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> Issue 38 > Page 45 - Allan the Ridge MacDonald, Gaelic Poet: An Introduction to the Mabou Bards

Page 45 - Allan the Ridge MacDonald, Gaelic Poet: An Introduction to the Mabou Bards

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/1/1 (371 reads)

'S iomadh blar 's an robh sibh ainmeil, Ged nach ainmich mise 'n drasd e; Cha robh 'r samhla riamh an Albainn O'n a dh'fhalbh a' bhratach Shaileach; Ranc am buaileadh sibhse beum. Is deirbhte 'n sgeul gu'n rachadh beam as Ann am baitealan a' Ghreumaich Comhl' ri Clavers 's ri Prionns' Tearlach. Anns na linnteanan a b'oige, 'N arm Righ Deorsa bha iad miadhail; 'S iomadh maidsear agus coirneal Bha seanalair mor dhiubh riaghladh; 'Sa chomannda b' ard am facal, Bha na caipteanan ro-llonmhor; O'n cheud la thog iad an ceann A' sior thigh'n ann; cha b'ann a' crionadh. Nuair a thagh iad gaisgich Bhreatuinn Dh'fheuchainn chleas air bheul na Banrigh'nn, Ann an lathair muinntir Lunnainn, Dh'fheuchainn spionnadh am fear laidir, Dh'fheuchainn co am fear bu luaithe, No CO 'm fear bu chruaidhe lamh dhiubh, Sliochd nam fear a bha'n Gleann-ruaidhe, Choisinn buaidh 's a fhuair gach praidheas. Sliochd a dh'aithnichear 'm measg chaiche Anns gach aite 'm bheil an comhnuidh; Am pearsaichean troma, daicheil, Ann an talann 's ann am boichchead; Am maise 's an tuigse Naduir, 'S e co-fhas riutha mar choladh;. 'S gach dream eile thlg 'nan cairdeas, Dh'aithnichte pairt diubh air an t-seors' ud. 'S deacair dhomhsa m'innse-sgiala Theannadh ri chur sios am bardachd; Sguiridh mi 's gu'n leig mi dhiom e, O'n a dhiobair air mo Ghaidhlig. Cliu nan gaisgeach chuir an ire Ged 's i'n fhirinn tha mi 'g raitinn; Bheir mi nise gu ceann-crich e • Sgriobhaidh mi e nunn gu Mabou. In many a battle you were famous Though I won't mention them now Your like was never in Scotland Since the banner of Klntail departed!' The rank in which you struck Proven the tale that a gap would be formed in it. In the battles of the Grahaml' Along with Clavers'' and Prince Charles.l' In earlier times In the army of King George they were liked'' Many a major and colonel A great general of them commanded: In authority, their word was highly respected Their captains were most numerous From the first day they raised their heads Ever increasing, not diminishing. When they chose the champions of Britain To try their skill in front of the Queenl9 In the presence of the people of London To try the valour of their strong men: To see who was the swiftest Or the one of hardest hand, The seed of the men of Glen Roy Won the victory and took every prize. Men who are recognized among others In each place they abide. Their stout, graceful bodies Talent and beauty Grace and natural understanding Grows with them abundantly And every other person who enters their kinship. Some of them could be recognized on that ilk. Difficult for me is my history In trying to set it in poetry I will cease and leave off from it Since my Gaelic deserts me'O In describing the heroes' fame Though it is the truth I tell, I shall now bring it to an end And shall write it over to Mabou. Notes continued: Suddie who assisted Macintosh with a company of regular soldiers at Mulroy. 13. Mac? Donald of Tulloch who, according to one account, was responsible for MacKenzie's death. 14. Possibly "the precious banner." 15. The Marquis of Montrose who led the Royalist forces in the Highlands dur? ing the Wars of Montrose (1640s). 16. Graham of Claverhouse. 17. Prince Charles Edward, the Young Pretender. 18. 1750s • regiments. 19. Queen Victoria. 20. Conventional ending in Gaelic poetry. Effie Rankin: Today we.still have the fid- dlers, we still have the stepdancers, but we don't have the poets any more. Not in this area. I believe that's because of the decline of the Gaelic language. There are some. But what used to be very common is now more of a unique event--to find some? body who still composes poetry in Gaelic. Where did that energy and ability go? I don't have the answer to that. But I think that the ability was sort of dissipated, maybe into other forms of music. But you would feel that- it should emerge later on maybe in English verse, and I don't think that has happened. But the tradition, you see, is different; it makes different de? mands on the person. This energy, call it what you want, this poetic ability, maybe has been dissipated into other forms of ar? tistic expression. (Or perhaps without Gae? lic it has no other door.) This is maybe the pessimistic viewpoint. As you say, without its own medium, it cannot evolve any further. I'd hate to believe that. Effie Rankin wants to make it clear that these translations are strictly literal; while they give the sense of the poems, she does not feel they truly share the poetry of the original. The Gaelic text for John the Hunter's excerpt ("Oran do Amer? ica") is in Donald Fergusson's book Beyond the Heb? rides. John Shaw of Glendale supplied Effie with "Moladh Alba Nuaidh" by Allan the Ridge. It ap? pears in Sr. Margaret MacDonell's Emigrant Exper? ience. "Clann Domhnuill na Ceapaich" was taken from Mabou Pioneers II--Mabou Pioneers had it from The Casket, and The Casket had it from the first publication in John G. MacKinnon's Gaelic column in The Sydney Record. All translations are Effie Rankin's. ATLANTIC SPRING & MACHINE CO,. LTD. 564-5559 - 40 Kings Road, Sydney - 564-5550 General Machine Shop & Forge, Mining Equipment, Mar? ine Repairs, Welders, Automotive Springs, Fasteners (45)
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