Friday, 30 November 2012

Book Week Scotland: Òra na h-Anshocair

The prayers in Carmina Gadelica often reflect the everyday fears and worries of the islanders. The following extract contains the prayer as well as notes from the reciter:

Beulaiche: Ruairidh Domhnallach, Manal, Tiriodh

Tubhairt an seann seanchaidh: tha an rann seo math air muir agus air tìr, ann an gàbhadh mara agus ann an amhghar fearainn. Is iomadh turas dubh agus duine dona ann an càs cuain agus ann an cunnart talamh dh'an tug an òra seo fuasgladh. Agus is mise a dh'fhaodadh sin a ràadh, agus

A liutha cunnart is gàbhadh,
Muir brùite agus muir bàite,
Bho'n tug thu mi sàbhailt
Air sgàth Òra na hAnshocair.

Agus is ann dhomh a b'fhìor, agus is liutha tonn a chaidh thar mo chinn rè mo bheatha! A Rìgh na gile 's na grèine agus nan riollacha reula cubhraidh, agad fèin tha fios, agad fèin tha fios, a Dhé mhèinnich nan dùla!

Crois na craoibhe ceusda
Air creuchd dhruim Chrìosda
Dha m' shaoradh bho eucail,
Bho ghèige, bho ghisne.

Crios Chrìosda gun mheang
Is in sìnte rium air fad;
Dhé, beannaich dhomh mo chrann
Romh m' dhol a mach.

Cron dh'am bitheadh ann
Nara toirinn as,
Air sgàth Chrìosd gun fheall,
Air sgàth Rìgh nam feart.
Tiree
Prayer of Distress
Reciter: Roderick MacDonald, Manal, Tiree

The aged reciter said: This rune is good on sea and on shore, in peril of sea and in distress on land. Many the black journey and many the bad man in extremity on sea and in danger on land to whom this prayer has brought relief. And it is I who can say that, considering

From how many a danger and peril,
Pounding sea and drowning sea,
Thou hast delivered me safely
For the sake of the Prayer of Distress.

And that was true for me, considering how many a wave has gone over my head in the course of my life! Thou King of the moon and of the sun and of the fragrant stars, Thou Thyself knowest, Thou Thyself knowest, O compassionate God of life!

May the cross of the crucifixion tree
Upon the wounded back of Christ
Deliver me from distress,
From death and from spells.

The cross of Christ without fault,
All outstretched towards me;
O God, bless to me my lot
Before my going out.

What harm soever may be therein
May I not take thence,
For the sake of Christ the guileless,
For the sake of the King of power.

Reference
Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica iii (Edinburgh:1940) pp. 72-3.
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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). [© carstenflieger.com]