Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Regan, Morice

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REGAN, MORICE (fl. 1171), Irish interpreter, is stated in an old French poem, of which the only text (Carew MSS., Lambeth Palace, No. 596) begins ‘Par soen demeine latimer,’ to have acted as an interpreter (l. 1) and herald, or envoy (ll. 422, 1657) in the service of Diarmaid MacMurchada [q. v.], king of Leinster. The poem professes to be founded on a history (l. 7) of King Diarmaid, written by the interpreter, and gives an account of the flight of MacMurchada, of the landings of Robert FitzStephen, Morice de Prendergast, Maurice FitzGerald, Raymond le Gros, and Earl Strongbow; of the death of MacMurchada, and subsequent events up to the taking of Limerick in the autumn of 1175. Regan is said in the poem (l. 422) to have been sent by Diarmaid into Wales with offers of lands or other rewards to any who would support his cause in arms. In the third and only other passage in which his name is mentioned he is sent to the citizens of Dublin, then besieged by Strongbow, Miles de Cogan, and Diarmaid, to demand their surrender and thirty hostages. The text of the poem (l. 1844) mentions the canonisation of Lawrence O'Toole as ‘Seint Laurence’ in December 1225, and cannot therefore have been written before about 1226. The manuscript is probably half a century later than this date. Morice Regan is not mentioned elsewhere. The name Regan, in Irish Ua Riacain, is extant in the southern parts of Ireland, and one of the tribes settled round Tara in Meath bore the name (O'Dubhagain, ed. O'Donovan, pp. 1, 6).

[Harris's Hibernica, Dublin, 1770, contains an inaccurate translation of the poem. In 1837 William Pickering printed the French text, edited by F. Michel, with an Introduction by Thomas Wright. An accurate text and translation were published at Oxford in 1893 by G. H. Orpen, under the imaginary title of ‘The Song of Dermot and the Earl.’]

N. M.