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Metadata for text 110
No. words in text31881
Title Filidh nam Beann: The Mountain Songster. The Choicest Collection of Original and Selected Gaelic Songs now Known
Author N/A
Editor (Unknown)
Date Of Edition [1860]
Date Of Language Various
Publisher Waitt & Stewart
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National, academic, and possibly local libraries (2 copies in Highland Reference - no date on the copies)
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Various
Register Literature, Verse
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 14.5cm x 9.5cm
Short Title Filidh nam Beann
Reference Details EUL: Sp. Coll. MackioColl.P.18/14
Number Of Pages iv, 92
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context The editor and circumstances of publication of this volume are as yet unknown. See further Edition below.
Contents This volume contains 39 Gaelic songs, three of which are translations: two from English and one from Scots (Domhnull Mac Dhomhnuill, pp. 14-15; Maraichean na h-Alba, pp. 72-73; and Brosnachadh Bhruce, a Gaelic translation of Scots Wha Hae, p. 79). There are songs by a number of well known authors, e.g. Oran do Cheile Nuadh Phosda (pp. 1-5) and Cumha Chailean Ghlinn-Iubhair (pp. 5-9) by Donnchadh Bàn; Oran Leananachd (pp. 20-21) and Oran do’n Mhisg (pp. 28-29) by A. Dughallach (Ailean Dall); Moladh an Leomhainn (pp. 63-68) by Alasdair Domhnullach (Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair); and Latha Chuilodair (pp. 48-56) by Iain Ruadh Stiubhard. There are three songs by Iain Camshron: Duil Ri Bailechaolais Fhaicinn (pp. 86-87), better known today as Chi Mi na Mor-bheanna; Rann do’n Rathad Iaruinn (pp. 87-91); and Luinneag do Artt Mac Lachluinn (pp. 91-92). Also included are Brosnachadh Bhruce (p. 79), and Cumha do Fhear Shrath-Ghlais, a Thuit Latha Chuilodair (pp. 17-19), better known today as Mo Run Geal Òg.
Sources
Language The songs in this volume touch on a variety of topics including praise, love, war, nature, and elegy.

Praise poems include A. Dughallach’s Moladh Ailein an Earraichd (pp. 9-11); Sir. C. Caimbeul, Morair Chluaidh (pp. 12-13), which includes the stanza ‘Craobh is àird’ anns an doir’ thu \ Ann an coille nan Gàidheal; \ Seobhag uasal na h-ealta, \ ’S ursann-chatha ’s na blàraibh. \ Thu gu h-ioriosal, macant’, \ Caoimhneil, tairis ri d’ chàirdean, \ ’S mar an leòmhann gu casgradh, \ ’N àm bhi ’tachairt ri d’ nàmhaid’ (pp. 12-13); and Oran do Thriath Ghlinne-Garraidh (pp. 30-33), which contains the following lines: ‘Lean do chruadail, ’s do ghaisgeadh, \ ’S am fasan bu dual \ A bhi colgarra, cosant’ \ ’Am brosnachadh sluaigh; \ Gu h-armailteach, treubhach, \ Gu geur-lannach, cruaidh; \ ’S tu ’shliochd nam fear treuna \ Nach géilleadh ’s an ruaig’ (pp. 30-31).

Domhnull Mac Dhomhnuill (pp. 14-15) is a song in praise of the Gael. The third stanza contains the interesting suggestion that the Gaels would have succoured King George had he appealed to them in 1745: ‘Ged dh’ éirich ar sinnsreadh le Tèarlach, \ Gur cliù ’s cha bu tàmailt a bh’ ann, \ ’N uair thainig e thugainn gun chàirdean, \ ’Cur earbs’ á luchd-àitich’ nan gleann: \ Gur cinnteach nach gliocas a ghluais iad— \ Fhuair bàighealachd buaidh anns an àm, \ ’S na’m faiceadh iad Deòrsa cho faontrach \ Gu’n seasadh iad aobhar gun taing. \ Le ’n lanntaibh tana, geur, cruaidh, \ Le ’n sgiathaibh ballach nan dual, \ Ged thigeadh an donas ’n an còmhail \ Gu’n leanadh iad Deòrs’ anns an ruaig’ (p. 14).

In Oran Chlann Do’nuill nan Eilean’ (pp. 21-23), the author praises both the people and the land: ‘Beir soraidh uam gu m’ eòlas \ Gu Tròiternis, ’s e b’ aite leam; \ An talamh maiseach, bòidheach, \ An tir ro òrdail, mhearcaiteach; \ Far ’bheil na daoine còire, \ Dh’fhâs fialaidh, mòr, neo-acaineach; \ Mnai-uaisl’ is suairce còmhradh, \ Gun ghruaim, gun phròis ’an taice dhoibh. \ An tir ro fharmail, chliùiteach, ainmeil, \ Mhùirneach, mheamnach, mhacanta; \ Bu lionmhor sealbhach iasg na fairge \ Tric ’g a mharbhadh taice ri’: \ Thig bradan tarra-gheal, inneach, mealgach, \ Iteach, earra-ghlan, breac-lannach: \ Am fonn ’an dearbhte ’n cinn an t-arbhar \ Diasach, ceanna-mhor, pailt-ghraineach’ (pp. 21-22).

An t-Eilean Muileach (pp. 26-27) is a song in praise of place and may also be described as a nature poem. This is clear in the following lines: ‘Gheibht’ an ruadh-chearc ’s na coilltean iosal, \ ’S a coileach tùchanach dlùth ’ga brìodal; \ ’S ged bha na beanntaibh gun fhaing, gun fhrìthean, \ Bha dàimh na cnòice ’n a còrsaibh lìonmhor’ (p. 27). Duil ri Bailechaolais Fhaicinn by Iain Camshron (pp. 86-87), might also be described as a nature poem, e.g.: ‘Gheibh mi ann ceòl bho eòin na Duthaige, \ Ged a tha’n t-àm thar àm na cuthaige; \ Tha smeòraichean ann is annsa guth leam \ Na pìob, no fiodhal mar cheòl’ (p. 86).

Do ’n Eideadh Ghaidhealach by D. Dughallach (pp. 33-35), praises the various parts of the Highland dress, e.g.: ‘’S e breacan-guaille ’suas le rian, \ Thar nan guaillean ’s cuairt mu’n chliabh, \ Culaidh ’s maisiche mu chliar \ a chuir a ghrian a solus air’ (p. 33) … ‘C’arson a dh’fhàgainn crios a’ chléibh, \ Ris an naisg an Gàidheal gleusd’ \ Biodag, ’s dagaichean nan leug \ Gu h-àm bhi feum an cobhair-san’ (p. 34).

There are a number of poems which mention boats and sailing, such as Do Ghilleaspuig Mac-an-t-Saoir, Sgiobair an “Lochgoile” by D. Dughallach (pp. 61-62), which includes the following lines: ‘’N uair thig àm dha dol g’a seòladh \ ’S lionmhor sròl ’bhios àrd oirre. \\ Sròlaibh breaca, ballach, cean-fhionn, \ ’S luasgan mear g’am bàrr orra’ (p. 61). In Maraichean na h-Alba, translated from English by ‘A. M‘I.’ (pp. 72-73), the picture becomes fanciful: ‘Gu ’n eirich riochd nan treun-fhear \ Mar éibhlean o gach tonn! \ O’n uaighibh uaine sàil; \ Air ’m bu bhlàr dhoibh clàir nan long; \ ’S far ’n deachaidh Nelson treun do’r dìth, \ Gu’n las gach cridh’ gu’r gruaidh, \ ’Dol gu siùbhlach thar nan sùgh. \ ’Nuair is gailbhich’ smuid a’ chuain; \ ’S is fuaimneach, fada toirm ’a chath’, \ ’S is gailbhich’ smùid a’ chuain’ (p. 73). In Oran an Iasgair (pp. 76-78) the language is more concrete: ‘’Sud a’ chungaidh ’chàireadh \ ’M bàta ’choisinn buaidh. \ Druim de’n leamhan ruighinn \ ’N sàs ’s an darach chruaidh, \ Fiùghanan, us ùrlar \ Sùghta, fallain, buan, \ Giubhas glan na Lochluinn \ Fuaight’ le copar ruadh’ (pp. 76-77).

A few of the songs touch on clearance and emigration, and on Gaels leaving their homeland to find work. For example, Beannachd an Eilthirich by Eobhan Mac Colla (entitled Beannachd Dheireannach An Eilthirich Ghaidhealaich in Clarsach nam Beann, Text 88), and An Gaidheal am measg nan Gall by Iain Mac Ghilleain (pp. 38-39), where we find ‘Gur h-ann le àilgheas a dh’ fhàg mi ’m fearann \ ’S an deachaidh m’ àrach ’n uair bha mi ’m leanabh; \ ’S mi ’n dùil gu’n deanainn am bliadhna ’dh’earras \ Na cheann’chaidh lìon dhomh gu iasgach earraich’ (p. 36) and ‘Cha ghabhainn tuarasdal uaith mar sgallaig, \ Ach tigh’nn do’n Ghalltachd a shealltainn chaileag; \ ’S ’n uair ni gach té dhiubh io’m beurla m’ fharraid, \ Their mis’ an Gàilig gu’n d’ fhàg mi Barra’ (p. 36).

There are a number of songs about war, or which touch on war. Na Gaidheil aig Alma by ‘A. M‘I.’ (pp. 15-17), for example, talks about joining the Réiseamaid in Edinburgh and their subsequent exploits. The fifth stanza reads: ‘Deadh Ghillean-an-Fhéilidh bu ghreadhnach, \ Feadh chreag agus coilltich’ ’dol suas, \ Ar Pìobairean ’s brataichean srannrach, \ G’ar greasad, mar b’ annsa, gu cruas— \ ’S ged mharbhadh a steud-each fo’r Ceannard, \ Grad laiste bha ’lann-san roi’ shluagh; \ ’S le’r cruaidhe, le’r luaidhe, ’s le’r lasair \ Chaidh naimhdean mar chathadh o’n Tuath’ (p. 16). Gaisgeadh nan Gaidheal ’s na h-Innsean by A. Mac Alasdair (pp. 68-70), contains lines like ‘Le sgiath a’s le claidheamh, \ Le gunna ’s le daga— \ Le ’n osanaibh ballach \ ’S bròg bhar-ial gun ghuag oirr’’ (p. 69), and ‘’S iad na Réis’maidean ainmeil \ Bha thall anns an uair ud— \ Na Camshronaich Abrach, \ ’S na Cataich o thuath dhinn: \ Clann-Choinnich Cheanntàile, \ ’S am Freiceadan Gàidhealach, \ Gu’n d’ dhearbh iad mar b’ àbhaist, \ ’S gach àite, bhi buadhach’ (p. 70).

There are a number of songs relating to Bonnie Prince Charlie. Prionns’ Tearlach a’ Dealachadh Ri Floraidh Dhomhnullach by D. B. Mac Leoid (pp. 39-42), for example, paints an imagined picture of Bonnie Prince Charlie leaving Flora MacDonald. It begins ‘’Dh’ionnsuidh cladach a’ chuain, \ Ri fuar-ghaoth an anamoich, \ Thainig Teàrlach gun dealradh, \ Air alaban ’s e sgìth; \ Cha robh reul air a bhroilleach, \ No freiceadan a’ falbh leis, \ Ach ainnir nan gorm-shul \ Bu dealbhaiche lìth: \ Mar dhaoimean ’san oidhche \ Bha ’mhaighdean fo thùrsadh, \ ’S i cràiteach thaobh Theàrlaich \ Bhi ’fàgail a dhùthcha; \ Bu chianail a h-osna, \ ’S bu ghoirt deòir a sùilean, \ ’N uair chunnaic i ’n iùbhrach \ A’ dlùthadh ri tìr’ (p. 39). Other songs of the ’Forty-five include Am Prionnsa agus Na Gaidheal by Alasdair Domhnullach (pp. 52-54), Marbh-Rann do Phrionns’ Tearlach by Uilleam Ros (pp. 54-56), and Latha Chuilodair by Iain Ruadh Stiuibhard (pp. 48-51), which includes first-hand description of the battle: ‘Dh’ fhàs an talamh cho trom, \ Gach fraoch, fearann a’s fonn, \ ’S nach bu chothrom dhuinn lom an t-sléibhe. \\ Lasair theine nan Gall \ ’Frasadh pheilear m’ ar ceann, \ Mhill sud eireachdas lann ’s b’ e ’m beud e’ (p. 50).

Do Ghil’ Og a Ghabh ’s an Arm (pp. 35-37) is a love song, written by a girl whose young man went away to war: ‘Chuir thu còta sgàrlaid ort, \ Le suaicheantas na bàn-righ’nn— \ Tha mulad air do chàirdean \ Cho tràth ’s a thugadh uainn thu. \ Thàinig òrdugh cabhagach \ Gu d’ thoirt air falbh do Shasunn uainn, \ ’S gun dùil gu’n till thu ’n gradaig ruinn, \ ’S e dh’ fhàg mo chadal luainneach’ (p. 36). Other love songs include Oran Leananachd by A. Dughallach (pp. 20-21), in which we find the following lines: ‘Gur mis’ tha gu cràiteach \ A’ falbh air bàta dubh, daraich; \ ’S olc càradh mo chòta \ Measg còrcaich a’s tearra: \ B’ fhearr bhi ’n gleannan an fheòir \ A’ briodal phòg air mo leannan, \ Na bhi falbh air a bòrdaibh, \ ’S gun mi eòlach m ’a ballaibh’ (p. 20). Duanag o ’n Bheurla by ‘A. M‘I.’ (pp. 47-48) combines love and nature, as in the following lines: ‘Tha eòin an t-sléibh air sgéith mu’n cuairt, \ ’S cha dùisg iad fuaim mo làmhaich, \ A’s mis’ am pràmh an sgàth nam bruach, \ ’S mo smaoin mu’n ghruagaich ghràdhaich’ (p. 47).

Do Nighean Fear Thir-na-Drise by Mac Fear Dhail-an-eas (pp. 57-58) is a love song written to his sweetheart, who has been made to marry another man. In Na Fearaibh Oga (pp. 70-72), a young woman bemoans the fact that young men speak sweet words but tend not to mean them. In Comhairle do na Gillean Oga by A. Mac Cuarraig (pp. 79-82) the advice runs as follows: ‘’Nuair thig am bothan le ’chraos cam, \ Am màl, ’s a’ chlann, ’s a’ cheannachd ort, \ Bu taitneach dhuit a bhean ’san àm sin \ ’Thairneadh ceann an amuill dhuit. \\ Bu mhath do bhean a bhi gun spòrs, \ Gun mhoit, na pròis, na h-eallaich oirr’, \ Ma bhitheas an t-airgiod pailt na pòc \ Tha h-uile glòir a leantail ris’ (p. 81).

There are a few elegies in this collection, such as Cumha do Leanabh Gille by A. Mac Laomainn (pp. 74-76) and Do Shir Eachann Mac-’Illeain by Mairearad Ni’c-Lachainn (pp. 42-45) is a traditional marbhrann containing verses like: ‘A Shir Eachainn nan lùireach, \ Nan long siùbhlach, ’s nam bratach, \ ’S nan cùirteinean rìomhach, \ Gu’m bu lìonmhor do ghaisgich; \ ’S a liuthad fleasgach mòr, prìseil \ ’Théid a sios leat gu batailt— \ Bhiodh tu ’n toiseach fir Alba, \ ’S bu mhòr t’ armailt ri ’m faicinn’ (p. 43) … ‘’S tu ’chraobh is àird’ anns an doire \ Th’ ann an coille nan Gàidheal, \ Agus connspunn gun ghiorag, \ Sgiath air uilinn Phrionns’ Teàrlach: \ Bu tu iuchair an fhuasglaidh, \ ’N uair bu chruaidh, no bu chàs e— \ Meud do ghliocas ’s do chéille \ Bheireadh réidh as gach càs thu’ (ibid.).

Also of interest in this volume is the mention of some terms descriptive of houses and housing. For example, we find the term Anns an leabaidh dhùinte in A. Dughallach’s Oran do ’n Mhisg (pp. 28-29), and Do Nighean Fear Thir-na-Drise by Mac Fear Dhail-an-eas (pp. 57-58), contains the following: ‘Tha mis’ an so ’m laidhe \ ’N leabaidh chumhainn, chaoil, chlàraidh’ (p. 57) … Fo sparradh na déile (p. 59).

Another song of note is Rann do’n Rathad Iaruinn by Iain Camshron, throughout which he compares the train to a horse: ‘Cha ruig e leas ach tearc a bhiathadh, \ A’s cha gabh e siol no cònlach; \ Cha chrom e ’cheann ’s cha chuir e beul \ Ged robh e ’dol roimh fheur ’s roimh fhòlach: \ Ma gheibh e deoch an dràsd ’s a rithisd, \ ’S mulchdan dubha ’chur ’na sgròban— \ Ni leth choltach ris a’ ghual \ A chuir air fuadach uainn a’ mhòine’ (p. 88).
Orthography
Edition The National Library catalogue dates this volume to 1860, which accords with the internal evidence of the poems, and is followed here. The NLS Catalogue also records two later editions, one as ‘c. 1880’ (published by R. McGregor, Glasgow) and another as ‘1895’ (published by A. Sinclair, Glasgow). The Gaelic Union Catalogue gives Sinclair’s edition as ‘[1890]’, and dates the other two editions as ‘[18—]’. The later editions do not contain any songs not in that of ‘[1860]’.

A number of these songs had previously appeared in Sar-Obair nam Bard Gaelach, published in 1841 (Text 125). The orthography varies slightly between the volumes. For example, Leoghainn (1841) becomes Leomhainn (c1860). Other songs had appeared in some of the earlier printed collections (e.g. eighteenth-century poems by Mairearad Ni Lachainn, Col. John Roy Stewart and William Ross). Editors should excerpt from these earlier sources whenever they are available.
Other Sources
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