O'Higgin, Teague (DNB00)
O'HIGGIN, TEAGUE (d. 1617), Irish poet, known in Irish writings as Tadhg dall Ua hUiginn, the most famous of his family of hereditary poets, was son of Cairbre O'Higgin, and brother of Maelmuire O'Higgin, catholic archbishop of Tuam (State Papers, Eliz. clix. No. 44). He was born in Magh Nenda, the plain bt'tween the rivers Erne and Drobhais, on the southern boundary of Ulster, and was blind most of his life, whence his Irish sobriquet of 'dall.' His earliest extant poom was written before 1554, an address of fifty stanzas to Eoghan óg MacSuibhne na dtuath, urging him to make friends with Manns O'Donnell [q. v.] and Shane O'Neill [q. v.] He wrote, between 15660 and 1589, a poom of thirty-three stanzas, urging the fusion under Cucbonnacht Maguire of the tribes called, from their ancestor Colla DaChrioch, Sil Colla, and including Maguire, MacMahon, and O'Kelly, beginning 'Daoine saora siol gColla' ('Noble folk the seed of Colla'); In 1573 he addressed a verse panegyric on the O'Neills in fifty-two stanzas to Turlough Luineach O'Neill [q. v.], 'Imda sochar ag cloinn Neill' ('Many the privileges belonging to the children ot Niall'). In another poem of eighteen Quatrains, 'Lios greine as Emhain dUlltaibh' ('A sunny fort is an Emania to Ulstermen'), he praises Shane O'Neill's residence, comparing it to Emhain Macha, or Emania, the residence of the most ancient race of the kings of Ulster (Addit. MS. 29614 in Brit. Mus.) At Christmas 1577 he wrote a poem of seventy-seven stanzas describing a party at which he was a guest at Turlough Luineach O'Neill's house of Craoibhe at the mouth of the Ban, 'Nodhlaig do chuamar do'n chraoibh' ('At Christmas we were at the Craoibh') (Egerton MS. 111, in British Museum). Between 1670 and 1578 was composed his poem of sixty-eight stanzas in praise of Sir Shane MacOliver MacShane MacWilliam Burke, 'Ferainn cloidhim crioch Bhanba' ('Swordland, the realm of Ireland'), in which Burke's descent from Charlemagne is traced. Five texts of this poem are extant: in the British Museum (Egerton MS. 111), in Trinity College, Dublin (F.4.13). in the Royal Irish Academy (28. L. 17 and 23 N. 11), and one in Mr. S. H. O'Grady's collection. A poetical address to Richard MacOliver Burke of sixty stanzas, 'Mar ionghabail anma rig' ('Great circumspection to the name of king'), was written about 1580. It asserts that chiers right to be inaugurated Mac William, the Irish title corresponding to the marquisate of Clanricarde. After 1581 he wrote a poem of forty-two stanzas, 'Tanac oidhche go heas coilie' ('One night I came to Eascoille'), which describes a night which he spent in the house of Maelmora MacSuibhne in the north of Donegal. He was at Drumleene in the parish of Clonleigh, co. Donegal, in June 1588, and there wrote 'Maighen dioghla druim lighen' ('A field of vengeance is Drumleene'), a poem of forty-five stanzas, lamenting the battle about to take place between Sir Hugh O'Donnell and Turlough Luineach O'Neill, then encamped on the other side of the river Finn. He advises O'Donnell to go home and dismiss his clansmen. In 1587 he composed a feeling lament of thirty-seven stanzas for Cathal óg O'Connor Sligo, his patron, 'Derram cuntas a chathail' ('Let us balance our account, Cathal!'); and before 1588 an address of forty-five stanzas to Mór, wife of Domhnall MacTadhg MacCathail óg O'Connor Sligo, 'A mhor cuimnig in cumonn' ('Mor, remember the affection'). About 1588 he wrote a warlike address of seventy stanzas urging Sir Brian na Murtha O'Rourke [q. v.] to organise a great attack on the English; it begins, 'D'fior chogaid chomaillter sithchain senfhocal nach saroighter' ('With a man of war it is that peace is observed, the proverb cannot be overcome'). Between 1566 and 1589 he wrote a poem of thirty-nine stanzaa, 'Mairg fhechus ar inischeithleann' ('Woe for him that looks on Enniskillen.'), telling of a visit paid by him to Cuchonnacht óg, chief bf the Maguires, and containing an admimirable description of the daily life and surroundings of a powerful Irish chief in his castle. Other poems, undoubtedly his, but of uncertain date, are 'Ionmhuin baile brugh Leithbhir' ('Dear town of Lifford'), forty-four verses in praise of the county town of Donegal; 'Dia do bheatha a mheic Mhagnuis' ('God save you, son of Manus'), an address of 124 verses to Aedh MacMaghnuis O'Donnell; an epigram on the sept of Mac an Bhaird; 'Fuaras fein im maithn o mhnaoi' ('I myself got good butter from a woman'), a poem against bad butter (copies of these four poems exist in the library of the Royal Irish Academy); 'Fear dana an fear so shiar' ('A man of song this western man'), printed, with a translation of Theophilus O'Flanagan, in 1808 (Tranactions of Gaelic Society of Dublin). His last poem,' Sluagseisir tainic dom thig' ('A Oil of six men came into my house has printed, with a translation by S. H. O'Grady (Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the British Museum). There is a copy in the library of Trinity College, Dublin (H. l. 17. f. 116 b). The poem is a satire on six O'Haras who had plundered his house.
O'Higgin's verses are written in natural and not pedantic language, and most of them show a genuine vein of poetry, while they give a complete view of the learning, the habits, the lands, and the political views of an Irish hereditary poet, and of the rewards and dangers of his calling. He consistently advocated the laying aside of old feuds, the union of the Irish nations or clans, and the expulsion or extermination of the English. Sixteen other men of letters of his family are mentioned in the chronicles, of whom the most important were:
Tadhg Mór O'Higgin (d. 1316), poet, described by the chroniclers as 'a universal proficient in every branch of art appertaining to poetry.' He was tutor to Mughnus O'Connor Connacht, who died in 1293, He instructed him in warlike exercises, as well as in letters, and taught him to despise any bed-clothes but a shirt of mail. O'Higgin wrote 'Cach én mar a adhba' ('Every bird after his nest'), a poem of forty-two four-line stanzas, in the hectasyllabic metre known as rinnard, addressed to his pupil.
Tadhg óg O'Higgin (d. 1448), poet, son of Tadhg, son of Oillacolumb, the elder O'Higgin, was trained in the poetic art by his brother, Ferghal ruadh, chief of the O'Higgins, and became bard to Tadhg O'Connor Sligo, and afterwards from 1403 to 1410 to Tadhg MacMaelsbeachainn O'Kelly, chief of Ui Maine in Connaught. In 1397 he wrote 'Da roinn comhthroma ar chrich Neill' ('Two equal ports in the territory of Nial'), a poem of forty-seven stanzas, on the inauguration as O'Neill of Nial óg O'Neill, in which he explains that Ulster alone is equal to Connaught, Leinster, Munster, and Meath combined. He wrote another poem of thirty-six stanzas to the same chief, 'O naird tuaid tic in chabair' ('Help comes from the north'). In 1403 he wrote 'Mor mo chuid do chunnaid Thaidg' ('Great my share in the grief for Tadhg') on the death of O'Connor Sligo, and in 1410 one of forty stanzas on the death of Tadhg O'Kelly, 'Anois do tuigfide Tadhg' ('Now Tadhg might be understood'). He also wrote forty-one stanzas, 'Fuilngidh bar len a leth Chuinn' ('Endure your woe, O northern half of Ireland!'), on the dimth of Ulick Mac William lochtair, or Burke; a religious poem of thirty-one stanzas, 'Atait tri comhraic im chionn' ('Three combatants are before me'); and a lament of twenty-eight verses, 'Anocht sgaoiledh na scola' ('To-night the schools are loosed'), for his elder brother, Ferghal ruadh. This last was written when he was thirty years old.
Domhnall O'Higgin (d. 1603), poet, born in Sligo, was son of Brian (J'lliggin, and is described in the 'Annals of the Four Masters' us 'professor of poetry to the schools of Ireland.' He wrote a poem of thirty-three stanzas in praise of Ian MacDonald, 'Misde nach édmar Eire' ('So much the worse that Ireland is not jealous'). He died on his return from a pilgrimage to Compostella.
Matbghamhain O'Higgin (fl. 1584), poet, was bard to the O'Bymea of Wicklow. He wrote a poem of 120 verses in praise of Leinster, and of Feidhlimidh O'Byme, 'Cred do chosg cogadh Laigheann' ('What has checked the war of Leinster?'); and a devotional poem, 'Naomhtha an obair iomradh De' ('A holy work it is to hold discourse of God’), of which there is a copy in the British Museum (Egerton MS. 111).
Cormac O'Higgin (fl. 1591), poet, son of Gillacolumb O'Higgin, wrote a lament of forty-five stanza on the death of Sir Donnehadh óg O'Connor Sligo, ‘Sion choitchenn ohumaidh Ghsoidhel' ('Common blast of Irish sorrow').
Maolmuire O‘Higgin (d. 1591), poet, brother of Tadhg dill O‘Higgin, became archbishop of Tuam, was a friend of O'Connor Sligo, and died at Antwerp, alter visiting Rome, early in 1591. He wrote a touching poem of twelve verses on the uncertainty of life, even in the time between sowing corn and eating bread, ‘A fhir threbas in tulaig’ (‘O man thot plougheet the hillside’), of which there is a copy in the British Museum (Egerton Ms. 111). He also wrote ‘A mir theidh go Iiodh funnidh’ (‘O man who goest to the land of sunset’), a poem in praise of Ireland, of 136 verses; and some religious poems.
Domhnall O'Higgin (fl. 1600), poet, son of Thomas O'Higgin, wrote a poem of 164 verses on the inauguration of Turlough Luinesch O‘Neill, 'Do thug Eire fear gaire' (‘Ireland has chosen a watchman').
[S. H. O'Grady's Catalogue of the Irish Manuscript's in the British Museum, in which several illustrative examples of the poems of the O'Higgins are printed for the first time, with excellent. translations; E. O'Reilly in Transactions of the Iberno-Celtic Society, Dublin, 1820; Annals Rioghachta Eireann, ed. O'Donovan, Dublin 1851; Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many. ed. O'Donovan; Annals of Loch Cé (Rolls Ser.), ed. Hennesy, 1871; Manuscripts in British Museum, Egerton 111 and Additional 29614.]