English abstract below
Méala mór do chosmhuintir na Róimhe ab ea bás anabaí an Bhanphrionsa Gwendoline Borghese Talbot ar an 27 Deireadh Fómhair 1840, bean a thabhaigh gean an phobail i ngeall ar a carthannacht le linn ráig den chalar a chreach an chathair sa bhliain 1837. Spreag an cumha a ghin bás an bhanphrionsa rabharta mór filíochta agus díríonn an aiste seo ar dhán Gaeilge a foilsíodh i ndíolaim ilteangach sa Róimh sa bhliain 1841. Cuimsíonn an cnuasach cúig dhán déag, soinéad Iodáilise móide aistriúcháin go ceithre cinn déag de theangacha éagsúla. Dealraíonn sé gur bunaíodh dréacht an údair Ghaeilge, D. Martino Loftus, an tAth. Máirtín Ó Lachtnáin, ar na leaganacha Béarla agus Fraincise seachas ar an mbundán Iodáilise. Sa bhliain 1839 roghnaigh Seán Mac Héil, Ardeaspag Thuama, an Lachtnánach chun na deacrachtaí a bhí aige leis an gcóras náisiúnta oideachais a phlé le Propaganda Fide sa Róimh. Is le linn na tréimhse a chaith sé sa Róimh sa bhliain 1840 a chóirigh an Lachtnánach an soinéad Gaeilge. Díol suntais gur foilsíodh arís é i bPáras (1843), in Milano (1844) agus i Vín (1847), rud a fhágann gurb é an dán Gaeilge is fairsinge dáileacháin é sa naoú haois déag.
The Most Widely Distributed Irish Poem: The Lament for Princess Gwendoline Borghese Talbot (1841)
The premature death of Princess Gwendoline Borghese Talbot in Rome on 27 October 1840 occasioned an unprecedented outpouring of grief. Known as the mother of the poor of Rome, she won the hearts of the people through her unstinting devotion to the victims and survivors of the cholera epidemic that ravaged the eternal city in 1837, claiming near five and a half thousand deaths. Numerous literary tributes were paid to the deceased English aristocrat who married Prince Marcantonio Borghese in Rome in 1835. One of the earliest was a multilingual anthology that was published by the Vatican press in 1841. The first item was a sonnet in Italian, followed by a number of versions cum translations in fourteen different languages, including Irish.
The Irish sonnet was attributed to one D. Martino Loftus. There was no priest of that name stationed in Rome at the time. However, there was a Martin Loftus (Máirtín Ó Lachtnáin) from the archdiocese of Tuam, a former professor of Irish in Maynooth (1820-26), who was sent to Rome in 1840 to represent Archbishop McHale in his dispute with Archbishop Murray concerning the merits of the new national system of education. Proceedings were delayed because Loftus had no Italian and the documents had to be translated into French and Latin.
Loftus is the obvious candidate for authorship of the Irish sonnet. While the Italian original compares the deceased princess to the narcissus, only the French and Irish versions use the lily as a basis for comparison. This is interesting in the light of the Irish priest’s both lack of Italian and knowledge of French mentioned above. Loftus had returned to Ireland by the time his poem was published, his absence from the printing process helping to explain the number of errors and typos in the published work.
Ó Lachtnáin’s sonnet was published again in Paris (1843), Milan (1844) and in Vienna(1848), thus making it the most widely distributed poem in Irish in the nineteenth century