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Metadata for text 86
No. words in text4281
Title Marbh-rainn air daoine urramach diadhaidh a bha ’an Sgire Dhornaich, ’an Cataobh
Author Guinne, Uilleam (’sa Bhean)
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1887
Date Of Language 1850-1899
Publisher Printed at the ‘Ross-shire Journal’ Office
Place Published Dingwall
Volume N/A
Location National Library of Scotland
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Sutherland
Register Religion, Verse
Alternative Author Name William Gunn
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 18.1cm x 12.3cm
Short Title Marbh-rainn
Reference Details NLS: APS.1.78.229
Number Of Pages 15
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context This text contains six elegies, on four different people, by William Gunn and his wife. Four of the elegies are by Gunn, one is by his wife (Frances?), and one is by Gunn and two other people. The text has been re-bound in card and contains only 15 pages. The title page reads: ‘Marbh-rainn air Daoine Urramach Diadhaidh a bha ’an Sgire Dhornaich, ’an Cataobh. Le Uilleam Guinne ’sa Bhean, ’Am Pronnsuidh, ’s an Sgire Cheudna’. Proncy Farm is situated between Evelix and Poles, just west of the A9, in East Sutherland, but the identity of William Gunn is obscure.
Contents I Marbh-rann air Uilleam Macintoisich ’bla [for ’bha] ’n Achadhleathan, ’an Sgire Dhornaich (pp. 3-5): by Gunn. 17 four-line stanzas.

II Marbh-rann air Iain Grea, Eild’ear a bha ’n Sgire Dhornaich (pp. 5-7): by Gunn. 9 eight-line stanzas.

III Marbh-rann do Shiorra Macculloch bha ’an Dornach (pp. 7-9): by Gunn. 17 six-line stanzas.

IV Marbh-rann do Shiorra Macculloch (pp. 10-11): by Gunn’s wife. 14 four-line stanzas.

V Marbh-rann do Uilleam Mhurradh, duine urramach diadhaidh a bha ann am Fliuchairidh ann an Sgire Dhornaich, agus bha na Fhear ceasnaich ann an Sgire Chraoich, ’an Cataobh (pp. 11-14): by Gunn, I. M‘D., and R. M‘D. 16 eight-line stanzas.

VI Air toirt air falbh na dilsean, ’s air mi-dhilseachd na ginealaich (p. 15): by Gunn. 3 eight-line stanzas.
Sources No sources are given for these elegies.
Language The language of the poems is that of elegy within a religious milieu. The poems praise the man who has died, express sadness that he is no longer alive, but at the same time acknowledge that death comes to us all and that we move on to a better place.

For example, we find stanzas such as: ‘Och a Leatairean Dhornaich, \ ’S mor an leon bhi ’g a t-fhaicinn, \ Bho ’n la thug E laimh ’n tos as: \ ’S c’ ait am b’ eol dhomh a leithid: \ Bha e duineil is diadhaidh, \ ’S bha e ciallach ’na chomhradh, \ Is cha deanadh e geilleadh, \ Do na reusantan feolmhor’ (p. 5); ‘Thug E saor thu bho ’n fheagal, \ ’S bho na h-amhrusan craiteach, \ ’S mar an ceudn’ bho ’n fhear toibheum, \ ’S bho fhear-ditidh na ’m braithrean, \ ’S tha thu nise gu sona, \ ’S cha tig ainnis gu brach ort; \ Tha thu ’g amharc ’n ard Chuspair, \ ’S tha thu an uchd Abrahaim’ (p. 6); and ‘Air a thabhairt gu saorsuinn \ Dh’ionnsuidh lanachd na Righeachd, \ As gach tsiodlaid, ’us daors’, agus cruas, \ Gu bhi ’seinn Haleluiah \ ’Am measg an Ranc ’chaidh chrunadh, \ ’Tabhairt gloir agus umhlachd do ’n Uan’ (p. 7).

In the first stanza of the fifth poem, the reciter compares himself to a dying tree: ‘Is mis’ a chraobh tha crionach, \ Th’anns an fhionan gun bhla’ orm, \ ’S mi fo reoiteachd a gheamhraidh, \ ’Tha na shamh’l air a bhas domh’ (p. 11).

There is some thematic and verbal repetition between these elegies, e.g. Planntan milis na dilseachd (p. 8) and Planntan cubhraidh na dilseachd (p. 12); Gu bhi ’seinn Haleluiah (p. 7) and Gu bhi seinn Haleluiah (p. 12); compare also the references to Abraha(i)m (p. 6, p. 12), Ranc (p. 7, p. 14), and a Chuirt (p. 10, p. 12).

Other words and expressions of interest include Fhuair an cuan e ri bhathadh (p. 7) and Ach ged a rinn an cuan do bhathadh (p. 9), coinseans (p. 3) and momaint (p. 11), gradh’n Fhir-shaoraidh (p. 10), gu’n Aros (p. 12), ’Craobh-sgaoileadh na firinn (p. 13), Fear-tabhairt a gheallaidh (p. 14), and A chum Pharas na saors (p. 15).
Orthography The Gaelic of Dornoch may be represented by the use of terms such as fheagal (p. 6), gu brach (p. 6), A ris a chûirt ud a tha os àrda (p. 3), trogail (p. 3), iunndran (p. 4), fathasd (p. 4), choidh thu rather than chaidh thu (p. 6), and troimh na bhas (p. 15).

The orthography is characteristic of the mid to late nineteenth century. Grave accents appear sporadically in pp. 1-5 but not at all thereafter. The acute accent is not used. The text contains a number of typing errors and spelling variations.
Edition First edition.
Other Sources
Further Reading Coinneach D. MacDhòmhnaill, ‘Na Marbhrannan Soisgeulach’, in W. Gillies (ed.), Gaelic and Scotland: Alba agus a’ Ghàidhlig (Edinburgh, 1989: Edinburgh University Press), 175-184.
[Further information on the Gunn family in Proncy Farm may await discovery in the archives of the HistoryLinks Museum in Dornoch.]
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