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Metadata for text 104
No. words in text51672
Title An Duanaire: A New Collection of Gaelic Songs and Poems, (Never Before Printed.) / An Duanaire: Co-thional Ùr de dh’Órain, de Dhuanagan, etc. (nach robh riabh roimhe ’an clò)
Author N/A
Editor MacPherson, Donald
Date Of Edition 1868
Date Of Language 1850-1899
Publisher MacLachlan & Stewart
Place Published Edinburgh
Volume N/A
Location National, academic, and local (Inverness reference) libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Lochaber
Register Literature, Verse
Alternative Author Name Mac-Mhuirich, Dòmhnull
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 14.8cm x 10.3cm
Short Title An Duanaire
Reference Details EUL, Celtic Library: LI G MACP
Number Of Pages xii, 202
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Donald Campbell MacPherson was born in 1838 in Bohuntin. He was latterly the sub-librarian of the Advocates’ Library in Edinburgh. In addition to this volume, he published the 7th edition of Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair’s poetry, Eiseirigh na seann chanain Albannaich, no, An nuadh oranaiche Gaidhealach (1874). MacPherson also wrote Practical Lessons in Gaelic, published in 1891, and he contributed to Leabhar na Feinne, edited by J. F. Campbell (Text 101). He was a contributor to An Gaidheal (Text 102) and to the Celtic Magazine, writing under the name ‘Abrach’, and he helped with the sixth edition of Iùl a’ Chrìosdaidh, published in 1885. MacPherson died in 1880.
Contents This volume opens with a Preface (pp. vii-viii), in which MacPherson explains that ‘most of the pieces contained in the following collection were taken down some time ago in the Braes of Lochaber. Several of them are of a pretty old date, and a few are illustrative of manners and customs, and are couched in pure, idiomatic language, without a single expression calculated to offend the most delicate ear’ (p. vii). He declares that he was urged by a number of people to publish these works, and reveals that the title of this volume was inspired by ‘a passage and note in that invaluable work, The Dean of Lismore’s Book’ (p. vii), i.e. as edited and translated by Rev. Dr Thomas MacLauchlan (1862). In the last paragraph, MacPherson acknowledges the help of a number of people, including two of those from whom he received texts. An Clar-Amais (pp. ix-xii) lists the titles of the 104 songs in this volume.

An Duanaire (pp. 1-202) contains 104 songs, some by known, and some by unknown authors. A number of the songs have short introductions. Where the author’s name is known, this is given either following the title, or at the end of the song. There are occasional footnotes providing notes on the text, notes on how the songs should be sung, and details of where alternative lines can be found. There are three songs by Iain Lom (pp. 106-12), four songs by Màiri Nighean Alastair Ruaidh (pp. 134-45), and over twenty songs by Iain Mac-an-Tòisich from Lochaber, including a number of praise poems (pp. 154-202).
Sources These songs were mostly collected in Lochaber. At the end of the Preface (pp. vii-viii), MacPherson acknowledges the help of a number of people in the compilation of this volume, from which we learn that some were collected from natives of Lochaber, and another group came to the Editor in written form from the poet’s son.
Language This volume contains poems and songs on a variety of topics such as love, war, elegy and lament, specific events and people, praise, daily life and work, and the supernatural.

There are a large number of elegies and laments, particularly at the beginning of the book, such as Bean Mhic-Raing by Ailean Dall (pp. 1-4), Tèarlach Stiuärt, Fear Chail-Bhinne by Gilleasbuig na Ceapaich (pp. 5-7), Fear Fharbairn (pp. 7-10), and Alastair Mac Cholla, Mac-ic-Raonuill, a Thuit Latha-Chuil-Fhodair by an Taillear Mac Alastair Chamshroin (pp. 17-19). In Cumha do Mhac-ic-Raonuill na Ceapaich (pp. 147-49), we find ‘’S mis’ a’ bhean-bochd ’th’ iar a ciùrradh, \ Cha-n ’eil mo leithid ’s an dùïch, \ Ach a’ bhean a th’ ann am Mùideart: \ Màthair nan cuileanan cùbhraidh, \ Dh’ altruim i òg air a glùn iad, \ Cha b’ ann le bainne nam brùidean, \ Ach le bainne-chìoch ’n ä dhrùchdan— \ Gur a piuthar ise dhùinne’ (p. 147). In A’ Bhean Chomainn (pp. 34-35), the author laments the loss of a loved one: ‘Tha m’ aodach iar tolladh— \ Tha’n olann gun snìomh; \ Agus deadh bhean-mo-thaighe, \ ’Na laidhe fo dhìon! \\ Tha mo chrodh gun än leigeil, \ Tha’n t-eadradh aig càch; \ Tha mo leanabh gun bheadradh, \ ’N ä shuidh’ air a’ bhlàr!’ (p. 35).

This text also contains a number of love songs, such as An Nighean Donn (pp. 27-29) and Duanag a’ Chibeir (pp. 151-52). Some of these songs are accompanied by interesting stories, such as Nic-Cailein, a lament ‘a rinn a cómpanach do thé de shìol-Diarmaid a chaidh do’n arm ’an ionad a bràthar. Bha i ’na caiptein; agus ’nuair a bha i-fhéin agus a cómpanach a’ dealachadh leig i ’thuigsinn da co ’b’í. Rinneadh rèiteach ’an seasamh nam bonn, ach dh’ éug ise oidhche na bainnse le fadal ri ’thighinn-san’ (pp. 29-31). Also of interest are An Gaol Rosadach, about a young woman running off with her first love on the day of her wedding (pp. 32-34), and Alastair Donn, composed by a girl whose first love comes home to visit her after her father has made her marry someone else (pp. 119-20).

A number of songs touch on specific events and people, such as An Long-Eiginn by Fear Shrath-Mhathaisidh (pp. 19-22) and Oran do Sgioba Toitiche by Ailean Dall (pp. 85-87). The introduction to Oran Choinnich reads ‘Na-m b’ fhìor gu-n do ghoid am bàrd, gobhar, agus dh’ fhéumteadh ä chur ás an dùïch. Fhuaradh i beò, slàn “an là ’ghlac esan an t-òr!”’ (pp. 77-80). We might also include Fògradh Raonuill Oig (pp. 106-08), Tilleadh Raonuill Òig (pp. 108-10), and Cumha Raonuill Oig (pp. 110-12), all of which were composed by Iain Lom to ‘Raonull òg, Mac-ic-Raonuill na Ceapaich’. An Long-Eireannach is a waulking song which mentions a number of the local people (pp. 121-23), and Misg na Nolluig recounts events when Iain Mac-an-Toisich was given a warm welcome on Christmas Eve at the house of Alastair Domhnullach in ‘Alld-a’-Mhuilinn Ionbhar-Nise’ (pp. 186-89). Another seasonal verse is Rann-Callainn (pp. 153-54).

A few of the songs touch on daily life and work, such as Muilionn Alld-Leacain by Dómhnull Muillear (pp. 37-41), An Drobhaireachd (pp. 55-57), A’ Cháim (pp. 57-59), Oran an t-Saighdeir (pp. 63-66), and Cronan Brathann (pp. 115-17), which begins ‘Beannaich am balg, \ ’Us beannaich an gràn, \ A’ chnotag ’s gach màm \ Den ghradanadh. \\ Beannaich an t-inneal, \ ’Us beannaich an crann, \ A’ bheairt ’us gach ball \ A bhuineas d’ i’ (p. 115). Linn an Áigh is a poem about an imagined time in the past when all was well and the people had the run of the land (pp. 49-50). It begins ‘“An uair ’bha ’Ghàilig aig na h-eòin,” \ Bha ’m bainn’ air an lon mar dhriùchd. \ A’ mhil a’ fàs air bàrr an fhraoich— \ A h-uile nì cho saor ’s am bùrn. \\ Cha robh daoin’ a’ pàidheadh màil, \ Cha robh càin orra no cìs— \ Iasgach, sealgach, agus coill, \ Aca gun fhoighneachd, gun phrìs’ (p. 49).

There are a number of songs which touch on the supernatural, such as Luadhadh nam Banabhuidseach (pp. 42-44), An Cóineachan, described as ‘Tuireadh a rinn té air ’na ghoid na sìthichean a leanabh, na-m b’ fhìor’ (pp. 94-95), Cumha na Sithiche (pp. 95-96), and Glaistig Lianachain (pp. 123-26).

Some texts contain references to the natural world or natural phenomena, e.g. Rannan-Bréige (pp. 47-48), Smeòrach Thorra Ghoill (pp. 101-02); the magical power of a poet over the elements is the theme of Achain Mhic Mhuirich Mhóir (p. 97) which begins ‘Gaoth niar o’n ailbhinn chiùin, \ Mar a dh’ òrdaich Righ nan Dùl: \ Gaoth gun iomradh, gun abhsadh, \ Nach dèanadh gnìomh fallsail duinn’ (p. 97). A few of the songs also touch on sailing, e.g. Am Maraiche (pp. 130-31), and Luinneag (pp. 103-04) which begins ‘An oïche sin a bhà sinn, \ ’An cala Cheann Loch-Aluinn. \ Bha sìd’ againn gu’r n-àilleas, \ ’S i blàth gun dad soirbheas’ (p. 103); later, however, ‘’Dol seachad air a’ Chròice, \ Gu-n tug sinn troidh de’n sgòid d’i,— \ A rìgh, bu fhliuch mo chòta, \ ’N uair ’thug i ’sròn ’s an t-soirbheas’ (p. 104).

There are a few verses of place-lore, such as Bailtean Ghlinne-Gairidh by Alastair Mac-Cuaraig (p. 44) which begins ‘Poll-an-Onchain, ’s am bi ’n fhorfhais air na h-eich. \ Gleann-Laoidh ’s am bi ’n t-saothair a mach. \ Buail-Fhìnn ’s am bi ’n t-ìm geal. \ Ladaidh riabhach nam ban bòidheach. \ ’S Ardachadh-dubh far ’m bu chòir dha’. Places and place-names also figure, in various ways, in Dùïch-Loch-Ial (p. 45), Aird-Ghobar (p. 45), Gleann-Nibheis (pp. 45-46), Rannan Fìrinneach (pp. 46-47) and Aoire nan Luch (pp. 48-49).

There are also a number of praise poems to individuals, including Iain Òg Mac Alastair (p. 53); Deoch-Slainte Fir-Chraineachan (p. 59), a short poem by Iain Mac-Cuaraig, which begins ‘Deoch-slàinte fir Bhràigh Loch-Abar: \ Daoine sgairteil, reachdmhor, làidir— \ Daoine smachdail, beachdmhor, buadhach, \ ’S iad daonnan uasal ’nän nàdur’; Séumas Mac-Griogair (pp. 166-68); and Deoch-Slàinte Mhic-Alastair (pp. 163-65), which includes the following lines: ‘Bu tu mac-samhuilt Wallace, \ Bu tu Cathmor tréun fo ’arm; \ Bu tu Fionn air cheann na Féinne, \ Bu tu ’n t-Oscar créuchdach, garg; \ Bu tu Cuchullain anns a’ bhaiteal, \ Bu tu Goll le ’ghaisg thar chàch; \ Bu tu Cléabhars mòr a’ chruadail, \ A chraobh-chosgair bhuadhach, àidh’ (p. 165).

A number of songs touch on warfare and feuding, e.g. Am Breacan Dubh, attributed simply to ‘A Soldier’ (pp. 67-68), which includes the following lines: ‘Thà mo bhreacan gu fliuch, fuarraidh— \ Cha ghabh e cur suas am màireach. \ Thà mo bhreacan iar ä mhilleadh, \ Aig na gillean air a’ mheàrsadh. \ Bidh mi ’màireach ’dol a sheòladh, \ Cha-n ann air m’ eòlas a thà mi’ (p. 67). Other examples include Tha mo Dhùil (pp. 71-72), Bratach Chlanna-Mhuirich (pp. 88-90), Oran do Mhac-Ic-Alastair (pp. 157-60), A’ Chòmhraig-Dheise (pp. 160-63), and Sir-Eobhan Loch-Iall (pp. 104-05), a lament in which we find ‘’S truagh nach mis’ a bha ’d chòir, \ (Ged nach tiginn ás beò) \ ’N uair a dh’ eitich an t-òrd \ Na sradan dut— \\ ’S claidheamh guineach ’us sgiath, \ Mar ri cuideachadh Dhia, \ Ghearrainn golag air bian \ An rag-mheirleich’ (p. 105).

There are one or two humorous poems in this volume, e.g. An t-Each-Odhar (pp. 149-51) and An t-Each Leisg (pp. 170-71).

Also worth noting is the reference to taighean geala in Fear ’Bhreacain Bhallaich (pp. 128-29), which reads ‘B’ annsa leam mac fhir a’ bhaile. \ ’G am biodh tùir ’us taighean geala’ (p. 128).

On page 74 we find the line ‘Dheanainn fead ceann-a’-mheòir’. A handwritten note in the EUL Celtic Library copy of this volume tells us that ‘Fead ceann a mheoir’ refers to the finger positioning ‘when the first and third fingers are used’. The note then gives us the Gaelic names and English explanations of two other ways of whistling: fead glaic (?), ‘when the thumb stretched along side the fore finger’s used’ and fead cuaich, ‘when a barrel is made of the whole fingers and thumb’. These terms are not in Dwelly. The note appears to have been written by John MacKenzie of Auchenstewart, Wishaw, who died in 1890. It is signed ‘JM’ and the initials and handwriting are the same as those that appear in the EUL Celtic Library copy of the 1872 edition of Sar-Obair nam Bard Gaelach. On the title page of that book is written ‘John MacKenzie Auchenstewart 1874’.
Orthography The orthography is somewhat unorthodox. While it conforms basically to the norms of the mid to late nineteenth century, it contains several unusual features, most notably the use of ä to signify /a/ in unstressed syllables. The editor names his authority in the Preface (p. vii): ‘In the orthography and syntax the writer naturally followed his quondam teacher, Mr James Munro, author of the Gaelic Grammar etc.’
Edition First edition.
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