The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8189   Message #2396606
Posted By: Big Tim
24-Jul-08 - 04:50 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Kishmules Galley? / Kishmul's Galley
Subject: RE: factory girls and Kishmules Galley lost lyric
The following is a selection from the Gaelic original, as given in Hebridean Folksongs, volume I, (1969), by Dr. John Lorne Campbell (1909-1996) and Francis James Montgomery Collinson (1898-1984),

One day on the misty mountain,
Rounding up the sheep to get them,
Not the pair of the two sisters,
Nor the small pair of the road's end,
'Twas I myself beheld the vision,
Seeing thy galley going past me,
Setting her head to the wide ocean,
From MacNeil of Barra's country,
Out from Cíosamul's joyful Castle,
Where we used to be a-feasting,
Drinking wine from dawn till nightfall,
Shouts of men their ale a-drinking,
With women wearing brown silk dresses;
'Tis I am who am afflicted
If Clan Neil's boat has passed me,
She broke the cable and left the anchor,
She broke the best rope that was on her;
I knew the men engaged upon her,
Great Gill' Eoghanain the hero,
Gloomy Neil, son of noisy Rory,
And the handsome heir, young Rory,
Fair Rory, apt for manly action,
Red Murdo from the end of the clachan,
Little Murdo, wed to Lachlan's daughter,
And the two sons of John MacPherson,
Gun and shield befit your handgrasps,
And dark blue bonnet on curling back-locks.

This version, recorded from the singing of Mrs. John MacInnes of Barra on 21 May 1937, shows just how far Nic Iain Fhinn's original Gaelic song has 'evolved' into MKF's Kishmul's Galley: barely recognizable but linked by the key word 'Cíosamul' and the central image of someone sitting on a hill watching the galley's progress. Campbell and Collinson even managed to identify many of the individuals named. 'Gill' Eoghanain' was Chief of the MacNeils from around 1655 to 1670. 'Young Rory' was Gill' Eoghanain's son and was still alive in 1679. 'Noisy Rory' ('the tartar') was an earlier Chief, dating from c.1594-1620. It's interesting to note that in the original version the galley is 'setting her head to the wide ocean' whereas in Kishmul 'homeward she bravely battles'. Perhaps a more important difference is that the tempo of the Gaelic version is twice as fast as MKF's.