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Metadata for text 107
No. words in text53800
Title Dain Spioradail
Author Grannd, Paruig
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1837
Date Of Language 1800-1849
Publisher Peter MacDonald
Place Published Elgin
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Strathspey
Register Religion, Verse
Alternative Author Name Grant, Peter
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 14.5cm x 9cm
Short Title Dain Spioradail
Reference Details EUL, Sp. Coll.: MackioColl.6.22 and NLS: I.37/1.g (EUL copy is missing the last two pages; NLS copy is missing the title page)
Number Of Pages xii, 152
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Peter Grant was born on 30th January, 1783, in Balintua, near Grantown in Strathspey. He was the youngest of five children and although his family were ‘low in circumstance’, Grant wrote later that they were ‘so strictly honest that the landlord over and over told me I was getting the farm at a lower rent’ (1936 edition, p. 9). Grant’s mother was Janet Stuart, the daughter of a neighbouring farmer. She died when Grant was 7. Times were hard when Grant was a boy, with little food to satisfy the family. At the age of 3, Grant was sent to stay with his mother’s father in Ballinluig, half a mile from his home, and it was there that Grant was brought up and educated, with his grandfather’s own children. His grandfather was an elder in the Kirk of Abernethy and was well respected in the area. Despite this, Grant’s home-life was not particularly religious and there was no practice of family worship. Encouraged by his grandfather to read the English Bible, even though he could not understand what he was reading, Grant eventually learnt the language. The New Testament in Gaelic had only recently been published when Grant was born, and the Old Testament was not published in Gaelic until Grant was 19.

Grant’s first religious awakening came when he was 12 years old. A relative had died, and after the funeral, as the mourners gathered round the fire, a stranger pulled out a book of spiritual songs by Dugald Buchanan and began to sing. Grant was captivated, and astonished that these songs were being sung ‘to the old Highland airs we had to our vain songs’ (1936 edition, p. 12). The stranger was so impressed by Grant’s interest in his singing, that he let him have the book, and taught him to read some of the words. Grant learned to sing them all fluently within a year, and began teaching them to other people. Grant wrote later that ‘One of the poems was on ‘The day of Judgement’; the first thing that shewed me in some measure the value of my soul, and the awfulness of death, judgement and eternity’ (p. 13). His work was certainly influenced by Buchanan. In particular, the two hymns Latha a Bhreitheanais (pp. 82-88) and Oran do’n Aoise (pp. 108-11) clearly show Buchanan’s influence.

Grant eventually joined the Baptist church in Grantown and became friendly with the pastor, Lachlan Mackintosh. They read Gaelic poetry and hymns together and it was Mackintosh who first encouraged Grant to begin composing, suggesting a competition between them to see who could compose the best hymns, based on the work of Dugald Buchanan. Grant’s poetry was the judged best, and Mackintosh encouraged him to write more. The first edition of Grant’s hymns was published in 1809. Subsequent editions contained additional compositions up to the fifth edition, published in 1837, which contained all 39 hymns. Grant’s hymns were therefore all composed by the time the author had reached his mid-fifties, at least 30 years before his death in 1867.

Grant eventually became pastor of Grantown Baptist church, and Professor Meek has praised him a ‘a tireless itinerant preacher and an enthusiast for evangelical mission in the Highlands and Islands’ (Meek 2003, p. 476).
Contents This volume begins with An Clar-Innsidh (pp. iii-iv). There follows the Preface to the Fourth Edition (pp. v-x), by Grant, in which he discusses the publication of the fourth edition and the positive influences of song in religious practice; and the Preface to the Fifth Edition (pp. xi-xii), also by Grant, in which it is stated that the text has been has been ‘carefully revised, and considerably enlarged’ for this edition. Dain Spioradail (pp. 1-152) contains 39 spiritual poems in Gaelic.
Sources
Language The poems in this volume are all religious in character; although the words are devotional, the language is poetic.

A number of Grant’s poems have a Biblical theme. Am Biobal (pp. 95-99) is written as if spoken by the Bible itself: ‘Eisdidh riums’ ars’ am Biobal, \ ’S gheibh sibh eolas air firinn bhios buan, \ ’S ann aig na naoimh bhios mi priseal, \ Ach bheir mi comhairlean dilis do’n t-sluagh, \ ’S e ’n Spiorad Naomh rinn an fhirinn, \ Air mo chridhe ’sgriobhadh gach uair; \ A’s cha ’n ath’raich mi [mìr (?)] dheth, \ Ged theicheadh muir, agus tir, agus cuan’ (p. 95). An Soisguel [sic, for Soisgeul] (pp. 151-52) begins: ‘’Se ’n Soisgeul siorruidh a naigheachd ghlormhor, \ Tha’n obair criochnaicht’, na dh’iarr Iehobhah, \ Tha ceartas, firinn, tha sith a’s trocair, \ Toirt slaint’ do dhaoine ’se saor gu leoir dhoibh’ (p. 151).

The first poem, Creideamh Dhaon’ Taoght Dhe (pp. 1-7), tells the Bible story, as if spoken by Faith (Creideamh). ‘Faith’ tells us the story of Adam and Eve, of the Prophets, and then of the birth and death of Jesus: ‘Chunnaig mi Noah sa n’ Airce se duinnt ann, \ San tuil ga dortadh air sluagh gun churam, \ Ghlac eagal tra e on chreid e n t’ Ard-Righ, \ S’ thainnaig am bas nuar bha cach gun suil ris. \\ Chunnaig mi Abraham, us dhag e n’tir aig, \ Sna choigrach dh’fhase le gradh na firinn, \ Bha chreideamh laidear, s’ bha sh’uil ri Parras \ ’Snuar fhuar e n’ aithne, cha da chaon e Isaac’ (p. 2) … ‘Lean mis na buachaillean chual an’ sgeul ud, \ ’S nuar shir sinn fhuar sinn e n sud gun eiraidh, \ ’S gun neach na choirsan ach Muire us Ioseph, \ ’S na h’ Ainghlean gloir mhor nach d’ rinn a threigsinn’ (p. 3).

Oran Gaoil (pp. 43-47) describes the Resurrection in the following terms: ‘Chunnaic sibhs’ e gu taireal, \ ’S e dol gu tamh anns an Uaigh; \ Ach chunnaic mis’ e ag eiridh, \ ’S ann aig’ fein bha bhuaidh; \ Chunnaic mis’ e gu gloirmhor, \ Air na neoil a dol suas; \ ’S ann air deas-laimh na morachd, \ A tha e chomhnuidh gu buan’ (p. 45). Glaodh na Mairtairaich (pp. 67-82) uses a similar device, putting words into the mouths of biblical characters who died for the Faith: ‘’S ann thoisich an t-ardan so, ’n Cain bochd, truagh, \ ’Nuair smuanich e Abel a chuir gu bas co luath; \ Tha Abel aig eigheach, “nis theid mi ’san uaigh, \ Rinn Cain mo reubadh, ’s tha e fein air an ruaig.”’ (p. 68) … ‘’S e so glaodh Isaiah, a’m faidh bha treun,— \ “’Se Ios’ an Slanuighear, a bha mi cuir an’ ceill, \ Is dh’fhoillsich mi ’n fhirinn do Israel fein, \ ’Sann shabh iad mo mhirean mi, ’s ghabh iad didean breig.”’ (p. 68). John the Baptist says: ‘“Chomhair’lich mi Herod, is dheisd e rium gu ciuin,\ Ach air son Herodias, chuir e mi ’m priosan duinnte, \ ’S ’nuair rinn a chailin dannsa, ’sa mheall i e sa chuis, \ Fhuair i n’a b’annsa leath’, mo cheann chuir ’san uir.”’ (p. 70).

Buachaillean Israeil (pp. 19-22) is written as if spoken by Jesus. In it, Jesus is the ‘High Shepherd’, and the people on earth are his sheep: ‘’S e thuirt an t-Ard Bhuachail, tha shuas ann gloir, \ Dh’fhag mi mo chaoraich ann ’n saoghal nan deoir; \ Cheannuich mise gu daor iad, bha mo ghaol doibh co mor, \ ’S mar bhith gu’n d rinn mi ’n saoradh cha d’fhaod iad bhibeo [sic, for bhi beo]’ (p. 27). The ministers are also shepherds, whom Jesus himself has taught: ‘Chaidh mo chaoraichs’ air chall air na beanntaibh gu leir. \ ’S rinn luchd faire dall moran call air mo threud; \ Ach na buachaillean seolta fhuair eolas uam fein, \ Bheir iad dhachaidh do m’ chro iad, le seoladh mo bheul’ (p. 19).

In Aonachd an Spiorad (pp. 60-67), Grant talks about spreading the word of God: ‘’S iongantach am fabhair, \ Fhuair an t-al so ’m bheil sinn fein, \ Tha moran Sgoilaibh Sabaid, ann \ ’S gach ait’ ’s iad deanamh feum \ ’S ann nis’ tha sluagh an t-saoghail, \ A sgaoladh focal Dhe, \ ’S iad dol ’ga eadar-theangachadh, \ ’S gach cainnt a tha fo n’ ghrein. \\ Tha ’n soisgeul air a sgaoladh ’nis \ Le daoine ’sam bheil fiamh, \ Do pheacaich chruaidh, neo-aithreachail, \ Tabhairt faireach dhoibh mu’n gniomh; \ ’S an dream tha caillt’, ’s folamh dhiu’, \ ’Ga’n toir gu baile dion; \ Dol thuige ’s uaith’, tha moran, \ ’S tha eolas dol a’ meud’ (pp. 64-65). In Oran na Missionaries (pp. 128-33), we find ‘Slan leibh a chairdean sa luchd nar gaol, \ Theid sinn do dh Africa sgach ait ’m beil daon, \ S’ iubhlidh sinn China ga mor an tir e, \ S’ air feadh na’n innseachan ’s feadh an t-saoghail’ (p. 129).

In Gloir an Uan (pp. 88-93) the poet addresses the Lamb directly and slips into panegyric mode for several verses: ‘Is tu meangan cliuteach, ur, a dh’fhas fallain, \ ’S tu lub’ gu talamh o ghloir; \ ’S an toradh a ghiulan thu ma shireas, \ Gheibh Iudhaich ’s Cinnich dheth coir; \ Tha t-ainm mar an driuchd ’s ni’s cubhraidh na’n oladh, \ ’S o d’ ghnuis thig solus a’s grais, \ ’S tha briathran do bheul mar cheir na meala, \ Toir sgeul d’ar n-anam air slaint’. \\ ’S tu Leighich nan gras ni slan na lotan, \ Tha graneil, goirt, agus ciurt’, \ ’S tu an nathair ’san fhasaich ’s aird’ chaidh thogail, \ Thoir slaint’ do’n phobull bha brutht’; \ ’S tu Prionnsa na Sith, chuireas crioch air cogadh, \ ’S an rioghachd a thog thu le d’ ghras, \ ’S tu bratach nam buadh ni ’n sluagh a thionail, \ Dha’n dual do leanail gu brath’ (p. 92).

Most, if not all, of the poems in this volume preach the benefits of leading a holy life. For example, in Gealladh an t-Slanui-fhear (pp. 13-16) we find ‘Ach sibhs’ a lean gu dilis mi, \ Le cridhe fior gun gho; \ A threig gach ni bha priseal leibh, \ ’S a chuir fo chis an fheol; \ Ma ghluaiseas sibh ’san fhrinn [sic, for fhirinn], \ Bithidh ’ur sith mar abhainn mhor; \ ’S le buanach chum na criche dhuibh, \ Theid sibh do Rioghachd na Gloir’ (p. 15). Grant’s philosophy of life can be clearly seen in his poem Coigrich (pp. 26-29), where we find ‘O, ’s mithich dhuinn gluas’d, \ Agus siubhal gu luath, \ Cha bhi ar laithean ro bhuan fo’n ghrein; \ ’S coigrich sinn ’us luchd cuairt, \ ’G iarraidh an duthaich, tha shuas, \ Tha ar dachaidh, us duais air neimh’ (p. 26) and ‘S ann a ta sinn ’san uairs’, \ Mar luing air a chuan, \ A measg nan tonn ata uabhrach, ard, \ Ach ’s treis an Ti sin tha shuas, \ Na tuiltean droch shluaigh, \ ’S tu chaisgeas am fuaim ’nuair ’s aill’ (ibid.).

Truaigh Shiorruidh (pp. 47-50) begins ‘’Stric a smuainich mi chairdean, \ Na’n rachadh agam oir dan chuir sios, \ Gur anu [sic, for ann] air uamhas an Ard Righ, \ Agus saibhreas a ghrais th’ann an Criosd; \ Dh’fheuch an duisgeadh e aireamh, \ Dhe’n dream tha’n codal aig Satan na lin; \ Tha ’g eigheach sith agus tearr’nteachd, \ ’S iad an cunnart gach la dhol an di. \\ Ach tha mi faicinn mu thrath dheth, \ Mur d’thig cumhachd o’n aird oirn’ a nuas; \ Gu’m fuirich iad mar a tha iad, \ ’S nach bi h-aon diu gu brath air an gluas’d, \ ’Nuair tha neart agus slaint’ ac’, \ Cha’ n eil cuimhn’ ac’ air bas, no air truaigh; \ ’S ’nuair tha na nithibhs’ ’ga ’m facail, \ ’S ann tha’n cridhe do ghnath dol ni’s cruaidh’ (p. 47). Those who do not turn to God before their death will suffer: ‘Is searbh an deoch tha ri h-ol, \ Aig an dream a bhasaich gun eolas air Dia; \ Cuan feirg tha gun trocair, \ Teine, pronnasc, ’s stoirm mhor dhiu gun dion, \ ’Nuair thig na nithe sin comhluath, \ Bhios na’n tonnana beo feadh gach ial; \ Gheibh iad sud mar am portion— \ Lan cup dheth ’s gur leoir dhoibh a mheud’ (p. 49).

Oran Mo Leanabh Og (pp. 7-11), is a popular poem in which a young child who has died tells the story of his suffering and eventual release into heaven: ‘’S nuar a dhun iad mo shuil, \ Thannaig Ainghlean na cuirst, \ ’S thug iad mis leo co dlu sco luath, \ ’S ann am pribadh na suil, \ Bha gach ni dhomh co ur \ ’S ann bha mis sa n Jerusalem shuas’ (p. 9); ‘Chaidh sinn mar iolair aig luathas, \ Gu tir Immanuel shuas, \ Dh ionnsaidh naite sa m beil sluagh ro naomh, \ ’S le Halleleuah gu buan, \ Toir cliu us moladh dha n’uan, \ Sa g’ol tuilleadh a cuan aghaol’ (p. 10).

The perils of the human condition are the subject of Oran Do’n t-Saoghal (pp. 54-57), which begins: ‘’Siongantach thu Shaoghail, \ ’S neo-chaomhail do ghnuis, \ ’S mairg a bheireadh gaol duit, \ Is caochlaideach thu; \ Mheall thu clann ’nan daoine \ Na’n saothair ’us na’n duil, \ ’S tric a gheall thu solas, \ ’Nuair ’s bron bh’ann do run. \\ Mheall thu iad le storas, \ Le morchuis is cliu, \ Is anamhiann na feola, \ An oigridh co dhiu; \ ’S an dream a fhuair gu leoir dhiot, \ ’S a dh’ol ass’d gu d’ chul, \ Cha do mheudaich thu’n solas, \ Co mor ’s a bha’n duil. \\ Ach sgaoil thu do thoilinntinn, \ Gu m’inntinn a ghluas’d; \ ’S mis’ a dh fhaodadh inns’, \ Gu’m bheil t-innleachdan buan; \ Gheall thu toilinntinn domh, \ Miltean de dh’uair; \ Ach mheall thu gu mor mi, \ ’Us solas cha dh’fhuair’ (pp. 54-55). In Staid Naduir (pp. 50-54), the poet laments that ‘Tha breugan ’us cul-chaineadh ann, \ ’Us mionnan laidir, mor, \ ’S tha morchuis agus ardan ann, \ ’Us grainealachd gu leoir; \ ’S tha fanoid air luchd crabhaidh ann— \ Air teachd gu airde mhor, \ ’S mhi naoimhaich iad do shaibhaidean, \ O Righ is airde gloir!’ (p. 51). He begs God to intervene: ‘Is mic struidheal da riridh iad, \ A rinn an ditheach’ fein, \ ’S a chaith a’ maoin le striopachas, \ ’Us iad air dhiobhail ceill; \ Ach, O! cuir Thus’ gu rannsach’ iad, \ Mu’n ruig iad ceann an reis, \ ’Us o gach seach’ran ceannsaich iad, \ Gu bhi na’n clann dhuit fein’ (p. 52).

An Dachaidh Bhuan, another popular song (pp. 29-32) warns people to prepare themselves for death: ‘Tha sean ’us og a’ dol sios d’an uaigh, \ Air lag ’s air laidir tha’m bas toirt buaidh; \ ’Nuair thig an-tam dhoibh an saoghal fhagail, \ Ma’s tinn na slan iad, cha tamh iad uair. \\ Ach ’s rabhadh mor sud do cach de’n t-sluagh, \ ’S is mithich dhoms’ gun chuir fada uam; \ Tha rabhadh garbh ann bhi deas gu falbh as, \ Fa’n tha’n tigh talmhaidh gu tighinn a nuas’ (p. 30). Some people believe that they are prepared, but in fact are not: ‘Ach na cuir dochas am briathraibh faoin, \ Ge d’ fhaigh thu seoladh o chuid de’ dhaon’; \ A labhras moran mu thimchioll trocair, \ ’S iad fein gun eolas air nithibh naomh’ (p. 31). It is never too late to turn to God, however: ‘Ach ma’s ann cli tha thu, so an uir, \ Gu tighinn direach dh’ionnsuidh ’n Uain; \ Dh’ionnsuidh ’n Ti sinn thug suas an iobairt, \ Leis am bheil sith air a toirt mu’n cuairt’ (p. 31). An Deagh Shaighdear (pp. 32-35) begins ‘Is tric a cuinnaic [sic, for chunnaic], ’s a chi, \ Mi daoin’ an t-saoghail gun sith, \ Le bhi cogadh, ’s a stribh ri cheile; \ Ag iarraidh airgiod ’us or, \ Ag iarraidh onar ’us gloir, \ Ge d’ theid iad seachad mar neoil nan speuraibh’ (p. 32). But there is comfort for those who fight the good fight: ‘Ma bhit[h]eas sibh dileas ’us dluth, \ Bheir bhur Righ dhuibh an crun, \ An uair a chi sibh a ghnuis mar tha e; \ ’S an uir thig la ’n RE-VIEW, \ Gheibh sibh onar ’us cliu \ Nach dtheid tuillidh air cul gu brath dhuibh’ (p. 34).

In Latha a Bhreitheanais (pp. 82-88), we are warned what awaits us if we do not turn to God: ‘Cha’n fhaic thu sealladh cho mor ris, \ O’n a thoisich a chrutheachd; \ Tha’n sluagh cho tiugh ris na locuist, \ Air bharr an fheoir ’s iad a cruinneach’; \ Chi thu bochdean an t-sluagh ann, \ ’S daon’ uaisle na cruinne, \ ’S iad air measgadh le cheile, \ ’S eallach fein air gach duine’ (pp. 83-84). The vision continues: ‘Chrath e cumhachd na speura, \ Dhorch’ a ghrein, ’us a ghealach; \ ’S tha puist na tal’mhainn air geileadh, \ ’S thuit na reultean gu h-ealamh; \ Tha obair naduir gu leir ann, \ Dol as a cheile le cabhaig, \ ’S cha’n fhuirich ni ach an sluagh sin, \ Nach fhaod gluasad no carach’’ (p. 84). Satan is mentioned in a number of poems, e.g. in Calbhari (pp. 22-25), where we find ‘Daoine truagh bhi na’n traillean, \ Aig an namhaid fo chis; \ ’S fearr leo striochdadh do shatan, \ Na bhi na’n cairdean do Chriosd’ (p. 23), and in Creideamh Dhaona Taoght Dhe (pp. 1-7), where we find ‘Ach thainnaig Satan a’ Nathair lubach, \ Us m heall [sic, for mheall] e Ev, us dhall e suilean’ (p. 1).
Orthography In Grant’s poems the vocabulary and grammatical forms of the Bible and evangelical Christianity mingle with simple, direct images and colloquial idioms. There are many indications of the Gaelic of Strathspey, e.g. the simplification of the declensional system of nouns, and the omission of final -a and -e and of -adh in verbal nouns.
 
The orthography is basically that of the early nineteenth century; there are no accents. There are also a number of idiosyncratic irregularities, e.g. uncertainty as between l, n and r and ll, nn and rr; this presumably reflects the simplification of l-, n- and r-sounds in Grant’s Gaelic. There are many minor inconsistencies, e.g. uir and uair, chunnaig and chunnaic, and many misprints.
Edition Fifth edition. The first edition was published in 1815; subsequent editions contained additional poems, up to the fifth edition. The fifth edition is thus the first complete edition of Grant’s poetry, and it may be seen as the authoritative version of Grant’s poems. Over twenty editions have been published in total. The 1936 edition contains a chapter entitled the Life of Peter Grant (pp. 9-22) by J. A. Grant Robinson. All editions from the 7th edition (published in 1857) to the 20th (published in 1912) are stereotyped copies. In addition to those published in this country, an edition was published in Fayetteville in North Carolina in 1826, and another in Montreal in 1836. The orthography was substantially modernised for later editions.
Other Sources
Further Reading Meek, D. E., Caran an t-Saoghail, 2003.
Meek D. E., ‘“The Glory of the Lamb”: The Gaelic Hymns of Peter Grant’ in D. W. Bebbington (ed.) The Gospel in the World, 2002, pp. 123-58.
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