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|Metadata for text 177|
|No. words in text||157755|
|Title||An Lasair, Anthology of 18th Century Gaelic Verse|
|Date Of Edition||2001|
|Date Of Language||18th c.|
|Location||National, academic, and local libraries|
|Alternative Author Name||N/A|
|Manuscript Or Edition||Ed.|
|Size And Condition||21.5cm x 14cm|
|Short Title||An Lasair|
|Reference Details||CM, personal copy|
|Number Of Pages||xlii, 533|
|Gaelic Text By||N/A|
|Social Context||This volume is an anthology of Gaelic poetry from the eighteenth century. The editor, Ronald Black, has compiled a number of anthologies and compilations of poetry, including An Tuil : Anthology of 20th Century Scottish Gaelic Verse, published in 1999; Smuaintean fo Éiseabhal, the poetry of Dòmhnall Aonghais Bhàin, published in 2000 (Text 3); and Eilein na h-Òige : the Poems of Fr. Allan McDonald, published in 2002 (Text 73).|
|Contents||This volume begins with a bilingual Clàr-Innse/Contents (p. v-vii), which lists the 63 poems in this volume by title in the order that they appear in this book. This is followed by a Preface by the editor (p. ix) and a list of Abbreviations (p. x).
There follows a general Introduction (pp. xi-xlii) to the poetry of the eighteenth century and to the literary criticism that it has received in the past. Black introduces MacInnes’s exposition of the panegyric code in his 1978 article in TGSI, and discusses how the poems in this collection fit into that system of rhetoric.
An Lasair (pp. 1-361) contains 63 poems with translations. The translations are by the editor, and Gaelic and English are given on facing pages. This is followed by a single page listing 18 Collections of Gaelic poetry (p. 362), printed and manuscript, from the Eigg Collection of 1776 to Menzies collection of 1870, listed in alphabetical order by author/collector.
There are copious Notes on the Poems (pp. 363-525), providing information on the authors, the subjects of the poems, and terminology. This is followed by The Panegyric Code (p. 525-27), comprising a full classification of images associated with the panegyric code in Gaelic poetry, and a Glossarial Index (pp. 528-33), listing noteworthy Gaelic words and meanings that appear in the text, and the page numbers on which they appear.
|Sources||Black explains that ‘The texts that follow are not intended to be definitive, as I have not consulted every possible source for every poem’ (p. 1). The sources he has used are listed in the Notes to each poem. See also the list of Collections (p. 362) used in the compilation of this volume.|
|Language||This volume contains a wide variety of poetry from the eighteenth century, including poems by well-known authors such as Sìleas na Ceapaich (2 poems), Iain Ruadh Stiùbhart (3 poems), Mac Mhaighstir Alastair (4 poems), Rob Donn (3 poems), Donnchadh Bàn (2 poems), and Uilleam Ross (2 poems), and by some less well known authors, such as Eachann MacLeòid, Anna Chaimbeul, Seòras MacCoinnich, and Donnchadh MacAoidh, each of whom have one poem in this volume. There are also a number of poems by unknown composers. The poems cover a variety of topics and were composed in a variety of metres and song structures. There are a large number of praise poems (both eulogy and elegy) and poems relating to contemporary issues, e.g. to the Jacobite cause. There are a number of satires and poems of a satirical nature, a handful of nature poems and religious poems, some love poems, and some light-hearted poems that are more difficult to categorise but which shed light on social practices of the time.
The praise poems include Òran do dh’Ailean Dearg by Niall MacMhuirich (pp. 50-55), Òran do Raghnall Mac Mhic Ailein by Iain Dubh mac Iain mhic Ailein (pp. 72-77), Sìleas na Ceapaich’s Alastair á Gleanna Garadh (pp. 100-05), and Lachlann Mac a’ Phearsain’s Cumha do Thighearna Chluainidh (pp. 258-63), where we find ‘Gum b’ fhearail, smiorail, anamant’ e, \ Bu lasair ’fhearg nuair dhùisgeadh i, \ Bu bheò ’na fheòil ’s ’na mheanmna e, \ Bu bhealach far am brùchdadh e; \ Mar thuinn ri carraig fhairgeach e, \ Mar fhaoilleach is stoirm ga dùblachadh, \ Mar thein’ am fraoch nan garbhlaichean \ ’S mar easaibh gharbh an ùr-uisge’ (p. 260).
There are a number of love songs in this volume, including Chunnaic Mi ’n t-Òg Uasal (pp. 10-13), an excerpt from Moladh Mòraig by Mac Mhaighstir Alastair (pp. 126-33), Is Trom Leam an Àirigh by Rob Donn (pp. 142-45), Ailein Duinn by Anna Chaimbeul (pp. 278-81), and An t-Òran Eile by Uilleam Ros (pp. 316-19). A number of these poems include images associated with the panegyric code and many are quite descriptive. In Tha mo Chridhe mar Chuaintean by Sgàire MacAmhlaigh (pp. 4-9), for example, we find ‘Càit an do ghineadh fo fhlathas \ Na dh’fhiosraich riamh mathas na mnà \ Nach tug dùrachd dhi diamhair \ Agus ùmhlachd dhi ’m fianaisibh chàich? \ Mar ghréin misge nan reultan \ Gheug sholais thar cheud fhuair bàrr — \ Gur e gathan na gréine sa \ Shrac mo chridhe ’s a reub e gu bàs’ (p. 4).
A number of the poems deal with, or touch on, contemporary issues. Examples include Gort am Bràigh Athaill (pp. 203), Clann Chatain an t-Sròil (pp. 164-73), An t-Éideadh Gàidhealach (pp. 186-91), Cumha do Thighearna Chluainidh (pp. 258-63), Òran do na Fògarraich by John MacCodrum (pp. 286-93). Some of these, such as Òran nam Fineachan by Iain Dubh mac Iain mhic Ailein (pp. 38-47), contain elements of praise. Some are metaphorical, such as An Taisbean by Eachann MacLeòid (pp. 192-201), while others are more direct in their discourse, such as Blàr na h-Òlaind by Alastair MacFhionghain (pp. 354-61), where we find ‘Bhrùchd na naimhdean len trom làdach \ Air muin chàich a’ bàrcadh teine. \ Nuair fhuair Sasannaich droch càradh \ Phill iad on àraich ’nar coinne. \ Ghlaodh Eabarcrombaidh ri chuid àrmann: \ “Greasaibh na Gàidhil mu’n coinne \ ’S tionnda’idh iad an ruaig mar b’ àbhaist, \ An dream àrdanach neo-fhoilleil.”’ (p. 356).
This volume contains a few poems of a religious nature, namely Laoidh MhicEalair by Dàibhidh MacEalair (pp. 134-43), An Teàrnadh Mìorbhaileach (pp. 150-61), Dùghall Bochanan’s Am Bruadar (pp. 246-53), and Beachd Gràis air an t-Saoghal by Bean Torra Dhamh (pp. 308-17). There are also a number of nature poems, most notably the extract from Moladh Beinn Dóbhrain by Donnchadh Bàn (pp. 266-79) and An t-Earrach by Eóghann MacLachlainn (pp. 340-51). Uilleam Ros’s Moladh Gheàrrloch (pp. 304-09), a song in praise of place might also be included among nature poems: ‘Beir mo shoraidh thìr a’ mhonaidh \ ’S nam beann corrach àrda, \ Frìth nan gaisgeach ’s nan sonn gasta, \ Tìr Chlann Eachainn Gheàrrloch; \ Gur uallach eangach an damh breangach \ Suas troimh ghleannan fàsaich, \ Bidh cuach sa bhadan seinn a leadain \ Moch sa mhadainn Mhàighe’ (p. 304). Two poems in particular deal with sailing: Moladh na Luinge by Coinneach MacCoinnich (pp. 298-303) and Birlinn Chlann Raghnaill by Mac Mhaighstir Alastair (pp. 202-17).
There are a number satires, or satirical poems, in this volume, some of which are quite graphic in their abuse. Examples include An Litir gun Chéir Oirr’ by Mac Mhaighstir Alastair (pp. 162-65), Spìocairean Ruspainn by Rob Donn (pp. 234-38), Aoir nan Tàilleirean by John MacCodrum (pp. 254-59), and Òran don Ollamh MacIain by Seumas Mac an t-Saoir (pp. 292-99). All four poems from An Leobhar Liath are reprinted in this volume. All of these poems are humorous and of a sexual nature: An Oba Nodha by Seòras MacCoinnich (pp. 18-21), Dòmhnallan Dubh (pp. 78-81), An Seudagan (pp. 264-67), Eachann an Slaoightear (pp. 352-53). Mac Mhaighstir Alastair’s Acarsaid nan Con ’s nan Gillean (pp. 190-93) is a scathing satirical poem of a sexual nature, directed at an unknown woman. It begins ‘Siud i ’chulaidh, ’s cha b’i ’n ulaidh, \ Gu bhith cullainn garbh orra — \ Cullainn a’ bhuilg bhuidhe bhoicinn, \ Leag am bod a’ mhealg aiste! \ Mìle marbhphaisg air an trustair, \ Guitear nam ball feardha, \ An t-ospadal an tric na bhàsaich \ Màgan de bhrill mheardha’ (p. 190).
There are a few light-hearted poems that are more difficult to categorise, but which shed light on social practices of the time. These include Sgian Dubh an Sprogain Chaim (pp. 12-19) and Òran do Chaora by Donnchadh Bàn (pp. 222-33), which includes a reference to the custom of thigging (faoighe): ‘Cia leis a nìtear dhomh còta \ O nach beò a’ chaora cheannfhionn? \ H-uile bean a th’ anns an dùthaich \ Tha mi ’n dùil an dùrachd mhath dhomh. \ ’S théid mi dh’iarraidh na faoigh’-chlòimhe \ Air mnathan còire an fhearainn’ (p. 226).
|Orthography||The orthography is contemporary. Black explains in the introduction to the poems that he employs the Gaelic orthographic conventions of that time, ‘with variations’ (p. 1) of his own. He briefly outlines his use of apostrophes with ’nam, ’nad, etc., and his use of the copula forms se and sann, ‘to show semantic or phonological distinctions’. Where there are no such distinctions, Black declares: ‘I adhere strictly to GOC recommendations’. Both accents are used, however.|
|Edition||This is the first edition of this volume. All of the poems published in this volume come from written sources, and almost all have been published before. Editors should use the earliest available source. The sources used in establishing the text of each poem are given in Notes on the Poems (pp. 363-525). Alternative versions of many of the texts in this volume appear in other volumes in the present assembly of texts. For example, see Text 171 for poems by Mac Mhaighstir Alastair and Text 167 for poems by Rob Donn.|