MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Horo Mo Nighean Donn BhÒidheach nan Gorm-Shuil Meallach
(Horo My Brown-haired maiden of the Alluring Blue Eyes)
Lauchie MacLellan CB 1 Tape 5 Track 8
Dunvegan Audio:
Love Song


O mo nighean donn bhòidheach nan gorm shuil meallach
'S truagh nach robh sinn còmhla ged bhitheamaid falamh
O mo nighean donn bhòidheach nan gorm shuil meallach

'S raoir a rinn mi'm bruadar
dh'fhàg mo chadal luaineach
Mur dean mi do bhuannachd
'S truagh nach robh mi 's talamh

'S tha mo cheann air liathadh
Chan ann air bheag riosain
Cuimhneachadh na ceud tè
Bh'agam riamh mar leannan

'S d' aghaidh thana nàrach
gu sealltain an sgàthan
Mheud 's a thug mi ghràdh dhut
A dh'fhàg mi air m'aineol

'S do shlios mar an fhaoileann
Do ghruaidh mar na caoran
Mala nan trì faobhar
'San aodann gun smalan

Tha do chliu 's do bheusan
Co-mìre ri chèile
's binne na na teudan
'n tèis a thig bho d'anail

'S gur math thig an t-òmar
Am broilleach na h-òighe
Stòcain shìod is brògan
Bucail òr 'gan ceangal

'S gur e mo chèist a mhaighdean
Bhios na fir a faighneachd
Gu siubhlainn an oidhch' leat
An coillteannan a bharraich

Banarach na buaileadh
Meur as grinne dh'fhuaighleas
'S a bhios sa la bhuana
Cur na sguab am bannaibh


Oh my brown haired maid of the alluring blue eyes
It's a pity we weren't together although we would be poor
Oh my beautiful brown haired maid of the gentle blue eyes

Last night I dreamt,
Disturbing my sleep
If I do not win you
I'd rather be under the turf

My hair has gone grey,
Not without reason
Remembering the first girl
I had for a sweetheart

Your thin shy face
looking in a mirror
My great love for you
Has left me so lonely

Your skin like the seagull,
Your cheek like the rowan
Eyebrows with three points
On a face without gloom.

Your personality and deeds
Together are faultless
Sweeter than strings
Is the music from your breath

The amber on her bosom
Well becomes the maid
Silk stocking and shoes
Golden buckles fastening them

My love is the maid
That men all ask for
I would walk the night with you
Through the woods with high trees

Milkmaid of the fold
Who sews a fine seam
And who, when it's time to reap,
Puts the sheaves in a band.


This popular love song is found in many regions of Cape Breton and Scotland. The theme is common: a man pledges his undying love to a young woman and rhapsodizes about her many fine qualities. As is the case with ballads in the English song tradition, stock phrases were used in different songs to express similar ideas. We may not that several descriptive phrases in this song may also be found in Muile nan Morbheann, such as “Your side is like the seagull white”.

Although usually sung slowly, this song has also entered the repertoires of milling singers in Cape Breton and Scotland, giving credence to the notion that songs of various genres existed in the milling canon even before they were brought to North America.

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