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Metadata for text 143
No. words in text60546
Title Orain Nuadh Ghaeleach; maille ri Beagain do Cho-chruinneachadh Urramach na’n Aireamh
Author N/A
Editor MacLeoid, Domhnul
Date Of Edition 1811
Date Of Language 1800-1849
Publisher Clodh-bhuailt agus R’an Reic le Eoin Young, airson an Udair
Place Published Inverness
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Various
Register Literature, Verse
Alternative Author Name Domhnull nan Òran, Donald MacLeod
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 21.5cm x 13cm
Short Title Orain Nuadh Ghaeleach
Reference Details EUL, Sp. Coll.: MackinnonColl.6.48
Number Of Pages 271
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context The following information and quotations have been taken from John N. MacLeod’s article in TGSI 29.

Donald MacLeod was born in Glendale in 1787. His father, Neil MacLeod, was a well respected crofter in the area. His mother was Seonaid MacPherson. MacLeod did not get much schooling in Glendale, but he made good use of what schooling he did get, and learned to read English. He had a good memory, and loved to listen to the old men and women in the taigh-ceilidh, telling stories and singing songs about Fionn and Oisean. MacLeod was fifteen years old when he composed his first song, Aitreabh Ruairidh, to Ruairidh MacNeill, the merchant in Stein. This song was not included in his 1811 publication. At the age of 19, MacLeod began courting nighean Stiubhartach Bhorghodail (p. 123). Her father did not approve of her courting a crofter’s son, but MacLeod strove to see her whenever he could. They were not to marry, however, as she died at the age of 21.

MacLeod managed to avoid joining the army during the Napoleonic wars, and shortly afterwards was employed by MacLeod of Dunvegan, who had heard of him from a friend, ‘a bhi ’n a fhear-tional chìsean an rathaid-mhóir airson an eilein gu léir’ (p. 121). He was thus freed from any obligation to the armed services and his new job gave him the run of the island: ‘agus cha robh òran no sgiala, no “eòlas” no “leigheas” a chluinneadh e eadar dà cheann an eilein nach robh e taisgeadh suas ’n a chuimhne iongantaich, le làn rùn gach ni dhiubh sin a thoirt do ’luchd-dùthcha an dubh ’s an geal an dèidh laimh. Chuala sinn air dheagh urras, iomadh uair nach robh duine beò r’a linn aig an robh am barrachd fiosrachaidh air bàrdachd, beul-aithris, eachdraidh, agus cleachdaidhean an eilein agus a bha aigesan’ (p. 121).

MacLeod began to prepare a history of Skye for publication, but this never came to fruition, possibly due to lack of funds. In 1811, at the age of 24, MacLeod published this volume, including some of his own poems, together with those of others. In 1829, MacLeod travelled around the Highlands collecting subscriptions for a new book on ‘fior eachdraidh Chaluim Chille, Choinnich Uidhir, agus cunntas mionaideach air a Bhreitheamh Leódhasach agus an Taoitear Sàileach bho am breith gu am bàs’ (p. 123). This project, like his history of Skye, never came to fruition.

MacLeod eventually tired of travelling the island collecting money, and instead became a fisherman for MacLeod of Dunvegan. He did not enjoy this work as much as he had hoped, however, and shortly afterwards he sailed for America, where he stayed for fifteen years. It seems that MacLeod travelled frequently in America, engaging in whatever work was available at the time. The literary evidence suggests that he did not compose much while he was there, and he eventually decided to return to Glendale. John N. MacLeod suggests: ‘Chan ’eil teagamh againn nach d’ rinn e beagan airgid a chur ma seach an America, oir tha sinn a’ leughadh gun do chuir e suas ceannachd an uair a thainig e dhachaidh’ (pp. 124-45). It is said that at the age of 60, MacLeod married a 19 year old woman and they had a family of four boys and six girls. Their son, Neil (author of Clarsach an Doire), became a well-known poet in his own right, and another son, Iain Dubh, was also known as a fine bard. Donald MacLeod died in 1873, at the age of 86, and he was buried, among his ancestors, in the cemetery at Glendale.
Contents This volume begins with the editor’s Roimh-Radh (pp. iii-v), followed by a Clar-Inseidh (pp. vi-viii) which lists the songs in alphabetical order, by first line.

Cochruinneacha Nuadh do dh’ Orainnibh Gaidhealach (pp. 9-271) contains 60 songs by MacLeod and other authors. Less than twenty of the songs are by MacLeod. In addition to MacLeod’s songs, we find, among others, Ho ro an ladie dhuibh by Uilleam Ros; Ciamar dh’ fhaodas mi bhi beò and Oran do Shir Seumas, Triath Chloinn Domhnuill by Ailean Dall; Mort Ghlinne Comhann by Am Bard Mucanach; and Marbhrann do Sheumas Domhnullach by Fear Sceaboist. John N. MacLeod points out that eight or nine of the poems are ascribed to a poet known only by the initials ‘R. M.’. The last song in the book is the Ossianic poem Mordubh (pp. 257-66).
Sources
Language The songs in this volume embrace a number of themes, including praise, elegy, war, and love.

The praise songs include Oran do Eoin Tormaid Macleoid (pp. 9-13), Oran do Shir Lachluin Mac Ghilleoin, Triath Dhubhairt (pp. 133-39), Oran do dh’ Alaistair Og Bhalaidh (pp. 167-73), and Oran do Shir Eoghan Camron (pp. 216-22). The recent composition Oran do Shir Ian MacPherson by ‘Mrs. Madsair MacLeoid, ann an Steinn’ (pp. 104-06), the image of the chief as a tree is deployed confidently: ‘Chuinig mis ann am chodail, \ A chraobh uirail bu taitnaich, \ Sa duilleach cuir faiscaidh air cheudean. \ As na friamhaichean sughmhor, \ A ghinneadh o thùs i, \ Gur a brithoir an uir as na dh’eirich’ (pp. 104-05).

The praise songs frequently focus on the subject’s prowess in battle. For example, Oran do dh’ Alaistair Og Bhalaidh includes the following vivid picture: ‘’S tu soighdfhear tha scarteil, \ Agus claidheamh gorm dathte na’d dhorn, \ Dol an coinaibh do namhaid, \ ’S tu chuireadh gu bàs dhiu gu leoir; \ Cinn ga’n gearradh gu h-ard dhiu, \ Agus corpaibh ga fagail gun deo, \ ’S tu nach scuireadh gu brath dhiu, \ Gus an tilleadh tu ’n ràsan nan sròin’ (p. 168). In Oran do Eoin Tormaid Macleoid (pp. 9-13), the subject is pictured at the head of his war-band: ‘’N uair a thogair cruinn dhireach,— \ Fuidh do bhrataichin siode, \ Le caismeachd na ’m pioban, \ Ro laiseadh na ’m pichdean; \ ’S ceann tairbh dhe ’n or fhiorghlan, \ Mar shign o ’n fhuil direach, \ Bhidh air thoisich na miltibh sa ghabhadh’ (p. 12).

There are also a number of other poems which deal with battles, armies and bloodshed, such as Oran do Bhlar na h-Eiphaid. Bliadhna 1801 (pp. 26-31), Oran Nuadh, air Reismeid Mhic-Shimi (pp. 61-65), Muirt Ghlinne Comhann (pp. 225-29).

Elegies and laments include Marbh-Rann do dh’Fhear Thalasgir, anns sa Bhliadhna 1798 (pp. 21-25), Marbh-Rann do Sheumas Domhnullach, Fear Sceaboist (pp. 50-56), Marbhrann do Chaiptein Alastair MacLeoid, anns a Bhattuin (pp. 107-12), Cumha do Theaghlach Ois (p. 112-16), and Cumha Shiorram Farluin (pp. 239-41). These share much of the vocabulary of the eulogies. This includes a set of conventional attributes for female subjects, as in Oran do Mhnaoidh Uasal ann a Gleannagarradh (pp. 124-26): ‘B’ fhoghaintaich thu na Deborah, \ ’S bha thu cho boidheach ri Iuno, \ Thu cho geanmnuidh ri Susanna, \ ’S cho banail ri[th’] ann ’s gach giulan, \ Bha thu iochdmhor, creidmheach, Diadhaidh, \ Ma d’ chuid bha thu fialaidh, pairteil, \ Aig lionmhoreachd do bhuaidhean uasal, \ Bu tu bhean shuairc’ a bh’aig Nabel’ (pp. 125-26). In Marbh-Rann do dh’Fhear Thalasgir, anns sa Bhliadhna 1798 (pp. 21-25), the standard attributes of a male subject are invoked, e.g.: ‘Cha chuala’ mi fear t-ailleachd, \ Ann an dreach, na ’n caradh eididh, \ ’N uair rachadh tu fui’ t-armaibh, \ Bu neo-chearbach u san leum sin; \ Le cloidheamh caol chin airgid ort, \ A’s biodag bhreac na meanbh ghrainin, \ A’s h-olstair fhrancach gheala-ghleusach, \ ’S a laimh a dhearbhadh feum leo’ (p. 22).

A few of the songs touch on clan matters, e.g. Smeorach na Leodach (pp. 127-33) and Oran le Ruairidh Mac Mhuirich, ’n uair Thainig e Thamh do Ghleanneilg (pp. 201-10). The former poem invokes the legendary progenitors of the clan, e.g.: ‘Sliochd an Fherguis bu shearbh caismachd, \ S fleed’ [sic, for fleet] na’n geala bhreid, \  fui’ gharg fhacal, \ Sliosadh fairge na’m balg glasa’, \ Ruith na’n garbhlach bu gharbh maistradh’ (p. 129). In the second, we find ‘Tha sliochd Ian Mhic Mhartuin, \ Gu tabhachdach treun, \ Raghuinn air Naimhdis, \ An cairdis, gun bhreug; \ Cha bhuin iad ri falbheairt, \ Mo lamh-sa nach speis; \ Far n’ isle an garadh, \ Cha ghna[th] leo a leum, \ Na fir ghasta gun bhi meata, \ ’S iad nach seachuinn streap, \ Le ’m beirir buaidh gach sbairne, \ Ann ’s gach aite dha ’n d’theid’ (pp. 205-06).

Some of the songs are rich in adjectival description, as in the following lines from Oran do Shir Seumas, Triath Chloinn Domhnuill, a Dheug sa’n Roimh (pp. 56-61): ‘Gur h-inealt an consmun, ceann-cinneadh Chloinn Do’nuil, \ Fear iriosal, stolda, gun toir air an ardan, \ Eireachdail, coimhliont, soilleir an eolas, \ Gairear an trogbhail, bochdan mo laimh-sa, \ Cuirteir na siobhaltachd, urla na h-aoidhealachd, \ Tlusail ri dileachdain, ’s cuimhneach air airidh, \ Aigeantach, innsgineach, beachdail air rioghalachd, \ Gaisgeach roimh mhillte nan sineadh e ’n gairdean’ (p. 58). Compare the following lines in Oran do Throtornish (pp. 210-13): ‘Sin an duthaich thioral, \ Far an eirich grian le moch-eiridh; \ Gu lubach, strathach, iosal, \ Tìr noineach, mhineach, lusanach; \ Tìr sguabach, chruachach, lionmhore, \ Tìr mhiosal, bhiachar, thrusganach; \ ’N tìr mhor bha coir gu fialachd, \ ’N tìr chàroil, thioroil, chuirteasach’ (p. 211).

MacLeod’s contributions to this volume include several love songs, most of which bemoan the fact that he cannot be with the girl he loves. These include Oran le Do’nul MacLeoid, dha Leanan, air Dhi bhi ro Bheartach, ’s na faicte an Coir a Bhail’ e bhidh am Bais cinnteach aige (pp. 77-79), Oran dha Leanan Cheudna (pp. 79-83), Luinneag air Gaol (pp. 83-85), and Luinneag Gaol (pp. 222-24). In the first-mentioned song he complains: ‘Mo chriodhe leointa fui’ spoig gach gallir, \ O chaill mi ’n dochas gur tu bu bhean dhomh, \ ’S o thraidh mo shuilin, tha ’n uir ga m’ tharruin, \ ’S gur gearr an uine gu’n dun’ i far rium’ (p. 77).

Some other songs deal with love, marriage and sexual matters, but in a less personal way, e.g.: Oran le Bean Oag, air Dhi bhi Posd’ aig Shean Duine (pp. 65-72), Oran le Gil’ Oag, air Dha Ceithirar na Coignar Fhaotuin an Diolanais (pp. 72-76), Oran Sugraidh, mar Chomhairle do Ghillean Oga (pp. 248-52), and Oran Sugraidh do Charaid Og, Oidhche am Bainnse (pp. 253-57).

Other songs, on miscellaneous topics, include Oran an Uisge-Beatha (pp. 35-39), Oran a rinneadh do dh’ Each a bh’ann sa Chlaigin, air dha bhi ro Chrosda, ’s nach b’ Urain Duine Faighin Fogaisg air gu a Glacadh (pp. 39-42), Oran do ’n Tombaca (pp. 85-87), Oran do ’n Acrais (pp. 91-96), Oran Mollaidh a Bhontado (pp. 96-100), and Rann le Do’nul MacLeoid air dha Sàmhla Fhaicinn aig Eiridh o Ionnad na Marbh, ann an Cill-chòthain (pp. 186-94).
Orthography The songs by Donald MacLeod and his contemporaries are composed in standard literary Gaelic of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, with some nods in the direction of Skye and Wester Ross forms.

Given the presence of ‘tall s’, the absence of accents and a general uncertainty about the spelling of palatalised versus non-palatalised consonants, the orthography of this volume should be classed with the late eighteenth century, though it belongs chronologically within the early nineteenth century. The text contains numerous typographical mistakes.

The later poems, including Donald MacLeod’s compositions, contain a significant number of English loan-words, e.g. Mar shign o ’n fhuil direach (p. 12), Le deisichin foidhne (p. 13), ’S gu ’m bi mo cheann aig an fhactoir (p. 80), and cho dearg ri bhermilleoin (p. 84).
Edition First edition of Donald MacLeod’s songs and of songs by his contemporaries. But some older songs in this collection have been copied from earlier sources, e.g. Oran do Shir Lachluin Mac Ghilleoin, Triath Dhubhairt (pp. 133-39), which is dependent on the version in Ranald MacDonald’s ‘Eigg Collection’ (1776), i.e. Text 170. The present versions of songs like this should be rated ‘D’ and ignored for excerpting purposes.

Another volume of MacLeod’s poetry, containing seven new songs, was published in 1871 under the title Dain agus Orain. The new songs are as follows: Rann do dh’Eildeirean an Loin Mhoir (pp. 3-6), Dan do’n Ghrein (pp. 6-9), Dan do’n Ghealaich (pp. 9-11), Dan a’ Bhreithanais (pp. 11-14), Dan do’n Uaigh (pp. 14-16), Oran do Thullaich Ghlais ris an abrar “Tungag” (pp. 16-18), and Oran an Uillt-Mhoir (pp. 18-20). NB The seven poems in the 1871 volume should be added to the corpus in due course and excerpted as part of Donald MacLeod’s repertoire.
Other Sources
Further Reading MacLeod, John N., ‘Domhnull nan Oran (Am Bard Sgitheanach)’, TGSI 29, 1922, pp. 119-33.
MacLeoid, Domhnull, Dain agus orain, 1871.
MacKenzie, John (ed.), Sar-Obair nam Bard Gaelach, 1841.
 
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