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Metadata for text 138
No. words in text28007
Title Dain a Chomhadh [sic, for Chomhnadh] Crabhuidh
Author MacGregor, James
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1819
Date Of Language 1800-1849
Publisher Young & Gallie (Og & Galie)
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Geographical Origins Perthshire
Register Religion, Prose and Verse
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 19cm x 11cm
Short Title Dain a Chomh[n]adh Crabhuidh
Reference Details EUL, New College, Sp. Coll.: E6/a2
Number Of Pages 89
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Unless otherwise stated, all the information quoted in this section has been taken from Life of the Author, prefixed to the 1870 printing of this text (pp. iii-iv).

James MacGregor was born in St. Fillans, in Strathearn, around 1759. His father was a small farmer in the area and, although he was not wealthy, he made sure his son had as good an education as was possible. MacGregor seems to have decided to go into the ministry at a fairly young age: ‘The Anabaptists, whom he joined, were making at that time a considerable sensation in Scotland; the leaders of the body, though perhaps not so well educated as those belonging to the Church of Scotland, were yet, it is allowed even by those who differed from them, noted for their strict walk of life, and diligence in their heavenly calling.’ MacGregor studied divinity with Rev. W. Moncrieff of Alloa, and was ordained at the age of twenty-one. In 1786, he accepted a charge by the General Associate Synod, and was sent to a colony of settlers in Pictou, Nova Scotia.

It was not until later in life that MacGregor began to write spiritual poetry: ‘Having obtained from home copies of Duncan M‘Intyre’s and Ronald M‘Donald’s poems, he set about making imitations—(to more than this he never pretended)—of the most popular songs’ (pp. iii-iv). As regards MacGregor’s poetry, it is claimed by his biographer that his poems are ‘smooth in versification, pleasant in style, and evangelical in doctrine. He mostly follows his countryman Duncan M‘Intyre, from whom he borrows not only distiches or couplets, but even a stanza, slightly altered. His Songs are for the most part mere imitations, but as such are entitled to favourable considerations’. MacNeill (pp. 480-81) adjudges that ‘his poetry, although not of the first order, is yet sweet and natural—metrical effusions in which the simple truths of the Gospel are rehearsed with earnestness and freshness’.

Towards the end of his life, MacGregor was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Glasgow, ‘in recognition of his arduous and successful labours in the Colonies among his countrymen’ (MacNeill, p. 480). MacGregor died in Pictou on 3rd March 1830.
Contents This volume contains 24 poems by MacGregor, including his address to the reader (p. 88), the 4-line Suim an Lagha (p. 3), Na Deich Fàintean (p. 3), and Ceisdean Soisgeulach, no, Criosd na h-Uile anns na h-Uile (pp. 58-62), which has been translated ‘o Bheurrla Ralph Erscinn’ and is written in a Question and Answer format. A list of contents, Clar nan Dan, can be found at the end of the book on p. 89.

This volume contains occasional footnotes supplying references to the biblical sources of passages or explaining the meaning of words or phrases. Some of the poems are based on specific passages in the Bible, in which case the biblical references are given beneath the title of the poem. Two of the poems, Co’-cheangal nan Gras (pp. 13-20) and Coi’-cheangal nan Oibre (pp. 8-13), have short prose introductions. In the copy consulted, pp. 67-68 and 69-70 are bound in the wrong order.
Sources
Language Although MacGregor’s poetry carries a powerful Christian message, it avoids the over-wrought tone found in many contemporary and later religious poets. MacGregor touches on a number of themes in his poetry, including faith and belief, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Gospel, sin, and death.

Much of MacGregor’s poetry focuses on faith and belief and the benefits of having faith in God. For example, Fireantachd Chriosd (pp. 41-45) begins ‘’Si Fìreantachd Iosa Criosd mo Thighearn, \ An dion a bhitheas gu feum, \ O m’ pheacannaibh gniomh ta lionmhor, minic, \ ’S o’n t-siol a ghin iad gu léir; \ Bheir sonas us sòlas mòr do m’ anam \ Nach leòn an anshocair chruaidh; \ ’Sa chemas [sic, for chumas] rium dòchas glòir nam flaitheas, \ Ri m’ bheò air talamh mo chuairt’ (p. 41). In Gradh Dhe (pp. 63-67), the third verse reads: ‘Is grádh neo-chriochnach, is gràdh nach crione [sic, for crion e], \ Ach mar an t-siorruidheachd dhiomhair, ard. \ Gràdh ard mar neamh e, gràdh ’s doimhne freumh e, \ Gràdh fada, réidh e, ’sa leud toirt barr. \ Ceud mheas a ghraidh ud ann innleachd aluinn \ Gu daoin’ a shlanuch’ le bàs mhic Dhé. \ Sud innleachd uasal chum gloir a bhuaidhean \ A thogail suas thair air smuain gu léir’ (p. 63). The last verse of Co’-cheangal nan Gras addresses the reader as follows: ‘Bidh an creidimh mar laimh dhuit, \ Bhios a sir thoirt [sic, for sìor-thoirt] ad ionnsuidh, \ As an lànachd nach ionndrain— \ Biodh e laìdir ’s thig slaim leis, \ Ach bidh beò aig san aindeis; \ Bheir e sith dhuit san aimheirt. \ ’S gus a chrich ni e taingeil gach tràth thu’ (p. 20). A footnote in the 1870 edition tells us that slàim means Móran; pailteas (1870, p. 29).

MacGregor refers to the Gospel in a number of his poems. In An Soisgeul (pp. 27-31), for example, MacGregor praises the Gospel for the benefits it brings to those who embrace it: ‘Ged bhiodh an criosduidh ’n a luidh am priosan, \ Gu docrach, iotmhor, gun bhiadh, gun slaint, \ Ni’n Soisgeul siorruidh, tre bheannachd Iosa \ A chridhe tiorail, le fior ghean gràidh. \ Ged dhùisg a nàmhaid geur leanmhuinn chràiteach \ Gun aon chion fàth air ach gràdh, us sith: \ Tha chridhe aoibhneach, tha ghnùis ro aoidheil; \ Tha dán us laoidh aig’ gach oidhch gun dith’ (p 30). In Craobh Sgaoileadh a Bhiobuill agus an t-Soisgeil (pp. 82-87), MacGregor stresses the importance of spreading the Gospel through world-wide missionary endeavours: ‘Cairear Biobuill am pailteas an clò, \ An cainntibh nan slògh gu léir; \ Cainntean coimheach adh[’]iomadach seòrs, \ Mu nach cuala sinn sgleò, no sgeul. \ Theid an Sgriobtur gu grad do’n taobh tuath, \ Gu Ruisianaich ghruamach, bhorb, \ Gu Lochlinnich, ’s Laponaich fhuar, \ Us Tartaraich luath gun cholg’ (p. 83) … ‘Bidh gach aidmheil us creidimh ’nan aon, \ Gun seachran, gun aomadh clì; \ Thig na papanaich h-ugainn gu saor, \ An ceanglaichibh gaoil, us sith. \ Thig Arabaich, ’s Turcaich le cheil, \ ’S theid Mahomet eigheach sios; \ Thig na h-Iùdhaich le durachd ’nan deigh, \ Thoirt umhlachd, us geill do Chriosd’ (p. 84). There are a number of references to the SSPCK, for example, ‘Gu ma sonadh do’n cheud chuideachd chaoin, \ A dh’ullaich le’n sao’ir e dhuinn, \ Anns a chanain d’an d’thug sinn ar gaol’ (p. 85). A footnote tells us that chuideachd refers to ‘A chuideachd urramach ata chum eólas criosdaidh a sgaoileadh feadh Gaidhealtachd, &c.’

MacGregor reflects on the person and teaching of Christ in a number of his poems. In An Soisgeul (pp. 27-31), Jesus is ‘an caraid gaolach a choisinn saorsadh \ Do’n chinneadh dhaonna le caonnaig chruaidh; \ A dh’fhuiling tamailt o rug a mha’ir e \ Gu la a bhais ann ait an t-sluaigh. \ Nuair bu naoidhean og e, rinn Herod fhogradh \ ’S e dearcadh ’n comhnuidh air doigh an t-sluaigh. \ Bha ’bheatha bronach, am fad ’s bu bheo e, \ ’S e cruaidh an toir air gu bheo thoirt uaith’ (p. 29). In Gradh Dhe (pp. 63-67) Jesus is described in the following terms: ‘Bha peacadh chàich air, us rug am bàs air, \ Le mallachd àraidh gu cràiteach, geur; \ Oir dh’agair Dia e, arson nam fiachan, \ On gheall e’n dioladh gun ghiomh o chéin. \ Be’n sealladh àluinn, bhi faicinn Ràthain \ Toirt geill chum b’ais [sic, for bàis], ann an àit an t-sluaigh, \ B’ e’n comhar gràidh e nach cualas àicheath [sic, for àicheadh], \ ’S cha téid a shàmhuil gu bràth a luadh’ (p. 65). Later in the same poem he declares: ‘Thug cnmhachd [sic, for cumhachd] ’fhacail a lù ’s [sic, for lù(th)s] do’n bhacach, \ ’S do mhiltibh acrach lan phailteas bìdh; \ Ghrad chuir e seanchas an teanga bhalbhain, \ Us chual na mairbh e gan gairm a nios’ (p. 65).

MacGregor also looks at the work of the Holy Spirit. In Moladh nan Gras (pp. 54-58), for example, MacGregor uses the following simile: ‘Mar a chreag ann am meadhon a chuain, \ Us na tonna ga bualadh gun tàmh; \ Ged bhiodh buaireas gach taobh dhuit mun cuairt, \ Ni an t-sìth so so [sic] doth-ghluasadh [sic, for do-ghluasad], thu ghnà. \ Ni an Spiorad thu Macanta, mìn, \ Ni e d’ isleachadh sìos gus an làr; \ Chi thu aobhar air Irioslachd crì, \ Oir bu dìblidh do chòr [sic], mur bhiodh gràs’ (p. 56). In Obair an Spioraid Naoimh (pp. 45-51) he slips into a eulogistic mode: ‘M’ annsachd Spiorad na naomhachd, \ A thig o’n Athair, ’s o’n Aonghin, \ ’Sè is urrainn ’sa chaochlath, \ Spiorad cumhachd us gaoil e, \ Spiorad barraichte saor e, \ Spioraid carthannach, caoin e, \ ’Spiorad acuinneach, faoilidh, gun àilleas’ (p. 46). MacGregor also explains precisely how the Holy Spirit affects someone who is receptive to its power: ‘Ni e caochlath [sic] air d’ inntinn, \ Bheir gu réite, ’s gu sìth thu, \ Ris an lagh a thug Criosd duinn: \ Bidh e uile leat prìseil, \ Bidh ta [sic, for tu] daonnan ’ga sgrìobhadh, \ Air do chridhe gu dìleas, \ Chum ’s gu-n cleachd thu le dìcheall gach là e’ (p. 48).

In Creidimh (pp. 31-34) and Do’n Mhichreidmheach (pp. 35-38), MacGregor addresses the wretched state of unbelievers. For example, Creidimh contains the following exclamation: ‘’Siad mo thruaighe clann daoine, co baoghalt, ’s co dùr! \ Dol a thaobh mar theid caoraich air faontradh [sic, for faontrath] gu dlù! \ Mar tig feartan o’n aird thoirt doibh nàduir as ur, \ Cha chreid neach de shliochd Adhaimh an Slànuighear ciùin’ (p. 32). In Ifrionn (pp. 80-82), MacGregor gives the following warning: ‘Na h-uil’ aon nach creid an soisgeul, \ ’S nach toir gràdh dha, \ Seasaidh iad air an laimh thoisgeil, \ Aig la bhràth ud. \ ’Nuair theid na leabraichean fhosgladh \ Bidh ’m binn bàis annt: \ Cluinnidh iad an diteadh gu tosdach, \ Gun leisgeul àraidh. \\ Theid iad gu ifrionn na dòruinn, \ Gun uair dàil doibh; \ Bidh Dia caillt’ dhoibh us a shòlas, \ Fos a ghràsan. \ Chì iad gu soilleir co gòrach, \ Meallt ’s a bha iad; \ Nach do chaith iad am an òige \ Réir na h-àithne. \\ Chì iad mòran sona, saibhir, \ Shuas am pàrras; \ Gairdeachas ceòl us aoibhneas \ Ac, us [sic] slàinte: \ Iad féin ag fulang gu h-oillteil, \ ’S an t-slochd ghràineil; \ Slochd dubh, dorch, gun deò soillse, \ Dh’oidhch no là ann’ (p. 80).

MacGregor also considers the question of sin. In Coi’-cheangal nan Oibre (pp. 8-13), for example, he raises the question of original sin by relating Adam’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden: ‘Rinn e cionta ro uamhar, \ Threig e ’Chruthadair uasal, \ Ghabh e ’n diabhol mar uachdran, \ ’S air gach neach thainig uaithe, \ Thug e peacadh, us truaighe, \ Mile triobloid, us buaireadh, \ Diteadh ifrinn, ’s b’e ’n cruadal bu mho e. \\ ’S bochd dhuinn uile mar thachair, \ Chaill sinn Dia, us an reachd aig, \ Dh’fhalbh ar tuigse ’s ar neart uainn, \ ’Se ar nàmhaid an ceartas, \ Tha ar gradh aig a pheacadh, \ Tha sinn lan de dhroch cleachdaibh, \ ’S cian, ’s is fada air seacharan sa cheo sinn’ (p. 11). In Do’n Pheacadh (pp. 20-26), MacGregor addresses Sin as a person: ‘’Stu ceud aobhar gach seachrain \ A thain o reachd an Ardrigh oirn; \ Cha-n eil maise no dreach ort, \ Tha thu feachdte, neo dhìreach’ (p. 20).

MacGregor does not refer extensively to biblical characters. An exception occurs in the penultimate stanza of Moladh Grais (pp. 51-54), where a series of such figures is invoked: ‘Cha bhi duine ’sa chuideachd gu léir, \ Nach bi gleus air ag moladh a ghràis: \ Bidh Abraham ’s Maois ann le chéil, \ Agus Daibidh [sic, for Daibhidh] nan teud, us nan dàn: \ Bidh Manaseh ’nam meadhon mar sheòd, \ Agus Daniel, ’s Ioseph an àigh, \ Bidh seann Simeon, Peadar, us Pòl, \ Muire Maidilein, ’s Eoin fear mo ghràidh’ (p. 54). Similarly, in Do’n Pheacadh (pp. 20-26), MacGregor approaches the question of sin by referring to biblical examples of sinners and wrong-doers: ‘Rinn thu mortair de Chain [sic, for Chàin], \ ’s b-ann air Abel am firean [sic, for fìrean]: \ ’S cha robh aobhar do’n àr ud, \ ach am brathair bhi dileas [sic, for dìleas] \ … Dh’fhàg thu Sodom co graineil, \ le do ghnáthannaibh griseil, \ ’S gu-n d’rug leir sgrios gun dail [sic, for dàil] air, \ le breth an Ardrigh ro phrìseil’ (p. 24).

Death and the rewards of heaven figure largely in some poems located towards the end of this volume, particularly in Am Bas (pp. 67-72), An Aiseirigh (pp. 72-74), Am Breitheanas Deireannach (pp. 74-78), and Flaithsheanas (pp. 78-80). In An Aiseirigh (pp. 72-74), for example, the following lines occur: ‘Thig am bas oirn muncairt [sic, for muncuairt], \ ’S ceart gu-n luidhinn ’s an uaigh, \ ’Ach cha téid mi le gruaim ’na còir, \ Oir bha Iosa mo run, \ Greis ’na luidheadh ’san uir, \ ’S rinn e’n leabadh ud cùbhraidh dhòmhs’ (p. 72). Compare also: ‘On a dh’éirich a rìs \ Sar Cheann fheadhna mo shìth, \ Gun e dh’fhuireach fad shìos fo’n fhòid: \ Us gu-n deachaidh e suas, \ Ghabhail seilbhe d’a shluagh, \ Anns na flaithibh, le luathghair mhòir’ (p. 73). Similar sentiments are found in Flaithsheanas (pp. 78-80): ‘Cha bhi peacadh ’n sud, no buaireadh, \ Dh’ fhògradh Sàtan: \ Cha bhi duine ann fo smuairean, \ Le bròn sàmhach. \ Cha bhi tinneas, dragh, no truaigh ann, \ No fuaim nàmhaid: \ Cha bhi gort, no gaoir, no gruaim ann, \ No cùis chràdhaidh’ (p. 79).

Some poems contain the evangelical exhortation to turn to God now, before it is too late. For example, in Do’n Mhichreidmheach (pp. 35-38), the message is: ‘Seas, us seall air do chunnart, \ Gun fhios c’uin a gheibh ’n t-aog thu. \ Gabh ri Criosd anns an fhacal, \ Leig do thaic ris ’na aonar. \\ Cum an comhnuidh do shùil air, \ Bi gu dlu ris air d’ aonadh: \ Gabh an Spiorad gun dail uaith, \ Ni e gras ort a thaomadh’ (p. 38). In Am Bas (pp. 67-72), the advice was similar: ‘Gabhsa cothrum na h-òige, \ Gabh am focal gu d’ sheòladh, \ Gabh an Spiorad gu d’ threòruch’, \ Fad an ròid mar cheann-iuil. \ Cleachd a ghràsan le dìcheall, \ Biodh na fàintean leat priseil, \ Chaoi na fàg iad air dìchuimhn \ Tha iad dìreach gun lub.’ (p. 70).
Orthography The orthography is that of the early-to-mid-nineteenth century. A fair number of accents are supplied – some being misplaced, as in siòr for sìor (p. 22) – but there is nothing like complete consistency.

The author’s dialect may be reflected in such word-forms as triobloid (p. 11), gu d’ threòruch’ (p. 70), ròid (p. 70), a rìs (p. 73), luidheadh (p. 72) and le chéil (p. 54).

Also of interest, as a conservative, upper-register form, is the author’s use of the synthetic third-person plural form táid ‘they are’, in ‘Taid aineolach, allaidh, gnn [sic] chiall, \ Taid buaireasach, fiadhaich, coirbt, \ Taid diorrasach dioghaltach, dian, \ Brais, ardanach, iargalt, borb’ (p. 84).
Edition First edition. Six further editions appeared: in 1825, 1831, 1832, 1847, 1861, and 1870. The last edition contains a note stating that: ‘The former editions have been very incorrectly printed, the first two evidently without the superintendence of a Gaelic reader’ (p. iv). While editors should be aware that there are some typing errors in the first edition, they do not significantly detract from the content of the text. While the second and subsequent editions contain occasional corrections and alterations to the spelling, the 1870 edition of this text reveals a more thorough-going set of changes: the orthography has been modernised, a number of words have been altered, and the order of lyrics has been slightly rearranged in the poem Creidimh (pp. 31-34).
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