This poem is a translation of one of Seoirse Seartan's poems, relating to the adventures of the Capaillín Bán. Seoirse worked in Liverpool for most of his life and it was there he wrote his poems about the Capaillín Bán and the adventures of his friends in Ballingeary. He composed these poems in Irish at first, and later translated them to English at the request of his English friends who were curious about his writings.
He returned to Ballingeary on holidays every summer and he was often accompanied by his English friends. While on holidays here they spent many happy hours fishing in the River Lee and on the Lake in Gougane, hence fishing being the theme of many of his poems.
In the waters of Lee there's abundance of sport
Fishes in plenty of every sort;
Thousands of anglers come hither to try
Their fortunes in casting the bait and the fly.
From the "Rock of Gibraltar" there's a glorious sight
The salmon are leaping all silver and bright,
The rays of the sun make a shimmering glow
Reflected from scales of the fishes below.
It's there that the trout and the roach may be found
And tis said that in olden times perch did abound
Happy the angler who keeps his line tight
And returns with creel full ere fall of the night.
That fresh water shark, the ravenous pike,
Its greater in number than fishermen like;
He grows to a size that makes men pale
And gives anglers the cue to adorn a tale.
The shapely red trout is the prettiest of all
With the loveliest skin like a belle at a ball
A dish for the gourmet who chooses with taste,
And a meal for the sick who'll let none go to waste.
Down in the depths and the bottoms they wait,
They're shy of the spinner, the fly and the bait,
But the floods from the hills bringing food in their wake
Entice them up stream from their home in the lake.
All arts of the anglers couldn't bring them to hook,
Though they cast every fanciful fly in the book,
They tried out the otter and found staragan
Not a fish could they capture from even to dawn.
So the Bards of the village bethought them a scheme
They would cast a wide net in the pools of Paideen
One night in the Autumn when the moon shone on high
They set off to Southward their fortunes to try.
At the very first cast the captain called out
"There's a strain on the net with the weight of the trout.
Let someone go quick for the butt and the mare
To carry this load that's too heavy to bear".
There's enough in the net to keep famine at bay
We'll pickle and pack them in the old fashioned way.
"Haul boys, haul, pull together with might
Every trout in the pool will be landed this night".
The net was nigh bursting when hauled on the shore,
The mountain of Seithe seemed moved to the core,
The eyes of the bridge with amazement did gleam,
At the marvellous draft just brought up from the stream.
The pebbles and stones did a dance on the strand,
For never was weightier catch brought to land,
But alas, when the net from the water got free,
Not a fish could be seen but the stump of a tree.
Dejected with failure and perished with cold,
They headed for home with a tale to unfold,
Twas just retribution for poachers to bear,
The anglers who heard it were quick to declare.
They fear what their wives and their children will say,
They dread the sharp jibes of their neighbours next day,
These five stalwart fellows with a cart and a mare,
Who went out to catch fish and came home in despair.
But the Capaillín Bán saved them all from disgrace
When crossing the ford at the place shallowest
The net trailing loose as determined by fate,
Entangled a salmon of twenty pound weight.