Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Tha Mo Rùn air a’ Ghille / I Love the Lad

It may be recalled from a previous blog – the fiftieth one to be precise – that we discovered a voice recording of Alexander Carmichael singing a famous Gaelic song, Tha Mo Rùn air a’ Ghille. Dr Keith N. MacDonald, who was the subject of a previous blog, submitted an article about this very song to The Oban Times and gives an interesting background to the song’s composition. Carmichael is also name-checked for the song was apparently his ‘parlour’ piece and it would seem that no social occasion was complete without the well-known Liosach singing his favourite song:

In the majority of the older Gaelic songs it is impossible even to guess when they were first composed, without some clue of a historical nature, hence it is of importance to note such a clue when it does present itself. The above being one of the most lovely of our Gaelic melodies, it is well worth tracing it to its source if that is now possible. The following version of it may or may not be the earliest, but, at any rate, it can be traced as far back as 1692–that is 209 years ago, and even then it might have been an old song. It was composed by the laird of Grant’s daughter to Donald Donn poet and politician, who, we know, was executed in 1691 or 1692. This Donald Donn was of the house of Bohuntin and Aberarder, a branch of the MacDonalds of Keppoch, the second son of John MacDonald, 4th of Bohuntin, and uncle of Gilleasbuig na Ceapaich. He was in love with a daughter of the chief of the Grants, of Glenurquhart, but as the Grants opposed the match, the young couple planned an elopement. Donald, to be close at hand, hid himself in a cave on the north side of Lochness, near “Réilig Gharraidh.” Here he was to remain until Miss Grant was able to join him, but Donald’s secret retreat was betrayed to Miss Grant’s brother, who had him decoyed into a house, and subsequently disarmed and taken to Inverness where he was executed in 1692. Mr Alexander MacDonald, of Upper South River, Nona Scotia, to whom I am indebted for the words of the song, and himself a scion of the family of Bohuntin, informs me that he was not executed in the Grants’ country as generally supposed, in 1691, but at Inverness in 1692. There is no one now living who can sing this beautiful song so well as Mr Alexander Carmichael the author of “Carmina Gadelica,” with his superb natural tenor voice, and exquisite taste and feeling. Some of the Gaelic societies should certainly have this song as sung by Mr Carmichael gramophoned, for the benefit and admiration of future generations:



Tha Mo Run air a’ Ghille
That Youth I Love


Do Dhomhul Donn Mac Fhir Bhothiuntainn le nighean Tighearna Ghrannd. Bha dùil aige i so a phòsadh mur bhi gu’n deachaidh e féin ’s a h-athair a mach air a chéile.

CHORUS.– Tha mo rùn air a’ ghille,
                     ’S mòr mo dhùil ri tìm thilleadh,
                    ’S mi gu’n siùbhladh leat am fireach
                     Fo shileadh nam fuar-bheann.

Tha thu ’d mhac do fh-fhear Bhothiuntinn
’S mise neaghan Tighearna Ghrannda,
’S rachainn leat a null do’n Fhraing
Ged bhiodh mo chàirdean gruamach.


Tha mo rùn, etc.


Gur h-e m’ athair ’rinn an do-bheart.
Mise chumail gun do phòsadh
Shiùbhlainn leat ged b’ ann do’n Olaind
Ach do chòir a bhuannachd.


Tha mo rùn, etc.


Rachainn leat har chuan do dh-Eirinn,
Rachainn leat air chuairt do’n Eiphit,
’S aig a mheud ’s a thug mi spies dhuit
B’ eutrom orm an t-uallach.


Tha mo rùn, etc.


Nàil a ’s e mo cheist am fiùran
Dòmhnull Donn Mac Fhir Bothiunntinn
Fada is farsuinn a tha cliù
Air mùirnean nam ban uaisle.


Tha mo rùn, etc.


Nàil a ’s e mo ghaol an t-òig-fhear
Dòmhnull Donn an leadain bhòidhich
Tha thu ’n fhìne àrd gun fhòtus
Dòmhnullaich a’ chruadail


Tha mo rùn, etc.


’S iomadh nighneag a tha ’n tòir ort
Eadar Inbhirnis is Mòrair
Ged a bhiodh air crùn do stòras
Phòsadh anns an uair thu.


Tha mo rùn, etc.


Tha do phearsa cuimir dealbhach
’S math thig éididh dhut is armachd
Bu tu ’n curaidh treun neo-chearbach
Meanmach anns an tuasaid.


Tha mo rùn, etc.


’S math thig féile dhut ’s an fhasan,
Boineid ghorm is còta breacain
Osan gean is trì chuir ghartan
’S glas-lann air do chruachan.


Tha mo rùn, etc.


Cha ’n ’eil òganach cho ainmeile
Riut ’s a’ cheàrna so de dh-Albuinn
’S meirg a dhuisgeadh suas gu fearg thu


Tha mo rùn, etc.


Ged a gheibhinn-sa gu m’ òrdugh
Na tha dh’fhearann aig Diùc-Gordon,
’S mòr gu’m b’anns’ leam na stòras
Còir thoirt domh air m’ uaibhreach.


Tha mo rùn, etc.

Reference:
MacDonald, Dr Keith N., ‘The Age of “Tha Mo Run Air A’ Ghille.” (209 Years)’, The Oban Times, no. 2437 (12 Aug., 1901), p. 3, c. 2
Image: Portrait of Dr Keith N. MacDonald from The Celtic Monthly.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Stone whorls WHM 1992 13 2.4

Stone whorls WHM 1992 13 2.4
Stone whorls collected by Alexander Carmichael, held by West Highland Museum (ref. WHM 1992 13 2.4). [© carstenflieger.com]