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The Brown Mare

The Brown Mare

An Lair Dhonn is attributed to Murdo Mackenzie, seventeenth century factor to the Earl of Seaforth in Lewis, who was Chief of the Mackenzies of Achilty.

Murchadh Mor lived on St Columbas Isle and became a cattle dealer, buying stock from the tenants and selling them at English markets. It was while in England with a drove of cattle for which he could not get an immediate sale that his desire to return to leisurely days sailing in Loch Erisort found expression in this tribute to his boat, An Lair Dhonn. He thinks of the boat as a mare that needs no feeding other than the thudding of the waves against her brow.

 

Tha mise fo ghruaim
'S gun mi'n caidridh a chuain
Cha chaidil mi uair air choir
Ge socrach mo ghleus,
Air capull na leum,
Cha chaisgear leam m' fheum le treoir.
Loth philleagach, bhreun,
Fo phillin 's fo shrein
Aon ghille na digh bu lòd.
Cha tugadh i ceum,
Ach duine 's i-fein
'S gu'n cuireach i feum air lon.
Na 'n gabhadh i sgìos,
'S e b' fheudar dol sìos,
'S a treigsinn ge b' fhiamh an tòir.
Cha b' ionnan 's mo làir,
Air linne nam bàrc,
Bi'dh ghillean a ghna cuir bhòd.
Iubhrach shocrach a chuain
Dha 'n cliu toiseach do suas,
'S croinn chosrach nam buadh fo sheol.
Air bharrabh nan stuadh,
'Cuir daraich na luaths,
'S buill tharuinn nan dual 'n am dhòrn.
'S i b' aighirich ceum,
Dha'm faca mi-féin,
'S cha chuireadh i feum air lon.
Cha 'n iarradh i moll,
No fodar, no pronn
Ach sodrach nan tonn fo 'sròin.
Reubadh mara le surd
Fo bheul sgair agus sùigh,
Deis a barradh gu dlù le òrd.
Ruith chiup air a clàr
'S I druite fo shàl
'S bu chruit leam a gàir for sheòl.
Be sud m' aighear 's mo mhiann,
Ged ghlasaich mo chiabh,
'S cha shlat agus srian a' m' dhòrn.
Ged thigheadh an ruaig,
Le caitheamh a chuain,
Cha laidheadh oirn fuachd no leòn.
Fhir a dh'im'cheas an Iar,
Bho nach cinnteach mo thriall,
Bi 'g innse gur bliadhn' gach lò.
'S beir an t-soraidh so null,
Air fad oir-thìr an fhuinn,
Far am faighte na suinn a 'g òl.
Gu Innis an fheidh,
Gu eirir an eisg,
Far nach diolar leam feich air lòn.
Gu eilein nan tònn,
Nan ban àlluinn 's nan sonn
Bu mhìleanta fonn mu bhòrd.
Gu comunn mo ruin,
Nach cromadh an t-shuill,
'N àm tromachadh dhuinn air pòit.
'S sinn gun àrdan gun strì,
Gun àireamh air nì
'Cuir sàradh am fion 's ga òl.

 

Title: The Brown Mare
Record Type: Gaelic Verse
Gaelic Name: An Lair Dhonn
Date: 1650
Record Maintained By: CEP
Subject Id: 47239