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Carmina Gadelica, Volume 2, by Alexander Carmicheal, [1900], at


Gāis, gāes, wisdom.


Gāis, spear, lance, spear-haft, flag-staff; 'gaise na brataich,' staff of the banner.


Gāis, plenty, abundance, food; probably 'geils,' milk, milk produce, gestation.


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Gainisg--diminutives, 'gainisgeag,' 'gaineseag'--a small divinity dwelling among reeds and marshes on the borders of lakes and banks of rivers, moaning and wailing before storms for the deaths that are to follow.

'Gainisgeag bheag a bhroin
A sileadh deoir a sula.'


Little 'gainisgeag' of the sorrow
Shedding the tears of her eyes.

[paragraph continues] 'Gainisg,' sedge, is the long coarse grass among which the naiad weeps and moans.


Galar-bonn, bruised soles, a disease in the hoof of cattle caused by walking over hard, rough, stony ground. It is troublesome to cows and difficult to cure.


Galar-lom, a disease of cattle whereby the skin becomes corrupt and the hair falls off, akin to 'faileadh.'


Garbhag an t-sleibh, club-moss. The club-moss was used for fixing dyes, for strengthening the eyes, as an emetic and a cathartic, and was worn on the person as a talisman to ensure lawful love and peaceful journeying, and also for luck of lambs.


Garman, garman-uchd, weaver's beam, breast-beam.

Angus Morrison, minister of Contin, Ross, was a man much given to wit and humour, which were generally expressed in rhyme. When dying he said to his wife:--

'Ochadan mar tha thu ’n diugh
Is Aonghas dubh a dol gu bas,
Cha dean e posadh no baisteadh,
’S cha mho gheobh thu dad bho chach.'


Alas! alas! thy state to-day,
And black Angus going to death,
He will perform no marriage nor baptism,
Nor shalt thou get aught from others.'

[paragraph continues] (This was during Episcopacy in Scotland, there being no marriage, baptismal, nor funeral fees in the Presbyterian Church.) A deacon present said:--'Mr Angus! Mr Angus! is it not time for you to discontinue these things?' The ruling passion being strong in death, the dying man moved on his elbow and said:--

'Dealaichidh sinne ris an t-saoghal,
Is dealaichidh an saoghal ruinn,
Ach leanaidh am breabadair ris a gharman,
Is leanaidh an t-armadh ris an t-slinn.'


We shall part from the world,
And the world shall part from us,
But the weaver shall cleave to his beam,
And the dressing shall cleave to the sleay.


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Gas, stalk, stem, column, a sapling, a stripling, a youth.

'Na gasain ura, siol nam fiuran
Bha ’n an diulnaich anns an sganart.'


The fresh youths, offspring of the dauntless,
Who were heroes in the combat.


Gearr, short, thick-set, squat, strong. 'Gearr' often occurs in descriptive names as 'gearr-loch,' short, broad loch. There is a loch of this name in Ross, and another in Argyll. 'Gearr-chu,' squat dog, the wolf; 'gearr,' 'gearr-f hiadh,' squat deer, the hare; 'gearra-breac,' short speckled one, the lesser black-backed guillemot; 'gearr,' 'gearr a chuain,' squat one of the ocean, the grilse:--

'D uair is e’n ron is cu ’s an ruaig
Cha teid gearr a chuain as.'



When the seal is the hound in the chase
The hare of the ocean [grilse] shall not escape.


'Thig a chuthag, thig an t-snag,
Thig a chuile h-ian g’ a nead,
Thig a ghearr as a chuan,
Ach cha tig, mo nuar! mo bhean.'


The cuckoo will come, the night-jar will come,
Every bird will come to its nest,
The hare [grilse] will come from the ocean,
But, woe is me! mine own wife never.

[paragraph continues] 'Gearr-bhall,' 'gearra-bhall,' the squat spotted one, is the extinct gair-fowl, the great auk. It was a low-set bird, with a patch of white on each side of the head, and the name is descriptive. 'Gearra-chot' and 'cota-gearr' was a short coat or doublet like an Eton jacket, but with a short cut-away tail. It was made of tartan or of scarlet cloth, which was called 'cath-dath,' war-colour; 'cath-dath rioghail,' regal war-colour. The 'cota-gearr' is mentioned in a song taken down from a old woman in Uist in 1866. She said that the song had been composed to one of the gallant ClanRanalds by a lady, after the battle of Auldearn.

'Luchd nan calpana fearail
Dha math dh’ an tig feile,

Luchd nan cotaiche gearra,
Liom a b’aithghearr bhur ceilidh,

Luchd nan cotaiche gearra,
Chit an dearrsa la greine,

Thug sibh mionnan a Bhiobuill,
Dol a sios gu Allt-eire,

Nach de’adh claidhe a dhubladh
Gun an cruinte Righ Searlach.'


Men of the manly limbs,
To whom kilt is becoming.

Men of the short coats,
To me short you stay,

Men of the short coats,
Gleaming in the sunny day,

Ye gave your Bible oath,
Going down to Auldearn,

That no sword should be sheathed
Till crowned was King Charles.

[paragraph continues] The battle of Auldearn was fought, in May 1645, between the

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troops of the Commonwealth under General Hurry and the Loyalist Highlanders under Montrose. The veterans of Hurry were cut to pieces by the untrained Highlanders of Montrose--Hurry's slain being equal to the whole number opposed to him.

'Gearr,' Anglicised 'Gair,' is a surname derived from personal appearance. There were many men in the Highlands to whom the epithet was applied. One of these was 'Iain Dubh Gearr' Macgregor, who composed the 'Reel of Tulloch.' Perhaps the most memorable was one of the Macleans of Mull, and he is chiefly remembered through his son, who was a noted reiver and pirate. He is still spoken of in Gaelic song and story as 'Mac Iain Ghiorr.' A widow in Uist was milking her cow and singing a song, the burden of which was--

'Chan fhaigh Mac Iain Ghiorr a Muil thu,
Ogha Ciaraig, iar-ogha Cruinneig.'


The son of John Gearr from Mull shall not get thee,
Granddaughter of Ciarag, great-granddaughter of Cruinneag.

[paragraph continues] Just then the reiver sprang from a cleft in the rock behind the woman, and, seizing the cow by the horn, hurried her off to his galley ere the astonished owner could recover herself or summon her friends. The people say that the luck of Mac Iain Ghiorr began to decline after he took the widow's only cow, till at last he met the fate he had long merited.


Geas, gis, geis, spell, enchantment, exorcism, sorcery; dim. 'giseag,' 'geiseag,' 'gisrean gisreagan,' spells; 'gisreag,' a female exorcist, 'gisrean,' a male exorcist. 'Geob nan geise,' lawn of the spells, is one of several names applied to certain places where the people were wont to lustrate their cattle with fire, ammonia, water, and salt, and with prayers and incantations to safeguard them from evil influences. These lustrations were performed on the first day of the quarter, but especially on the first day of summer, 'an Ceitein Samhraidh,' and the first day of winter, 'an Ceitein Geamhraidh.'


Geigean, Righ Geigean, Geigean, King Geigean. This was the term applied to the man who presided over the death revels. These were held in winter. Lots were cast, and the man upon whom the lot fell was elected king of the revels, over which he reigned from midnight till the old cock crew. A tub of cold water was poured over his head and down his throat, after which his face and neck were smeared with soot. When the man had been made as

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formidable and hideous as possible, a sword, scythe, or sickle was placed in his hand as an emblem of office.

This ceremony was described to me by Mr Donald Mackay, minister of Cross, Lewis. He said he had seen it in the first decade of the century in his native parish of Creich, Sutherland. I have failed to find any trace of the ceremony further south.

A rhyme common among boys at play says:--

'Thaine mi o chri-chas,
Thaine mi o chruai-chas,
Thaine mi o Ghigean,
Thaine mi o Ghuaigean,
’S thig mi uat-s’ ma dh’f haodas mi.


I came from small peril,
I came from great peril,
I came from Geigean,
I came from Guaigean,
And I will come from thee if I can.

'Gigean' and 'Guaigean' are probably forms of 'Geigean.'


Geil, a form of 'goil,' boil, bubble, a well, a spring, a fountain.

'Geil,' a fountain, is obsolete in Scottish, but current in Manx Gaelic. Overlapping and forming a breakwater to the beautiful bay of Oban is the green, hummocky island of Kerara. In the junction of a steep rocky declivity and a smooth green plain in Kerara is an old keep of the ancient Macdougalls, lords of Lorn. The keep is picturesquely situated and beautifully built, indicative of the artistic eye and the skilful hand of the builders.

The old ruin is called 'Caisteal nan Geimhlean,' Anglicised Geylan Castle. The meaning deduced from the name is 'castle of gyves.' The evident spelling and meaning are 'Caisteal nan Geilean,' castle of the fountains. Close to the base of the old keep is a phenomenal number of clear crystal springs, boiling and bubbling and sparkling in the summer sun, like stars twinkling in the winter sky.

'Geilean,' bubbles, is applied to wells in Bracadale and in Waternish, Skye. Mary is beautifully and poetically called--

'Geil ar slainte, fath ar solais.'


Fount of our health, source of our joy.


Geis, geisnean, gestation, gestators, gestating animals; milk, milk products.

The term occurs in a lullaby sung to a child in the island of Lismore. The singer said that a human mother tending her flocks and nursing her child heard a fairy mother singing the song to her changeling in the fairy bower beneath the knoll:

'Cas a mhog-a luirean,
A luirean, a luirean,
Cas a mhog-a luirean,
  Air ular aig m’ eudail.


Lilting on the light foot,
The light foot, the light foot,
Lilting on the light foot,
  My dearie trips the floor.


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Chuirinn ann an creadhail thu,
Bhithinn Min a feitheamh ort,
Is ioma te bhiodh aighearach
  Nam bu leatha fhein thu.

Cas a mhog-a luirean, etc.

Thogainn air mo ghualain thu
Shiubhlainn eutrom uallach leat,
’S mis an te bhiodh uaibhireach,
  A cuallach leat na spreidhe.

Cas a mhog-a luirean, etc.

Bheirinn bin is brailis dhut,
Bheirinn fin na cailis dhut,
Bheirinn mire meala dhut,
  Is bainne geal nan geisnean.

Cas a mhog-a luirean, etc.'


I would place thee in the cradle,
And I myself would tend thee,
Many a woman would be joyful
  An thou wert her own.

Lilting on the light foot, etc.

I would lift thee on my shoulder,
And light and hearty go with thee,
’Tis I that would be prideful
  Beside the flocks with thee.

Lilting on the light foot, etc.

I would give thee mead and nectar,
I would give thee wine of the chalice,
I would give thee combs of honey,
  And the white milk of the gestators.

Lilting on the light foot, etc.

'Geis' occurs in another lullaby recovered in Uist--

'Gur truagh nach mi ’s mo leanu a bha,
Gur truagh nach mi ’s mo leanu a bha,
Gur truagh nach mi ’s mo leanu a bha,
  A muigh fo sgath nan geug O!

Am buaile an tulaich, am buaile an tulaich,
Am buaile an tulaich, am buaile an tulaich,
Am buaile an tulaich, am buaile an tulaich,
  Am bi gruain, is gruithim, is geis O!'


Would that I and my baby were,
Would that I and my baby were,
Would that I and my baby were,
  Under the shade of the trees O!

In the fold of the hill, in the fold of the hill,
In the fold of the hill, in the fold of the hill,
In the fold of the hill, in the fold of the hill,
  Of 'gruain,' and crowdie, and of milk O!


Gil, an intensive form of 'geal,' white, used in the Outer Hebrides; a water-course on a mountain-side, a rift, the moon--

'Co fad ’s a mhaireas gil is grian
Cha bhi fear na fialachd falamh.'

As long as moon and sun shall last
The generous man shall ne'er be empty.



Gith, pain in the wrist, common among seamen, fishermen, reapers, navvies, and others whose wrists are strained.


Glac, hollow of the hand, handful, as much of anything as can be caught between the thumb and the middle finger, the span between these.


Glaistic, glaistig, glaisnig, glaislig, a water-imp, from 'glas,' water, 'stic,' imp. The 'glaistic' is a vicious creature, half woman, half goat, frequenting lonely lakes and rivers. She is much

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dreaded, and many stories are told of her evil deeds. 'MacUalrig Mor,' Big Kennedy of Lianachan, Lochaber, was coming home at night when he saw the 'glaistic.' He seized her and put her on the saddle before him with his sword-belt round her waist, and when he got home he locked her in the 'cul-taigh,' back-house. In the morning Big Kennedy heated the coulter of his plough and requested the 'glaistic' to swear on the iron that she would never again molest man or woman in the place, and never more be seen in Lochaber while the sun shone by day or the moon by night. When the 'glaistic' stretched out her lovely little hand and placed it on the coulter to give the required assurance, her hand was burnt to the bone. With a shriek of agony she flew out at the window and through the mist of the morning to the hillside beyond, and there she put out three bursts of the blood of her heart, which are still visible in the discoloured russet vegetation of the spot, and with each burst of blood the 'glaistig' uttered a curse on Big Kennedy and on his seed for ever:--

'Fas mar an roinneach daibh,
Crion mar an luachair daibh,
’S diombuan mar cheo nam beann.'


Growth like the fern to them,
Wasting like the rushes to them,
And unlasting as the mist of the hill.

[paragraph continues] The descendants of Big Kennedy of Lianachan say that the curse is still upon them.


Glas, water. The word is now rare in the simple form, but is common in compounds, as--Douglas, Duglas, from 'dubh,' black, and 'glas,' water; Conglas, 'con,' fierce, and 'glas'; Finglas, 'glas,' and 'fionn,' white; 'an t-uisge glaiseach,' the river Glas, in Strathglass.


Glugalaich, gluglaich, gulping, gurgling, full of gulping; from 'glug,' gulp. The term is applied to a person who stammers, who makes a liquid noise in the throat, who moves unsteadily, and to an animal suffering from throat disease.

'Glugalaich nan gamhna glugach,
Glugalaich nan gruaigean,
Glugalaich nan gamhna glugach,
  Muigh ri mullach Ruaibhall.'


The gulping of the gulping stirks,
The gulping of the hairy ones,
The gulping of the gulping stirks,
Out the face of Ruaival.


Glun, knee--

'Chaidh Muire mhin gheal air a glun.'


The fair white Mary went upon her knee.


In the Islands the parturient woman goes upon her knee, preferably the right knee, during delivery. Hence in figurative

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language the number of times a woman goes upon her knee is equivalent to the number of her confinements.


Glupad, dropsy in the throat affecting cattle and sheep, due to decay in the liver and kidneys.


Gobhar, gabhar, goat. This active and sagacious animal was once common in the Highlands, but it is now rare. The eye of the goat is as beautiful as that of the kindred gazelle. This fact did not escape the notice of the old people, who had many sayings about the goat--

'Suil ghobhar ghean
An aodann bhan
Gu mealladh fhear.'


The eye of the sportive goat
In the faces of women
To wile the men.

[paragraph continues] Sometimes the women reverse this.

'Co cinnteach speir
Ri gobhar nan creag.'

'Miann ba, braon,
Miann caora, teas,
Miann gobhar, gaoth
  Ann an aodann creag.'


As sure of foot
As the goat of the rocks.

The desire of the cow, dew,
The desire of the sheep, heat,
The desire of the goat, wind
  On the face of the rock.


Goileam, fire, fire kindling. 'Righ goileam,' fire king, king of the fire revels.


Goiri, Goiridh, Godfrey. 'Goiridh,' Godfrey, and 'Ruaraidh,' Roderick, are facetiously applied to the fox.


Goisear, plural goisearan, guisers, waits, young men who go about singing carols at Christmas, New Year, and other great festivals.

The guisers are dressed in very long white linen shirts, and in very tall white paper hats with flaps in front covering the face, holes being made for the eyes. These guisers represent crowned kings and queens, popes, cardinals, mitred archbishops and bishops, cowled abbots and monks, priests and veiled nuns.

In some places the guisers go about in small groups of twos, threes, or fours, in other places in large groups of tens, fifteens, or twenties. The 'ceann-snaodh,' leader, trails behind him or carries over him a dried bull-hide which his followers strike with clubs, singing and shouting, and making all the noise and din possible. They call at every door, especially at every door where anything good is likely to be got, singing chants, and announcing

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that they--the good guisers--have come, that they have never been here before, and that they are come now, not to beg nor to borrow, not to buy nor to steal, but to bless the house, the houseman, the housewoman, the household, and the farm and plenishing.

In the Outer Isles the walls of the houses are very thick, varying from four to eight feet. A facing of stone is to the inside and another to the outside, the space between being filled with stones, gravel, or earth. The corners of the building are rounded, and there are no gables, the low walls being level right round. The roof is raised from the inner facing of the wall, the rest being laid over with turf and green grass, where pet sheep or lambs often graze, and occasionally--when the building abuts on a bank, as is sometimes the case--a courageous cow and calf or even a mare and foal. Two or three stone steps project from the wall near the door, to enable the family to ascend and descend when occasion requires. In suitable summer weather the women of the family take possession of these grassy wall tops, and sew, spin, or knit, and look about them, while the household dogs sleep beside them in the sun. The principal object of these stone steps, however, is to enable the men to get up to thatch and rope the house, ladders being short, rare, or non-existent.

When the carollers arrive at a house they generally mount on the walls and go round on them singing, shouting, stamping, and striking the bull-hide. After this they get meat, meal, butter, cheese, crowdie, eggs, and any other good thing there may be in the house. They place and carry these in a tanned leather bag of lamb-skin or sheep-skin, called 'uilim,' and retire to some roomy dwelling, barn, or other building previously arranged. Here they hold a feast and a dance, to which they invite their girl friends.


Greann, cloth, rough-piled clothing. 'Greanndag,' a piece of cloth, a rag, a tatter. When the senile woman in the quern song asked her three sons what clothing the husband with whom they were providing her had on, they replied:--


'Luireag, is barlag, is greanndag
Is seann chraicinn brathain,
Agus claidhe air a leis,
  Claidhe air a leis!'


A rag, and a tatter, and a tunic,
And an ancient quern skin,
And a glave upon his hip,
  A glave upon his hip!


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Grios, griosadh, profane swearing, swearing by God, by Christ, or by any of the host of heaven.


Gruagach, a supernatural female who presided over cattle and took a kindly interest in all that pertained to them. In return a libation of milk was made to her when the women milked the cows in the evening. If the oblation were neglected, the cattle, notwithstanding all precautions, were found broken loose and in the corn; and if still omitted, the best cow in the fold was found dead in the morning. The offering was poured on 'clach na gruagaich,' the 'gruagach' stone. There is hardly a district in the Highlands which does not possess a 'leac gruagaich'--a 'gruagach,' flag-stone--whereon the milk libation was poured. I have seen such stones in Arran, Kintyre, Gigha, Islay, Mull, Lismore, Kerara, Lorn, Iona, Tiree, Coll, Barra, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Heisgeir, St Kilda, Harris, Lewis, Sutherland, Ross, at Culloden, Cawdor, Lochaber, and in various other places. All these oblation stones are erratic ice-blocks. Some of them have a slight cavity into which the milk was poured; others have none, the libation being simply poured on the stone. In making the oblation the woman intoned a rune--

'A ghruagach, a ghruagach,
Cum suas mo spreidhe,
Cum sios an Guaigean,
Cum uap an Geige.'


Brownie, brownie,
Uphold my herds,
Keep down the 'Guaigean,'
Keep from them the 'Geige.'

[paragraph continues] There is probably no district in the Highlands where the 'gruagach' could not be fully described. A woman living in the remote island of Heisgeir described her so graphically and picturesquely that her interested listener could almost see moving about in the silvery light of the kindly moon the 'gruagach' with her tall conical hat, her rich golden hair falling about her like a mantle of shimmering gold, while with a slight swish of her wand she gracefully turned on her heel to admonish an unseen cow. At intervals he seemed to hear her mellow voice in snatches of eerie song as she moved about among the grassy ruins of the old nunnery--all silent now of the holy orisons of gentle sisters.

Each district gives its own local colouring to the 'gruagach.' The following account was given to me by a woman at West Bennan in Arran in August 1895:--

The 'gruagach' lived at East Bennan in a cave which is still

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called 'uamh na gruagaich'--cave of the 'gruagach,' and 'uamh na beiste'--cave of the monster. She herded the cattle of the townland of Bennan, and no spring-loss, no death-loss, no mishap, no murrain, ever befell them, while they throve and fattened and multiplied right well.

The 'gruagach' would come forth with the radiant sun, her golden hair streaming on the morning breeze, and her rich voice filling the air with melody. She would wait on a grassy hillock afar off till the people would bring out their 'creatairean,' creatures, crooning a lullaby the while, and striding to and fro. The following is a fragment of one of her songs:--

'Ho, hi, ho! mach na boidhean,
Boidhean boidheach brogach beannach,
Ho, hi, ho! mach na boidhean.

Crodh Mhicugain, crodh Mhiceannain,
Crodh MhicFhearachair mhoir a Bheannain,
Ho, hi, ho! mach na boidhean.

Corp us carn air graisg na Beurla,
Mharbh iad orm mo cheile falaich,
Ho, hi, ho! mach na boidhean.

Ruisg iad mi gu ruig mo leine,
Struill agus streuill mo leannan,
Ho, hi, ho! mach na boidhean.

Oidhch an Arainn, oidhch an Ile,
’S an Cinntire uaine a bharraich,
Ho, hi, ho! mach na boidhean.'


Ho, hi, ho! out the kine,
Pretty cattle hoofed and horned,
Ho, hi, ho! out the kine.

Cows of Macugan, cows of Mackinnon, [Cook
Cows of big Macfarquhar of the Bennan,
Ho, hi, ho! out the kine.

Corpse and cairn to the rabble English,
They have killed my hidden lover,
Ho, hi, ho! out the kine.

They have stripped me to my shift,
They have clubbed and torn my lover,
Ho, hi, ho! out the kine.

A night in Arran, a night in Islay,
And in green Kintyre of birches,
Ho, hi, ho! out the kine.

The people of Bennan were so pleased with the tender care the 'gruagach' took of their corn and cattle that they resolved to give her a linen garment to clothe her body and down sandals to cover her feet. They placed these on a knoll near the 'gruagach' and watched from afar. But instead of being grateful she was offended, and resented their intrusion so much that she determined to leave the district. She placed her left foot on Ben Bhuidhe in Arran and her right foot on 'Allasan,' Ailsa Craig, making this her stepping-stone to cross to the mainland of Scotland or to Ireland. While the 'gruagach' was in the act of moving her left foot, a three-masted ship passed beneath, the mainmast of which struck her in the thigh and

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overturned her into the sea. The people of Bennan mourned the 'gruagach' long and loudly, and bewailed their own officiousness.

'Gruagach' is now applied to a maiden, and occasionally, in derision, to a man with long hair. But that it was not always so is evidenced by these lines from an old ballad:--

'Inghean oighre Bhaile-cliath,
Cha cheilinn, a thriath nan lann,
Do ghruagach Eilean nan eun
Is ann a rug mi fein mo chlann.'


Daughter am I of the heir of Dublin,
I will not conceal, thou chief of spears,
To the 'gruagach' of the Isle of birds
I myself bore my children.

'Gruagach' is also the name of a famous swordsman and athlete in the old tales.


Gruaigean, a seaweed, lit. little hairy one (alaria esculenta). This seaweed contains saccharine and iodine, and is eaten raw. 'Miorcan' in Lewis.


Gruithim, crowdie, granulated curds and butter mixed; 'gruth,' curds, and 'im,' butter. In some districts of the South crowdie is a mixture of meal and milk, or of meal and water, as in the song--'Yell crowdie a’ my meal away.'


Gual, grief, consumed by grief as by fire:--

'Mo chridh ga ghualadh ’s ga losgadh.'


My heart consuming and burning.
                 --Barra Song.

'Mi ga m’ ghualadh ’s mi ga m’ losgadh
Bhi ’g a faicinn air a thoisgeal.'


I consuming and burning
To be seeing her on thy right hand.


Gual, guala, gualain, shoulder; 'crois air gach guala dheis,' a cross on every right shoulder; 'crois gheal air gach guala dheis,' a white cross on every right shoulder; 'crois dhearg air gach guala dheis,' a red cross on every right shoulder. These are variants. I do not know which is the correct one. The red cross was the emblem of the knights of St John of Jerusalem, founded in the eighth century by Baldwin, king of Jerusalem. (Vol. i. p. 227.)

It was customary to paint a cross on the door of the house during a sacred festival.


Guailisg, false, falsity, distorted, displaced, out of order morally, mentally, or physically. It has 'go,' a lie, at base. For formation, cf. 'tuilisg,' 'tuailisg'; perhaps the g in such case is epithetic. May be for 'duailisg,' fraud, deceit.


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Guim, cuim, conspiracy, revolt, rebellion. 'Tha iad a deanamh guim an aghaidh a mhaoir'--They are making a conspiracy against the ground-officer.


Gul, lament, weep. Mourning for the dead was a profession among the Celts, as in the East, and was generally done by women. 'Bean tuiream,' mourning woman, is the term applied to a professional weeper. 'Tuiream' is specially applied to mourning for the dead; 'tuiream bhais,' death-mourning. Similar terms are 'seis,' dirge, and 'seis bhais,' 'seisig bhais,' death-dirge, death-wail. In Ireland this is called 'eaoineadh,' weeping, Anglicised 'keening.' (Vol. i. p. 219.)

In 1870 the writer prevailed upon a woman in Barra to do the 'tuiream' as she had heard it when young. The funeral was that of a crofter at Castlebay who had died leaving a young widow and several children. As the funeral procession left the house the woman set up a plaintive cadence. At first her voice was low and tremulous, but gradually rose to a great height. The scene was striking. Below, on a tidal rock, was the castle of Ciosmal, now a roofless ruin, once the picturesque home of the Macneills of Barra, while the Atlantic waves dashed against the rocks, mingling their wailing with that of the 'bean tuiream,' weeping woman.

An amusing story is told in the neighbourhood of Glen Dessary at Ceann Locharkaig, of weeping women who were paid ten shillings each for professional services at the funeral of two of General Wade's soldiers. To a sad and mournful air they sang:--

'Ho, ro, hi, ho!
Dh’ fhalbh na Sasunnaich,
Hi, hu, ho, hi!
’S dar a tig an t-aon la thilleas iad.'


Ho, ro, hi, ho!
The Saxon men are gone,
Hi, hu, ho, hi!
And may the day never come when they
     shall return.

A Lochaber woman in Glasgow was taken to see Richard III. In the course of the play she exclaimed--'Ach a Mhoire Mhathair! co iad na mnathan tuiream?'--But, Mary Mother! who are they the weeping women?

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