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Metadata for text 146
No. words in text47394
Title Orain Ghaelach
Author Mac Ghrigair, Iain
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1801
Date Of Language 18th c.
Publisher Clo-Bhuailt le Adhamh Mac Neill agus a Chuideachd.
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 Perthshire
Register Literature, Verse
Alternative Author Name MacGregor, John
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 16.5cm x 10.5cm
Short Title Orain Ghaelach
Reference Details NLS: Blair.87
Number Of Pages 227
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Little is known about MacGregor other than what is included in the Preface (see below). MacNeill (1929, p. 411) notes that this volume contains ‘nothing of decided merit’. MacLean (1972) states that ‘this work was helped through the press by the Rev. John M‘Laurin, Glasgow’.
Contents This volume begins with a dedication Do ’n Ridairè Uramach Iain Mac Ghrigair, Triagh Lanric agus Bochuider, Ceann-Cinnich Shioll Ailpain (p. iii). Above the dedication is a coat of arms bearing the clan motto ’S Rioghail mo Dhream, and the war-cry Ard Choille.

The Preface (pp. vii-viii) explains that ‘some of the following Poems were composed, about fifteen or sixteen years ago, merely for the Author’s private amusement. When their number had increased, he conceived the idea of presenting them to the Public.’ A number of people are then acknowledged, particularly ‘his Patron Sir John Macgregor Murray, without whose protection this Work could never have appeared' (p. viii) and Rev. Robert Macgregor, who transcribed the songs and prepared them for publication, as John MacGregor ‘laboured under the peculiar disadvantage of being unable to write his vernacular language’ (p. vii). It is also claimed that ‘particular attention has been paid to the purity of the style; but the Saxon has encroached so much upon the Celtic, within the last two hundred years, that some Anglicisms may still be discovered by a discerning eye’ (p. viii).

The Clar-Innsidh (pp. ix-xi) lists 50 songs by MacGregor, and 2 songs by other authors in praise of MacGregor. One of these is by Rev. Robert Macgregor.
Sources
Language The majority of songs in this volume are praise songs. There are a few love songs and elegies, and a number of songs touch on war. Some of the songs commemorate specific events, and one or two touch on social conditions in the Highlands and Islands, including emigration and the introduction of sheep farms.

This volume contains a large number of praise poems, including Oran do Chean-Cinnidh Cloinn Ghrigair (pp. 28-35), Oran do Sheumas, Di’uc Adholl (pp. 54-57), Oran do Cheann-feadhna Adholl (pp. 81-85), and Oran do Mhor-Fhear Bhraighdailbin (pp. 176-80). The eulogies and elegies contain many familiar panegyric tropes. Oran do Dhuin’ Uasal Araidh (pp. 169-71) includes the following lines: ‘Sealgair Coilich, Feigh, is Earb thu, \ ’S ann a’ d’ laimh a chuirinn m’ earbsa, \ Bu mhiann leat bhi siubhal gharbhlach, \ Is gharbh-bheann, ’s a falbh nan carn. \ ’N uair a theid thu a’ d’ làn èididh, \ Tha thu neartmhor, smachdail, ceutach, \ Co do ’n deanadh tu geilleadh? \ A threin-fhir is geirè lann’ (pp. 170-71). Again, Oran do Rhidaire na h-Apun (pp. 58-63) declares: ‘Tha t-àros ro thaitneach, \ ’S fo fhasgadh nan siantan; \ Ma choinneamh na greine, \ ’N àm eiridh gu sgiamhach. \ Be sud talladh a phailteas, \ Far am faighte a bhiatachd; \ Ann is tric thuair na feumaich, \ Orra ’n deircè a riarach’’ (p. 58).

There are a number of songs in praise of women, including Oran do Mhnaoidh Uasal Araidh (pp. 184-87), and Oran do Oigh’ Uasal Araid ann an Dun-Eidin (pp. 86-91) in which the following lines occur: ‘Dà ghruaidh mar an caorunn, \ Is gnuis ata faolidh, \ Tha do shlios mar an aoiluinn, \ ’S tearc aogus na h-oigh’. \ Beul meachair a mhànrain, \ ’O ’n ait a thig gàirè, \ Deud shnaighte gheal, chnàmha, \ ’S teangaidh mhalda gun scleo’ (p. 89). There are also a few love songs, such as Orain Air Gaoil (pp. 134-37) and Orain Air Gaoil (pp. 147-51). Oran do dh’ Alastair Shathach, agus do Leannan (pp. 207-11) also touches on love.

This volume contains a few elegies, including Marbh-Rann do Fhear In’earard’rain (pp. 41-48) and Marbh-Rann do Chailain Caimbail, (Coirechumhainn.) (pp. 63-69), which combine eulogy with sadness at the loss of the subject of the elegy. Again, the standard images of panegyric are much in evidence. In Marbh-Rann do Fhear In’earard’rain (pp. 41-48), for example, the following image occurs: ‘Bu tu sealgair an fhirich, \ Bha thu sealbhar ga shìreadh, \ Le d’ mhiol-choin ’s le d’ ghillean, \ ’S tu dheanadh an t-shitheann, \ ’S tha d’ thigh mor ann am filleadh, \ Gheibhte òl, ceòl, is friathal, \ ’S deocha slainte gan iomairt ga ’r coir’ (p. 42).

Passages of natural description occur in a few poems. Oran do Rhidaire na h-Apun, for example, includes the following lines: ‘Bidh ’n uiseag ’s am bru-dhearg, \ Gu surdail air ghèugaibh, \ ’S a chobhachag chùilteach, \ ’S an smudan aig èigheach; \ Gu ceilaireach, oranach, \ Orra lòn cha chuir eagal, \ ’N sud goiridh an smeorach, \ ’S bidh ’n neonain ’s an dùlach’ (p. 59). Again, Oran do Sheumas, Di’uc Adholl (pp. 54-57) has the following: ‘’S coillteach, badanach, luachrach, \ Feurach, fuaranach, fallain, \ Lubach, lurach, na bruachan, \ Deas is tuath do Uisg’ Gharri: \ Lusach, seillaineach, sguabach, \ Gun ghruaim ann an talladh: \ ’S leat Dunchaillin nam fuar-bheann, \ Gu Druimuachdair a chabhaidh’ (p. 57). Oran do ’n Eilain Mhuileach, agus do I-Cholum-Chille (pp. 105-08) praises these islands, and also tells us a little of their history: ‘’S an I-Challum-Chille dh’ innsinn dhuibh, \ Ma dh’ eisdeas sibh an fhirinn uam, \ Sea-deug dhiubh tha nan sineadh ann, \ ’S bu righail iad nan lò. \ Tha Coinneach Mac Righ Ailpain ann, \ Chlaoidh Picaich gus nach faicteach iad; \ ’S tha Grigair Mòr an Gaisgeach ann, \ An taicè ris na slòigh’ (p. 103).

A few of the songs touch on emigration and clearance. For example, Tuireadh airson Slios Mìn Raineach (pp. 130-34) includes the following: ‘Thoir leam gur mor an dearmad, \ Do Uaislean Gàeltachd Alba, \ An Tuath a leig air falbh uainn, \ Thar fàirgè as an tìr; \ Nach b-fhearr na ioma caora, \ Aon duine thairneadh faobhar, \ ’N uair thigeadh àm na caonaig, \ Ann aobhar an Righ? \ Ach chuir iad air faontradh, \ ’O n’ bha na màil cho daor orr’, \ Is raoighnich iad na caoiraich, \ ’S chaidh sgaoile ’s an ni: \ An àitè ìm’ is càisè, \ A chuireadh sùgh na ’n cnamhan, \ ’S e blianach is bunntatadh, \ A ghnà an teachd-an-tìr’ (p. 133). Compare the following passage in Tuireadh a Bhaird (pp. 164-69): 'Ann an àit’ an cuid daoinè, \ ’S è raoig[h]naich iad caoiraich, \ Nach tairneadh am faobhar, \ ’N am dol sios ann ’s a chaonaig, \ Ge d’ bhiodh moran air aonach, \ ’S an ruadh-mhadadh ga ’n caol-ruith; \ ’S cha bhithidh a theaghlach gu ’n fheoil’ (p. 168).

War and fighting crop up in a number of songs, including Na Fineachan Gaelach (pp. 19-28), which begins: ‘Eiribh suas ann san am so, \ Gach ceannard tha fo ’n chrùn; \ Cumaibh thàll na Frangich, \ Na leigibh ’m feasd a nàll iad; \ Ge d’ robh sibh ann an teanndachd, \ Na tionndaibh ’ur cùl, \ Gus an coisinn sibh lan-bhuaidh, \ ’S am faigh sibh duais is diù’ (p. 19). Do ’n Fhreiceadan Dubh (pp. 35-41) has the following lines: ‘Buaidh-larach do ’n bhuidhinn, \ A lubadh an t-iuär; \ Mu ’n d’ fhalbh iad air siubhal, \ ’S e theireamid riutha, \ Na Saighd’eara Dubha; \ Na sealgairean subhach, \ A dhireadh am bruthach, \ ’S a dheanadh am bruthadh, \ Le ’n ochd-chliosnich ghlana, \ Nach diultadh an t-aingeal, \ ’N uair a thigeadh srad ealamh ’o ’n òrd’ (pp. 38-39). We also find references to war and fighting in a number of other songs, e.g. in Do ’n t-Shliochd Riaghail ailpainach (pp. 172-76) and in Do Mhnaoi Araidh (pp. 156-59), where MacGregor touches on how war affected the women: ‘’S è blàr In’erchetain, \ Dh-fhag ’ur mnaithean trom, deurach, ’s fo thurs’; \ Ge d’ thug an Righ as an eiginn, \ Cha d’ fhurich sibh dh-eisdeachd ar cliu; \ Chaidh Eachunn gun gheilleadh, \ Chuir a chath, le threun-fhir as ùr, \ ’S bu chràiteach an sgeul è, \ Thuit tri fichead, ’s tri ceud, ’s am fear iùil’ (p. 158).

There are a number of songs on other subjects, some of which focus on local events and people. Examples include Oran ann an Aghaidh na ’m Breug (pp. 109-11), Oran do fhear Chaidh dh’ Iarruidh Sgadain (pp. 114-19), Rann do Shluagh a Thug air Falbh Giubhas a Cheannaich am Bard (pp. 142-43), and Oran do Thailair Muileach (pp. 160-63).
Orthography The orthography is typical of the late eighteenth century. The rule of caol ri caol is leathann ri leathann is very often not observed. In one respect there is quite frequent interference from the Perthshire dialect spoken by MacGregor and/or that of his transcriber. Whereas Perthshire Gaelic regularly apocopates final -a/-e and many occurrences of final -(e)adh, the poet clearly wished final /ǝ/ to be pronounced in certain positions. This is signified in the present volume in two ways: (1) by writing the final -e/-a as -(e)adh: e.g. uisgeadh beatha (p. 115), an cualadh sibh (p. 119), bunntatadh (p. 133); and (2) by placing an unhistorical grave accent on the final vowel: e.g. aignè, dhaoinè, braisè (all p. 119).
Edition First edition.

Note that John MacGregor published a a second volume of poetry in 1818. It contains the following songs: Marbhrann do ’n urramach Mhr. Ioseph MacGhrigair, Oran do ’n Urramach Ceannard-airm E. J. MacGhrigair, Gleann Cearnaig, Bochuidir, Oran do Raibeart Steward, Tighearna Ghart, Oran do Mhr. Donncha Mac Laurin, ’n Dun-eudainn, Oran Molaidh air Ghaelig, Cead an Ughdair do Dhun-eudainn, agus do na Beanntabh Gàelach, Rann air a Bhas, and Rann air Banais a bha ’n Raineach. In view of its Perthshire provenance and relatively early date this volume should be excerpted in due course.
Other Sources
Further Reading MacLean, Donald, Typographia Scoto-Gadelica, 1915.
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