The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #21577 Message #934360
Posted By: George Seto - email@example.com
15-Apr-03 - 08:37 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Mo Shuil Ad' Dheidh / Of Thee I Dream
Subject: Origins: Mo Shuil Ad' Dheidh / Of Thee I Dream
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 09:44:42 +0100
From: Allan MacLeod
Subject: RE: Duanag Do Mhabu
The story behind Mo Shuil Ad Dheidh ( Fare Thee Well Love) is fully documented in the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness Vol 57 but here goes with a summary.
The distinguished Gaelic scholar the Rev Donald MacNicoll, minister of Lismore, belonged to Socach in Glenorchy, Argyll and at age 36 in 1771 proposed to the 17/18 year old Lilias Campbell of nearby Achlian, Dalmally. Apart from the difference in ages Rev MacNicoll also suffered some disfigurement from childhood smallpox. He was turned down in favour of a Captain Campbell of Glenorchy and sadly made his way home on horseback, stopping on the way to compose the famous song of his lost love.
However, Capt Campbell overplayed his hand in celebration by asking his servant to kiss Lilias for a wager of a shilling. Lilias was so incensed by this ungallant act that she immediately broke off the engagement and sent word after the Rev MacNicol to ask him to return, whereupon she accepted HIS proposal and they married on 28th November 1771, 2 days after her 18th birthday.
They had a long and happy marriage with 16 children (many of whom died in infancy as was common at the time) Among the Rev MacNicoll's literary achievements was writing down (in collaberation with Lillias) the songs of Duncan Ban MacIntyre, also from Glenorchy.
So the song remains as an example of the romantic side of someone who might be supposed to have been a rather serious clergyman. The name Brian in the song is thought to be fictitious since there is no record (unsurprisingly) of a Glenorchy Campbell with that name.