Deirdre of the Sorrows



  • An unfinished tragedy by J. M. Synge, who wrote itwhile dying of Hodgkin's disease. It was first performed at the AbbeyTheatre, Dublin (1910), a year after Synge's death.

    The plot is drawn from Irish mythology. King Conchubor (seeConchobar) becomes so obsessed with the beauty ofhis ward Deirdre that he keeps her sequestered until she is old enoughto marry him. Deirdre, however, falls in love with the young warriorNaisi who, helped by his brothers, elopes with her to Scotland. Conchuborlures them back and Naisi is slain: Deirdre commits suicide. Synge'splay is remarkable for its lyrical prose:

    Little moon, little moon of Alban, it's lonesome you'll bethis night, and tomorrow night, and long nights after, and you pacingthe woods beyond Glen Laoi, looking every place for Deirdre and Naisi,the two lovers who slept so sweetly with each other.
    The same story inspired W. B. Yeats's play Deirdre(1907).