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Title Co’ Chruinneachadh Laoidhe agus Chantaicibh Spioradail, le Ughdairean Eagsamhail. An D’ a Leabhar
Author N/A (Edited work)
Editor Kennedy, Duncan
Date Of Edition 1786
Date Of Language 18th c.
Publisher D. Mac Cnuidhein
Place Published Glasgow
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 Religion, Verse
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 15.5cm x 9.5cm
Short Title Co' Chruinneachadh Laoidhe
Reference Details EUL, Sp. Coll.: JA3626
Number Of Pages 148
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context The compiler of this volume was Duncan Kennedy, who was a schoolmaster in Kilmelford in Argyll. In addition to this collection of hymns, Kennedy also collected Fenian ballads in Argyll and Lochaber between 1774 and 1783. An account of his collecting activities is given in J. F. Campbell’s Leabhar na Féinne (Campbell 1872, pp. xix-xxi). According to Maclean (1915, p. 162), ‘Duncan Kennedy was for a time a schoolmaster at Kilmelford, afterwards an accountant in Glasgow. He collected Ossianic poems, some of which are published in ‘Leabhar na Feinne’, but the bulk of them remain in MS. in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh.’

The second edition of Kennedy’s collection of hymns, entitled An Laoidheadair Gaelic, was published in 1836. For this edition Kennedy supplied a few additional items, and also a considerable amount of information about most of the authors of the hymns whose texts appear, unadorned, in the 1786 edition. It emerges that the majority were taken down by Kennedy from oral recitation during the period when he was also collecting Fenian ballads, i.e. in the late 1770s and early 1780s. Of the poets named, Iain Bàn Maor, Mrs Campbell of Barr, John Campbell of Lochgair and Daibhidh Mac Ealair may be assigned to the eighteenth century; ‘Mac Cithich’ or ‘MacKeich’ to the seventeenth; and ‘Mac-a-Leora’ and Bishop Carswell to the sixteenth. While there is some doubt about the attribution to Carswell and the date of ‘Mac-a-Leora’, editors should be aware that some of the hymns had been around for quite some time when collected by the young Duncan Kennedy.
Contents This volume is preceded by An Reamhradh (pp. 3-12), which Kennedy introduces as follows: ‘Cuiridh mi ri so cuid do’n Reamhradh a chuir An t Urramach Maighistir Ioin Mac Anliosa, Ministeir an t Shoisgeil, ann an Eaglais a Cholaist ann Glas-gho, ann na Leabhar Laoidhe’ (p. 3). In other words, the Reamhradh is reproduced from the introduction to a now lost hymn-book brought out by Rev. John Gillies of Glasgow. The point of this introduction is to establish from Holy Scripture that the singing of hymns has at all times been a fully respectable and highly prized form of worship. (At the time, some or all forms of music would have been regarded with disfavour in some quarters of the Church.) The argument runs as follows: ‘’S e seinn moladh do Dhia aon do’n ghniomh is airde do’n adhradh dhiadhaidh, agus thair cach uile is faisg dāimh do neamh; uime sin bu choir a dheanamh le urram naomh, tlachd croidhe, agus aoibhneas anama. … Is deimhinn gur e Cantaicibh agus Laoidhibh scrioptuir is iom’chuidh chum moladh Dhe; …’ (p. 3). The author goes on to say that ‘ge d’ nach ’eil na Laoidhibh so air an tarruing, no air an iompacha’ gu h iomlan as an Scrioptur, gidheadh ata annta soilleireachd Scrioptuir mu ghradh siorruidh, fulangas, agus bas Chriosd, agus moran do fhocaill Scrioptuir’ (p. 3).

Coimh-chruinneacha’ Laoidhe agus Chantaicibh Spioradail (pp. 13-148) is divided into two volumes: Leabh[ar]. I (pp. 13-84) and Leabh[ar]. II (pp. 85-148). The two volumes contain 41 hymns in todal, numbered I to XLI. Only one of the hymns is named: Laoidh Mhic Cithich (pp. 115-25). A few of the hymns have sub-titles, e.g. Laoidh X is sub-titled An t Ann-saoghaltaich’ & an Creidmhich: Comhra’ Deise (p. 58), and Laoidh XL is sub-titled Cia gearr laithe Mhic an Duine (p. 145).
Sources No sources are mentioned in the text.
Language The hymns and canticles in this volume cover subjects such as the Old Testament, the life and death of Jesus, God as creator and saviour, advice, and prayer.

A number of the hymns open with a declaration that the poet has just awoken from a dream or had a vision. For example, Laoidh IV begins: ‘Sa mhadain ri h am dusgadh dhamh, \ Bu shuntach mi le ciall, \ A’ smuainteacha’ air aros, \ Is mor bhaideil ard ar Dia’ (p. 29); and Laoidh V begins: ‘Moch air mhadainn, ’s mi ’g eiridh, \ La feil chum fēist-Chriosd, \ Dhol a dh’ fhaicsin nan ceudan, \ Tigh’n a steach chum a theubaill’ (p. 35).

Many of the hymns are based on, or include, episodes from the Old Testament. Thus Laoidh IV includes the following lines: ‘An cual u mu chlainn Israel, \ ’Nuair bha iad shios sann Eipht’, \ Gam feuchain, is gan sāruch’, \ Aig Riogh Pharaoh le mor phein; \ Thug Maois a’ steach don fhassach [sic, for fhàsach] iad, \ Roi’ n fhairge ruaigh gu leir, \ Ach cha b’ easan rinn an tabhachd ud, \ Ach inleachd laidir Dhe’ (p. 31). Similarly, Laoidh XVI states: ‘Am fearann a gheall e do dh’ Abraham, \ Cho d’ fhailnich e shliochd na dheidh; \ Thug e do dhuthaich Chanaan iad, \ Ge b’ fhad an dail b’ fhior an sgeul \\ ’N tra’ chuaidh clann Israel sios do’n Eipht, \ Bha iad fui’ phein ann, ’s fuidh chīs; \ Thug Riogh nan colbh roi’n mhuir ruaidh iad, \ Ach dh’ fhag Riogh Pharaoh ’s a shluagh shios’ (p. 78).

The birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus are recurrent topics in these hymns. A number of these examine the question why God decided to send Christ to earth; e.g. Laoidh IV states: ‘’Ntra chunnaig Dia an saoghal so, \ Sior fhas na adhbhar truais, \ ’S nach creidimh iad na fāi’ean, \ ’S ann a b fhearr leo teicheadh uath; \ Chuir e aon Mhac Josa, \ Chum siothchai’ oirnn’ anuas, \ Ach chuir droch dhaoin gu bas e, \ Le āilleas mor an t sluaigh’ (p. 32). Similarly, Laoidh XVI tells us: ‘Bha sinn mar chaoiridh gun bhuachail, \ Gun neach a ghabh a truas dhinn ann; \ Ach Dia treun ann cath san comhrag, \ Chuir e Mhac le deoin n’ ar ceann’ (p. 80). Laoidh XVIII, on the birth of Jesus, describes the coming of the Magi as follows: ‘Thain[i]g filidh Phaganach, \ O dhu’aich chian gu fhailteachadh; \ ’S rinn reull an t iul air faire dhoibh, \ Gu dealrach fad an roid. \\ Dh’ fhuasgail iad an ionnasaibh, \ Is thug do Riogh nam flaitheasaibh; \ Na naoidhean truagh’, \ S ’e aim-beartach, \ Tuis, mirrh, is seodaibh oir’ (p. 88). Christ’s suffering and death are also mentioned in many of the hymns, including Laoidh XVIII: ‘’N crann ceusaidh bh’ air a ghuaileasan, \ Is follas teachd o ghruaidhe leis; \ ’S e lubadh fuidh na cualaibh sin, \ A suas ri sliagh a bhroin. \\ Crun do dheilgnich chuir iad air, \ Is eudann dh’ung le smugaidean; \ Mar sgeig thug colbh do chuilce dha, \ ’S am pluicean sheid le sgod’ (p. 92).

God as creator is also a common theme, e.g. in Laoidh III: ‘’S mor inleachdan De, \ Ann ’s gach creatair a chruthaich e ’n tūs; \ Leag e’n talamh mar stē dhoibh, \ ’S na speuran an aird mar chuirt: \ ’S e sgeudaich am fonn, \ Le toradh ga trom, ’s gu dlu, \ Do bheathaiche gach treud, \ Mar a dh’ ordaich e fein o thūs’ (p. 25). In Laoidh XIX God is addressed in the following terms: ‘’S tu rinn a ghealach, ’s a ghrian, \ ’S do reir h orduigh, dhearl’ amach; \ Na planaidean, le miltidh reull, \ Shuithich u gach tē na teach. \\ ’S tu rinn an domhan, ’s a lan, \ Sleitibh canaich, ’s beantaibh cas; \ An fhairge, leis gach iasg ni snamh, \ Thug u sud do dh’ Adhamh na cheart’ (p. 95).

Many of the hymns offer advice on leading a good Christian life, e.g. in Laoidh VI: ‘Faic an rathad is caoile, \ Imich daonnan air, ’s gluais’, ’s bi gu furachair, gleusta, \ Nach sgrios do cheum uait; \ ’S a dhain-deoin lionan droch dhaoine, \ ’S buaireadh an t saoghail mun-cuairt; \ Lean thus’ an ceum direach, \ ’S glacaidh Criosd do lamh uait’ (p. 44). Some of the hymns urge us to turn to God, e.g. in Laoidh XIII: ‘A Bhraithrean nach pill sibh ri ciall, \ ’N ar ’noige biodh cuimhneach air Dia; \ ’N t eagal ’s ’n uair bhios sibh sean liath, \ Nach lub sibh do’n cheaird nach d’rinn riamh. \\ Aon neach chuireas dail ann na chuis, \ Gus an tarruing am bas e gu h uir; \ Mar mhaide cruaidh mosgain gun sugh, \ Theid a thilgeil ’s an teine nach much’r’ (p. 68).

In a number of hymns, we are told of the rewards that await us in heaven, e.g. in Laoidh VIII: ‘Bidh na creidmhich gu h eibhinn, \ Ag eiridh fui’ bhrataich uir; \ A steach ann na aros, \ Gam failteachadh le dea’ run; \ Le’n deiseachan aluin, \ Is dealraich no reullan iuil; \ ’Tarruing suas an ordadh, \ Seinn orain do Dhia nan dul’ (p. 52); similarly in Laoidh XV: ‘’S buadhach e do’n fhirein sin, \ A leanas Criosd gun fhoill; \ Gu siorruidh bidh ann cuirt leis, \ Chum as ur a chliu a seinn; \ Mar ōr an deidh a chuinnidh, \ Bidh na sraidean ur fuidh bhonn; \ Mar dhaimean soilleir dealrach, \ ’S mar christal ban lan soills’’ (p. 77). Those who do not turn to God, however, will be rewarded differently, as is made clear in Laoidh XV: ‘Is ua’bhasach do cheileasa, \ Gan fheudar bhi air chuairt; \ Do chnamhan theid nan connadh, \ Is do cholann theid na luath; \ Na claigeinn ur a b’ āille, \ Gun chraicean ban no gruag; \ Dh’ fhag am peacadh tair again, \ ’S thug sinn do’n bhas mar dhuais’ (p. 75).

A number of hymns incorporate expressions of faith and appeals to the Almighty. Laoidh XIX, for example, ends ‘Gloir do'n Athair, ’s gloir do’n Mhac, \ ’S gloir do’n Spiorad neartmhor naomh; \ Na tri pearsainn, ’s an aon Dia, \ Sud e ’n Triath am bhuil mo dhuil’ (p. 98). While some of the hymns tell a story, others are addressed to God directly. Laoidh XXI contains the following appeal: ‘Sgeudaich mi le brat do dhideinn, \ Cuir bata na firinn am laimh; \ Coinneal do shoisgeil a’m bhrolach, \ ’S gluaisidh mi ’n coran do ghraidh’ (p. 101); and the following pledge: ‘Mo fhuil riut gach trath, \ A t iochd, ’s a d’ bhāidh, \ Ge cruaidh mo chas, \ Glac fein mo lamh, \ Is fuasgail an sgail so dhim’ (p. 102). Compare the following lines in Laoidh XXII: ‘Soilsich mo chroidhe le d’ mhaitheas, \ Sgeudaich mi le brat na firinn: \ Dion le d’ spiorad mi o bhuaireadh, \ ’S tu mo charraig bhuan gu dilinn. \\ ’S tu mo shoilse ri h am codail, \ ’S ann sa chodal ’s tu mo dhidinn; \ ’S tu mo thoil-intinn air madainn, \ A riogh nam feartan glac a d’ lion mi’ (p. 104). Laoidh XXIII begins ‘Cuidich mise Riogh na greine, \ O n’ san duit is leir mo chās; \ A dh’ fhuasgail beul na h Aisil truaighe, \ ’N tra’ bhuaileadh i leis an fhāidh’ (p. 105).

Also of interest in this text are some of the appellations for God, such as an Caiptin (p. 48), an Gaisgeach (p. 19), and Slanai’-fhear (p. 38); and for the Devil, such as an t Aibhearsoir (p. 36).
Orthography The orthography is reasonably consistent by eighteenth-century standards. Long vowels are marked fairly regularly, but by no means universally. The accent used is the macron. Of note is Kennedy’s use of no (negative imperative) and cho (negative with other moods of the verb) rather than na and cha, e.g.: No bi ceatach mu d stor, \ Cho ’n ’eil e d’ choir ach car treall (p. 112). There are a few printing errors.
Edition First edition. A second edition was published in 1836, with the extended title An Laoidheadair Gàelic; na, Oran Spioradail, le Ughdairean Eagsamhail. An dara clo-bhualadh. To which is added, Short tracts on the Reformation; the Invasions of Coll MacDonnell of Argyleshire; and also by Alexander his son, in conjunction with the Atholonians.
Other Sources
Further Reading Campbell, John F. Leabhar na Féinne ([London], 1872: [n. pub.]).
MacLean, Donald, Typographia Scoto-Gadelica (Edinburgh, 1915: J. Grant).
Thomson, Derick S., ed., The Companion to Gaelic Scotland (Glasgow, 1994: Gairm).
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