From: Gaelic Language Bulletin Board [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Thomson
Sent: 03 October 2010 22:31
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [GAELIC-L] A question about Mackenzie's book of Incantations
Sgrìobh Marion Gunn 03 October 2010 16:07
> Recte: "aghaidh fir an cabhaig". I really must learn to read over msgs before hitting
But is the "orm" at the end there or not? It's not clear whether you correction replaces everything to the end of the line, or just inserts fir (and corrects the spelling).
Anyway, this afternoon I walked up a very steep hill in blazing sunlight; when I had been sitting in the shade in a café in the harbour a few minutes earlier, the temperature shown by a thermometer which shared both the shade and the nice sea breeze with me, the temperature was just over 33°C. This made it very easy for me to understand
Uisg' an Easain
Air mo dhosan
when I saw it this evening, because that was exactly how I had felt when I had walked something over 1km: water was pouring from the spot where my forelock used to be (I've grown too old to have a dosán) as from a fountain.
The next two lines are indeed ambiguous. Does "an cabhaig" mean "in a hurry", "in difficulties", or "in the pranger"? But I'm not going to try to make sense of it when I don't know whether the last line ends in "orm" or not, because that one word makes a big difference.
> Scríobh 03/10/2010 16:00, Marion Gunn:
> At the recent bookfair in the Freemasons' Hall, I went on a bit of a spending spree—as did eGteo!—where our purchases included Makenzie's "Gaelic Incantations, Charms and Blessings of the Hebrides" (1895), priced at a very reasonable fifty euro if one could put up with a fair bit of pencilling in, which I found only mildly irritating, in the hand of an owner who identified himself in large hand as one "Domhnall Ó Fótharta, An Caladh, Cloc na Ron, Co na Gaillimhe" [sic].
> With pencil eraser to hand, I commenced reading its introduction, which stayed my hand against erasure, because in it Mackenzie thanks that very same man for various notes from Ireland he included in his book by way of comparison to the Gaelic incantations, etc., which form the subject of it. In passing, I note that another previous owner of Mackenzie's Incantations of the Hebrides signs himself "James Carney", but I give no prizes for guessing, as I do, at his identity.
> In any case, all that is by way of preamble to my question (below), which has nothing to do with Irish and everything to do with Gaelic.
> My question about an incantation Mackenzie described (1895) as "ambiguous", of which he has this to say:
> "Occasionally one meets not only with obscure phrases, but also with whole Incantations, the meaning of which is far from clear. Here is one:-
> Uisg' an Easain
> Air mo dhosan.
> Tog dhiom do rosad
> 'S aghaidh an cabhgaig orm!
> Will any learned Gael explain its meaning and purpose?"
> Posting this here because, athough GAELIC-L has been serving the indigenous communities of Man, Scotland and Ireland, together with their respective diasporae, since 1989, we currently see here mostly contributions in/about Irish, so this is an appeal to teachers of our sister languages to please make more of their presence felt on GAELIC-L, as well as on SEANCHAS-L, which lists we - the seemingly more talkative Irish - have no wish to monopolize (quite the contrary, as we quickly get enough of communicating mostly with those whose views/experiences/traditions are most familiar).
> Since it is now well over a 100 years since Mackenzie first posed the question above which prompted me to post this msg today, is there anywhere on the net a "learned Gael" who can bring its meaning out if obscurity for us in our own time?