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drone has "Lieut. -Col. Sir John Macra was an excellent performer
on the bagpipes. He made pipes and chanters; and when military
secretary to his relative, the Marquis of Hastings, Viceroy of
India, he taught the natives of India to play on the Highland
Captain Archibald Macra Chisholm was put in possession of
the Kintail bagpipes soon after the death of his uncle, Sir John
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Macra, in 1847. When the late Keith Stewart-Mackenzie, of Sea-
forth and Brahau Castle, became aware of this, in 1849, he wrote
to Captain Chisholm expressing his most anxious desire to possess
this old Mackenzie heirloom. He made a handsome offer for
them, but Captain Chisholm declined it. Captain Chisholm was
himself an excellent performer on the bagpipes, and for over thirty
years acted as judge of pipe music at the Northern Meetings in
Inverness. Some time before his death, which occurred on the
19th October, 1897, while this book was in the press, he presented
the Kintail bagpipes to his cousin, Lieutenant Colin William
MacRae, as already mentioned.
THE HISTORY OF THE CLAN MACRAE. 383
The following poems arc given as specimens of the language and
poetry of the Macraes, and as illustrations of their social, political,
and religious views in olden tinier : —
This song, composed by Fearaohar Mac Ian Gig, during his
exile (page 188), 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' eifeadh 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 ua creagan,
Se mo dhaingean gach frog.
Se mo thubhailte m' osan,
Se me chopan mo bhrog.
Ge do cheanaichiun am lmideal
Cha 'n fhaigh mi cuideachd 'ni \.
'S ged a cheanaichiun a' seipein
Cha 'n fhaigh mi crcideas a' stoip.
Ged a dh' fhadinn an teine,
Chi fear foille dhcth ceo.
'S i do nighean-sa Dhonnachaidh
Chuir an iomagain so oirnn,
384 THE HISTORY OF THE CLAN MACRAE.
Te 'g am beil an cul dualach
guallaiun gu brog.
Te 'g am beil an cnl 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 'ghaolach
Anns an 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 shnamhadh an caolas
Air son faoilteachd do bheoil.
Nuair a thigeadh am foghar
Be mo rogliainn bhi falbh,
Leis a' ghunna nach diultadh
'S leis an fhudar dhu-ghorm.
Nuair a gheibhinu cead frithe
Bho 'n righ 's blio 'n iarl og,
Gum biodh fuil an daimh chabraich
Ruith le altaibh mo dhorn,
Agus fuil a bhuic bhiorich
Sior shileadh feadh feoir.
Ach 's i do nighean-sa Dhonnachaidh
'Chuir 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 lias 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 buy 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
THE HISTORY OF THE CLAN MACRAE. 385
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.
The following lament on Ian Breac Mac Mhaighster Fearachar
(page 170) was taken down by Mr Alexander Macrae, farmer,
Ardelve (page 166), from the recitation of Mr Duncan Macrae,
Ardelve (page 183), and communicated to the author in 1896.
The author of this poem is unknown : —
Gil 'm beil m' inntinn se trom,
'Us cha sheinnear leum foun
Thionndaidh disne rium lorn
'S na clairibh.
Gu 'm beil m' aigneadh fo ghruaim,
'S cian gur fada o'n uair
M'au aitreabh 's an d'fhuair
Mi m' arach.
An deigh cinneadh mo ruin
Air an d' imich an cliu,
'S trie 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
386 THE HISTORY OF THE CLAN MACRAE.
'S ann sa chlachan od shios
Dh' fhag shin ceannas nan cliar
'S am fear buile na 'n iarrta
Duin' nasal mo ghaoil
Chaidh a bhualladh le aog
'S aim 'n ad ghnuis a bha aoidh
'S n' am b' fhear ealaidh mi fein
Mar mo bharail gu geur
'S ami ort a b' fhurasd dhomh ceatachd
Gu n robh geurcliuis ni's leor
Ann an eudan an t' sheoid
'S bu cheann reite do ghloir
'S mor an gliocas 's an ciall
Chaidh sa chiste leat sios,
Thug sud itean a sgiath
Bhun an geamhradh rinn teanu
Cha robh aoibhneas dhuinn ann
'S neo shubhach an gleann
Bhon la sin.
'S lorn an snaidheadh bhon tuath
Bhi cuir Ian sail uaigh
'S bochd a naigheachd do thuath
Tha do chinneadh fo ghruaim
Dol air linue leat suas,
Air an tilleadh bu chruidh leo
Tha do dheirbhleinean broin
Mar ghair sheillein an torr
'N deigh na mel, na mar eoin
Nise 's turseach an eigh
Gun am furtachd ac fhein
'S mor a thuiteas dhuibh 'n deigh
THE HISTORY OF THE CLAN MACRAE. 387
'S mor an aireamh, 's a chall
Cha do thearuinn mi aim
'S cia max thearnaa mi 'n am
Ghillean glacibh sc ciall
Tha n ur cuid air an t slieibh
'S iommadh fear bhios ag iarridh
Tha na taice 's na treoir
Ann an caol chistc bhord
Anns a chlachan an Cro
Tha do cheile fo sprochd
'S i neo eibhin gun toirt,
Rinn creuchdan a lot
B' fhiach a h' uidhcam 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 aitc
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 1
was reared. On account of my beloved clan, whose fame has
travelled far, often have I been in the place of some of them
since I grew up. Being in a sunless shade is Dot the sole cause of
my sadness, I have fallen into mourning for those who arc 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 lias 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 1"' 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
388 THE HISTOEY OF THE CLAN MACRAE.
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 with-
out 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). Youug men, be prudent, your pro-
perty (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.
The following Lament for Murdoch Macrae of Inverinate, who
was killed in Glenlic (page 84), 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. l The author is not known : —
Si sealg geamhraidh Ghl inn-Lie
A dh' fhag greann oirn trie 'us gruaim,
'N t-og nach robh teann 's a bha glic
'S an teampull fo'n lie 's an uaigh.
A cheud Aoine de 'n geamhradh fhuar
'S daor a phaigh sinn buaidh na sealg,
An t-og bo chraobhaiche snuagh
Na aonar bhuaiun 'us fhaotainn marbh.
1 On page 3S3, line 8, for Mr A. W, Mackenzie read Mr William Mackenzie,
THE HISTORY OF TOE CLAN MACRAE. 389
Tional na sgirc gu loir
Ri siubhal sleibh 's ri falbh bheann
Fad sgios nan coig latlia deug
'S am fear dircach treun air chall.
Muracbadh donn-gheal mo run
Bu mhin-suil 's bu leaiman mnai
A gbnuis amis an robh am ball-seire
'S a bba tearc air thapadh laimh.
Cbuala mise clarsacli tbeud,
'S fiodhall do rear a co-sbeiun —
Cba cbuala 'a cba chluinn gu bratb
Ceol na b' fbearr na do bheul binn,
Bu tu marbbaich' bhalla-bhric-bhain,
Le morbh fbada dbireacb gbeur,
Le cuilbheir bbristeadb tu cnaimh
'S bu sbil teach fo d' laimh na feidh.
Bhean uasal a thug dhut gaol
Nach bi cbaoidh na h-uaigneas slan,
'S truagh le me chluasan a gaoir
Luaithead 's tha 'n suaim sgaoilt le do' 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 shnuagh.
'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 Crathaicb nam buailtean bo
Air 'n sgaradh ro-mhor rnu d'eug,
Do thoir bho bheatha cho og
A ghaisgich ghlan choir nam beus.
'S tuirseach do sheachd braithrean graidh
Am 2Mi'son ge bard a leugh
Thug e, ge tuigseach a cheard,
Aona bharr-tuirs air each gu leir.
Bho thus dhiubb Donnachadh nam Piog,
Gillecriosd 's an dithis de'n chleir,
Fearachar agus Ailean Donn,
Uisdean a bha trom 'n ad "
390 THE HISTORY OF THE CLAN MACRAE.
'S math am fear rannsaichidh 'n t-aog,
'S e maor e thaghas air leth,
Bheir e leis an t-og gun ghiamh
'S fagaidh e 'm fear Hath ro shean.
The winter hunt in Glenlic has made us often shudder in our
sadness about the youth who was not parsimonious, yet was pru-
dent, 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 thee
east and west, while the 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 con-
duct. 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 clergy-
men, 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 grey-haired and very old man.
THE HISTORY OF THE CLAN MACRAE. 391
The author of the following poem was Donnachadh nam Pios
(page 87), writer of the Fernaig MS. It has been transliterated
from the Fernaig MS. into modern spelling by Professor Mac-
Aon a rimeadh leis an Sgriobhair air lath a' bhreitheanais.
Smaoineamar an la fa dheoidh
Is coir dhuin a dhol cug,
Smaoineamar peacaidh na h'oig,
Smaoineamar fos na thig 'n a dheigh.
Smaoineamar na thig 'n a dheigh.
Gur e la na mor bhreith ;
Gach ni rinneadh leinu 's an 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 oimn 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 nuadh,
Liobhraidh an talamh suas,
Gach neach a chaidh aims an uir.
Gach neach a chaidh aims an uir
Eiridh iadsan 'n an nuadh chorp,
Is gabhaidh gach anam seilbh
'S a choluiim 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 ;