Gaelic Literature of the
Traditional poets and songmakers: H – L
This page is best viewed on a desktop or laptop PC
IAIN DUBH MAC IAIN ‘IC AILEIN (17th / 18th Century)
Iain Dubh Mac Iain ‘Ic Ailein, John MacDonald, appears to have belonged to the Morar branch of Clanranald. He lived in Gruilean in Eigg and, according to the Rev. A. MacLean Sinclair, may have been a Roman Catholic.
i Revs. A. and A. MacDonald. Clan Donald. Vol. 3 (MacDonald and MacDonald 1904:575
ii John MacKenzie. Sàr-Obair nam Bàrd Gaelach (MacKenzie 1872:68)
iii Rev. William Matheson. (TGSI, 38:528 ; TGSI, 41:14)
iv Rev. A. MacLean Sinclair. Comhchruinneachadh Ghlinn-a’-Bhàird (Sinclair 1890:42)
Professor Derick Thomson has described Iain Dubh as “a competent poet “, one of the aos-dàna. Prof. Thomson points out that most of Iain Dubh’s extant poems are dated to the years before and after Sheriffmuir (1715) and that two of the poems attributed to Iain Dubh in John MacKenzie’s Sàr-Obair nam Bàrd Gaelach
Poems by Iain Dubh have been included in a number of anthologies and in 1994 an edition of the ten poems attributable to him was published. In 2001 three were included in an anthology of 18th Century Scottish Gaelic verse (see below).
(1) Colm Ó Baoill (fear-deas.). Iain Dubh: Orain a rinn Iain Dubh mac Iain mhic Ailein. Obar-dheathan: An Clò Gaidhealach, 1994. 90 dd.
Editions of the ten songs attributable to Iain Dubh, along with notes on their texts, metres and tunes. I have not had sight of this book. Reviewed by Coinneach D. MacDhòmhnaill in Gairm (172:378-379).
(2) Ronald Black (editor). An Lasair: anthology of 18th
Century Scottish Gaelic verse.
Includes texts of three poems by Iain Dubh, along with parallel English translations and notes by the editor: ‘Òran nam Fineachan’ (pp. 38-47, 379-382), ‘Marbhrann do dh’Ailean Dearg’ (pp. 54-59, 387-388), ‘Òran do Raghnall Mac Mhic Ailein’ (pp. 72-77, 393-396). The texts of the poems are from Colm Ó Baoill’s edition (see above).
IAIN-MOR-BUACHAILL. See MACPHERSON, John
LACHLANN MAC THEARLAICH OIG (1665-1734)
Lachlan MacKinnon, Lachlann Mac Theàrlaich Oig, was born in Strath, Skye. He was one of the sons of Charles MacKinnon, Teàrlach Og Mac Theàrlaich, of the family of MacKinnon of Strath.
In spite of an unhappy second marriage, the poet was still renowned for his hospitality and friendship. He was a good huntsman and also an excellent fiddler. His songs and witty sayings remained long within oral tradition.
Lachlann Mac Theàrlaich Oig died in 1734 at the age of sixty-nine and was buried in Kilchrist. His funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Skye.
The above information came from two accounts of the life of the poet: one by the Rev. Alexander MacGregor in both Gaelic and English (An Gaidheal, 3:120-121, 145-148; Celtic Magazine, 1:91-94) and one by the Rev. D. Lamont in his account of Strath (Lamont 1913:112-119). While each account contains some material not
found in the other they are
fairly compatible. A third account, from John MacKenzie, relates an incident
concerning the birth of
(1) ‘Bhiodag thubaisteach’
i Comhchruinneacha do dh’ Orain Taghta Ghaidhealach. Deasaichte le Paruig Mac-an-Tuairneir. Duneidionn: T. Stiubhard, 1813, dd. 339-342.
ii Sàr-Obair nam Bàrd
Gaelach. Edited by John MacKenzie.
iii An Lasair: anthology of 18th Century Scottish
Gaelic verse. Edited by Ronald Black.
The first version appears anonymously, but the second version, entitled ‘Sgian dubh an sprògain chain’, is attributed to Lachlann Mac Theàrlaich Oig. There are sufficient differences between the two versions to allow for the possibility that MacKenzie had a source other than Mac-an-Tuairneir’s collection. The third version is entitled ‘Sgian dubh an sprògain chaim’ and has a parallel English translation by the editor with extensive notes.
There are twelve stanzas, beginning ‘Dh’ innsinn sgeul mu ‘n mhalairt duibh’. The metrical pattern is the same as that of the poet’s ‘Latha siubhal sléibhe’. It seems likely that these two songs, so different in mood and theme, were composed upon the same tune.
(2) Lachunn Mac Theàrlaich. ‘Cùram nam Bantraichean’. Sàr-Obair nam Bàrd Gaelach. Edited by John MacKenzie.
John MacKenzie notes that this song was composed by the poet upon hearing that a friend of his was about to marry a rich old widow. No doubt his own unfortunate second marriage had something to do with the views expressed in the song.
There are eight verse-couplets and a four-line refrain: ‘Hug hoireann ho-ro hura-bho / Bi’dh cùram air na bantraichean’.
(3) ‘Cumha Mhic Leòid’
i Cochruinneacha Taoghta de Shaothair nam Bard Gaeleach. Edited by Alexander and Donald Stewart. Duneidin: T. Stiuart, 1804, pp. 411-415
Gaelic Bards from 1411 to 1715. Edited
by the Rev. A. MacLean Sinclair.
iii The MacDonald Collection of Gaelic Poetry. Edited by the Revs. A. and A.
A lament for John MacLeod of Talisker, son of Sir Roderick MacLeod of Talisker, who died in 1700. This John MacLeod is also the subject of a lament by An Clàrsair Dall (Matheson 1970:74-79, 146-148).
being within the tradition of Gaelic elegy, this lament is less formal in
style than some similar compositions by
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
© A Loughran, 2016