmh
is lionndubh mna, Dheirdre mo ghaoil.

DEIRDRE:
I saw three white doves,
With three drops of honey in their mouths.

Oh, Naoise, son of Uisne,
illuminate my shadows.

NAOISE:
It is nothing, except confusion and pain, and a woman’s fears, Deirdre, my love.

DEIRDRE:
I saw three dour hawks,
With three drops of cold blood of the brave.

Oh, Naoise, son of Uisne,
illuminate my shadows.

NAOISE:
It is nothing, except confusion and pain, and a woman’s fears, Deirdre, my love.

DEIRDRE:
I saw three black ravens,
With three leaves of the tree of sorrow,
The yew tree of death.

Oh, Naoise, son of Uisne,
illuminate my shadows.

NAOISE:
It is nothing, except confusion and pain, and a woman’s fears, Deirdre, my love.