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Metadata for text 142
No. words in text142623
Title Cuairt an Oilthirich; no Turus a Chriosduidh; o’n t-Saoghal Seo Chum an Ath-shaoghail: fo Shamhladh Bruadair. Ann an Da Earrainn.
Author Bunyan, John
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1812
Date Of Language 1800-1849
Publisher I. Stiubhart
Place Published Edinburgh
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Argyll
Register Religion, Prose
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 16cm x 11cm
Short Title Cuairt an Oilthirich
Reference Details EUL, Sp. Coll.: S.B. .82342
Number Of Pages viii, 279
Gaelic Text By MacPharlain, P (MacFarlane, Patrick/Peter)
Illustrator N/A
Social Context This volume is a translation of John Bunyan’s allegorical novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress, which was first published in London in two parts, in 1678 and 1684. John Bunyan was born at Harrowden, near Bedford, on 18th November, 1628. He had little schooling, and seems to have come to religion through studying two books, The Plain Man’s Path-way to Heaven and The Practice of Piety, which belonged to his first wife, whom he married in 1649. In 1653 he became a member of the non-conformist Free Church congregation (‘the Bedford Meeting’) in Bedford, and in 1655 he became a deacon and began preaching.

Bunyan took part in a number of religious debates during 1656 and 1657, in which he disagreed strongly with the leaders of the Religious Society of Friends. Having been indicted in 1658, Bunyan was finally imprisoned in 1660, on a charge of preaching without a licence from the Church of England, and thereby violating the Conventicle Act. He spent 12 years in jail for refusing to conform to Church regulations and to stop preaching. He was released in 1672, after Charles II issued the Royal Declaration of Religious Indulgence. Upon his release, Bunyan became pastor of the Bedford Meeting. He was imprisoned again in 1675, after the withdrawal of the Declaration, but only served six months. Due to his popularity, he was not bothered by the law again. John Bunyan died on 31st August 1688, having caught a fever on his way to London.

Bunyan began writing The Pilgrim’s Progress while in prison and the first part was published in 1678. A second edition of this was published in 1679, which contained additions written after Bunyan’s release from prison. The second part of The Pilgrim’s Progress was published in 1684. During Bunyan’s lifetime, eleven editions of the first part were published, along with two editions of the second part. The combined work has since been translated into over 100 languages.

The story follows a young man, Christian, and his family, as they leave their home in the ‘City of Destruction’ (baile an Leir-sgrios, p. 261) and travel to the ‘Celestial City’ – Zion. In the first part of the story Christian leaves his wife and four sons (who at first refuse to join him) and travels towards Zion, chronicling his journey and the characters he meets along the way, including ‘Obstinate’ (Ceann-laidir), ‘Pliable’ (Socharach), and ‘Hopeful’ (Misneachail). Christian faces many trials, but also meets many people who help him in his quest. The second part of the story chronicles the journey of his family, who finally decide to follow Christian to Zion. The tale of Pilgrim’s Progress is framed within two dreams related by a narrator, one dream for each part of the story. Much of the text within each dream consists of direct speech.

The translator of this work, Patrick (also Peter) MacFarlane, was for a time a schoolmaster in Appin. He was a Gaelic scholar and during his lifetime he translated a number of religious texts. See the Gaelic Union Catalogue for a list of works translated by MacFarlane. He also published Co’-chruinneachadh de dh’Orain agus Luinneagaibh Thaghta Ghae’lach, which contained part of Ewen MacLachlan’s translation of the Iliad (see Text 137) in 1813, and compiled A New and Copious English and Gaelic Vocabulary, published in 1815. In addition, MacFarlane ‘superintended the reprinting of the 1796 edition of the Gaelic New Testament’. MacFarlane was born in 1753, and died in 1831.
Contents This volume begins with Roi’radh do’n Leughadoir Chriosduidh (pp. iii-iv), followed by Clar-Innsidh (pp. v-viii). Cuairt an Oilthiriche; no Turus a Chriosduidh: fo Shamhladh Bruadair (pp. 1-279) is presented in two parts: Part 1 (pp. 1-146) and Part 2 (pp. 147-279). Each part forms continuous narrative and is not sub-divided into chapters or sections.
Sources
Language This text shares many words and expressions with sermons and religious tracts. It contains frequent references to the Bible. Given the structure of the narrative, much of the text takes the form of a discussion between two or more characters.

One of the most interesting aspects of the lexicon employed in this text is the Gaelic treatment of the allegorical personal names given to the many characters who figure in Bunyan’s text. (Over 70 such characters appear in the two parts). These names include Eolas, Fein-fhiosrachadh, Furachair, agus Treibh-dhireach (p. 257); Socharach, Dearmad, agus Dànachd (p. 39); Riaghailteach, agus Cealgoireachd (ibid.); Gliocas saoghalta (p. 9); Ionraic (p. 276); Gaisgeil (p. 277); and Bi-gramail (p. 277). There are also a number of allegorical place-names, such as Slochd na mi-mhisnich (p. 12) and baile Seoltachd-fheolmhor (p. 9).

Most of the text, both narrative and dialogue, contains scriptural echoes and there are frequent references to and quotations from the Bible. The following examples are typical: ‘Thuirt am Fear-teagaisg ris, ’Se ’n teine obair nan gràs a th’air oibreacha san anam; ’s esan a bha tilgeadh an uisg air chum a chuir as an diabhal: ach leis mar chunnaic thu gur ann bu dèine bha e gabhail, chi thu fòs an cionfath man do thachair sin’ (p. 23); ‘Air do mhealladh! ’s cinnteach gu bheil thu’n sin. Cuimhnich an Sean-fhocal, Mat. xxiii. 1 Cor. iv. 2. Their, ach cha dean iad; ach cha’n ann an cainnt a tha rioghachd Dhe, ach ’an cumhachd. Tha e labhairt mu ùrnuigh, mu aithreachas, mu chreidimh, agus mu’n nuadh-bhreith; ach ’se labhairt ni ’s aithne dha umpa’ (p. 65); ‘’S amhuil a rinneadh air Corah, Datan, agus Abiram, maille ris an dà cheud agus an leth-cheud fear a chaidh a sgrios nam peacadh, nan comharradh agus nan samhladh chum daoin’ a chuir air am faicill. Aireamh. xxvi. 9, 10’ (p. 94); ‘An uair a bha iad mar so a’teachd am fagus do’n gheata. [sic] feuch thainig cuideachd de ’n t-slòigh neamhuidh a mach nan cò’-dhail; ris an dubhradh leis an dithis dhealrach eile a bha leo, ’S iad so na daoine a ghràdhaich ar Tighearna, am feadh a bha iad air thalamh, agus dh’ fhàg iad gach ni air sgàth ainme, agus chuir e sinne chum an treorachadh’ (p. 143).

During the course of the story, we learn of the various trials that the characters go through in their quest for enlightenment. We hear of the places they go through and the people they meet, e.g.: ‘Thòisich iad a nis ri tearnadh a bhruthaich do Ghleann na h-Irisleachd. Bha’m bruthach cas, agus bha’n rathad sleamhuin, ach bha iad air am faicill, agus rainig iad gun tuisleadh. An uair a bha iad sa ghleann, thuirt Cràbhadh ris a Bhana-chriosduidh, ’S ann an so a thachair t-fhear air an droch spiorad Apoluon, ’s an do chuir iad an cath gailbheach. Tha fios agam gu’n cuala tu uime: Ach biodh deagh mhisneach agad; cha’n eagal duit am fad ’sa bhios Misneachail ’na fhear-iuil agad’ (p. 208); compare also: ‘Bha aig an uilbheist so àmaibh sònruicht air an robh e teachd a mach, ’s a’ toirt oirp [sic: oidhirp] air cloinn muinntir a bhaile: Rinn na daoine treubhach sin faire air sna h-àmaibh àraidh sin, agus thug iad ionnsuidh dhiongmhalt air, ionnas gun do leon iad, agus gun d’fhàg iad crùbach e, air chor ’s nach d’ rinn e na h-urrad dholaidh do mhuinntir a bhaile, ’s a b’ àbhuist da’ (p. 249).

The text contains brief descriptive passages, e.g. provide the settings for the next encounters and confrontations. The biblical inspiration for these settings is often made explicit. A typical passage is the following: ‘Ach thig sinn a rìs do Ghleann so na h-Irisleachd. Is e mìr fearainn is fearr agus is feumaile anns na criochaibh so uile. Tha e na thalamh reamhar, agus, mar chi sibh, tha e mar is pailte na chòmhnard: agus na d-thige duine ann an àm an t-samhruidh, mar a tha sinne, cha b’urrainn e gun taitneadh ris. Faicibh co gorm ’s a tha ’n gleann so, agus cia maiseach ’sa tha e le lilighibh. Dàn. ii. 1. Serm. iv. 6. 1 Pead. v. 6’ (p. 209).

While much of the vocabulary in this text is pretty standard for religious prose of the time, a special importance attaches to the Gaelic versions of the allegorical names for characters and places which appear throughout the text.
Orthography
Edition First edition. Second edition published in Glasgow in 1819. A new translation was published in 1840 under the title Cuairt an Eilthirich. A number of stereotyped editions were subsequently published during the second half of the nineteenth century, and a number of editions were published during the twentieth century.
Other Sources
Further Reading Cameron, Nigel M. de S., Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology, 1993.
MacLean, Donald, Typographia Scoto-Gadelica, 1915.
Thomson, Derick S. (ed.), The Companion to Gaelic Scotland, 1994.
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