Metadata for texts common to Corpas na Gàidhlig and Faclair na Gàidhlig have been provided by the Faclair na Gàidhlig project. We are very happy to acknowledge here Dr Catriona Mackie’s sterling work in producing this data; the University of Edinburgh for giving us permission to use and publish the data; and the Leverhulme Trust whose financial support enabled the production of the metadata in the first place. The metadata is provided here in draft form as a useful resource for users of Corpas na Gàidhlig. The data is currently being edited and will be updated in due course.

Metadata © University of Edinburgh

Metadata for text 155
No. words in text97814
Title Sean dain, agus orain Ghaidhealach, air an Tabhairt o Dhaoin Uaisle, araid an Gaeltachd Alba, don Fhear Fhoillsicheadh Eoin Gillies. Aon co-fhreagarrach don ’t Sean Chuideachd Albannach ann Duneidinn, agus fear don t’ Sean Chuideachd am Peairt, agus leabhar receudair don’ Chuideachd-sin. (A Collection of Ancient and Modern Gaelic Poems and Songs, Transmitted from Gentlemen in the Highlands of Scotland to the Editor.)
Author N/A
Editor Gillies, John
Date Of Edition 1786
Date Of Language Various
Publisher (‘Printed for John Gillies, Bookseller’)
Place Published Perth
Volume N/A
Location National, academic, and local (Inverness Reference) libraries.
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Various
Register Literature, Verse
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 21.5cm x 14cm
Short Title Sean Dain
Reference Details EUL, Celtic Library: LIG GIL (Held in Faclair office)
Number Of Pages [viii] + 326
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context John Gillies was a bookseller in Perth towards the end of the eighteenth century. From 1784 to 1785 he worked in partnership with John Brown. Gillies was one of the founding members of the Perth Literary and Antiquarian Society, and possibly also of Perth Library, in 1784. In addition to editing this volume, Gillies wrote One Day’s Journey to the Highlands of Scotland: March 12, 1784, which was published in 1784.

Advertisement by the Editor which precedes this volume reads: ‘The following Poems were transmitted to the Editor by several clergymen and other Gentlemen in the Highlands, who were so kind as to take the trouble of collecting them. \ He has been assured, by persons who are well skilled in the Gaelic Language, and who have good judgment and taste, that they are worthy of being communicated to the Public. \ He particularly acknowledges his obligations to Sir James Foulis of Colinton, Baronet, for procuring and carefully revising many of them. \ So much has of late been written and published concerning the Gaelic Poetry, that it was reckoned unnecessary to prefix any dissertation on that subject. The Editor humbly hopes the Poems will be found to be accurately printed’. The Advertisement is dated ‘June 15, 1786’.

Donald Maclean’s Typographia (1915, p. 136) states that this collection was ‘edited … by others’; Maclean adds that ‘John Gillies knew no Gaelic’. Maclean draws attention to the fact that three distinct Gaelic title-pages have been identified for this work, though there appears to be only one English title-page.
Contents This volume begins with a Dedication to ‘The Right Honourable David Stewart Erskine, Earl of Buchan, Lord Cardross’. This is followed by the Advertisement by the Editor described above.

Dain agus Orain Ghaidhealach (pp. 1-321) comprises 117 poems and songs. There is no editorial information about how the poems have been arranged; they do not seem to have been arranged chronologically, as Ossianic ballads appear throughout the text. The first poem is Mordubh (pp. 1-11), followed by Suireadh Oisein air Eamhair aluinn (pp. 11-14) and then by Laoidh Dhaibhidh mhic Ceallair (pp. 14-18). Some of the poems have short introductions, and others have footnotes which explain a little about them. There are also footnotes explaining difficult words, and making suggestions for missing words and phrases. The four songs that appear between pages 173 and 198 begin on new pages and are given larger titles than the others. No explanation is given for this. Possibly they had been issued separately before being included in this volume. There are a number of poems by Iain Lom, John MacCodrum, and Lachlan MacPherson of Strathmashie.

An Clar-Innseadh can be found at the end of the volume (p. 323-26). It lists the contents of this volume by first line.
Sources According to the Advertisement, these songs were collected by ‘several clergymen and other Gentlemen in the Highlands’. It is probable that Rev. James McLagan was involved in this activity (see Edition below). It is unclear from whom individual songs were collected, or how common or uncommon they were. Possibly, research on the McLagan and other early collections of Gaelic songs will in the future provide answers to these questions.
Language This text contains songs on a wide variety of subjects, and in a variety of metrical types and structures.

This text contains a large number of Ossianic and heroic, including Fenian ballads, including Cath Righ Sorcha (pp. 162-67), Mhahline’s Brughdar le Ossain (pp. 210-11), Claidhamh Guth-ullin (p. 211), Ceardach Mhic Luin (p. 233-36), Caoi’ Dhoirdir airson Naois agus Clan Uisnich (pp. 260-67), and Bas Dhiarmuid (pp. 284-87). This collection is hence a rich source for the diction and vocabulary of both Fenian and Ossianic ballads. For example, in Ceardach Mhic Luin the Smith introduces himself as follows: ‘Lun Mac-Liobhain, ’s e m’ ainm ceart, \ Na ’m biodh agaibhse beachd sgeul orm, \ ’S gu ’m bithinn re obair Gobhainn \ Aig Ri Lochlainn ann an Spaoili’. \\ Thainig mi gur cuir fo gheasaibh \ O ’s luchd sibh tha freasdal armaibh, \ Sibh gu mo leantain buighinn shocair, \ Siar gu dorsaibh mo Cheardaich’ (p. 234).

There are a large number of elegies and laments, including Oran do Ghilleaspuic Mac Calum Sealgair a bha sa Bheinne-mhoir; le Mhnaoi fein (pp. 53-55), Cumha le Fear Ghrinneard, Uasal do Chlanna Choinnich; d’a Mhnaoi fein (pp. 55-58), Oran do dhuin uasal a chaidh bhathadh (pp. 134-38), Oran le Silis ni Mhic Raonuill Bain Tighearna Bhail-Dornui, air Bas a fir (pp. 141-42), and Marbhadh, no Fionnghuil Ghlinne-cumhainn (pp. 253-57). Many of these contain overlaps with songs of love and praise. For example, Do Mhnaoi Uasail ann an Gleanna-Garradh (pp. 66-67) contains the following eulogistic description: ‘Dh’iadhainn mo shùilean mar b’àbhaist \ Re amharc àilleachd do phearsain, \ Urla sholuis a ’s glan dearsadh \ Choisinn cliu gach armuinn bheachdail; \ Do mhuineal mar chanach sléibhe, \ Do dheud glé gheal ’s do bheul meachair, \ Do shlios mar fhiùran deas dealbhach \ ’S calbannan mar alabaster’ (p. 66).

Conversely, a number of love songs in this volume contain elements of praise, such as Iurram (pp. 49-51), Oran le Oig-mhnaoi d’ a Leannan (pp. 242-44), and Oran do Lachlann og Mac Ionmhuinn, leis an Aigeannuich Nighean Donuill Ghuirm (pp. 128-32), which includes the following lines: ‘Gur maith thig leine ’n anart dhuit \ Thig triubhas caol ro channach dhuit \ Brog bhileach dhubh ga teannachadh \ Mu ’n traigh nach gearain leon. \ Thig cota ’n eadach spaineach dhuit \ Theid ginea ’s crùn a phaidheadh air, \ O cha ’n ’eil cron r’a airimh ort \ Ach aillealachd do neoil’ (pp. 129-30).

Some of the love songs in this volume express the author’s sadness at the loss of a love, for whatever reason. Examples include Oran a rinn Oigh d’a Leannan ’s e dol a shuireadh air Mnaoi eile air comhairl’ Athar (pp. 61-63), Och oin mo Chaileog (pp. 127-28), Duanag (pp. 245-46), and Oran le oigh d’a leannan, a bha ’n cunntart a treigeadh (pp. 246-48). The last of these includes the following verse: ‘Tri nithean gun iarruidh \ ’S e eagal, is iadach is gaol, \ ’S bu bheag a chuis mhaslaidh \ Ge d’ ghlacadh leis mis air a h aon, \ ’S a liuthad bean uasal \ A fhuaras sa chiont ud robh mi, \ A thug an gaol fuadain \ Air ro bheagan duaise ga chionn’ (p. 246). Other love songs include Oran Irteach (pp. 47-48), Tha Duthrachd mo chridhe dhuit (pp. 119-22), Moladh Oig-fhir air a Leannan (pp. 125-27), Oran Gaoil le Somhairle Cameron, ann an Rainach (pp. 195-98), Moladh Moraig (pp. 212-22), and Oran Gaoil (pp. 258-59).

There are a number of songs about war and politics, including Oran a rinneadh d’an chath-bhuidhinn Rioghail Ghaoidheallach nuair bha iad dol d’America San bhliadhna 1756 (pp. 113-17), Oran air Cath Raon-ruairidh, le Aonghus Mac Alastair Ruaidh o Ghleann Cumhan (pp. 142-48), Oran Rinnruairi, le Eoin M’Alasdair Ruaidh (pp. 270-76), and four songs by Iain Lom: Tuirneal a’ Chnatain (pp. 74-77), An Ciaran mabach, do Ghilleaspuic Ruadh Mac Mhic Dhonuill (pp. 77-78), Air Cath Raon-ruairidh (pp. 151-54), and Oran an aghaidh an Uinein (pp. 154-58). In the first of these songs the following verse is typical of the military genre: ‘Beir sorruidh uam le deagh rùn buaidh, \ Dh’fhios ghaisgeach, stuamach gharbh-chrioch; \ Ogain uasla bhreacan uaine, \ Eibhle sguabaidh ’s ghear-chot; \ Lann dubh-ghorm chruaidh air Airm chrios ualach, \ ’S deilg nan guailibh cear aca; \ Ur laoich chruadalach thug buaidh, \ Ann laimhseach luath lann’s thargaid’ (p. 113). The last song mentioned shows the language of political commentary: ‘Tha Diuc Adhoill ’s Diuc Gordon \ Gle chloiste ’s iad duinte \ Air an scriobhadh gu daingeann \ Ach tha Hamilton dubailt; \ Earla Bhrathainn bhiodh mar ris \ Cha bhiodh’ mealla sa chuis ac, \ Toirt a Chruin uain le ceannach \ ’N ceart fhradharc ar sul fhein’ (p. 157).

There are a few satires, or songs of a satirical nature, including Di-moladh Pioba dhonaill Bhain by John MacCodrum (pp. 87-91), Aoire (pp. 138-39), and Oran do’n Olla Shasgunnach, Samuel Johnson (pp. 173-79), which begins 'A’ Lunduinn thainig Siar Oirn \ Fear-turais na droch Scialachd, \ Neo bhunailtach, gun Riasan, \ Mar Ulabeist Mi-chiallach; \ ’S e fuileachdach gu Riasladh’ (p. 173). Other songs by John MacCodrum include Air Constribh eadar dithis ann an Uibhist a’ Chinn a tuath (pp. 91-94), Do Shir Seumas Triath Chloinn-Donnaill, a dh’eug san Roimh (pp. 94-97), Do Shir Seumas Mac Dhonaill ’an deidh a bhais (pp. 98-103), and Moladh Chloinn Donaill (pp. 103-07).

There are also a number of poems of a more light-hearted nature, including Oran do Mr. Domhnul MacNeacail, Minisdeir Liosmoir Eirson a ro scairtealachd agus a Chothaich e, ann Adhaigh an Olla Lunduinnich, i.e. Dr. Johnson (pp. 189-94); two songs to whisky, Oran Oil, no Buideil (pp. 58-59) and Comunn an Uisge-Bheatha by Fear Srath-Mhathaisidh (pp. 79-82); and two wedding songs – the macaronic Rainn a riniadh air Oiche Bainse (pp. 112-13) and A Bhainnis bhan, also by Fear Srath-mhaisidh (pp. 244-45). Several songs include passages of natural description, e.g. Oran cumhadh Choire-’n Easa by Am Piobaire Dall (pp. 237-40), and Eas Mhor-oir, by Eachann Mac Leoid of North Uist (pp. 287-91). Also of interest in this context is Oran na Comhachaig (pp. 222-30). A satiric song which combines humour with serious dispraise is Seanchas na Piob’ o thus, by Nial Mor Mac Mhuirich (pp. 291-92).
Orthography The orthography is characteristic of the late eighteenth century, with a considerable degree of laxity in spelling and very few accents. Some of the song texts in this volume, especially the Fenian ballads, contain older linguistic forms, e.g. dative plural endings in -(a)ibh; note also ’Taid, for Atàid ‘they are’, in a song composed in 1692 (p. 253). As mentioned above, there are footnotes attached to the texts of some of the songs in this volume. Their functions are various. Sometimes they provide variant readings, as in the line Leis an éireadh an h-Adhollaich shuairc (p. 59), where a footnote offers suas as an alternative reading to shuairc. By contrast, a footnote on p. 104 glosses the less familiar and more archaic spelling trogbhail as togail. On the same page, the more familiar ordugh glosses ordon in the body of the text.
Edition First edition. Many of the poems and songs in this volume are found first in the McLagan MSS (held in Glasgow University Library’s Special Collections, under call number MS Gen 1042). If it can be shown that McLagan himself had a hand in the making of this volume, it is possible that his MSS were used as source material. If this appears to be the case in a given instance, the McLagan MS texts should be used by editors as primary sources, except where an even earlier source is available. Each item in the McLagan MSS has been catalogued and can be found in the Special Collections section of GUL Library Catalogue.

The edition of this volume which is held in the Celtic Library at Edinburgh University contains a number of handwritten notes, some of which give cross-references to songs and readings in the McLagan MS. It should be noted that not all songs which are in the McLagan MSS have been annotated in this way. A copy of this volume housed in the National Library of Scotland contains handwritten notes by Rev. William Matheson and by Lt. George McDonell (see notes under the entry in the NLS online catalogue).
Other Sources
Further Reading Allan, David, ‘The Scottish Enlightenment and the Politics of Provincial Culture: The Perth Literary and Antiquarian Society, ca. 1784-1790’, Eighteenth-Century Life 27.3, 2003, pp. 1-30.
Coventry, Charles Scott, ‘A textual and editorial study of the Gillies collection of Gaelic poetry’, Unpublished MLitt., University of Edinburgh, 1991.
Gunderloch, Anja, The Gaelic Manuscripts of Glasgow University: A Catalogue, 2007.
MacLean, Donald, Typographia Scoto-Gadelica, 1915.
Powered by CQPWeb