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Metadata for text 78
No. words in text86736
Title Leabhar nan Gleann
Author N/A
Editor Henderson, George
Date Of Edition 1898
Date Of Language Various
Publisher N. MacLeod
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 Various
Register Literature, Prose and Verse
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 19.5cm x 10cm
Short Title Leabhar nan Gleann
Reference Details EUL: .89163108 Hen
Number Of Pages vi, 307 pages
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Dr. George Henderson was born in 1866 in Kiltarlity in Inverness-shire. He attended to Raining’s School in Inverness while Alexander MacBain was headmaster there, and later studied in Edinburgh, Oxford, Berlin, and Vienna. He was lecturer in Celtic at Glasgow University between 1906 and 1912. Henderson was a friend of Fr. Allan McDonald and was very interested in the oral tradition; so much so that he visited the Outer Hebrides, an unusual venture for an academic at that time. He published a number of scholarly works, including Dain Iain Ghobha (1893-96, Text 80) and The Norse Influence on Celtic Scotland (1910), some of which contain contributions by Fr. Allan. He died in 1912. Glasgow University Library holds the Henderson Manuscripts – a collection of several hundred Gaelic manuscripts and transcriptions collected by Dr. George Henderson.
Contents This volume begins with a Prefatory Note (pp. i-iv) in which the editor explains that the texts now published originally appeared in The Highland Home Journal, the weekly supplement of The Highland News. He emphasises that he did not intend to ‘obliterate dialectal traits unnecessarily’ (p. i); although he has modernised the orthography, he has been ‘careful to keep the dialectal words’ (p. iii). This section is followed by An Clar (p. vi) and a list of Corrections (p. vii).

The main body of the text contains 44 items, beginning with an English language translation of Heinrich Zimmer’s Matriarchy Among The Picts (pp. 1- 42), followed by a large section containing works by the Pabbay Poet, Neil Morison (pp. 43-106).

pp. 106-82 contain verses by a number of unknown authors, many of which the editor procured from Mr Donald Maclean, from near Beauly, including Caismeachd na h-Airde (pp. 108-09), Tuireadh (pp. 109-10), and Mo Chruinneag Dhonn (p. 113-15). This section also contains works by a number of known authors, including Raoull Domhnullach from South Uist (pp. 125-34), Fr. Allan Maclean (pp. 146-51), and Fr. Aonghus Donullach (pp. 151-59). Biographical details are added for a number of the named poets.

pp. 183-98 contain a translation into modern Scottish Gaelic, apparently the work of George Henderson himself, of the Middle Gaelic text Fís Adamnáin (‘The Vision of Adamnan’), as printed in E. Windisch, Irische Texte, I (1880), pp. 165-96. See Language for a note on the Gaelic of this section.

pp. 196-293 contain the editor’s transliterations into conventional Scottish Gaelic spelling of verse from the Fernaig MS (text 189), including poems attributed to John Carswell, Sir John Stewart of Appin and Alastair Munro, Strathnaver. See Language for a note on the Gaelic of this section, and Text 192 for Bishop Carswell.

The volume has three appendices: Appendix I – On Farquhar Macrae (pp. 294-99), Appendix II – On Duncan Macrae (p. 300), and Appendix III – On Gaelic Testimony as to Matriarchy and the Couvade (pp. 301-07).
Sources As noted above, many of the texts had already appeared in The Highland Home Journal.
Language The poems and songs printed in pp. 43-182 have a variety of themes. There are a number of elegies, including Marbhrann do Mhr Stiubhairt Nach Mairionn by Neil Morison (pp. 68-69); Marbhrann do Mhr Aonghas Mac-Ghill-Iosa by Nial Stiubhard (pp. 138-39); and Cumha Do Choirneil MacNeill by Fr. Aonghus Donullach (pp. 155-58). In Cumha Do Dhomhnull Foirbeis, a priest who died in Bun Ruaidh, by Alastair Mor, Am Bard Abrach (pp. 134-38) we find ‘Bha sinn uile trom deurach \ Thainig sgrios le beum-sléibh oirnn \ Chaill sinn iteag chùl-sgéithe \ Bu shàr-bhuachail threud e \ S e nach cailleadh a spréidh ann sa cheò.’ (p. 135).

There are also a number of eulogies, such as A Chiad Oran do Mhorair Dunmore (pp. 70-72) and An Dara Oran Molaidh do Mhorair Dunmore Uachdaran na h-Earadh (pp. 72-76) by Neil Morison; Alastar Torraidh (p. 129-31) and Oran Sheumais Mhoir (pp. 133-34) by Raoull Domhnullach from Smerclet, South Uist; Oran by Fr. Allan Maclean in praise of Miss Campbell, the sister of a fellow priest (pp. 147-48); and Oran Molaidh a Rinneadh Mar Dhuais also by Fr. Allan Maclean, this time to Mairi Macrath (pp. 149-50).

This volume also contains a number of love songs, including Oran Gaoil by Neil Morison (pp. 48-51); Oran Sugraidh (p. 111); Oran (pp. 117-19); and Oran an Iasgair (p. 124). In Oran Sugraidh (p. 119-20) we find ‘S gur mise ta na m’ éiginn \ Gad ’s fheudar dhomh’ dheth fhulachdainn \ Nach urrainn mi dheth leubhadh \ Mo chreuchdan s mo dhuilichinn \ Cha nì cha’n òr s cha’n airgiod \ Chuir san dearmad buileach mi \ Ach caileag laghach bhòidheach \ A dh’fhàg fodh bhron s fodh mhulad mi.’ (p. 119). Also of interest is the sad love song, Oran An Amadain Bhoidhich (pp. 165-69), another version of which was already in print in An t-Oranaiche (text 95, see pp. 191-94). Neil Morison’s collection includes two other praise poems, Oran an Eich Odhar [sic] (pp. 79-81) and Oran Eithir Fhearaghuis (pp. 85-86). Morison also has a number of light-hearted poems, including Oran an Ti (pp. 62-64) and Moladh na Luchairte (pp. 65-67).

Five of the texts relate to different types of illnesses and diseases: Oran Do’n Bhracsi (pp. 87-88) and An Dara Oran Do’n Bhracsi (pp. 88-92) by Neil Morison; Oran na Griuthraich by Fr. Allan Maclean (pp. 150-51); Oran by Fr. Aonghus Donullach (pp. 151-52); and Eolas an Deididh (p. 171). In Oran Do’n Bhracsi (pp. 87-88) we find ‘Marbhphaisg ort a Bhracsi \ Gur h-e ’n galar a tha millteach thu \ B’e ’n sionnach am miosg threudan thu \ S b’e 'm beud nach d’ fhuaireadh dìth chuir air’ (p. 87), and in Oran na Griuthraich by Fr. Allan Maclean (pp. 150-51) we find ‘Nur a bha mi ann san Iochdar \ Dh’fhàs mi bochd le coltas fiabhruis \ Dh’fhairich mi saighead a’m chliathaich \ Mar gu’m bi iarunn ga’ shàthadh.’ (p. 150). In Oran a Bhuntata by Neil Morison (pp. 57-62) – a song which was composed s a bliadhna ’n do lobh ’s ’n do ghrod iad, 1846 (p. 57) – we find ‘S bochd a ghaoir anns gach dùthaich \ Aig clann daoine ga d’ ionndrain \ O thainig plàigh ann san ùir \ A rinn t’ fhògradh.’ (p. 57) and ‘Theid cuid leis na spealan \ A sgath dhiot a bharra \ Cho lom ris an talamh \ ’S e’s àill leo.’ (p. 61).

Some of the texts refer to clanship and to war, e.g. Rabhadh Mhac-Shimi (pp. 140-41), Oran Do Mhac Neill Bharraidh Ri Linn Cogadh Napoleain by Fr. Aonghus Donullach (pp. 154-55), and Ealaidh by Huistean Donn Siosal (pp. 179-80). We find the following lines at the end of Oran Do Mhac Neill by Fr. Aonghus Donullach (pp. 158-59): ‘Treubh tha fialaidh mu’n chùinneach \ Treubh bha macanta mùirnte s gach nì \ Treubh iriseal cliùiteach \ A sheasadh gun tionndadh an Rìgh’ (p. 159); and in Ealaidh by Huistean Donn Siosal (pp. 179-80) we find ‘Dur thig am Frangach n nall us frachd (feachd) aig \ Gu’n teid Righ Seòras ga thilleadh dhachaidh \ Bi’s tusa ’n tràth sin air cheann breatallion [sic bhatallion] \ S gur mór do chàil a bhi stigh sa bhaiteal.’ (p. 179).

Some of the poems cover local and national events, such as Oran a Bhuntata (pp. 57-62), Banais Iain Mhartainn (pp. 92-94), and Oran an Rodain (pp. 96-98) by Neil Morison; Feill Leor-Na-Manach (pp. 121-22); and Turus Neill A Mhionnlaidh (pp. 159-61). A few of the songs pertain to religion, such as the five anonymous verses on the works of Christ (pp. 141-42), Laoidh na Ban-Fhighich (pp. 142-44), and Latha nan Tri-Righrean (pp. 161-63).

Interesting forms and expressions in these sections also include Na m’ éiginn a ta mi (p. 111), botular (p. 117), cion-falaich (p. 117), Ta do ghruaidhean mar na ròsan (p. 148), (p. 151), S thàin naigheachd gu’r n-ionnsuidh (p. 154), Là dhe na lathaichibh (p. 165), cha d’éirich i (p. 165), and Cha l’ig thu leas a bhi ri fanoid (p. 86).

The language of Taisbean Adhamhnain, the Modern Scottish Gaelic version of Fís Adamnáin (pp. 183-98), seems to have been influenced, perhaps deliberately, by the vocabulary and idiom of the Middle Gaelic original. The result is a text with a somewhat archaic flavour: e.g. do mhacaibh bàis (p. 183) retains its medieval meaning (‘sinners’) and shows dative plural in -aibh.

The poetry reproduced from the Fernaig MS (pp. 196-293) was composed in the seventeenth century or earlier, and written down (in a semi-phonetic script) near the end of that century. The language of this poetry is noticeably earlier than that of the later poets: e.g. atá is standard for later tha.
Orthography The orthography is a slightly eccentric variety of late 19th-century spelling. The editor claims in the Prefatory Note (pp. i-iv) that he has modernised the orthography for this edition, although he has been ‘careful to keep the dialectal words’ (p. iii). He rarely uses apostrophes, e.g. S mi dh’ fhaighinn a bhàis s mo thiodhlacadh (p. 92). He often omits accents. His treatment of gh and dh is sometimes unexpected, e.g. deigh for déidh (p. 85), naigheachd (p. 154).

The orthography of Taisbean Adhamhnain is not markedly different from that of the other sections in this volume, except where spelling is used to chime with conservative language, e.g. (a)ta is used throughout.

The orthography of the verses from the Fernaig MS is in general the same as that of the later poetry, except insofar as it has to accommodate earlier linguistic forms. On the other hand, some dialectal pronunciations are admitted, e.g. ead for iad ‘they’ (p. 200).
Edition First edition. The editor states in the Prefatory Note (pp. i-iv) that the items in this text were originally published in the Highland Home Journal, the weekly supplement of The Highland News. No references are given to the dates of these earlier publications.
Other Sources
Further Reading ‘Henderson Manuscripts’: http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/specialcollections/collectionsa-z/hendersonmanuscripts
Sinclair, Archibald (ed.), An t-Oranaiche (Glasgow, 1879: Sinclair).
Thomson, Derick S., ed., The Companion to Gaelic Scotland (Glasgow, 1994: Gairm).
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