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Metadata for text 52
No. words in text6079
Title Griasaiche Bhearnaraidh
Author MacLeòid, Ailein
Editor Mac-an-Tuairneir, Niall
Date Of Edition n.d. [1949]
Date Of Language 1900-1949
Publisher Caledonian Press for Neil Turner
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National Library of Scotland
Geographical Origins Harris
Register Religion, Prose and Verse
Alternative Author Name Allan MacLeod
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 21.8cm x 14.1cm
Short Title Griasaiche Bhearnaraidh
Reference Details NLS: 1976.98
Number Of Pages 24
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Ailein MacLeòid was born in Miabhaig, in Harris, in 1859. His father, Iain MacLeòid (Iain Mac Mhurchaidh), was born in Bernera, but his family had been moved from their home ‘aig ám cur-á-seilbh na tuatha’ (p. 6) and they settled in Harris. Ailein MacLeòid was the second oldest of four children, two boys and two girls, and when the family was still very young, they moved back to Bernera, settling in Am Baile. MacLeòid did not get much schooling, and at the age of 12 left home to work ‘aig a’ bhàillidh Dhòmhnallach’ in Baile Mhic Phàil (Newton), in North Uist. MacLeòid was composing songs by this time, although the editor has only been able to find two verses of one song, Oran don Chrodh (p. 7), which MacLeòid made when he was fifteen. The song originally had fifteen verses. Apparently, when Bean a’ Bhaile heard about this song she sent for MacLeòid and was so impressed when she heard it that she gave him a new suit and ‘paidhir de dhrathaisean á plangaid ùr a bha air tighinn dachaigh bho’n bhreabadair’ (p. 7).

MacLeòid worked at Baile Mhic Phàil until he was sixteen, when he travelled to Inverness to see what work he might find there. He obtained a position working for a shoemaker in Moylay (A’ Mhuaigh) and soon became very skilled in the craft, being awarded pride of place in the window, where everyone who passed by could see him work. MacLeòid spent almost five years in the job before returning home. He continued to compose during his time there, and the editor quotes four verses from Am Bàrd ’s an Fhaoileag (pp. 8-9) which MacLeòid wrote on seeing a seagull whilst walking on the moor at Moylay. The editor was told that there were more than twenty verses in the song originally.

When he returned to Bernera, MacLeòid opened up a shoemaker’s shop. Shortly after this ‘thàinig e gu bhith fo chùram’ (p. 9) and from that point onwards he composed only spiritual poems. MacLeòid became well known as a spiritual man and many people turned to him for advice on spiritual matters. He died on 5th October 1939 at the age of 80.

This volume comprises an introduction to Ailein MacLeòid by the editor, Neill Turner, also from Bernera, along with five of MacLeòid’s spiritual songs, fragments of the two aforementioned non-spiritual songs, and an elegy written for him by Eachann MacFhionghuin (see Text 50).
Contents This volume begins with a Facal-Toisich by Rev. T. M. Murchison (p. 3), a Roimh-radh by Niall Mac-an-Tuairneir (pp. 4-5), and a Cunntas Ghoirid mu Ailean MacLeòid an Griasaiche Bearnaraidh na Hearadh (pp. 6-9). This last section contains six verses of two of MacLeòid’s non-religious songs (mentioned above).

Pp. 10-24 contain five spiritual songs by MacLeòid, none of which have titles, and one elegy to MacLeòid, Oran do Ailean MacLeòid (pp. 23-24) written by Eachann MacFhionghuin.
Sources
Language There are two principal forms of language used in this text. There is the introduction to the poet by Niall Mac-an-Tuairneir, from Bernera, and there is the content of the poems by Ailein MacLeòid.

The Prose Text
Mac-an-Tuairneir’s introduction is a fine example of written Bernera Gaelic and contains expressions and phrases such as ‘bha smior na deagh Ghàidhlig air a cur an altaibh a chéile le grinneas anns gach dàn is òran a thàth MacLeòid’ (p. 4), cuimhne chùbhraidh (p. 4), Duine ionraic, glic, agus làn-Chrìosdaidh (p. 4), luchd-searmonachaidh an Fhacail (p. 4), ‘bhiodh gach cùis cho làn soilleir dhaibh is gum faodar an neach a ruitheadh a leughadh!’ (p. 4), cùisean a bha gu tachairt (p. 4), chan eil teagamh as lugha nach (p. 4), sgearb [sic: sgealb] de mhantal fàidh (p. 4), and air taobh eile de chùirtean na beatha seo a tha làthair (p. 4).

The Non-Spiritual Verse
This volume contains six verses of two of MacLeòid’s non-spiritual poems. The examples given contain terminology relating to cattle (in Oran do’n Chrodh, p. 7), and to the seagull and its travels (in Am Bàrd ’s an Fhaoileag, pp. 8-9). The first verse of Oran do’n Chrodh reads: ‘Gur soilleir, buadhach, gur loinneil, guanach \ An treud a ghluaiseas aig buail’ na faing; \ Deagh shealladh òirdhearc air réidhleach feòir iad, \ ’N uair thig iad còmhla bho shròin nam beann; \ Le geumnaich bhòidheach ’s le leumnaich còmhla, \ Le seangach òg laoigh gun fhòtus annt’, \ Gun toirinn bòidean nach iarrainn ceòl, \ ’N uair chithinn còmhla an còmhlan ann’ (p. 7).

In Am Bàrd ’s an Fhaoileag, the editor informs us that stìopull, in ‘’N uair thug thu mo chas as an stìopull’ (p. 8), is the term used for a trap for otters. This poem also contains the phrase Bha ’n innleachd chum bàis dhomh (p. 9), and the word bracsaidh (p. 9) which Dwelly has as bragsaidh meaning ‘Braxy’, a ‘disease among sheep’.

The Religious Verse
The religious songs contain terms and expressions characteristic of Gaelic preaching, similar to that of MacFhionghain (Text 50). The poems contain much religious symbolism. The first song (p. 10), for example, begins: ‘Tha mi fo àmhghair air chuairt san fhàsach \ ’S gur tric tha ’n Sàtan orm an tòir; \ Le shaighdean cràiteach ’gam lot gu m’àirnibh, \ ’S e ’gam fhàgail mar neach gun deò’ (p. 10).

The religious songs also contain a number of synonyms for Iosa (p. 10), such as Fear mo Ghràidh (p. 10), Rìgh na Glòire (p. 11), Prionnsa na Slàinte (p. 13), Fear na Bainns’ (p. 16) and Glòir nam Flaitheas (p. 21). Other religous terminology of interest includes bho bheinn Shinai (p. 10), gràdh Iehobhah (p. 10), bidh mi an daorsa (p. 10), seula shìorraidh ’n Lagh (p. 10), tròcair an Tì (p. 11), ruith na réis (p. 10), séid an trompaid (p. 11), naimhdean fuileachdach (p. 14), an diabhal carach meallt (p. 14), As-creidimh ’s peacadh ’s uabhar (p. 14), Fhéin-fhìreantachd is cealgaireachd (p. 14), Tre àlaibh sìorraidh buan (p. 16), pailm ’nan làmhan (p. 18), Aros na Glòire (p. 18), and ’n Trianaid (p. 21).
Orthography Forms of linguistic interest, some involving the Gaelic of Bernera, include the following: Am maith (p. 10), tre (p. 10), air uairibh (p. 10), os cionn mo nàmh (p. 10), a nìos (p. 10), d’a Ghlòir (p. 11), uainn (p. 14), reult-iùil (p. 16), and a bhith mar riu (p. 20).

The orthography is that of the mid-to-late twentieth century. Both acute and grave accents are used throughout the text. There are no accents on capital letters.
Edition First edition. The edition has no date on it. The National Library of Scotland has 1940-1949. It was stamped by the Library in 1974.
Other Sources
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