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


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p. 285




The reciter of this poem, Donald Maclean, was a native of the parish of Small Isles. He emigrated with many others to Canada. After an absence of many years he returned, as he said, 'Feuch am faighinn larach mo dha bhonn a bhothan, agus leathad mo dha shlinnein a dh’ uaigh ann am fearann mo dhuthchais agus ann an uir m’ aithriche'--' To see if I could get the site of my two soles of a bothy and the breadth of my two shoulders of a grave in the land of my heredity and in the lair of my fathers.' Not having obtained these in the land of his birth, Donald Maclean returned to the land of his adoption. Maclean heard this poem, and many other poems and tales, in Canada from a woman called 'Sorcha Chlann Radhail,' Clara Clanranald, beside whom he lived for sixteen years. When so many of the small crofts of Uist were converted into large farms, the people removed and not absorbed among the remaining crofters, emigrated to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton. Clara Clanranald's people had been evicted from Ormacleit, South Uist. She spoke so much of Uist and of the Clanranalds that she came to be known by the name of her loved chief.

When Donald Maclean left Canada, ten or twelve years ago, Clara was 102 years of age. She was still active and industrious, and in the possession of all her faculties, and of all her love for 'the old land.' When Maclean went to bid her good-bye she took his hand in her two hands, and looking him full in the face with her large lustrous blue eyes moist with tears, said:--

'Tha thu falbh a ghaoil a Dhomhnuill, agus Dia mor bhi eadar do dha p. 285 shlinnein. Bu to fein an deagh nabaidh agus an caraide caomh. Ma ’s a h-e agus gun ruig thu null fearann do dhuthchais agus duthaich do bhreith, agus gum feumair thu tilleadh a nall dh’an fhonn-sa rithist, tha mise cur mar bhoid agus mar bhriathar ort, agus mar naoi riaraiche nam bana-sith, thu dhol gu ruig Cladh Mhicheil ann an Ormacleit, an Uibhist, agus thu thoir as a sin thugam-sa deannan beag urach a churar air clar mo chridhe-sa la mo bhais.

'Agus Micheal caomh-gheal, cro-gheal, cra-gheal,
Ga do dhiona, ga do chaomhna, ga do charamh,
Le treuin a laimhe, le nimh a ghaise,
Fo sgaile drilleanach a sgeith.'

'Thou art going away, beloved Donald, and may the great God be between thy two shoulders. Thou thyself welt the good neighbour and the kind friend. If it be that thou reach the land of thy heredity and the country of thy birth, and that thou shouldst have to come back again to the land of thine adoption, I place it upon thee as a vow and as a charge, and as the nine fulfilments of the fairy women, that thou go to the burial-place of Michael at Ormacleit in Uist, and bring to me from there a little earth that shall be placed upon the tablet of my heart the day that I die.

'And may Michael kind-white, strong-white, red-white,
Preserve thee, protect thee, provide for thee,
With the might of his hand, with the point of his spear,
Under the shade of his shimmering shield.'



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EIRIDH mi moch maduinn Luan,
Gabhaidh mi mo rann ’s mo dhuan,
Theid mi deiseil le mo chuaich,
Gu nead mo chearc le beachd na buaidh.

Cuiream mo lamh thoisg ri m’ chich,
Mo lamb dheas ri taic mo chridh,
Iarram gliocas graidh an Ti,
Ta pailt an agh, an al ’s an ni.

Duineam mo dha shuil air ball,
Mar dhallan-da ni snagan mall,
Sineam mo lamh chli a null
Gu nead mo chirc an taobh ud thall.


I WILL rise early on the morning of Monday,
I will sing my rune and rhyme,
I will go sunwise with my cog
To the nest of my hen with sure intent.

I will place my left hand to my breast,
My right hand to my heart,
I will seek the loving wisdom of Him
Abundant in grace, in broods, and in flocks.

I will close my two eyes quickly,
As in blind-man's buff moving slowly;
I will stretch my left hand over thither
To the nest of my hen on yonder side.


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An ceud ugh a bheir mi m’ cheann,
Cuiream tuathal e air mo cheann,
    *       *       *       *
    *       *       *       *

Togam mo lamh thoisg an suas,
Sineam i gun chlos gu luath,
Togam an da ugh an nuas,
Bithidh an uair sin tri ’s a chuaich.

Sineam mo lamh dheas a ris,
Togam leath ’s a ghreis a tri,
Iarram riaghladh air an Righ,
Bithidh, mo riar, a sia ’s an linn.

Lamh mo thoisg an dara h-uair,
Togam ceithir leath an nuas,
An ainm Chriosda Righ nam buadh,
Bithidh an uair sin deich ’s a chuaich.

An dorn deas is treasa coir,
Togam leis a dha fo m’ mheoir,
Bithidh aig sgur mo ghur gun sgod,
Fo uchd na circe brice moir.

Cuiream suidhe air an da cheann,
Is mi mar bhalbhan balbh ’s an am,
An ainm Chruithear mhuir is bheann,
An ainm gach naoimh is ostail ann.

An ainm Thrianailt uile naoimh,
An ainm Chalum-chille chaoimh,
Cuiream iad fo chirc Di-ardaoin,
Thig an t-alach aigh Di-aoin.


The first egg which I shall bring near me,
I will put it withershins round my head.
    *       *       *       *
    *       *       *       *

I will raise my left hand on high,
I will stretch it without halt quickly,
I will lift the two eggs down hither,
There shall be then three in the cog.

I will stretch my right hand again,
I will lift with it at the time three,
I will seek ruling from the King,
Then verily there shall be six in the clutch.

I will raise my left hand the second time,
I will lift four with it down,
In name of Christ, King of power,
There shall then be ten in the cog.

The right fist of strongest claim,
I will lift with it two in my fingers,
Thus at ceasing my brood will be complete,
Beneath the breast of the speckled big hen.

I will put soot on their two ends,
And I dumb as the dumb the while,
In name of Creator of sea and hill,
In name of saints and apostles all.

In name of the most Holy Trinity,
In name of Columba kindly,
I will set the eggs on Thursday,
The gladsome brood will come on Friday.



Next: 107. Marking The Lambs. Comharrachadh Nan Uan