History of the Clan Macrae

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Appendix J - Poetry of the Macraes

The following poems are given as specimens of the language and poetry of the Macraes, and as illustrations of their social, political, and religious views in olden times: --

I.

This song, composed by Fearachar Mac Ian Oig, during his exile, was given to the author in 1890 by Alexander Macmillan, Dornie.  It is given also in The Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, Leaves from My Celtic Portfolio, by Mr. A. W. Mackenzie.

Cha ne direadh na bruthaich
Dh'fhag mo shiubhal gun treoir.

Na teas ri la greine
'Nuair a dh'eireadh i oirnn.

Laidh a' sneachd so air m' fheusaig
'Us cha leir dhomh mo bhrog.

'S gann is leir dhomh ni 's fhaisge,
Ceann a bhata nam dhorn.

Se mo thigh mor na cregan,
Se mo dhaingean gach frog.

Se mo thubhailte m' osan,
Se me chopan mo bhrog.

Ge do cheanaichinn am buideal
Cha 'n fhaigh mi cuideachd 'ni ol.

'S ged a cheanaichinn a' seipein
Cha 'n fhaigh mi creideas a' stoip.

Ged a dh' fhadinn au teine,
Chi fear foille dheth ceo.

'S i do nigheau-sa Dhonnachaidh
Chuir an iomagain so oirnn.

Te 'g am beil an cul dualach
O guallainn gu brog.

Te 'g am beil an cul bachlach
'S a dhreach mar an t'or.

Dheoin Dia cha bhi gillean
Riut a' mire 's mi beo.

Ged nach deaninn dhut fidhe
Bhiodh iasg a's sitheinn ma d'bhord.

'S truagh nach robh mi 's tu 'ghoalach
Anns au aonach 'm bi 'n ceo.

Ann am bothan beag barraich
'S gun bhi mar rium ach d' fheoil.

Agus paisdean beag leinibh
A cheileadh ar gloir.

'S mi a chnamhadh an caolas
Air son faoilteachd do bheoil.

Nuair a thigeadh am foghar
Be mo roghainn bhi falbh,

Leis a' ghunna nach diultadh
'S leis an fhudar dhu-ghorm.

Nuair a gheibhinn cead frithe
Bho 'n righ 's bho 'n iarl og,

Gum biodh fuil an daimh chabraich
Ruith le altaibh mo dhoru,

Agus fuil a bhuic bhiorich
Sior shileadh feadh feoir.

Ach 's i do nighean-sa Dhonnachaidh
'Cuuir an iomagain so oirnn.

It is not the climbing of the hills
that has made my walk listless.

Nor the heat of a sunny day
when it rose upon us.

The snow has settled on my beard,
and I cannot see my shoe.

Hardly can I see, nearer still,
the head of the staff in my hand.

The rocks are my big house,
and the holes are my stronghold.

My hose is my towel,
my shoe is my drinking cup.

If I were to buy a bottle,
I could get no company to drink it.

If I were to by a chopin,
I should not get credit for a stoup.

If I were to light a fire,
some treacherous man would see the smoke.

It was your daughter, Duncan,
that brought this anxiety upon us.

She who has beautiful hair
from her shoulders down to her shoe.

She who has curling hair
of the hue of gold.

God forbid that young men should make love to you
while I live.

Though I cannot weave for you,
yet there would be fish and venison on your table.

Would that you were with me, my love,
on the hill of the mist.

In a small brushwood hut
with no one with me but you.

And a little child
that would not betray our talk.

I would (gladly) swim the ferry
for a welcome from your mouth.

When the autumn would come,
my desire would be to wander

with a gun that would not miss fire,
and with dark blue gunpowder.

When I should receive permission
for the forest from the King and the young Earl,

the blood of the antlered stag would flow
by the skill of my hand,

and the blood of the roe-buck would flow
continually into the grass.

But your daughter, Duncan,
has brought this anxiety upon us.

II.

The following lament on Ian Breac Mac Mhaighster Fearachar was taken down by Mr. Alexander Macrae, farmer, Ardelve, from the recitation of Mr. Duncan Macrae, Ardelve, and communicated to the author in 1896.  The author of this poem is unknown: --

Gu 'm beil m'inntinn se trom,
'Us cha sheinnear leum fonn
Thionndaidh disne rium lom
     'S na chairibh.

Gu 'm beil m'aigneadh fo ghruaim,
'S cain gur fada o'n uair
M'an aitreabh 's an d'fhuair
     Mi m' arach.

An deigh cinneadh mo ruin
Air an d' imich an eliu,
'S tric mi 'n ionad fir dhiubh
     O'n dh' fhas mi.

Cha b'e bhi 'n dubhar gun ghrein
Fath mo mhulad gu leir,
Thuit mi cumha luchd speis
     Mo mhanrain.

'S ann sa chlachan od shios
Dh'fhag sinn ceannas nan cliar
'S am fear buile na 'n iarrta
     'N airidh.

Duin' uasal mo ghaoil
Chaidh a bhualladh le aog
'S ann 'n ad ghnuis a bha aoidh
     A chairdeas.

'S n' am b' fhear ealaidh mi fein
Mar mo bharail gu geur
'S ann ort a b' fhurasd dhomh ceatachd
     Aireamh.

Gu n robh geurchuis ni's leor
Ann an eudan an t' sheoid
'S bu cheann reite do ghloir
     An Gailig.

'S mor an gliocas 's an ciall
Chaidh sa chiste leat sios,
Thug sud itean a sgiath
     An alaich.

Bhun an geambradh rinn teann
Cha robh aoibhneas dhuinn ann
'S neo shubhach an gleann
     Bhon la sin.

'S lom au snaidheadh bhou tuath
Bhi cuir Ian san uaigh
'S bochd a naigheachd do thuath
     Chintaille.

Tha do chinneadh fo ghruaim
Dol air linne leat suas,
Air an tilleadh bu chruidh leo
     D' fhagail.

Tha do dheirbhleinean broin
Mar ghair sheillein an torr
'N deigh na mel, na mar eoin
     Gun mhathair.

Nise 's turseach an eigh
Gun am furtachd ac fhein
'S mor a thuiteas dhuibh 'n deigh
     Do laithean.

'S mor an aireamh, 's a chall
Cha do thearuinn mi ann
'S cia mar thearnas mi 'n am
     A phaidhidh.

Ghillean glacibh se ciall
Tha n ur cuid air an t sheibh
'S iommadh fear bhios ag iarridh
     Fath air.

Tha na taice 's na treoir
Ann an caol chiste bhord
Anns a chlachau an Cro
     Chintaille.

Tha do cheile fo sprochd
'S i neo eibhin gun toirt,
Rinn creuchdan a lot
     Gun tearneadh.

B' fhiach a h' uidheam sa pris
Fhad 's a luighigeadh dh'i
Gus na ghuidheadh le Righ
     N an gras thu.

A Mhic Mhoire nan gras
A dhoirt d'fhuil air nar sgath
Gu 'm a duineil 'n a aite
     Phaisdean.

Heavy minded am I,
nor can I raise the song (of gladness),
the die has fallen for me inauspiciously
as to its sides.

My mind is in sadness,
and for a long time,
on account of the home
in which I was reared.

On account of my beloved clan,
whose fame has traveled far,
often have I been in the place of some of
them since I grew up.

Being in a sunless shade
is not the sole cause of my sadness,
I have fallen into mourning for those who are
the esteemed ones of my mirth.

It was down in that graveyard
that we left the chief of the heroes,
and the head of the township
if they were being counted.

My beloved nobleman,
who has been struck by death,
in thy face was the expression
of friendliness.

If I were a man of talent,
keen as to my wit,
it would be easy for me to record
thy praises.

There was intelligence enough
in the face of the hero,
and a subject of agreement would be thy praises
in Gaelic.

Great is the wisdom and the understanding
that went down with thee in thy coffin,
this has plucked feathers from the wing of
thy tribe.

The winter visited us severely,
there was no pleasure for us in it,
and joyless is the glen
since that day.

A keen bereavement for the people,
putting John in the grave;
sad tidings for the tenantry
of Kintail.

Sad were thy clansmen
as they carried thee West on the water,
hard for them was it to have left thee
as they returned.

Thy sad orphans
are like the noise of bees on a mound for their honey,
or like fledglings
without a mother.

Sad now is their cry
without a time of comfort for them;
many of them will fall
after thy days.

Great is their number,
nor did I escape the loss,
how can I be saved in
the day of reckoning (or rent paying).

Young men, be prudent,
your property (cattle) is on the mountain;
many a man will try
to take advantage of it.

Our support and strength
is in a narrow wooden coffin
in the graveyard in Cro
of Kintail.

Thy wife is downcast,
joyless, listless,
wounded with sores from which she had
no escape.

Prosperous were her surroundings
and her lot as long as thou wast vouchsafed to her,
until thou wast asked for
by the King of Grace.

Son of Mary of Grace,
who shed Thy blood for our sake,
may his boys be worthy
of his place.

III.

The following Lament for Murdoch Macrae of Inverinate, who was killed in Glenlic, is still well known in Kintail.  It is given in The Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness (Vol. VIII.), Leaves from My Celtic Portfolio. by Mr. William Mackenzie.1  The author is not known: --

Si sealg geamhraidh Ghlinn-Lic
A dh' fhag greann oirn tric 'us gruaim,
'N t-og nach robh teann 's a bha glic
'S an teampull fo'n lic 's an uaigh.

A cheud Aoine de 'n geamhradh fhuar
'S daor a plaigh sinn buaidh na sealg,
An t-og bo chraobhaiche snuagh
Na oanar bhuainn 'us fhaotainn marbh.

Tional na sgire gu leir
Ri siubhal sleibh 's ri falbh bheann
Fad sgios nan coig latha deug
'S am fear direach treun air chall

Murachadh donn-gheal mo run
Bu mhin-suil 's bu leannan mnai
A ghnuis anns an robh am ball-seire
'S a bha tearc air thapadh laimh.

Chuala mise clarach theud,
'S fiodhall do rear a co-sheinn --
Cha chuala 's cha cnluinn gu brath
Ceol na b'Fhearr na do bheul binn,

Bu tu marbhaich' bhalla-bhric-bhain,
Le morbh fhada dhireach gheur,
Le cuilbheir bhristeadh tu cnaimh
'S bu shilteach fo d'laimh na feidh.

Bhean uasal a thug dhut gaol
Nach bi chaoidh na h-uaigneas slan,
'S truagh le me chluasan a gaoir
Luaithead 's tha 'n snaim sgaoilt le de' bhas.

Gur tuirsach do chaomh bhean og
'S i sileadh nan deoir le gruaidh
'S a spionadh a fuilt le dorn
Sior chumha nach beo do shnaugh.

'S tursach do chinneadh mor deas
Ga d' Shireadh an ear 's an iar
'S an t-og a b' fhiughantaich beachd
Ri slios glinne marbh 's an t-sliabh.

Tha Crathaich nam buailtean bo
Air 'n sgaradh ro-mhor mu d'eug,
Do thoir bho bheatha cho og
A ghaisgich chlan choir nam beus.

'S tuirseach do sheachd braithrean graidh
Am parson ge hard a leugh
Thug e, ge tuigseach a cheard,
Aona bharr-tuirs air each gu leir.

Bho thus dhiubh Donnachadh nam Pios,
Gillecriosd 's an dithis de'n chleir,
Fearachar agus Ailean Donn,
Uisdean a bha trom 'n ad dheigh.

'S math am fear rannsaichidh 'n t-aog,
'S e maor e thaghas air leth,
Bheir e leis an t-og gun ghaimh
'S fagaidh e 'm fear liath ro shean.

The winter hunt in Glenlic
has made us often shudder in our sadness
about the youth who was not parsimonious, yet was prudent,
now lying in a grave under a stone in the temple.

The first Friday of the cold winter dearly did we pay
for the success of our hunt--
the young man of most comely appearance
alone missing, and to be found dead.

All the people of the parish
searching on moor and mountain
during the weariness of fifteen days,
for the athletic brave man who was missing.

The fair complexioned Murdoch of my choice,
of gentle eye, the beloved of woman,
of a countenance with the expression of kindness,
and rare for prowess of arm.

I have heard the stringed harp
and the violin in harmony playing with it,
I have neither heard, nor shall ever hear sweeter music
than (the converse of) thy melodious mouth.

Thou couldst kill speckled white trout,
with long straight and sharp spear;
thou couldst break bones with the gun,
and the deer bled freely at your hand.

The gentle woman who gave thee her love,
and who can never be well in her solitude--
it pains my ears to hear her lamenting
how soon the marriage knot has been undone by thy death.

Sad is thy gentle young wife,
with tears flowing down her cheek,
plucking her hair with her hand in bitter grief
that there is no longer any life in thy countenance.

Sad was thy great and accomplished clan,
searching for the east and west,
while youth of most sympathetic judgment
was (dead) on the moor on the side of the glen.

The Macraes of the cattle folds
are grievously afflicted by thy death--
taken out of life so young,
thou generous hero of becoming conduct.

Sad are thy seven beloved brothers--
the parson, though profound is his learning,
though his office is one of giving comfort,
yet he surpassed the others in his grief.

First among them is Duncan of the silver cups,
then Christopher and the two clergymen,
Farquhar, Allan of the auburn hair,
and Hugh, who was sad after thee.

Death is an excellent searcher,
a messenger who chooses in a special way,
he removes the unblemished young man,
and leaves the gray-haired and very old man.

IV.

The author of the following peom was Donnachadh nam Pios, writer of the Fernaig MS.  It has been transliterated from the Fernaig MS. into modern spelling by Professor Mackinnon.2

Aon a rimeadh leis an Sgriobhair
air lath a' bhreitheanais.

Smaoineamar an la fa dheoidh
Is coir dhuin a dhol eug,
Smaoineamar peacaidh na h'oig
Dmaoineamar fos na thig 'n a dheigh.

Smaoineamar na thig 'n a dheigh.
Gur e la na mor bhreith;
Gach ni rinneadh leinn 's au fheoil
Cha'n fhaodar na's mo a chleith.

Cha'n fhaodar na's mo a chleith,
Maith no sath a rinneadh leinn;
'N uair chi sinn Breitheamh nan slogh
Teachd oirnn s na neoil, Tromp 'g a seirm.

'N uair sheirmear an trompaid mhor,
Cruinnicheadar na sloigh ma seach;
Gach neach a tharlas duibh beo
Caochlaidh iad an doigh 's am beachd.

Caochlaidh muir agus tir,
Caochlaidh gach ni as naudh,
Liobhraidh an talamh suas,
Gach neach a chaidh anns an uir.

Gach neach a chaidh anns an uir
Eiridh iadsan 'n an nuadh chorp,
Is gabhaidh gach anam seilbh
'S a choluinn cheilg an robh chlosd.

Nior chlosd an sin do na chuan,
Gluaiseadar e fa leth;
Na bhathadh bho thoiseach tim
Liobraidh se air chionn na breith.

Breith bheir buaidh air gach breith;
Cha Breitheamh leth-bhreitheach an Righ
Shuidheas air cathair na breith
'S a bheir ceart bhreith air gach ti.

Gach ti a bha cur ri ole
Tearbar a nochd air an lamh chli;
Cairear air a laimh dheis,
Gach ti bhios deas air a chinn.

Gach ti bhios deas air a chinn
Labhraidh 'm Breitheamh riu gu ceart;
Bho 'n is buidheann bheannaicht' sibh,
Maitheam-sa dhuibhs' 'n 'ur peac'.

Maitheam-sa dhuibhs' 'n 'ur peac';
Gabhaidh-s' seilbh cheart 's an rio'chd
Chomharraich m' Athair bho thos,
Dhuibhse ann an gloir gun chrich.

Oir air bhi dhomhsa fo thart,
Fo fhuachd, fo acras, chum bias,
'M priosan gun treoir gun neart,
Dh' fhuasgail sibh ceart air mo chas.

Air bhi dhomh a'm choigreach cein
'S a'm thraveller anns gach bail',
Fhreasdail sibh dhombsa 'n am fheum;
Cha robh ar deagh-bheus dhomh gann.

Ach freagraidh iadsan am Breitheamh,
Cuin chunnaiceamar sibh fo thart,
Fo fhuachd, fo acras, chum bias,
'S a dh' fhuasgail sinn do chas ceart?

Bheirim-sa dearbhadh dhuabh,--
Dh' fhuasgail 's gur ann duibh nach ole,
Mheud 's gu'n d' rinneadh leibhse dhiol,
Ri paintaibh mo bhraithre bochd-s'.

Sin labhraidh 'm breitheamh os n' aird
Riu fhuair ait' air a laimh chli,
Imichibh uamsa gu brath,
Dh' ionnsuidh cais is craidh gun chrich.

Far am bi 'n t-Abharsair am pein,
Aingle 's a chleir air fad,
Mheud 's nach d' rinneadh leibhse dhiol
Ri piantaibh mo bhraithre lag-s'.

Imichidh iad so gu truagh
Dh' Ifriun fhuair am bi fnachd is teas,
Dhoibh-san ge duilich an cas,
Nior faigh iad bas ann am feasd.

Ach imichidh buidheann a ghraidh
A fhuair ait air an lamh dheis
Do fhlaitheanas nam flath feile;
O! eibhinn doibh-san an treis.

O! eibhinn doibh-san an treis,
Eibhinn doibh-san gach ni ehi,
Eibhinn bhi 'n cathair nan gras,
Eibhinn bhi lathair a Bhreithimh.

Eibhinn bhi lathair a Bhreithimh,
Eibhinn a shiochai' 's a bhuaidh;
Cha'n fhaodar a chur an ceill
Meud eibhneis an aite bhuain.

Eibhneas e nach faca suil,
Eibhneas e nach cuala cluas,
Eibhneas e nach teid air chul,
Dhoibh-san d'an toirear mar dhuais.

Duais is mo na gach duais,
Ta shuas air neamh aig mo Righ;
Eibhinn do gach neach a ghluais,
Air chor's gu'm buaidhaichear i.

Air chor's gu'm buadhaichear i
Smaoneamar air crich an sgeoil,
Smaoneamar ar peacaidh bath,
Smaoneamar an la fa dheoidh.

One by the writer on the
Day of Judgment.

Let us meditate on the last day
when it must fall to our lot to die,
let us meditate on the sins of youth,
let us meditate still further on what must come hereafter.

Let us meditate on what must come hereafter,
that is on the great Day of Judgment,
when nothing done by us in the flesh
can any longer be concealed.

No longer can be concealed
the good or the evil done by us,
when we see the judge of all people
coming to us in the clouds, with the sound of the trumpet.

When the great trumpet is sounded,
all people shall assemble from every quarter;
those who happen to be still alive
shall change in manner and in mind.

Sea and land shall change,
all things shall be changed anew,
the earth shall yield up
all who are buried in the dust.

All who are buried in the dust
shall rise in their new bodies,
and each soul shall take possession
of the false body in which it formerly rested.

No rest then for the ocean,
it shall be agitated on its own account;
all who were drowned from the beginning of time
it shall yield up for the judgment.

A judgment that will surpass every judgment;
no partial judge is the King
who shall sit on the judgment seat,
and give righteous judgment to all.

Those who gave themselves up to evil will,
on that day, be banished on the left hand;
on the right hand will be placed
those who are prepared for His coming.

To those who are prepared for His coming
the Judge will openly say:
"Because you are a blessed company
I will pardon your sins.

I will pardon your sins;
take you rightful possession of the kingdom
set apart from the beginning by my Father
for you in glory everlasting.

For when I was thirsty
and cold and hungry unto death
in prison, without energy or strength,
you brought true relief to my trouble.

Being a stranger far away,
and a sojourner in many places,
you waited on me in my necessity;
your deeds of kindness towards me were not few."

But they will answer the judge,
"When did we see thee thirsty,
cold, and hungry unto death,
and brought true relief to your trouble?"

"I will give you a proof--
you brought relief, nor will it be to your hurt,
inasmuch as you showed compassion
for the suffering of my poor brethren."

Then will the judge openly speak
to those placed on the left hand--
"Depart from me, for ever,
to everlasting trouble and torment!

Where the Adversary will continue in torment,
together with his angels and ministers for ever,
inasmuch as you showed no compassion
for the sufferings of my feeble brethren."

Miserably will they depart
to dismal Hell, where there will be cold and heat;
however agonizing for them may be their trouble,
they can never die there.

But the company of beloved ones,
placed on the right,
will depart to the paradise of the hospitable princes;
Oh! joyful will it be for them the while.

Oh! joyful will it be for them the while,
joyful for them all that they behold,
joyful to be in the city of grface,
joyful to be in the presence of the judge.

Joyful to be in the presence of the judge,
joyful his peace and his glory;
it is not possible to declare the greatness
of the joy of the everlasting place.

Joy which eye never beheld,
joy which ear never heard,
joy that will not cease
for those to whom it will be given and a reward.

Greater than all rewards is the reward
up in Heaven with my King;
joyful for everyone who has so conducted himself
as to attain to it.

That it may be deserved,
let us think of the end of the tale,
let us think of our deadly sin,
let us think of the last day.

V.

The following poem, also by Donnachadh nam Pios, has been transliterated from the Fernaig MS. into modern spelling by George Henderson, Ph.D.3:--

Gne orain do rinneadh leis a sgriobhair,
anno 1688.

Ta saoghal-sa carail,
Tha e daondan da 'r mealladh gu geur;
Liuthad caochladh th' air talamh
Is daoin' air an dalladh le bhreig;
Chreic pairt duibh-s' an anam
'S do chaochlaidh iad barail chionn seud,
Fhir chaidh ann sa chrannaig,
Dhoirt t' fhuil da ar ceannach,
O! aoin Righ Mhoire beannuich nar creud.

Oh! Athair nan gras
Na failing sinne 'nar cruas,
Ach amhraic oirun trath
Le tlaths o d' fhlathas a nuas.
Mar thug thu le d' mhioraild
Clann Israel gun dhiobhair sa chuan,
Dionn t' eaglais da rireadh,
Ga ghuidh le luchd a mi ruin,
Bho 'sgriob-s' ta teachd mu' cuairt.
   

'S coir dhi-s' a bhi umhailt
Gad tha i fo dhubh ann san am;
Gur h-iad ar peacannan dubhar
Tharruing oirnn pudhar is call;
Ach deanniar trasg agus cumha
Ris an fhear dh' fhag an t-iubhair sa chrann,
Chon s' gu 'n ceannsuich e' bhuidheann
Chleachd an eu-coir as duibhe,
Mar tha breugan is luighean is feall.

Dhe churanta laidir
Dh' alaich muir agus tir,
Tha thu faicsinn an drasda
Mar dh' fhailing am prabar-s' an Righ;
Ach reir 's mar thachair do Dhaidh,
Nuair ghabh Absolon fath air go dhith,
Beir dhachaigh 'na dhail leat,
Dh' aindeoin am pairtidh,
Nar righ chon aite le sith.

Fear4 eil' 's math is eol domh
Tha 'n ceart uair air fogairaidh 'na phairt,
Shliochd nan cuireannan seolta
Da thogradh 's nach obadh an spairn;
Ga tamull leinn bhuainn thu
Cha toireamar fuath dhut gu brach;
Sann da 'r seors bu dual sin,
Eatar mhith agus uaislean,
Bhi air do dheas-laimh an crudal 's an cas.

Truagh nach fhaicinn thu teachd
Mar b' ait le mo chridh san am,
Far ri Seumas le buidheann
Nach geill a dh' iubhair nan Gall,
Tha 'n drasda ro bhuidheach
Mheud s gu 'n shuidhich iad feall,
Le 'n seoladh 's le'n uidheam
Anns na modaibh as duibhe,
Chuir fa dheoidh sibh air suibhail do'n Fhraing.

Ach thamar an duigh
Gu'n caochail an cursa seo fothast,
Gu'm faic mi le m' shuilibh
Bhi sgiursadh gach tnu bha 's na moid,
'S gach Baron beag cubach
'Mhealladh le caribh 's le luban Prionns Or;
Gheibh Mac Cailein air thus duibh,
Dh' aindeoin a chuirte,
'Galair bu duthchasach dho.

B'e dhuthchas bho sheanair
Bhi daondan r'a melladh gach ti,
Cha b'fhearr e 'thaobh athair
Ga b'mhor a mhathas bho' Righ;
Ma 'se seo an treas gabhail
Thug eug bhuaith 'bhathar gu pris,
Le maighdinn sgoraidheach sgathail
Cha d' cheannsuieheadh aisith;
Ged thuit thu cha'n athais duit i.

Iomah Tighearn is post
Nach eol domh-s' a nis 'chur an dan
Tha'n drasda gu moiteil
Le phrabar gu bosdail a' d' phairt;
'S ann diubh sin Cullodar,
Granntaich is Rosaich a chail,
Nuair thionndas an rotha
Chon annsachd bho thoiseach
Gur teannta dhaibh 'chroich 'miosg chaich.

   
Ach fhearaibh na h' Alba
Ga dealbhach libh 'drasda 'n ur cuirt,
Gad leught' sibh bho'r leanabachd
'S bho la 'gheil sibh a dh' Fhergus air thus,
Thuit gach fine le toirmeasg
Do threig 's nach robh earbsach do'n chrun,
Ach seo t'eallach a dhearbhas
Gur h-airidh an seanchas,
Gun eirich mi-shealbhar da'n cliu

Cha chan mi na's leir dhombh
Ri 'ur maithibh, ri'r cleir, ri'r por,
D'eis ur mionnan a Shearlas
Gu seiseamh sibh-p fhein 'n aghaidh deoin,
'S an t-oighre dligheach na dh'eis
Thuid nis go Righ Seumas r'a bheo,
Ach dh'aindeoin ur leirs'
Ga mor 'ur cuid leugh',
Ar liom-s gu'n 'reub sibh a choir.

. . . . . air coir dhirich
Le masladh na dhiobair do phairt,
Bha uair a staid iosal
S tha air direadh le uchd math an drasd;
Seann fhacla 's gur fior e
Bha riamh eadar Chriostuidhean graidh,
Gur miosa na ana-spiorad
Duine mi-thaingeil
Ghabh na's leoir dhuibh-s an aim air na chas.

Cās eile nach fas'
Dheirich mar fhasan sa ruaig' s',
Chlann feinn bhi na'n taic
Do gach neach tha cur as da mu cuairt;
Do threig iad 's cha 'n ait daibh
'N cuigeamh faithn' bha 'chasgadh an t-sluaigh;
'N aghaidh nadur a bheart seo
Do neach 'ghabh baisteadh
Ann an ainn nan tri pearsan ti chuas.

Ach fhir 'dh'oibrich gach mioraild
Bha miosg Chlainn Israel bho thus,
Nach soilleir giamh seo
Dh'aon neach ghabh 'Chriosdachd mar ghrund?
Bho laigh geilt agus fiamh mor
Air gach Marcus, gach Iarl 's gach Diue,
Casg fein an iorghalt-s
Mas toil leat-s a Dhia e,
Mu tuit sinn fo fhiabhrus do ghnuis.

Is mor dh' eireas dhut a Bhreatuinn
'S nach d'fhaodadh do theagasg na am,
Cha leir dhut fath t'eagla,
Gu'n tharruing ana-creidimh ort call;
Bho'n la mhurtadh libh Searlas
Tha fhuil-san ag eigheachd gu teann,
Gabh aithri a t' eucoir,
Thoir dhachaigh Righ Seumas,
Neo thig sguirsa bho Dhe ort a nall.

Ghaidhealn gasda
Na laighidh fo mhasladh sa chuis,
Ach faighear sibh tapaidh
'S Righ Seumas na thiac air ur cul;
Ge ta Uilleam an Sasunn
Na geillibh a feasda do chrun;
Liom is cinnteach mar thachras
Thaobh innleachd a bheairtean,
Gu pilltear e dhachaigh gun chliu.

   
Na ma h'ioghnadh libh-p fhein seo
'S gun ghlac es' an eucoir air cheann,
Bha manifesto ro eitigh,
Nach faic sibh gur breugach a chainnt;
'S gach gealladh do rinn se
Do Shasunn do threig se gu teann,
Tha iad nis 'n aghaidh cheile,
Nuair thuig siad an reusan,
Ach na tha Phresbiterianich ann.

Na ma lughaid 'ur misneachd
Gu robh iad seo bristneach na curs,
Fo sgaile religion
B'e 'n abhaist s an gliocas bho thus;
Co dhiubh alach a nise
Nach . . . . le mi-ruin,
Ach tha'n aite le fios dhuinn,
Ged dh'fhailing righean tric iad,
Aig gach armunn bha tiorcadh a chruin.

Gu ma h'-amhluidh seo dh' eireas
'Mhaithibh Alba s na h' Eire san am,
Tha 'coitheamh le Seumas
'S nach d' ambraic iad fein air an call;
Ach b'fheall am bathais 's an eudan
Fo gach neach bha ri eiginn 's ri feall,
Ghabh an test a bha eitigh,
Eadar mhaithibh is Chleire,
Thoir an anman dha 'n eucoireach mheallt.

Ach tha mi dall na mo bharail
Mar ceannsuich Dia 'charachd-sa trath,
'S mar mhealtar leis barail
'Chleamhnais fhuair alloil gun bhlath;
Is mairg a thoisich mar ealaidh
Athair-ceile chur ealamh bho bhair,
Ach seo ordugh nam balach,
Far ri dochus nan cailleach,
San t-saoghal chruaidh charail-s' ta.

Song composed by the writer
in the year 1688.

This world is deceitful,
it constantly deceives us bitterly,
many changes there are on earth
and many men have changed opinion
for the sake of gain.
Thou who suffered on the Cross
and spilt Thy blood for our redemption,
Oh! Thou only King (son) of Mary,
bless our creed.

Oh! Father of Grace,
do not fail us in our sore distress,
but look upon us soon with tenderness
from Thy Heaven above.
As Thou didst miraculously lead
the children of Israel, without the loss of any,
through the sea,
so do Thou in very deed defend Thy Church
(though ill-wishers pray for her downfall)
from the evil now fallen upon her.

It is her duty to be humble,
Though she is at this moment under a cloud.
Her sins are the cause
That have brought upon us harm and loss,
But let us fast and mourn
to Him who went to the Cross without faltering,
That He may subdue them
who have been practicing the blackest deeds,
falsehood, sacrilege, and treachery.

O God, mighty and strong,
who peopled land and sea,
Thou seest how at this juncture
the rabble has disappointed the King;
but as it happened in the case of David,
when Absalom took advantage of him (to try) to ruin him
do Thou, in Thy appointed time,
lead the King home in peace
to his own place in spite of their factions.

Another man4 I know full well,
who at this moment is in exile for his (King James's) cause--
of the race of the capable heroes,
who would accept and never refuse the strife.
Though for a little thou art away from us,
we shall never feel indifferent towards thee.
It is in the blood of our race,
commons and nobles alike,
to stand by thy right hand in the time of difficulty and trouble.

Would that I might see thee coming
as my heart at this moment would desire,
along with King James
with a host that would not yield
to the bows and arrows of the Lowlanders,
who are rejoicing at having planned
their treachery with the cunning and resources
of their dark councils,
which have at last driven you an exile into France.

But I am in hopes that the course of events
will yet change,
and that I may see with my own eyes
the discomfiture of every wretch who took part in their councils,
and of every petty, cringing baron,
who, by his tricks and wiles, deceived Prince Orange;
Argyll, in spite of his rank, will, as one of the first,
be smitten with
the disease that comes natural to him.

It comes natural to him from his grandfather
to deceive everyone,
nor is he better from his father,
though he (the father) received so much kindness from his King.
If this is the third occasion
on which the disease was caught
from a "maiden" sharp-toothed, clear-cutting,
disgrace has not been quelled
though he were to fall by her, to him it would be no disgrace.

There are many lords and officials
whom I cannot now mention in my verse,
who at the present time,
together with their rabble, boast with affected modesty
   of their connection with thee (Argyll).
Among them are Colloden, the Grants, the Rosses of the cabbage.
When the wheel turns round
to its first love
they will find themselves among the rest quite close to the gallows.

But, ye men of Scotland,
though your court (i.e., your political situation)
   may now seem satisfactory to you, still,
if your story be read from your infancy
even as far back as the day when you first submitted to Fergus,
it will be found that every clan has fallen by appointed decree--
who deserted and proved faithless to the Crown.
But this is a forge that will test unfailingly
the truth of the saying that
"a stain may fall on their honor."

I am not going to speak about all I know,
to our nobles, our clergy, our people,
after your oath to Charles
that you would stand by him, come what may,
and by his legitimate heir,
who is now King James, for life;
but in spite of your sagacity,
and wide though your learning may be,
you are certainly violating the right.

(Not to speak of this) undoubted right,
it is a disgrace that so many have forsaken his cause,
who were once in lowly estate,
but have now climbed by good fortune upwards.
There is a proverb, and a true one,
which has ever been in use among loving Christians--
that worse than a hostile spirit
is the ungrateful man;
many such have taken advantage of him (the King) in his trouble.

Another matter, not less sad,
which has come into prominence in this affair--
his own children
supporting those who are everywhere opposing him.
They have forsaken, and not to their joy,
the fifth commandment given for the guidance of people.
Such conduct is unnatural in anyone
who has received baptism
in the name of the Trinity on high.

But Thou, the worker of all the wonders
that were seen from the first among the children of Israel,
is not this a very apparent guilt
for anyone professing Christian principles?
Since a great fear and cowardice
has fallen upon every Marquis, every Earl, and every Duke,
do Thou thyself check their turbulence,
if it by Thy will, O God,
lest we fall under the wrath of Thy countenance.

Much may happen to thee, O Britain,
since thou didst refuse to receive warning in time.
Thou dost not see the cause of thy fear,
for unbelief has brought disaster upon thee.
Since the day King Charles was murdered,
his blood is constantly crying out.
Repent of thy guilt,
bring King James home,
or destruction from God will surely come down upon thee.

Ye worthy Gaels,
don't rest under disgrace,
but be of courage
with King James to back you up.
Though William is in England,
never yield allegiance to his Crown.
Certain it seems to me what will happen
from the deceitfulness of his schemes,
he will be driven back in disgrace.

Let this not surprise you,
seeing that he has seized injustice by the head
    (i.e., has acted upon it from the outset).
His manifesto was altogether perjured.
Don't you see how false his words are,
and how he instantly renounced every promise
he made to England.
They (his supporters) are now at variance among themselves
since they have understood his object,
except such Presbyterians as there are among them.

Let not your courage be any the less
that these (the Presbyterians) have always been unstable in their allegiance.
Under the veil of religion
it has been their custom
and their policy
from the first. . . . .
But we know that each hero
who succored the Crown holds his position,
though Kings may often have failed them.

So may it happen
to the nobles of Scotland and Ireland
who are fighting for James
without thinking of their loss,
but treacherous were the countenance and face
of each one engaged in mischief and deceit,
who accepted the perjured "test,"
whether nobles or clergy,
giving up their souls to the crafty evil one.

But I am blind in my opinion
of God will not soon check this treachery,
and bring to naught the schemes
of cold, unnatural, sterile blood-relationship.
Woe to him who commenced his career
by suddenly making war upon his own father-in-law;
but such is the way of clowns
and the hope of carlines
in this callous and deceitful world.

VI.

Of the poets of Kintail, no one is better remembered than Ian Mac Mhurachaidh, or has left behind him a greater wealth of song.  Though in comfortable circumstances, he disliked the purely mercenary relations which were beginning to grow up between landlord and people, and therefore resolved to emigrate to Carolina.  The following is one of several songs which he composed in order to induce as many as possible of his countrymen to accompany him:--

Thanig leitir bho Ian Beitean
Chuir eibhneas air fear nach fhac i.

Beagan do mhuinntir mo dhuthcha
Triall an toabh am faigh iad pailteas.

Far am faigh sinn deth gach seorsa
An t-sealg is boidhche tha ri fhaicinn.

Gheabh sinn fiadh is boc is moisleach
'S comas na dh' fhaodar thoir asda.

Gheabh sinn coileach-dubh is liath chearc
Lachan, ialtan agus glas gheoidh.

Gheabh sinn bradan agus ban iasg
'S glas iasg ma 's e 's fhearr a thaitneas.

B' fhearr na bhi fuireach fo uachd'rain
'S nach fuiligeadh iad tuath bhi aca.

A ghabhadh an an aite 'n t' sheoid
An t' or ged bann a spog a phartainn.

A ghabhadh an an aite 'n diunloaich
Siogaire agugach 's e beartach.

Falbhamaid 's bitheadh beannachd Dhia leinn
Triallamaid, riadhamaid barca.

Falbhamaid uile gu leir
'S gur beag mo speis do dh' fhear gun tapadh.

Thogainn fonn, fonn, fonn,
Dh' eireadh fonn oirn ri fhaicinn.

There cam a letter from John Bethune,
which has given joy to one who has not seen it.

A few of my country people
about to depart to a land of plenty,

where we can find every kind of the
most delightful hunting that could be seen.

We shall find deer, buck and doe,
with permission to take as many as we want.

We shall get the woodcock and the woodhen,
teals, ducks, and wild geese.

We shall get salmon and white fish,
and gray fish if it will please us better.

Better far than stay under landlords
who won't suffer a tenantry with them;

who would take, instead of a good man,
gold, were it from the claw of a lobster;

who would take, instead of a brave man,
a sulky sneak, provided he was rich.

Let us depart, and may the blessing of God be with us;
let us go and charter a ship.

Let us depart, all of us,
for small is my esteem for a man of no courage

I would raise a chorus of delight;
we would be delighted on seeing it.

VII.

When the ship, by which Ian Mac Mhurachaidh and so many of his countrymen were about to leave Kintail, arrived at Caileach, where it anchored, the poet invited the captain of the ship to dinner with him.  When the captain saw the good cheer provided, he told the poet that he would not be able to fare so sumptuously in America, and strongly advised him to remain at home.  The poet's wife and some other friends who were present also urged him to the same effect with such earnestness that his resolution was almost overcome, but he felt that, after all he had done and said, he could not desert the people he had induced to join him, and who looked up to him as their leader, so he decided, at whatever sacrifice, to go along with them; and the next song, which was probably less applicable to the poet's own circumstances than to those of some of his fellow-emigrants, was composed to cheer and encourage them as the ship was sailing away:--

Nise bho na thachair sinn
Fo's cionn an stoip 's na creachaige,
Gu'n ol sinn air na faicinn e
'S na cairtealan san teid sinn.

Mhnathan togaidh an turrus oirbh
'Us sguiribb dheth na h-iomadan,
Cha bharail leum gun tillear mi
Bho'n sguir mi dh 'iomain spreidhe.

Mhnathan sguiribh chubarsnaich
Bho'n char sibh fo na siuil a stigh,
Cha bharail leam gu'n lubar sinn
Ri duthaich bhochd na h-eiginn.

H-uile cuis dha theannachadh,
An t' ardachdainn se ghreannaich sinn,
Lin-mhora bhi dha'n tarruin
'S iad a sailleadh na cuid eisg oirm.

Gur iomadh latha saraicht'
Bha mi deanamh dige 's garraidhnean,
An crodh a faighinn bais oirn
'Us mi paidheadh mail gu h-eigneach.

'S iomadh latha dosguineach
A bha mi giulan cosguis dhuibh,
'N uair reidheadh a chuis gu osburnaich
Bhi 'g osunaich ma deighinn.

'S beag mo speis d' an uachdaran
A chuir cho fad air cuan sinn,
Air son beagan do mhal suarach
'S cha robh buanachd aige fhein deth.

Tha tighinn fotham, fotham, fotham,
Tha tighinn fotham eiridh.

Now that we have met
over a stoup and drinking-shell,
Let us drink in anticipation of seeing
the quarters whither we are going.

Women, take courage for the voyage,
and stop your mourning;
I don't think I can be induced to return,
now that I have ceased to herd cattle.

Women, restrain your anxiety,
now that you have gone under the sails;
I don't think I can be bent backwards
to the poor country of destitution.

Every thing is being tightened,
the raising (of rents?) is what has embittered us;
trawling with great nets,
and salting our fish.

Many a hard day
was I making dykes and walls,
my cattle dying,
while I paid rent with difficulty.

Many an unfortunate day
have I borne expenses on your account,
and when the matter fell into ruin,
I sighed over them.

Small is my esteem for the landlord
who has sent us so far over the ocean,
for the sake of a little wretched rent,
which he did not long enjoy.

I feel inclined to go.

VIII.

Among those who accompanied Ian Mac Mhurachaidh was a certain John Macrae -- a blacksmith -- called Ian Mac a Ghobha.  The American War of Independence began almost immediately after the arrival of the Kintail emigrants in Carolina, and they unhesitatingly cast in their lot with the Loyalists.  The poet now became one of the foremost, by his songs and his example, in urging his brother Highlanders to stand up in defense of what he considered to be the just rights of their King and country, and consequently, when the Americans got him into their hands they treated him with unusual severity.  Ian Mac a Ghobha lost his arm in the war, and, making his way back to Scotland, eventually succeeded, after considerable difficulty, in obtaining a pension for his services.  He appears to have been a man of mark in more ways than one.  He possessed an excellent voice and an excellent memory, and brought back with him to Kintail several of Ian Mac Mhurachaidh's songs, which he was never tired of singing.  He died at Carndu, near Dornie, in 1839, aged ninety-three.  The morning after his death an old woman, who lived by herself on the other side of the sea, opposite to Kilduich, told the first neighbor she met: " 'S mi a chuala an t-sheinn bhreagh a dol a stigh a Chlachan Duthaich an raoir, 's mar eil mi air mo mhealladh se guth binn Mhic a Ghobha a bhann." -- ("What beautiful singing I heard going into Kilduich churchyard last night; if I am not mistaken, it was the sweet voice of Mac a Ghobha.")  Soon afterwards the news of his death arrived.5

The following song, perhaps Ian Mac Mhurachaidh's last, was composed by him while wandering a fugitive in the primeval forest, evidently before the close of the war, as he still looks forward with hope to the arrival of Lord Cornwallis, who was forced to surrender to the French and the Americans at Yorktown on the 18th of October, 1781.  It has been the song of many a Kintail emigrant since the days of Ian Mac Mhurachaidh:--

'S mi air fogradh bho 'n fhoghar,
Togail thighean gun cheo unnta.

Ann am bothan beag barraich,
'S nach tig caraid dha 'm fheorach ann

Ged a tha mi s' a choille
Cha'n eil coire ri chnodach orm.

Ach 'bhi cogadh gu dileas
Leis an righ bho'n bha choir aige.

Thoir mo shoraidh le durachd,
Gus an duthaich 'm bu choir dhomh bhi.

Thoir mo shoraidh Chuitaille
Am bi manran is cranan.

A'n tric a bha mi mu'n bhuideal
Mar ri cuideachda sholasach.

Cha be 'n dram 'bha mi 'g iarraidh
Ach na b'fhiach an cuid storaidhean.

Ceud soraidh le durachd
Gu Sgur-Urain, 's math m' eolas innt'.

'S tric a bha mi mu'n cuairt di.
'G eisdeachd udlaich a cronanaich.

A bheinn ghorm tha ma coinneamh
Leum bo shoillear a neoineanan.

Sios 'us suas troimh Ghleann-Seile
'S tric a leag mi damh crocach ann.

Gheibhte bric air an linne
Fir ga 'n sireadh 'us leos aca.

Tha mi nis air mo dhiteadh
An am priosan droch bheolainteach.

Ach na 'n tigeadh Cornwallis
'S mise d' fhalbhadh ro-dheonach leis.

A thoirt agrios air na beistean
Thug an t' eideadh 's an storas bhuam.

Tha ni sgith 'n fhogar sa
Tha mi sgith 's mi leam fhein
'S cian bho thir m' eolas mi.

I am an exile since Autumn,
building houses without smoke in them.

In a little hut of brushwood,
where no friend will come to inquire for me.

Though I am in the wood (an outlaw)
no fault can be charged against me;

except fighting loyally
for the King because he was in the right.

Take my sincere farewell
to the country where I ought to be.

Take my farewell to Kintail,
the place of mirth and songs.

Where I often sat round a bottle
with a happy company.

It was not the drink I desired
but the worth of your stories.

A hundred sincere farewells
to Scur Ouran, well do I know it.

Often was I in its vicinity
listening to the bellowing of an old stag.

The green mountain opposite to it,
bright to me were its daisies.

Up and down Glensheil
often did I lay an antlered stag low.

Trout might be found on the pool,
men seeking them with a torch.

I am now condemned
to a prison of bad fare.

But if Cornwallis came,
gladly would I join him.

To scourge the wretches
who have robbed me of my clothes and property.

I am tired of this exile,
I am tired in my loneliness,--
far am I from the land of my acquaintance.

Note. -- Several of Ian Mac Mhurachaidh's poems will be found in The Celtic Magazine (Inverness), April-August, 1882.

The following are some other Macrae poets whose Gaelic songs were at one time and in some instances still are known among Gaelic-speaking Highlanders:--

Duncan Macrae, commonly called Donnachadh Mac Alister.  Only fragments of a lament for his mother and of a song to his gun appear to be known now.

Kenneth Macrae,6 of the Clann Ian Charrich tribe, and a relative of Ian Mac Ian of Torlysich.  He lived at Ardelve, and was an old man at the time of the battle of Sheriffmuir, at which he was present.  On his return home he composed a celebrated lament, or ballad, on the "Four Johns of Scotland", which is given in "The Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness," Vol. VIII.--Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio, by Mr. William Mackenzie.

Christopher Macrae, Sergeant in the 78th Highlanders.  Some of his songs are still well known in Kintail and Lochalsh.

Donald Macrae, a weaver in the parish of Petty in Invernessshire, where he was born in 1756, and died in 1837.  His father was native of Glenclchaig in Kintail.  He was the author of several religious poems, which are spoken of very highly in The Literature of the Highlanders by the Rev. Nigel Macneill.

John Macrae, a schoolmaster at Sleat in Skye.

The Rev. Donald Macrae of Ness in Lewis is mentioned in Macheil's Literature of the Highlanders as a true poet, though he did not produce much.  His best known song is "The Emigrant's Lament," written on the occasion of the departure of many of his congregation for Canada.

John Macrae composed, among other Gaelic songs, one of the late Professor Blackie of Edinburgh.

James Macrae of Ardroil in Lews composed several good, and sometimes humorous, Gaelic songs.

John Macrae of Timsgarry in Lews.

Duncan Macrae7 of Isle Ewe in Gairloch, a faithful follower of Prince Charles, whom he accompanied throughout the Rising of 1745, and whose retreat he assisted to cover after the defeat of Culloden, composed a well-known Gaelic song called "Oran na Feannaige" (the song of the crow).  It consists of an imaginary dialogue between himself and a crow which he saw in Edinburgh while there with the Prince.

 

 

 

Footnotes

1. On page 383, line 8, for Mr. A. W. Mackenzie read Mr. William Mackenzie

2. Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, Vol. XI.

3. See Leabhar nan Gleann, p. 271

4. Perhaps Kenneth, fourth Earl of Seaforth, who accompanied James II to France after the revolution of 1688.

5. Tradition communicated to the author by Mac a Ghobha's great-grandson Dr. Farquhar Macrae, London

6. Kenneth had a son, Alexander, about whom the following paragraph appeared in The Courier (London) of the 28th November, 1807:-- "The oldest man now living in Scotland is supposed to be a Highlander of the name of Alexander Macrae.  He was born in the parish of Kintail in the year 1687, and is now, of course, just 120 years old.  In the year 1719 he fought under Lord Seaforth at the battle of Glensheil, and in 1724 he enlisted as a private in the Scota Brigade, serving in Holland, where he continued seven years, the last two of which were spent in prison in some town of France, the name of which he does not remember.  In 1731 he returned to his farm and married a second wife, who died a few years after.  In 1765 he fell into such low circumstances that he was forced to procure a subsistence by going about from house to house reciting Ossian's poems in Gaelic.  In 1773 he married his present wife, by whom he has three children, the last when he was aged ninety-six.  About twelve years ago, while still very stout, he was deprived of the use of his limbs by a violent fever, and ever since has been unable to walk.  He is now bedridden, deaf and blind, but his memory is still very correct.  His general amusement is singing and repeating Ossian's poems in Gaelic, but he repeats so fast that it is impossible to write them down, and, if interrupted, must again return to the beginning of the poem.  He appears to have been a stout-made middle-sized man, and still looks uncommonly well."  The old man lived at Ardelve, and this paragraph is believed to have been communicated to the London Courier by the Rev. Lachlan Mackenzie of Lochcarron, who on one occasion, while attending a meeting of his Presbytery at Ardelve, visited him at his home.  It is said that in the course of the conversation, Mr. Lachlan asked the old man if he was not afraid of death.  "O dhuine bhoc," replied the old man, "nam faicadh d'thu Ceither Ianan na h' Alba folbh gu Sliabh an t' Shiorradh 's ann orra nach robh feagal roimh 'n bhas." -- (Poor man, if you had seen the four Johns of Scotland setting out for Sheriffmuir, little did they fear death).

7. This Duncan Macrae was believed to possess the gift of the Sian.  This gift was supposed to enable a man, by means of an incantation, to render an object invisible until the charm was removed, except for a short time at regular intervals usually of seven years.  Shortly after the Battle of Culloden, a French ship, which put in at Poolewe, left a cask of gold for the use of the Prince.  According to the traditions of Gairloch, this cask was entrusted to Duncan's care, and being unable at that time to escape the vigilance of the King's troops, and convey the gold to the Prince, he hid the cask in a place in Gairloch called the Fedan Mor, making use of the Sian to render it invisible.  The cask never reached the Prince.  On one occasion, about 1826, the cask suddenly became visible to a shepherd's wife who was spinning there with a spindle and distaff while herding her cattle.  She stuck the spindle in the ground to mark the spot, and ran hom for help to remove the reasure, but when her friends arrived at the spot neither the cask nor the distaff could be discovered. -- Dixon's Gairloch, p. 165