Gaelic Literature of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   

 

Traditional poetry and song:  collectors and collections

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TOLMIE, Frances  (1840-1926)

 

See also:  Frances Tolmie I (Introductory essay and items A – G).

 

 

I thought that it might be useful to list here in a single alphabetical sequence all those of Miss Tolmie’s published songs which I have been able to trace, indicating in each case the printed sources and using the following abbreviations:

 

 

BG

 

William J Watson (ed.).  Bàrdachd Ghàidhlig: Specimens of Gaelic Poetry 1550-1900.  2nd ed..  Stirling: A. Learmonth & Son, 1932.  (1st ed.  Inverness: Northern Counties, 1918).

 

FTH

 

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser & Kenneth MacLeod (eds.).  From the Hebrides.  Glasgow: Paterson’s Publications, 1925.

 

GCApp.

 

Keith Norman MacDonald (ed).  The Gesto Collection of Highland Music.Leipzig: Oscar Brandsetter, 1895.  Appendix.

 

LC

 

J. F. Campbell.  Leabhar na Feinne.  Vol. 1.  London: Spottiswoode & Co. for the author [repr. Shannon: Irish University Press, 1972]

 

MC

 

A. & A. MacDonald (eds).  The MacDonald Collection of Gaelic Poetry.Inverness: Northern Counties, 1911.

 

MSH

 

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser & Kenneth MacLeod (eds.). More Songs of the Hebrides.  London: Boosey & Co.

(post-1927 publication, see:  Bassin 1977:185).

 

OSS

 

Ethel Bassin.  The Old Songs of Skye: Frances Tolmie and Her Circle.  Edited by Derek Bownam.  London and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul., 1977

 

PB

 

Keith Norman MacDonald (ed).  Puirt-a-Beul = Mouth-Tunes.  Glasgow:  Alex. MacLaren & Sons, 1901.  [repr. 1931].

 

SH1

 

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser & Kenneth MacLeod (eds.). Songs of the Hebrides.  London: Boosey & Co, 1909.

 

SH2

 

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser & Kenneth MacLeod (eds.). Songs of the Hebrides.  Second volume.  London: Boosey & Co., 1917.

 

SH3

 

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser & Kenneth MacLeod (eds.). Songs of the Hebrides.  Third volume.  London: Boosey & Co., 1921.

 

ST

 

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser & Kenneth MacLeod (eds.). Sea-Tangle: Some More Songs of the Hebrides.  London: Boosey & Co, 1913.

 

TC

 

Frances Tolmie.  [Collection of One Hundred and Five Songs of Occupation], Journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 16 (1911). London.

 

TLPM

 

Donald Campbell.  A Treatise on the Language, Poetry and Music of the Highland Clans.  Edinburgh: D. R. Collie & Son, 1862.

 

Items which are not ascribed to Miss Tolmie in the publications concerned are marked ‘N.ascr’.  My own ascriptions in some of these cases are tenuous and might be more properly described as suggestions that Miss Tolmie might have been the source.  The most reliable authority is of course Miss Tolmie herself.  When items in her 1911 collection have also been contributed by her to Keith Norman MacDonald’s Gesto Collection and Puirt-a-Beul, this is usually indicated in her notes.

 

For material listed below, the titles of the songs as they appear in Miss Tolmie’s 1911 collection are used as headings, and those few songs which are not of Skye or Eigg origin are included.  In all the publications, apart from the MacDonald Collection (MacDonald and MacDonald 1911), tunes are given, all of these being in staff notation, with the exception of those in Puirt-a-Beul (MacDonald 1901), which are in tonic sol-fa notation.  Most items have English translations, but any reference which I make may be taken to refer to Gaelic textual material, unless otherwise indicated.

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For songs A – G, see Frances Tolmie 1

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, manndthu!’

 

i     T.C., pp. 215-216.  A vocable refrain and six verses to be sung in continuation form.

 

ii    F.T.H., pp. 70-71.  Song entitled ‘To Iona’ uses Frances Tolmie’s tune for ‘, manndthu!’ in a noticeably altered form.

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‘Hill-ean is ó hug ù’

 

i     P.B., p. 11.  Entitled ‘Hilen is Hogu’.  Three single-line verses and a vocable refrain.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 223-224.  Four single-line verses and a vocable refrain.  Frances Tolmie notes that she contributed the P.B. version

 

iii   S.H. 3, pp. 36-39.  Song entitled ‘Uist Cattle Croon’ uses Frances Tolmie’s tune for ‘Hill-ean is ó hug ù’.

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, fiream forum’

 

i     T.C., p. 228.  Two bars of music, with a refrain.

 

ii    S.H. 3, pp. 120-122.  Entitled ‘Birds at the Fairy Fulling’.  Uses Frances Tolmie’s two bars of music repetitively.  The text consists of her refrain and words collected by Kenneth MacLeod.

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leib-a chall ó’

 

i     T.C., pp. 217-218.  Three couplets, to be sung in continuation form.

 

ii    F.T.H., pp. 6-7.  Entitled ‘The uncanny Mannikin of the Cattle Fold’.  Text the same as Frances Tolmie’s, but the continuation form is not used; tune the same, but the value of each note is doubled.

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Mhórag bheag

 

T.C., p. 179.  Three verses of a nurse’s song.

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rionn éile

 

i     T.C., p. 204.  Vocable refrain and fifteen lines, beginning with ‘Ailein duinn beul a’ mhànrain’.

 

ii    S.H. 1, pp. 84-87.  Entitled ‘The Seagull of the Land-under-Waves’, with new words by Kenneth MacLeod.  What happened to this song in the hands of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser and Kenneth MacLeod is discussed by Ethel Bassin in The Old Songs of Skye (Bassin 1977: 131-137), where she concludes that the song has been “utterly transformed”.  Miss Bassin also refers to missing verses mentioned by Frances Tolmie (op. cit., 131, 173) and suggests that a song quoted by Sorley MacLean (TGSI 37:91ff.) may include these missing verses.

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, hùg o, húg o’

 

i     G.C. App., p. 15.  A heroic lay.  Six stanzas and a refrain of mixed vocables and text.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 253-254.  Refrain and one stanza beginning ‘ chaidh Ridire a dh’ òl’.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the G.C. version

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, lail ó’

 

i     T.C., pp. 213-214.  Seven line-verses, beginning with ‘Thàine tus’ a Chuilein rùnaich’, and a vocable refrain.

 

ii    S.H. 3, pp. 78-79.  Entitled ‘The Return from the Fairy Hill’, with tune from Frances Tolmie and words by Kenneth MacLeod.  Frances Tolmie’s tune is used in the refrain, with some rhythmical alterations.  Her vocables are used, with some alteration.  The verse is a distortion of Frances Tolmie’s version; tune, structure and length have been altered to fit Kenneth MacLeod’s words.

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,, thògaibh i

 

T.C., pp. 233-234.  A waulking song from Barra.  Sixteen line-verses and a refrain.

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‘Hug ó rionn ó’

 

i     G.C. App., p. 50.  Entitled ‘Hug ó rionn ó, cha taobh mi chlann‘.  Six verses and a refrain.

 

ii    T.C., pp. 214-215.  One verse and a refrain.

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‘ ‘Illean ò, ro mhaith ho!’

 

T.C., pp. 218-219.  Twelve lines, to be sung in couplet continuation form, and a refrain.

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‘Ill , hill ó, illean is ó’

 

T.C., p. 203.  Vocable refrain and six couplets beginning with ‘Cha d’ fhuair mi ‘n cadal an raoir’.

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Iùraibh o-, iùraibh o-

 

i     P.B., p. 47.  Twenty-seven line-verses and a vocable refrain.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., p. 236.  Vocable refrain and one line, ‘Chì mi ‘n t-àit’ ‘s an robh mi ‘n uiridh’.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the P.B. version.

 

iii   S.H. 1, pp. 124-127.  Entitled ‘Sea-Sounds (Gàir na Mara)’.  Only a small part of the original text has been used.  Ethel Bassin describes how the original lament has been transformed into a “sentimental … drawing-room song” (Bassin 1977:138-139).

 

iv    O.S.S., pp. 34-35.  Reproduction of T.C. version.

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ri ribh ó!’

 

T.C., pp. 228-229.  Four verses, beginning with ‘Fire faire, ruagaire!’, and a vocable refrain.

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Millegàraidh

 

i     T.C., pp. 200-201.  Fifteen verses and a vocable refrain.

 

ii    O.S.S., p. 30.  Verses one, three, four and twelve to fifteen, with tune, of T.C., version

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‘Laoidh Dhiarmaid’

 

i     G.C. App., p. 12.  Tune only.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 245-246.  Three stanzas.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the tune to G.C.

 

iii   O.S.S., p. 48.  Reproduction of T.C. version.

 

See also individual entry for ‘Laoidh Dhiarmaid’.

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‘Laoidh Fhraoich’

 

i     G.C. App., p. 12.  Tune only.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 246-247.  Four stanzas.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the tune to G.C.

 

iii   S.T., pp. 24-31.  Entitled ‘The Daughter of Maeve’.  Frances Tolmie’s tune; words from Kenneth MacLeod.

 

iv    O.S.S., p. 50.  Reproduction of T.C. version.

 

See also individual entry for ‘Laoidh Fhraoich’.

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‘Laoidh Oscair

 

i     G.C. App., p. 12.  Tune only.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., p. 248.  Two stanzas.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the tune to G.C.

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‘An Long Eireannach

 

i     T.C., p. 230.  Refrain and two verses of an improvisatory waulking song.  Improvisation would be based upon the refrain ‘, bheir mi leam air an luing Eireannaich …’

 

ii    O.S.S., p. 89.  Reproduction of T.C. version.

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Maolruainidh Ghlinneachain

 

T.C., pp. 184-185.  Six lines, to be sung in couplet continuation form, and a refrain.

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‘ ‘Mhnàthan a’ ghlinne so!’

 

T.C., p. 171.  Two verses and a refrain.

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‘Na creid iad

 

T.C., p. 165.  Fragment of a cradle song.

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‘ ‘N uair theid thu dh’ Airigh-Bhuachain

 

T.C., pp. 268-269.  Tune only.  From North Uist.

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‘ ‘N uair thig mo Bhodach-sa dhachaidh

 

T.C., pp. 187-188.  A vocable refrain and seven lines to be sung in couplet continuation form.  Ethel Bassin notes that Frances Tolmie’s version of this song appears in both G.C. and P.B. (Bassin 1977:181).  However, Miss Tolmie does not claim the P.B. version, which is textually very different from that in T.C., and I cannot trace the song in G.C.

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‘O hi, ibh o!’

 

i     P.B., p. 46.  Twelve half-lines and a vocable refrain.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., p. 238.  Twelve half-lines and a vocable refrain.  Ethel Bassin indicates Frances Tolmie to be the source of the P.B. version (Bassin 1977:181).

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Oran an t-Saighdeir

 

i     T.C., pp. 269-270.  One verse.

 

ii    O.S.S., p. 16.  Reproduction of T.C. version

 

This song was composed by Major Neil MacLeod of Waternish.  See his entry in the section for poetry and song of known authorship.

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Oran Arabhaig

 

i     G.C. App., p. 53.  Entitled ‘Lath’ Leathaig’.  Seventy-five half-lines, with vocable refrain

 

ii    T.C., pp. 234-235.  Two half-lines and a vocable refrain.

 

iii   M.C., pp. 378-380.  Seventy-six half-lines and a vocable refrain.  N.ascr.  J. L. Campbell writes that this version appears, apart from a few minor alterations, to be a copy of the version in G.C. and that the notes on the song on pages lxv-lxvi appear to derive from Miss Tolmie’s notes in T.C. (Campbell and Collinson 1977:247-248).

 

iv    S.H. 3, p. xiii.  N.ascr. Same as T.C. version.  Ethel Bassin indicates that Frances Tolmie is the source of this version.

 

‘Oran Arabhaig’ is a flyting song, a poetic duel between a MacDonald and a MacLeod poetess.  J. L. Campbell has demonstrated the close relationship between Frances Tolmie’s ‘Oran Arabhaig’ and a poem, ‘Pòsadh Mhic Leòid’,

originally published in D. C. MacPherson’s Duanaire (MacMhuirich 1868:140)  and wrongly ascribed to Màiri Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh (Campbell 1968: 174-184).

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Oran do Dhomhnull Gorm’

 

i     T.C., pp. 238-239.

 

ii    M.C., pp. 35-39

 

iii   B.G., pp. 246-249.

 

See individual entry for this song under title Taladh Dhomhnaill Ghuirm’.

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Oran do Ghilleasbuig Og a H-eisgeir

 

T.C., pp. 258-259.  Eleven verses and a vocable refrain beginning with ‘Ho-ro o hug hoirionn o’.

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Oran do Mhac-Griogair o Ruadh-Shruth

 

i     G.C. App., p. 25.  Tune only.

 

ii    T.C., pp. 261-262.  Two stanzas.

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Oran do Mhac-Iain-‘Ic-Sheumais

 

i     G.C. App., pp. 58-59.

 

ii    T.C., pp. 255-257.  Ten couplets, beginning with ‘A Mhic-Iain-‘ic Sheumais, Tha do sgeul air m’ aire’, to be sung in quatrain continuation form.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the tune only to the G.C. version.

 

This song is traditionally ascribed to of Domhnall Mac Iain ‘ic Sheumai’s foster mother, who is said to have composed it after the Battle of Carinish, North Uist, about 1601.

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Oran Ionndrainn

 

T.C., pp. 259-260.  Two versions, one from Mull and another from Skye.  Miss Tolmie notes how this song, with is refrain beginning ‘Bhi ‘g an cuimhneachadh ‘s ‘g an ionndrainn’, was revived in Skye during

a period of emigration from the island in 1860.

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Oran mu ‘n Ghuragaich

 

i     G.C. App., p. 19.  Five verses and vocable refrain.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 197-198.  Five verses, beginning with ‘Chaorain nach dean thu solus dhomh’, and a vocable refrain.  Text same as that in the G.C. version, which Miss Tolmie notes she contributed.

 

iii   O.S.S., p. 29.  One verse and refrain of T.C. version

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Oran mu ‘n Ghuragaich-mhara

 

i     P.B., pp. 45-46.  Twelve lines and a vocable refrain.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 219-220.  One half-line, ‘ ‘S mis’ a chunnaic!’, and a vocable refrain.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the P.B. version.

 

iii   F.T.H., pp. 110-113.  Entitled ‘The Seal-Maiden (Gruagach-mhara)’.  Text, which is unascribed, is the same as that in P.B., apart from the omission of two half-lines and some variations in the vocables.  Uses a Barra tune as well as Miss Tolmie’s.

 

iv    O.S.S., p. 37.  Reproduction of T.C. version.

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Oran Tàladh an Eich-uisge

 

T.C., pp. 160-161.  Two verses and a refrain, beginning with ‘O-! a Leinibh, !’.

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Oran Tàlaidh na Mna-sìdhe

 

T.C., pp174-177.  See individual entry for ‘Tàladh Mhic Leòid’.  

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Oran Teannachaidh

 

T.C., pp. 227-228.  A song for the final part of the waulking process.  A vocable refrain and sixteen lines, beginning with ‘Chaidh mi ‘na Ghleannan a’s t-Fhoghair’.

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‘O Rionn o, hó-ró, ‘m bàta!’

 

i     G.C. App., p. 52.  Tune only.  N.ascr

 

ii    O.S.S., p. 77. Reproduction of G.C. version, attributed by Miss Bassin to Frances Tolmie.

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‘ ‘Phiuthrag nam Piuthar

 

T.C., pp. 177-178.  Tune from the notation of the Rev. John MacDonald of Harris.

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Poca sìl an t-sealgair

 

i     P.B., p. 12.  Entitled ‘H-Eadaraibh a h-uinn O’.  Three couplets and a vocable refrain.  N.ascr

 

ii   T.C., pp. 194-195.  Text same as that in P.B. version, which Miss Tolmie notes she contributed.

 

The Rev. Tormod Domhnallach attributes composition of this song to Bean Fhearchair Domhnallach.  See her entry in section for poetry and song of known authorship.

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‘ ‘S aighearach mi’

 

T.C., pp. 179-180.  Two lines and a refrain.  A nurse’s song.

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‘ ‘S fad’ tha mi ‘m ònaran

 

G.C. App., p. 23.  Tune only from Frances Tolmie.

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Shibeag, Shibeag!’

 

i     T.C., pp. 264-265.  Three verses and a refrain.

 

ii    S.H. 2, pp. 15-18..  Text same as in T.C., but the tune is given in a higher key and in different time.

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‘Shiùbhlainn, Shiùbhlainn’

 

i     P.B., pp. 27-28.  One verse and a vocable refrain.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 224-226.  Seventeen verses and a vocable refrain.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the P.B. version.

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Siud a leinibh

 

T.C., p. 172.  Fragment of a lullaby.

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Slan gu ‘n tig Aonachan

 

T.C., pp. 169-170.  Miss Tolmie notes that this tune was formerly chanted at funerals, but was latterly used as a lullaby!

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‘ ‘S milis Mórag’

 

T.C., p. 169.  See individual entry for this song.

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‘ ‘S tràth chuir a’ ghrian

 

T.C., p. 242.  Fragment of a milking song.

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Tha Chu’ag is “gug-gùgaice

 

i     T.C., pp. 190-191.  Five verses and a refrain.

 

ii    M.C., p. 284.  Seven verses and a refrain.  Not attributed to Frances Tolmie, but very close to the T.C. version.  Frances Tolmie may be the source.

 

iii   O.S.S., pp. 59-60.  Reproduction of the T.C. version.

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Tha na féidh, o-ho!’

 

T.C., pp. 168-169.  Two verses of a lullaby.

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Tha ‘n crodh air na lòin

 

T.C., p. 240.  See individual entry for ‘Bràigh Uige’. 

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Tha ‘n crodh-laoigh ‘s an fhraoch

 

T.C., p. 241.  Fragment of a milking song.

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Tha sìor chaoineadh an Beinn-Dorain

 

i     P.B., pp. 46-47.  Three verses.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., p. 166.  Two verses.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the P.B. version.

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Tha sneachd air na beannaibh Diùrach

 

G.C. App., p. 15.   Seventeen single-line verses and a vocable refrain.

 

It is unclear whether this is among those songs to which Keith Norman MacDonald refers in a footnote on p.15 as having been received from Frances Tolmie.  I think it likely that it is.  There is a very similar version of nineteen lines in the Tolmie MSS in the National Library of Scotland (Acc. 4863, MS 14902), where there is a note to the effect that it was heard at a waulking in Rudhan Dùnain.  For a Cape Breton version, see Hebridean Folksongs, Vol. 2 (Campbell and Collinson 1977:110-113).

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Thog am bàta na siùil

 

i     G.C. App., p. 19.  Thirteen lines and a vocable refrain.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 220-221.  Six couplets and a vocable refrain.  Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed the G.C. version.

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‘Till an crodh Dhonnachaidh

 

T.C., pp. 182-183.  A nurse’s song.  The late Nan MacKinnon of Vatersay had a version as a milking song (Collinson 1966:85).

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Togaibh è, togaibh è’

 

T.C., pp. 181-183.  A nurse’s song.  Five lines and a refrain.

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‘Na Trì Eòin

 

i    T.C., pp. 185-186.  One verse and a refrain.

 

ii    M.C., pp. 332-333.  Nine verses and a refrain.  In her notes to the T.C. version, Miss Tolmie refers to this M.C. version without actually claiming that she had contributed it.  The two refrains are identical, but the one verse in T.C. does not occur in M.C.

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Uamh ‘n Oir

 

Miss Tolmie notes that she contributed four versions of ‘Uamh ‘n Oir’ to G.C. and P.B. (T.C., pp. 157-158).

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Uamh ‘n Oir  (1)

 

i     P.B., pp. 47-48.  Four verses.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 157-158.  One verse: ‘Mu ‘n till mise, mu ‘n ruig mise; Mu ‘n till mise a Uamh ‘n Oir’.

 

iii   O.S.S., p. 4.  Reproduction of T.C. version, with the addition of the P.B. text.

 

For another version, see Skye: Iochdar-Trotternish and District  (MacKenzie 1930:73).

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Uamh an Oir  (2)

 

i     P.B., p. 47 (tune on p. 54).  One verse, appended to another version.  N.ascr

 

ii    T.C., pp. 158-159.  One verse, beginning with ‘Chaill mo làmh a lùths

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Uamh an Oir  (3)

 

i     P.B., p. 47.  Two verses.  N.ascr

 

ii     T.C., p. 159.  One verse, beginning with ‘Mo dhìth, mo dhìth, gun trì làmhan’.

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Uamh an Oir  (4)

 

i     G.C. App., p. 23.  Two verses.  N.ascr

 

ii    P.B., p. 48.  One verse.  N.ascr

 

iii   T.C., pp. 159-160.  One verse, beginning with ‘ ‘S ioma mhaighdean òg fo ceud bhearr’.

 

 

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Abbreviations 

 

Traditional: known authorship

A-C       D-Domhnall       Domhnallach-Dz        E–G       H–L       M–MacA       MacB–MacC        MacD        MacE-MacK,  MacLa-MacLeod        MacLeòid A-H        MacLeòid I-Z        MacM-MacN       MacO-MacZ      M      N      O-Q      R-Z

 

Traditional: anonymous

A-B      C-D      E-K      L-N       O       P-Z     

 

Traditional: collections

Annie Arnott       An Cabairneach        Carmina Gadelica        Catriona Dhùghlas        Tormod Domhnallach                  Marjory Kennedy-Fraser         Angus Lamont        K. N. MacDonald         Johan MacInnes          Hugh MacKinnon          Calum I. MacLean         Sorley MacLean        Kenneth MacLeod         Niall MacLeòid        Màiri Nighean Alasdair

Cairistiona Mhàrtainn         Alexander Morison          Kenneth Morrison         Angus Nicolson          Portree HS Magazine   Lachlann Robertson         Frances Tolmie I          Frances Tolmie II

 

Modern

Somhairle MacGill-Eain         The New Poetry

 

References

Books etc: A-L         Books etc: MacA-MacL         Books etc: MacM-Z   Periodicals, MSS, AV

 

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