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Felipa 30 Mar 03 - 09:15 AM
George Seto - 30 Mar 03 - 09:47 AM
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From: Felipa
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 09:15 AM

John MacRae (Iain mac Mhurchaidh), 18th century

Bhon a sguir mi pàigheadh màl
Is a ruith mo chuid as mo làmh
Is ann a bhios mi 'na mo thràill
Aig nàbaidh bha agam roimhe seo

Ho chan eil mulad oirnn;
Carson a bhiodh mulad oirnn?
Mulad cha laigh oirnn na gruaim
Is fhada bhuainn a ghabhadh e.

Is nuair a dh'eireas esan moch
Feumaidh mise dhol a-mach
Saoil sibh fèin nach cruaidh an t-achd
A bhith fo smachd an atharraich

Teirgidh 'chuid dan duine chrìon
Nach d'rinn bonn de dh'fhialachd riamh
Is their fear eile: sin nach fhiach
A chaith e trian a lathaichean

Mairidh 'chuid dan duine chòir
Gheibh cach leis fortan gu leòr
Bidh pailteas aige-san ri bheo
Gle neònach le fear gleidhidh siud.

from the singing of James Colin Mac Rae Campbell (1897-1979 of Kintail, Scotland. Recorded and documented at the School of Scottish Studies / Sgoil Eolas na hAlba, Edinburgh - so there may be a sound file on their website
Tangent Records, London, 1984


Since I stopped paying rent and my wealth has run out of my hand, what'll happen is I shall be a slave to one who was once my neighbour.

Oh, I am not sad
Why should I be sad
No sadness will rest on me nor gloom
Far away from me it would go.

When he gets up early I must needs go out. Don't you think it;s a hard fate to be under another man's rule?

A niggardly man's wealth wll come to an end who never gave a penny's worth of hospitality. And others will say: "What he spent the best part of his days on was worthless."

A generous man's wealth will last. Others will have abundant pleasure from it. He will have plenty all his life - that seems strange to a miser.


"Iain mac Mhurchaidh composed this song before he left Kintail. Some of his acquaintances had emigrated to Carolina a few years before this and sent home glowing accounts of their prosperity there. Around this time the Game Laws were beign enforced: the poet on one occasion at least had lost his cattle in a severe show-storm and was reduced to engaging in manual labour in order to pay his rent. Having decided to emigrate himself, he composed several songs urging others to do the same. He has now stopped paying rent and is landless, but through his buoyant nature is still evident he realises that he cannot stay in Kintail and remain a free man.

"The air for this song has a long history. John Glen traced it back to Kind Robin in the Blaikie manuscript (c 1683) and under the title Kind Robin Looes Me it was included in Houhnson's Musical Museum (vol 5, 478). Simon Fraser was the first (1816) to give the air a Gaelic connection (which for all one knows may be older than the Scots), linking it directly to Iain mac Mhurchaidh's song, whose title he translated as 'The Emigrant's Adieu'".

Jame's Campbell's album contains a few other songs by Iain mac Murchaidh. The bard, known in English as John MacRae, left Kintail for North Carolina in 1774. He composed songs on both sides of the Atlantic. Iain mac Murchaidh fought on the Loyalist side in the American War of Independence, and was taken prisoner by the Americans. He is thought to have died shortly afterwards.

Another John MacRae, Iain mac a' Ghobha (son of the smith) who had accompanied Iain mac Murchaidh to America, later returned to Scotland and brought his comrade's songs back home. Iain mac a' Ghobha "died at Carn Dubh near Dornie in 1839, aged 93. It is said that he never tired of singing the songs of Iain mac Mhurchaidh."

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From: George Seto -
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 09:47 AM

Thank you Felipa! Very nice song.

I show in my index that the song can be found in Donald Fergusson's "Beyond the Hebrides". If I find my copy would you want me to scan in the page(s) wiht the music so you can do up an ABC or MIDI file?

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