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Metadata for text 105
No. words in text40290
Title Laoidhean agus Dain
Author MacLean, Rev. Duncan
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1868
Date Of Language 1850-1899
Publisher G. Mac-na-Ceardadh (Glascho), Mac-Lachlainn, An Stiuartach ’s an Cuideachd (Dun-Eidin), S. Muilleir (Oban), I. Noble (Inbhirnis), Mac-a’-Phearsain ’s an Cuideachd (Steornabhadh)
Place Published Glascho, Dun-Eidin, Oban, Inbhirnis, Steornabhadh
Volume N/A
Location National, academic, and local (Inverness Ref.) libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Argyll
Register Literature, Verse
Alternative Author Name Mac-Gilleadhain, Donnachadh
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 16.7cm x 10.7cm
Short Title Laoidhean agus Dain
Reference Details EUL: .891631 Macl
Number Of Pages 112
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Duncan MacLean was born in Killin in 1795, and was a poet as well as a preacher. He contributed to An Teachdaire Gaelach using the pen-name ‘Fìor Ghael’ (Thomson 1994, p. 180). MacLean was Free Church minister for 34 years in either Glen Urquhart (Thomson 1994, p. 180) or Glenorchy (MacNeill 1929, p. 486). Cameron (1891-92, p. 358) has ‘Gleann-Urchaidh’, which may suggest that Glenorchy is correct. MacNeill asserts that ‘MacLean was a scholarly man and possessed rich gifts for preaching to his fellow-countrymen. His style was concise and suggestive, his matter well-arranged and weighty, while the inspiring spirit invested all with a heavenly force and meaning which greatly delighted all the more thoughtful Higlanders’ (MacNeill 1929, p. 288). MacLean died on 26th December 1871, at the age of 76.
Contents This volume begins with An Clar-Innseadh (pp. i-ii), listing its contents by Gaelic title. The 42 items are presented in three sections: 22 poems and hymns, 14 Laoidhean eadar-theangaichte o’n Bheurla, and 6 Marbhranna agus Dain. There is also a table of Contents in English (pp. iii-iv). There follows a Focal Roimh-Radh (pp. 5-10), in Gaelic, presumably by MacLean, in which we are told of the importance and value of poetry, hymns, and psalms in spreading the word of God: ‘Ann an aon ni tha ’bhàrdachd a’ toirt buaidh thar gach modh teagaisg agus gnè sgrìobhaidh eile,—agus is e so e, gu’n dean a’ chuimhne greim ni ’s luaithe agus ni’s buaine oirre na air gnè chainnte no chòmhraidh air bith eile’ (p. 8).
Sources
Language This volume contains 42 poems and hymns, most of which have a religious theme or dimension. They do not all use the language of religion, some taking the form of nature poetry and elegy.

Several poems are based on episodes from the Bible, such as Laoidh (p. 78), a hymn based on ‘Ierimiah [sic] xvii. 5-8’, and Uisge na Beatha from ‘Taisb. xxii. 1’ (pp. 35-38), which begins ‘’S e Eòin fhuair an sealladh— \ An sealladh ro ghràsmhor; \ An sealladh do labhairt— \ An sealladh ro àghmhor; \ ’N uair o chathair na Trianaid, \ ’Na fhianuis ’s na làthair \ ’Bhrùchd uisge na h-abhunn \ ’S am bheil glanadh a’s slàinte’ (p. 35).

Other poems are based explicitly on verses from the Bible. For example, under the title of Rabhadh do’n Mhuinntir Neo-iompaichte (pp. 63-67), we find ‘Chaidh am Fogharadh seachad, tha ’n Samhradh criochnaichte ach cha ’n ’eil sinne air ar saoradh.—Jer. viii. 20’, and under the title Sealladh do Iosa (p. 67-76), we find ‘“A Thighearn, bu mhiann leinn Iosa fhaicinn.”—Eoin xii. 21’. In this poem, the author recapitulates the life of Jesus, as can be seen from the following three stanzas: ‘Faic e an déigh baisteadh Iòrdain,— \ An déigh baist’ an Spioraid Naoimh, \ Le saighdean Shàtain air an leòn’ \ Cò e so abair? Sàr Mhac Dhia’ (p. 69), ‘Aig ’òrdugh charaicheadh a’ chlach \ ’Tha mar ghlais air beul ha [sic] h-uaigh’;— \ “Thig, a Lasaruis, a mach,” \ ’S feuch grad chreachadh i d’a buaidh’ (p. 70), and ‘Cluinn an iolach,—O nach àrd i! \ Mar fhuaim tàirneanaich nan speur:— \ “Bh’ uain e! bh’ uain e! Ceus gun truas e! \ Ceus gu luath e! Ceus e! Ceus!”’ (p. 72). In Criosd a’ Gul os cionn Ierusaleim (pp. 52-54) we find ‘Sheall Ios’ air a’ bhaile fo mhaladh an t-sléibh, \ Am baile a raoghnuich Iehòbhah dha féin; \ B’ e foirfeachd na maise tàmh ionad a thlachd e, \ ’N t-aon lùchuirt a bh’ aige air thalamh fo ’n ghréin’ (p. 52).

In An Tuil (pp. 26-30), we find the story of Noah and the Ark. The author begins by describing how beautiful everything is before the flood: ‘Tha canach air mòintich, tha neònein air blàr, \ Tha fiùrain a’s ògain gu nòsar a’ fàs; \ Tha fochann air còmhnard, tha lòdail gun dìth, \ Le ’phailteas cur sòlas is dòchas ’s a’ chrìdh’ (p. 26). He goes on to describe the events that follow, from the perspective of those who did not believe the word of Noah: ‘Ach ciod so a’ ghruamaich a chuartaich a’ ghrian? \ Is ciod so a chuairt-ghaoth tha sguaba nan nial \ “’S e torman a’ chaochain o’n aonach a t’-ann,— \ ’S e anail na gaoithe, o chaoin shlios nam beann”’ (p. 27); ‘Tha ’n t-uisge a’ braonadh ’s a’ taomadh gun tàmh, \ Tha ’n dìle air sgaoileadh, a’ sgaoil’ air gach làmh, \ ’Nuas broilleach gach aonaich a’s fraoch bheanna cas, \ Tha ’n dìle a’ brùchdadh gu dùmhail ’s gu bras’ (p. 28); ‘Tha ’n leòmhan a b’ alluidh, ’s madadh alluidh nan càrn, \ Tha sionnach an t-saobhaidh, a’s maoisleach a chà’ir, \ Tha damh a’ chinn chabhraich, a’s earbag nan tom,— \ An comunn a’ chèile, dol eug feadh nan tonn’ (p. 29). The poem concludes: ‘Is faic i an Airc’ air bharra nan sùgh, \ Gun chombaist, gun acair, gun acfhuinn, gun siùil, \ A’ gabhail a cùrsa fo stiùradh Mhic Dhé, \ ’S i torrach le dòchas an òg chruinne ché’ (p. 30).

In Am Biobull (pp. 43-47) each verse poses a rhetorical question to which the response is ‘Am Biobull’, e.g.: ‘Cò thug dhomh sgeul mo chruitheachd féin? \ ’S mo cheud staid shon’ am pàras Dhé? \ M’àrd smachd os ceann gach ni fo’n ghréin? \ Am Biobull’ (p. 44). Eulogistic appellations for God are used sparely in most of Maclean’s poems, but are deployed occasionally, for example in Beatha (pp. 54-56), where we find the stanza ‘Gaol air tùs do Dhia, an t-Ard Righ, \ Gaol do Shlànuighear nam buadh: \ Gaol do Spiorad Naomh nan gràsan, \ Gaol osbàrr gu bràth d’a shluagh’ (p. 55).

Maclean’s teaching in regard to life and death is presented in a number of poems. For example, we find ‘Cha ’n ’eil tobar ’s an t-saoghal \ Nach traoigh a’s nach fàilnich; \ Cha ’n èil cìoch nach ’eil seasg ann \ ’N uair a dhruideas am bàs oirnn— \ Cha’n ’eil saibhreas no beairteas, \ Cha ’n ’eil maise no tàbhachd, \ Cha ’n ’eil inbhe no urram \ Gu buileach nach bàsaich’ (p. 37) and ‘Ach an e so ’m bàs gu h-uile, \ Mu’n do labhair mi a’m’ dhàn? \ ’N uaigh ’n do shluig e sìos gu buileach? \ ’M buadhaich air gu buan ’s gu bràth? \ An cadal e ’tha bith-bhuan, sìorruidh? \ Air a’ mhilltear an tug buaidh? \ ’N do dhruideadh e ’s an t-slochd gun ìochdar? \ ’N tig gu crìoch gu sìor a shuain?’ (p. 59). Maclean frequently appeals to the hearer or reader, whom he addresses as ‘a leisgein’, to wake up to his message, e.g.: in An Lunndaire (p. 79) and in Rabhadh do’n Mhuinntir Neo-iompaichte (pp. 63-67).

Maclean’s poetry is richly descriptive and makes frequent use of Nature. For example, in Am Bogha-Frois (pp. 41-42), we find ‘’N uair a reubas stoirm an t-athar, \ ’Cur nan dùil’ air mhire-chatha, \ ’Luidheas oidhch’ air uchd an latha, \ Faiceam soillse do ghnùis fhlathail’ (p. 41). In An Neoinein (pp. 42-43), the author addresses the flower as follows: ‘’S tu lus a’s àilt’ tha fàs air raon, \ Mar òigh’ gun ghaoid do chaoin chruth bàn; \ Gu nàrach, gràdhach, màlda, maoth, \ Dearg-bhileach, caoin-gheal, aoidheil, tlàth’ (p. 42), before comparing himself to the flower: ‘’A’s ge d’ thig dubhar air mo là, \ Car tràth ge d’ shnàmh mo ghrian tre neòil, \ Mar neòinein maoth ge d’ fhaigheam bàs, \ ’S ge d’ shearg mo bhlàth car tràth fo’n fhòid’ (p. 43).

In Ceol (pp. 49), we find ‘’S binn caoirean nan caochan ’an aonach nam beann, \ ’N uair tha’n latha a’ sgaoileadh air aodan nan gleann; \ ’S binn osna na gaoithe, ’s gur aobhach a toirm \ Air ciùineach’ do’n doininn, ’s air cadal do’n stoirm’ (p. 49), and again ‘Nach milis mar cheòl e, nach bòidheach, nach binn— \ Guth chlag mhaduinn Dhòmhnuich, nach sonraichte grinn? \ Na fuinn ud ro àluinn ’tha fàilteach’ an lò \ A bheannaich an t-Ard-Rìgh gu slàinte nan slògh’ (ibid.). In Am Bàs (pp. 56-60), we find ‘Bàs an fheòir, an ùr ròs bhòidhich, \ Bu nòsaire ’s a b’ òrdhearg snuadh, \ Seachdta, seargta—shiubhail, dh’fhalbh e— \ Thréig a dhealbh e a’s a thuar. \ Bàs an earraich, bàs an t-samhraidh, \ Feuch an geamhradh, sud am bàs: \ Fuachd a’s feannadh, sneachd a’s gaillionn, \ Thréig an anail iad ’s an càil’ (p. 57).

MacLean also composed some poems in praise of his homeland and the people who used to live there. In Sealladh O Mhullach Shron-a’-Chlachain (pp. 98-100), he describes the beauty of the surrounding landscape where he grew up, while mourning the loss of the people that were once there: ‘Cà’ bheil a’ bhuidheann bha mireagach, luaineach, \ Ag iasgach nan sruthan, ’s a tathaich am bruachan, \ A’ cleasachd gu h-aotrom feadh raointean a’s chluaintean \ ’Trusadh chnò anns a’ choille ’s am faighte na ruadh-bhuic!’ (p. 99).

In Tuireadh an Fhogarraich (pp. 101-04), the author again describes the beauty of his home, while also touching on the clearances that had occurred in the area due to the introduction of sheep farming: ‘Tha mis ’n seo ’m luidhe ’s mo ghunna gun ghleus, \ ’An leabaidh gle chumhann le m’ chuilein gun fheum, \ Far nach cluinn mi sgail gaothair no faothaid an fhéidh, \ ’S nach fhaic mi damh cabrach ’na dheannaibh ’s na leum’ (p. 101); ‘’S i tìr nan damh cabrach, nan aighean, ’s nam mang— \ ’S i tìr nam fear geala ’tha gramail gun taing \ ’S i tìr nan caomh òighean, tìr bhòidheach nam beann,— \ An tìr o’n deach m’ fhògradh le fòirneart ’s an àm’ (ibid.); and ‘’S ann ort thàin’ an caochladh nach caomh, ge d’ is mòr, \ ’S e ’mealltair an saoghal ’s an gaol thug do’n òr; \ ’S e dh’fhògair na daoine thar dhaoine ’bha còrr, \ ’S a raoghnaich na caoirich, ’cur faoilt orr’ le deòin’ (p. 101).

Maclean also wrote three poems celebrating Christmas, Easter, and Beltane: Latha Nollaig (pp. 30-31), Di-Domhnuich Casg (pp. 31-33), and Latha Bealtuinn (pp. 105-07). The last of these may be described as primarily a nature poem, although the Deity is referred to in three of the 22 stanzas, e.g. ‘Tìr ’s an ìobrar cliùth gu sìorruidh \ do Thrì Pearsaidhean na Diadhachd,— \ An Tì a chuir an Tì a riaraich \ Na bha lagh a’s còir ag iarraidh’ (p. 107). Similarly, An t-Earrach (pp. 108-10) is basically a nature poem, but there are references to a divine presence towards the end of the poem.

Elegies include Elegy on the Death of Dr. Chalmers, which comprises 64 eight-line stanzas (pp. 11-26), including ‘’S nior leigeam air dichuimhn’ \ Am fìrean bu dìleas, ’s bu chaoin, \ Chaidh ri dhùchas ’s ri shinnsear, \ S o ’n cos-cheum nach deachaidh a thaobh,— \ An Dòmhnullach prìseil, \ Tha ’s na h-Innsean gu h-iosal ’s an ùir, \ ’N a chodal an Iosa, \ A lean e gu dìleas, ’s gu dlùth’ (pp. 20-21). The poignant Cumha Cloinne Le ’Mathair (pp. 96-98) begins ‘Bhuail thu mi, a Dhé, a’s smachdaich— \ Cò am mac nach smachdaich thu? \ Lot thu mi air son mo pheacaidh, \ Ach gidheadh dhuit bheiream cliù’ (p. 96). The equally poignant Cumha was composed by the author for his daughter and her baby, both of whom died in 1864 (pp. 111-12). It includes the following lines: ‘Cha ’n ann am measg nam marbh a tha sibh, \ Ach ’an tìr a’ ghràidh ’s na naomhachd,— \ Mealtuinn comunn caomh an t-Slànuighir, \ Ann am pàras ’measg a naomh shluaigh’ (p. 112).

The hymns translated from English (pp. 80-96) are suffused with the discourse and vocabulary of Maclean’s Church to a greater degree than his original poems are. They include Carraig nan Al (p. 81), which begins ‘’N ad dhubhar foluicheams’ mi féin, \ ’Chreag nan àl, a Shlàn’fhir thréin: \ ’N uair a lotadh aon Mhac Dhia, \ A’s fuil a’s uisge bhruchd á chliabh, \ Leò sin o m’ pheacadh glanaidh mi,— \ Araon o m’ pheacadh gin a’s gnìomh’ (p. 81). In Reul na Maidne (pp. 81-83) we find ‘Tha Iehòbha a’ tighinn, tilg do dhuslach gu làr; \ Do chéile do Chruithfhear, glac misneach is fearr. \ Gu d’ chobhair ’s gu d’ chòmhnadh tha ’chos ’tarruin dlùth, \ A ghuùis [sic] mar an solus, ’s a ghuth mar theud chiùil’ (p. 82); and Reul Bhetleheim (p. 84).

In Criosd Dochas na h-Eaglais by ‘An t-Olla Ualtar Mac-’Illebhra’ (pp. 85-87), we find ‘Ort shaltair an Eiphit gu h-eucorach, cruaidh, \ Ach dhìol i na fiachan gu léir ’s a’ Mhuir Ruaidh,— \ Na cuantan a dh’ fhosgail dhuits’ cos-cheum gu tràigh, \ Bhrùchd—thaom iad le dosgunn, ’s gun phlosg feuch do nàmh!’ (p. 86) and ‘Rinn an Geintileach doilleir, ’s àrd sgoilleir na Gréig’ \ Ort an fhòirneart bu shoilleir’ dol an co-bhoinn a chéill’; \ ’s gu h-obunn am mòr-chuis ’s an glòir dhealaich uath’, \ Ged b’ inbheach an àirde, ’toirt bàrr air gach sluagh’ (p. 86). Urnuigh air son Oigridh I Chaluim-Chille (pp. 90-91) begins ‘A Dhé, uile ghràsmhoir, a Thi uile neartmhoir, \ Le d’ fhocail ’s le d’ spiorad gabh seilbh air ar crìdh’; \ Dean tròcair, Iehòbhah, a’s deònaich, le d’ fheartan, \ Làn shaorsa o’m peacaibh do eileanaich I’ (p. 90). There are also translations of two Psalms, XV Salm (pp. 93-94) and XVI Salm (pp. 94-96).
Orthography
Edition First edition.
Other Sources
Further Reading Cameron, Paul, ‘Perthshire Gaelic Songs and their Composers', TGSI 18, 1891-92, pp. 340-62.
MacNeill, Nigel, The Literature of the Higlanders, 1929, pp. 486-88.
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