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Carmina Gadelica, Volume 1, by Alexander Carmicheal, [1900], at

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p. 259




THE milking songs of the people are numerous and varied. They are sung to pretty airs, to please the cows and to induce them to give their milk, The cows become accustomed to these lilts and will not give their milk without them, nor, occasionally, without their favourite airs being sung to them. This fondness of Highland cows for music induces owners of large herds to secure milkmaids possessed of good voices and some 'go.' It is interesting and animating to see three or four comely girls among a fold of sixty, eighty, or a hundred picturesque Highland cows on meadow or mountain slope. The moaning and heaving of the p. 259 sea afar, the swish of the wave on the shore, the carolling of the lark in the sky, the unbroken song of the mavis on the rock, the broken melody of the merle in the brake, the lowing of the kine without, the response of the calves within the fold, the singing of the milkmaids in unison with the movement of their hands, and of the soft sound of the snowy milk falling into the pail, the gilding of hill and dale, the glowing of the distant ocean beyond, as the sun sinks into the sea of golden glory, constitute a scene which the observer would not, if he could, forget.



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p. 259


THIG, a Bhreannain, o’n a chuan,
Thig, a Thorrainn, buadh nam fear,
Thig, a Mhicheil, mhil a nuas
’S dilinn domh-sa bua mo ghean.
   Ho m’ aghan, ho m’ agh gaoil,
   Ho m’ aghan, ho m’ agh gaoil,
   M’ aghan gradhach, bo gach airidh,
   Sgath an Ard Righ gabh ri d’ laogh.

Thig, a Chaluim chaoimh, o’n chro,
Thig, a Bhride mhor nam buar,
Thig, a Mhoire mhin, o’n neol,
’S dilinn domh-sa bo mo luaidh.
     Ho m’ aghan, ho m’ agh gaoil.

Thig am fearan o’n a choill,
Thig an traill a druim nan stuagh,
Thig an sionn cha ’n ann am foill,
A chur aoibh air bo nam buadh.
     Ho m’ aghan, ho m’ agh gaoil.


COME, Brendan, from the ocean,
Come, Ternan, most potent of men,
Come, Michael valiant, down
And propitiate to me the cow of my joy.
   Ho my heifer, ho heifer of my love,
   Ho my heifer, ho heifer of my love.
   My beloved heifer, choice cow of every spieling,
   For the sake of the High King take to thy calf.

Come, beloved Colum of the fold,
Come, great Bride of the flocks,
Come, fair Mary from the cloud,
And propitiate to me the cow of my love.
     Ho my heifer, ho heifer of my love.

The stock-dove will come from the wood,
The tusk will come from the wave,
The fox will come but not with wiles,
To hail my cow of virtues.
     Ho my heifer, ho heifer of my love.


Next: 94. Milking Croon. Cronan Bleoghain