Wednesday 31 August 2011

Lover’s Rock

Hornish Point, South Uist / Rudha Thornais, Uibhist a Deas
Another song narrative recorded on 27 May 1869 by Alexander Carmichael was recited by a domestic servant, Mary MacMillan (c. 1825–1883) who hailed from Lionauiche, South Uist. The song and accompanying narrative are versions of A’ Bhean Eudach (The Jealous Wife), mentioned in previous blogs, as it contains similar motifs: for instance, the man has to choose between two sweethearts and then when he overheard his eventual choice singing about what she had done in order to gain his affection, he leaves her.

An Leumaire-rua[dh] at Holm
below Ru[bha]-thoirinnis. Then here the wom[an]
was left. There is a deep narrow channel
which a pers[on] might leap. The place
is full of limpets. The two women were
two sweethearts the man had. He mar[ried]
one & left the other & the mar[ried] one remained
on the rock till the first bhoinne
lionai & there[fore] was unable to leave
The man, mar[ried], the young girl & lived with
her till one day when she was milk[in]g
the cows she was sing[ing] this song
He over heard her & under[stood] how his first wife was
lost. He left her & never ret[urne]d.
The woman sat on the top of the rock
and comp[osed] the song while the other
sat opp[osite] her & learnt it from her.
Sin do chasa dhomh hug o
Sin do lamh dhomh
Hug o Cha sin cha sin hao u ri horo s beag mo
chas dhiot hugo
Thig an coite so maireach.
Iain bhig a hao sa naire
Chan iar[r] [th]u noc[hd] cioch do mhathar
This was a truthful song. The two wo[men]
& the man belonged to Ioc[hd]ar & both the man had been
courting. He mar[ried] one & the other resolved upon re-

The lyrics themselves are very truncated in this particular version which may reflect the fact that Carmichael had taken them down previously. Also, the song narrative would have been familiar not only the collector for this song and variations thereof were not only known throughout the Highlands and Islands but also in many parts of Ireland. Its geographic spread is probably a reflection of its popularity which remains to this day among Gaelic singers and musicians.

CW150/59, ff. 33r–34v.
Hornish Point, South Uist / Rudha Thornais, Uibhist a Deas.

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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). [©]