MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Òran nan DÒmhnallach a Eilean a'PhrÌonnsa
(Song for the MacDonalds of Prince Edward Island)
Lauchie MacLellan CB 1 Tape 5 Track 7
Dunvegan Audio:
Village Verse

Gaelic

'S Hug a ra bhi 's gu ga rireabh
Hug eil' oirrena ho hi ri o
Na fir gheala chàirdeil dhìreach
Slàn gun till thu thir a h-eòlais.

'N de thug Seumas sgeul gam ionnsaidh
Anns a mhaduinn 'n am dhomh dùsgadh
Gun d'thàinig na seòid dhan dùthaich
Sliochd Iain Mhùideartaich na Rosail

Chaidh mi sios gu leth tigh Mhàrtuinn
Rinn mi nochdadh ris an t-sàile
'S ann a chunna mi'n tè bhàn
A mach mu choinneamh tràigh nan Leòdach

Sud an iùbhrach seach a rudha
Falbh gu h-eutrom le caol srùthadh
Bàta bòidheach fo làn-uidheam
'S ìùr am buidhean tha ga seòladh

'S nuair a thog sibh na siùil suas rith'
Mach ri barraibh nan crann uaine
Sgoltadh nan tonn sios mu gualain,
Iùbhrach Ruairidh 's i bha boidheach.

'S chan 'eil cùram eagal oirbh
Na cùram gu dè'n taobh dhan tog i cùrsa
Bidh a captain fhèin ga stiùireadh
'S càch a'cur nan siùil an òrdan.

Cha bhidh cùram oirbh mu thilleadh
Ged a bhiodh i garbh 's a linne
Stiùir an làimh fear ard gun tioma
Agus is' a'mìre crònain.

'S nuair a chàirte fo cuid brèide
'N iùbhrach a ni 'n cuan a reubadh
Mar steud chruidheach shùnndach leumraich
Sior chuir réis ri reidhlein còmhnard.

Chan iongnadh leam sibh bhi dubhach
Dìreadh ri tigh bàn nan uinneag
Far a robh ar gràdh a'fuireach
'S nach tig i tuilleadh 'nar còmhradh.

Is chan iongnadh leam màr a tha sibh
Sibh bhi dubhach deurach cràiteach
Gu bheil bean uasal an deadh nàduir
Anns a'chill gun chàil gun chòmhradh.

Siol na fear fo shrath na fuar bheann
Fo thaobh Loch Seile na fuaran
B' iad mo run na h-armuinn uasal
Dha'm bu dual bhidh 'n dùthaich m'eòlais.

Sguiridh mi nis 's tha mi rèidh dheth
Chur an òrain uir ri chèile
'S toillichte dhomh fhein 's dhaibh fhèin e
Nach do thill an treud ud còmhladh.

English

'S hug a ra bi 's gu ga ririeabh
Hug eil' oirreana o hi ri o
With friendly men, straight and true
May you return safely to your homeland.

Yesterday James brought me the news
In the morning as l got up
That the heroes had arrived
The clan of John of Rossol from Moidart.

I went down to Martin's house
And came in sight of the sea
Then I saw the fair one
Opposite the shore of the MacLeods.

There goes the vessel past the point
Passing lightly, leaving a narrow wash
A beautiful boat, well equipped
Young are the men sailing her.

And when the sails were hoisted
To the top of the green masts
Cutting the waves as they rose to her shoulders
Roderick's vessel was very comely.

You do not worry about fear
Or worry about the course she takes
Her own captain will steer her
While the rest keep the sails in order.

You will not worry about returning
Though the channel may be rough
The hand of the dauntless one on high will guide
While she murmurs playfully.

And when she's in full sail
The vessel that can rend the seas
When the lively wooden one goes leaping
Nothing on the level plains can race her.

Little wonder you are sad
As you climb up to the big white house
Where our love resided
And we speak to her no more.

Little wonder that you are
So mournful, tearful and sorrowing
The gentle woman of the mild nature
Is in the.churchyard without life or speech.

Their offspring is under the turf of the cold hills
By the banks of Loch Shiel
My beloved, the noble heroes
Who used to live in my native land.

I shall stop now since I am finished
Putting this song together
It is better for me and for them
That that crowd did not return together.


Notes

This song tells of a voyage a group of Prince Edward Island MacDonalds made to visit relatives in Inverness County following the death of their sister there. Leach notes in his fieldbook that some of the MacDonalds mentioned in the song were characters well-known in Cape Breton. Ruairidh MacDonald, one of the visitors, was said to have stood over seven feet tall. Legend had it that he once killed a bear by thrusting his hand down the animal’s throat and pulling out its heart. From then on, he was known in Cape Breton, and supposedly P.E.I., as “Ruairidh The Bear.”

According to tradition, the song was composed by Mary MacPherson (Mairi Thearlaich), a local bardess who Leach says immigrated from Moidart around the year 1825. Other sources state that she initially settled in Antigonish before moving to the Broad Cove region of Inverness County. Several other of her songs remain popular in Cape Breton to this day.

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