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The Humbling of Queen Meave

Towards the fall of day, Cuchulain reached the ford of the Shannon at the place that is now called Athlone. He saw the army of Meave flying, broken and disbanded, across the river, and weariness and dislike of the rout overtook him, so that he turned aside into a wood close by to rest awhile, for of his chariot there remained but a few bent ribs, and the wheels were loosened from the pole.





“I will watch the flying host,” he thought, “until the Ulstermen come up, and together we will smite them and cut off their rear.” As he pushed his way into the wood, he saw before him, in the dimness of the fading light, Queen Meave herself, fallen, forsaken and exhausted, on the ground. So close was she that he could have smitten her from behind, and taken off her head, had he so willed. But it was not the wont of Cuchulain to smite from behind, or ever to hurt a woman. But he stood over her, and sternly spoke.

「逃げる軍勢を見張るとしよう」彼は考えた。「アルスターの男達がやって来るまで。それから一緒に彼らを追撃して後方を切り払おう」 森に押し入ると,眼の前の薄暗い光の中,メーヴ女王自身が倒れ,見捨てられ,疲れ切って,地面に這いつくばっていた。余りに近くだったので,そう望むなら後ろから斬りつけ首を取ることもできた。しかし後ろから斬りつけること,そもそも女を傷つけることはクー・フーリンの流儀ではなかった。しかし彼は彼女の前に仁王立ちとなり,厳しく話しかけた。

could have+過去分詞 「〜した可能性がある」という〈過去の可能性〉の意味もありますが,今回は had he so willed = if he had willed so「彼がそう望んだならば」があるので仮定法で「〜することもできたのに」です。助動詞 will や would は元々動詞用法がありました。

“What dost thou here, O Meave, O captain of the host of Erin? Behold thy army flies, broken and discomfited, across the stream, seeking its native province, and the army of the men of Ulster presses hard upon their rear. No leader have they to guide their flying bands; why liest thou here alone?”
Then the haughty queen replied sadly, and with all her spirit gone: “Queen as I am, and captain of mine host, yet have I but a woman’s strength; my forces are exhausted, and my power is gone; fain must I lie and rest. Help me, O generous foe, I claim a boon from thee!”

「ここで何をなさっているのかな,メーヴよ,アイルランドの総大将よ? 貴方の軍が逃げるのを御覧なさい。打ち破られ,打ちひしがれ,川を渡り,生まれた故郷を目指している。そしてアルスターの軍勢は彼らの後ろを激しく追い立てている。逃げる軍勢を導く指導者もいないが,なぜ1人こんな所で寝そべっているのか?」


a boon は「頼み事,役に立つもの」です。

“What boon is this that thou dost crave of me, O Meave, mine enemy?”
“I ask of thee to take myself and all my host under the strong protection of thy arm; keep thou the ford for them; ward off the men of Ulster who press on us from behind; let Connaught’s bands return in peace and safety to their homes. Guard me besides till to my help Ailill and Fergus come, and safe to Cruachan escort me back again. Full many and many a time have I, in folly, bragged about my strength and all the power of my enormous host; now all is come to nought, and I am spent and ill. To thee, my foe, I turn; protect me now.”

「貴方が請う頼み事とは何です? メーヴよ,我が敵よ」


spent は「費やされた」ということから「疲れた」です。exhaust 「使い尽くす」の過去分詞 exhausted も「ヘトヘトに疲れ切った」です。

Never shall it be said,” Cuchulain replied, “that I was heedless of a woman’s appeal. Lie there in peace. I will protect the host.”
So while the twilight deepened into night, Cuchulain stood up, dauntless and alone, between the men of Erin and their foes. Safely they crossed the stream, while his own followers Cuchulain held at bay, hindering and staying them from cutting off the rear. Chafing and vexed they stood, yet at Cuchulain’s command they restrained themselves, nor was one man of Erin’s host cut off till all in safety reached the further side.



shall は2・3人称の時(今回は it shall),「そうなるだろう」という意味ではなく「自分の意志でそうはさせない」という意味です。Never shall it be said that... は「決して……と言わせるつもりはない」です。

hold O at bay,keep O at bay は「Oを寄せ付けない」です。「湾」の bay とは別の語です。

Late in the evening came Fergus up, looking for Meave to conduct her back to Cruachan. Strange was the sight he saw. In peace and quiet, Meave was taking rest beneath the forest trees; her troops all passed across the ford, save for late stragglers who came safely through the Ulster troops, no one destroying them. There on the brink Cuchulain stood, leaning upon his sword the ‘Little Hard,’ his face lined deep with toil and thought. He seemed to guard the enemy’s troops from his own men. Amazed, and uttering not a sound, Fergus stood still awhile to watch.


‘Little Hard’ は彼の剣「クルージー」と思われます。「クルージーン」は「硬い」に由来するためです。

line には「皺」という意味があります。


Then in a mighty laugh that reached the firmament he burst forth: “Verily and indeed,” he cried, “strange is the ending of this day. A woman’s lead we followed in this war, fighting against the bands of our own kith and kin, to gratify a woman’s jealousy. To-day our host is cleared and swept away; it flies without a path, without a lead, caring for nought but safely to reach home. Our queen lies at her ease, and our worst enemy is he who guards and shields our troops. Surely and in truth, ’tis wise and champion-like to follow where a woman leads the way.”


firmament は「天空;……界」です。

kith and kin は「親類知己」。kin は重要語で kind「種類」→kin「親類」のように連想して下さい。

・最後の「女が先導するに従うは賢明かつ勇敢なり」の意味が解りかねましたが,次の段落で scornful laugh「嘲笑」とあるので,メーヴを皮肉ったということでしょうか。しかしフェルグスは,誰のせいで戦が起こり,誰のせいで敗れたか分かっているのでしょうか。

Cuchulain heard that scornful laugh, and looking up, saw Fergus standing contemplating him and them.
High time thou camest, my foster-father Fergus, to guard and help thy queen. I leave her now to thee; my task is done. Yet that it never may be said that cowardice or weakness made Cuchulain spare the flying troops of Ulster’s foes, one blow I strike in Ulster’s honour here.” Then turning quickly, his ‘Little Hard’ he swung aloft, and on the summit of a hillock near at hand he brought it down, shearing its top clean off. “Between Connaught and Ulster let that hill stand evermore, a witness to our strength and to our gentleness!”


「やっと女王を護り助けに来ましたか,フェルグス父さん。では貴方に女王を委ねます。僕の仕事は終わりました。でも怯懦や弱気の故にクー・フーリンが逃亡する敵部隊を見逃したことにはなりませんよ。アルスターの名誉にかけてここで一振りしましょう」 それから素早く振り返り,クルージーンを高く振って,近くの小さな丘の頂上を切り落とし,丘の頂を綺麗に切り取った。「コナハトとアルスターの間で,この丘は今後変わることなく存在し続ける,我が軍の強さと優しさの証人として!」


contemplate temple「寺院」を含んでおり「瞑想する,熟考する」また「熟視する,見つめる」の意味があります。

High time thou camest It is high time you came「もうとっくに貴方が来ても良い頃だ」という意味です。「やっと来ましたか」と訳しました。

Then once again into his ruined chariot he sprang, and fast as his two steeds would bear him on, he hurried back to Ulster and the king, returning glad and full of victory among his troops to Emain and to Emer once again. And from that time Connaught withheld its hand, nor did Meave venture ever again to dispute or war with Ulster.
Now the Brown Bull had passed over the Shannon westward, accompanied by his fifty heifers. With head in air and bellowing loudly he surveyed the great trackless land that lay before him. The Whitehorned heard his bellowing and came to meet him, and when they saw each other, straightway with terrific force they rushed together.


A paroxysm of exceeding fury came upon them, and up and down they moved, their nostrils distended and with lowered horns, pushing and driving and goring, until the ground was red with blood and the sods torn up and flung on high. Had any ventured near them, he would without doubt have been crushed to death beneath their hoofs; and when night came, no one in all the country dared to sleep, for terror at the bellowing and noise they made.


paroxysm /pǽrəksɪzm/ は「抑えがたい感情,発作」です。カタカナで書くと「パラクシズム」ですね。

nostrils は「鼻腔,鼻の穴」です。


But at length the Whitehorned gave way before the Brown Bull, and by him was chased and gored until no spark of life was left in him, and portions of his flesh were caught upon the Brown Bull’s horns. Then, as he was, all red with blood and fearful to behold, the Brown Bull took his path back to his native home, scattering the people right and left before him, or trampling them into the earth beneath his hoofs. And, at the last, exhausted with his flight, the spirit fled from him, and with a mighty roar and fearful bellowings, the great Brown Bull of Cooley’s raid fell dead.


spark of life は「生命の輝き」ということで「活気,生気」です。








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