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Metadata for text 119
No. words in text4931
Title Laoidhean Spioradail
Author Hendri, Domhnull
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1857
Date Of Language Various
Publisher Printed and sold by Neil Campbell, Gaelic Bookseller
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Arran
Register Religion, Verse
Alternative Author Name Hendry, Donald
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 16.8cm x 11cm (Bound in a thick volume with other texts)
Short Title Laoidhean Spioradail
Reference Details EUL, Sp. Coll: MackioColl.P.13/11
Number Of Pages 16
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Donald Hendry was born around 1774, in a small village called “An t-Allt-gobhlach” in the north of Arran. The Gearr-Chunntas at the beginning of this volume describes his conversion as follows: ‘Bha ’ghiùlan ann an làithean òige mar a tha ’leithidean an cumantas, eutrom agus amaideach; ach eadhon ann am meadhon a ghòraich agus aingeachd bhuin an Tighearna gu gràsmhor ris, le a thoirt o dhorchadas gu solus, agus o chumhachd shàtain gu Dia’ (p. 2). Hendry became a different man, and began preaching to the people around him. Around five years after his conversion, Hendry began to compose spiritual hymns. ‘An deigh e fein a chleachdadh air a mhodh so ré àireamh do bhliadhnachan chaidh a chur a mach na fhear-teagaisg ann an coicheangal ris na h-Independents’ (p. 2). Hendry stayed in this job until 1831, ‘nuair a chaidh e mach do Chanada air iarrtas àireamh mhòr d’a luchd-dùthcha’ (p. 2). Hendry died in Canada in the spring of 1847, after suffering from health problems. His wife survived him for nearly two years. They had no children.

Two of the poems in this volume – An Soisgeul and Amaideachd na h-Oige – were published individually in 1855. When the publisher heard that all four poems had been published in Canada, ‘fhuair e aon de na leabhraichean o ’n d’ thug e na Laoidhean a leanas a tha nis air an ceartachadh air iarrtas chàirdean aig an robh iad sgrìobhte’ (p. 2).
Contents This volume begins with a Gearr-Chunntas mu Bheath’ an Ughdair (p. 2). This is followed by Laoidhean Spioradail (pp. 3-16), which comprises four poems as follows: Roimhradh do ’n Naigheachd Eibhinn (pp. 3-5), An Soisgeul (pp. 6-10), Amaideachd na h-Oige (pp. 10-14), and An t-Iasgair (pp. 14-16).

Following the Laoidhean there is a short verse written by ‘bean a Mhinistir ’Ic Aoidh ’an Arain’. This was sent ‘ann a’ litir a dh’ ionnsuidh Dhomhnuill Hendri, ’nuair a chual’ i gu’n robh e air a chur a mach a shearmonachadh an t-soisgeil’ (p. 16). It relates to Hendry’s fourth poem, An t-Iasgair (pp. 14-16). It begins, ‘Mo bheannachd chum an iasgair a nis o n’ fhuair thu t’ iarrtas \ Thoir t’ aghaidh air an Iar a tha cianail a’s fàs’ (p. 16).
Sources As noted above, An Soisgeul and Amaideachd na h-Oige had been published individually in 1855. However, the Geàrr-chunntas makes it clear that the direct source of all four poems was the Canadian edition, which Magnus Maclean (Typographia, p. 151) dates to 1855.
Language The four poems in this volume are all spiritual. The themes addressed in Hendry’s poems are similar to those addressed by other mid-to-late 19th century spiritual writers, i.e. salvation versus damnation, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the spreading of the Gospel, and the dangers of frivolity.

In the first hymn, Roimhradh do ’n Naigheachd Eibhinn (pp. 3-5), Hendry starts with Adam’s expulsion from the garden of Eden: ‘Air dhomh bhi ’g iomachd an so gu h-uaigneach \ A’s droch smuaintean ga mo bhuaireadh, \ Och ’s an tha m’ inntinn air a gluasad, \ Gu beachd air Adhamh na staid neo-thruaillidh. \\ Bi sud an staid a bha làn do shòlas, \ Bha laithreachd Dhé ann, bha làn do ghlòir ann, \ Bha aoibhneas iomlan air gach dòigh ann, \ A’s cha robh àite air bith aig bròn ann. \\ Ach, ged a b’ àrd; bu ghearr an uine, \ Gun fhios do Adhamh bha nàmhaid dlù dha, \ Ghabh e fàth air a’s e gun chùram, \ ’S le seòltachd nàmhaid mheall e ’n crùn dheth’ (p. 3). Hendry considers next the effect that this has had on mankind: ‘Tha an eucail so ’nis air sgaoileadh, \ Na luibhre bhàsmhor air feadh an t-saoghail, \ Gus an do thruaill i an cinne-daonna; \ A’s cha ’n ’eil Iudhach no Cinneach saor dhi. \\ Cha ’n ’eil olc a bha riamh ’s an t-saoghal, \ Mort no marbhadh a bha measg dhaoine, \ Iodhal-aoraidh no cràbhadh saoibhe; \ Nach e ’m peacadh a’s mathair-aobhair’ (pp. 4-5).

In An Soisgeul (pp. 6-10) and in Amaideachd na h-Oige (pp. 10-14) Hendry expounds his views on how people ought to live their lives. In An Soisgeul he exhorts us: ‘O! fanaibh dlùth do ’n t-Slànuighear \ ’S na fàilnichibh ann ’ur cuairt, \ Ge d’ robh tuiltean buairidh \ ’G ’ur cuartachadh iomadh uair, \ Crioslaichibh ’ur n-inntinn \ Le fìrinn a’s bheir sibh buaidh, \ A’ sealltuinn ris an Iobairt \ ’Thug dìoladh airson an t-sluaigh’. In Amaideachd na h-Oige the message is similar: ‘Nach seall sibh féin air thoiseach oirbh, \ ’S an fhùrneis faicibh fosgailte, \ A’s sluagh gun àireamh ’losgadh innt’ \ Gun fhois ’s an teine bheò. \\ ’S gu cinnt’ ’s e sud ’ur peanas-sa, \ Mar phill sibh ris le h-aithreachas, \ ’S e Dia e féin a labhair e, \ ’S cha ’n ath’raichear e ni’s mò’ (p. 13).

Hendry touches on the wretchedness of the human condition in the first hymn: ‘Is beag an t-ioghnadh mi bhi fo éislein, \ ’S gu ’r nàmhaid mhòr mo chridhe féin dhomh, \ An inntinn fheolmhor ’s an leoghan béucach, \ An aghaidh m’ anama a’ cur le chéile’ (p. 5) He puts this in more concrete terms in Amaideachd na h-Oige (pp. 10-14): ‘Chum smuaintean cruaidh o m’ chadal mi, \ ’S neo shòlasach ri ’n aithris iad, \ Bhi ’cuimhneachadh air m’ amaideachd, \ A chleachd mi ’n làithean m’ òig. \ … \ Mar asail fhia’ich gun cheannsachadh, \ ’S ann ghluais mi fein gu ceann-laidir, \ Gun suim, O! Rìgh, do t’ aitheantaibh, \ Ach naimhdeas ’n aghaidh do ghlòir. \ … \ Le aigne làn de ’n tàlamh so, \ ’S an inntinn air a dalladh leis; \ ’S na h-òrain dhiomhain, sgriosail sin \ Bhios tric mu bhòrd an òil’ (pp. 10-11). In this hymn, Hendry also addresses God: ‘A Dhé ’s e ’n t-ioghnadh t’ fhoighidinn, \ ’S do thròcair nach d’ thug thairis mi, \ Do bhuillibh géur do cheartais, \ A thaobh m’ aing’eachd ’bhi co mòr. \ … \ O deònaich spiorad ùrnuigh dhomh, \ ’S bhiodh t’ fhocal ’na riaghailt stiùraidh dhomh, \ ’S gu gràsmhor dean-sa m’ ùrachadh \ Gach tràth le uisge beò’ (p. 11).

Roimhradh do ’n Naigheachd Eibhinn (pp. 3-5) concludes with the Passion of Christ: ‘Ach molladh sìorrui’ do ’n Ti ’chaidh chéusadh, \ Nach d’ fhàg aig Sìnai sinn ’n ar n-éigin, \ Ach le fhuil phrìseil a rinn an réite, \ ’S mar sin d’a thrìd-san tha sìth ga h-éigheach’ (p. 5). In An Soisgeul (pp. 6-10), Hendry celebrates the current vitality of the Gospel message, and reminds us that Christ’s sacrifice is its central theme: ‘Tha ’n Soisgeul gu ro-ghràsmhor, \ ’S na làithean so dol mu ’n cuairt, \ Toirt cuireadh na slàinte, \ Do ’n àireamh is meas’ de ’n t-sluagh; \ Cha ’n ’eil e ’g iarraidh diolaidh, \ No ìobairtean fhaotainn uainn, \ Ach umhlachd ’thoirt a’ m fìrinn \ Do Chriosd o chridhe nuadh. \\ O eisdibh-se le cùram, \ ’S le suim ris na tha e ’g ràdh, \ Oir tha e ’cur an céill duinn \ Gu ’n d’ thàinig Ceannard ar slàint, \ G ’un d’ ghabh e cnaimh d ar cnàmhan \ A’s feòil mar a th’ againn féin, \ ’S gu ’n d’ thug e uaith a rìs iad \ Mar ìobairt do cheartas Dé’ (p. 6). The sacrifice is underlined later in the poem: ‘Dhealbhadh leis an Trianaid \ O shiorruidheachd, innleachd slaint’, \ ’S tha i nis air criochnadh’ \ Le iobairt ro-chruaidh a bhàis, \ Gach mallachd a bha duallach \ D’a shluagh-san air feadh gach ré, \ Ghiùlain e ’s an uair sin \ ’S thug buaidh air a chranna-chéus’’ (pp. 7-8). Hendry also praises Jesus in this hymn: ‘’N uair dh éirich e gu làithean \ Bha gràs a’ dealradh ’na ghnuis, \ Shruth feartan na slàinte \ Gu saibhir o ’uile ghniomh, \ Bha cumhachd a dhiadhachd \ A’ dealradh a mach gu mòr, \ Anns gach uile mhiorbhuil \ Riamh a rinn e ’s an fheòil’ (p. 7)

In the fourth poem, An t-Iasgair (pp. 14-16), Hendry expresses his wish to spread the Gospel throughout the Gaidhealtachd: ‘’S na ’m bithinn-se air m’ fhuasgladh \ Mar bu mhiann leam aig an uair so, \ Cha bhithinn dol mu ’n cuairt \ Anns na cuantan gun tàmh; \ Ach rachainn feadh na Gaeltachd \ Le teachdaireachd na slàinte, \ A labhairt ris na cnàmhan \ Tha ’n tàmh anns gach gleann: \ ’S ged bhithinn cur le deuraibh, \ Feadh mhulaichean a’s shleibhtean, \ Bhiodh dòchas gu ’n éireadh e, \ ’Na dheigh sin an àird; \ ’S gu ’m faicte toradh àluinn \ A sheasadh là na dèuchainn, \ ’S a dh’ aidicheadh an Slànuighear \ Gu bràth mar a chlann’ (p. 15).

This text contains a number of interesting idioms (e.g. ’na thrìd-san ‘through Him’, p. 5) and senses (e.g. slàinte ‘salvation’, pp. 15, 16).
Orthography The orthography is fairly typical of the early to mid nineteenth century. There is often uncertainty over l and ll (e.g. molladh ‘praise’, p. 5; mhulaichean ‘summits’, p. 15), which may reflect the falling together of /l/ and /l:/ in Hendry’s Gaelic. Although it was not usual for nineteenth-century spiritual verse to show strong dialectal characteristics, one can sometimes detect traces of Hendry’s Arran Gaelic, e.g. in forms like uacha ‘from them’ (p. 4) and pronunciations like saoghail with an e-vowel to rhyme with nèamha (p. 7). It remains a possibility that the Canadian first edition of Hendry’s laoidhean may have contained more dialectalisms, and that these were edited out by whoever prepared the texts for the Scottish edition of 1857.
Edition The title page notes that this is ‘an dara clo-bhualadh’. As noted above, all four poems were published in Canada prior to the publication of this edition (see Social Context and Sources above).
Other Sources
Further Reading For more information on the Arran dialect and on texts written in the Arran dialect see the texts and references collected in Ronald Black’s ‘An Emigrant’s Letter in Arran Gaelic’ in Scottish Studies 31, 1993, pp. 63-87.
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