Pangur Bán

An Ukrainian cat singer

Irish version:

Messe ocus Pangur Bán
cechtar náthar fria saindán:
bíth a menma-sam fri seilgg,
mu menma céin im saincheirdd.

Version by W.H. Auden:

Pangur, white Pangur, How happy we are
Alone together, scholar and cat
Each has his own work to do daily;
For you it is hunting, for me study.
Your shining eye watches the wall;
My feeble eye is fixed on a book.
You rejoice, when your claws entrap a mouse;
I rejoice when my mind fathoms a problem.
Pleased with his own art, neither hinders the other;
Thus we live ever without tedium and envy.

Version by J. Marchand:

The Scholar and his Cat

1. I and White Pangur, each of us in his special craft. His mind is set on hunting; my mind is on my special subject.

2. I love resting (better than any fame) at my book, with diligent understanding; White Pangur is not envious of me; he loves his childish craft.

3. When we are (tale without tiredness), in our house, being alone, we have an endless sport, a thing to which we may apply our skill.

4. It is usual, at times, by feats of valor, that a mouse sticks in his net. As for me, there falls into my net, a difficult rule with hard meaning.

5. He points fiercely against an enclosing wall his eye, bright, perfect. I myself direct against the keenness of knowledge my sharp eye, though it be quite weak.

6. He is happy with swiftness of movement upon a mouse sticking in his sharp paws. Which I understand a difficult pleasant problem, as for me, I am happy, too.

7. Though we may be indeed (like this) at any time, neither disturbs his partner; good to each of us is his art, each rejoices in them.

8. He himself is master of it, the work which he does every day. To bring clarity to difficulty, I am at my own work.

Another version:

I & Pangur Ban my cat
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit & find
Entertainment to our mind.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye,
Full & fierce & sharp & sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

So in peace our task we ply
Pangur Ban my cat & I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine & he has his.

The image and the Auden translation come from a page
maintained by
Margarete and
Alois Payer
: I hope they won't mind the readaptation.