Here's one of the three songs Craig asked for recently, with a
word list, translation, and a note on one of the grammatical
constructions. One point about orthography: I probably ought to
have typed "oidhche 'n raoir" rather than "oidhche raoir"
throughout - the version in Kennedy-Frazer doesn't have the 'n
but I think that's a mistake. I think the first verse and the
chorus are traditional, and the other two verses were written by
Kenneth MacLeod (author of The Road to the Isles) for MKF's
book, but the book seems to say he wrote all three verses so I
may be wrong. (Incidentally, MKF's English words haven't the
least connection to the Gaelic words - that book can be
Thug mi 'n oidhche raoir 's mi bruadar
Mar ri ni\onagan na buaile;
B' fhi\nealt' uasal mi\n na gruagaich
Seinn nan duanag anns an a\iridh.
Thug mi 'n oidhche raoir 'san a\iridh,
Thug mi 'n oidhche raoir 'san a\iridh,
Chaith mi 'n oidhche cridheil caoimhneil
Mar ri maighdeanan na h-a\iridh.
Thug mi 'n oidhche raoir 'san a\iridh
'S crodh a' sileadh bainne ta\laidh,
'S dealt na h-oidhche sileadh caoimhneis
Air na maighdeanan 'san a\iridh.
'S cianail du\sgadh an fhir-fhuadain
'S e sior-ionndrain ti\r a bhruadair,
'S tiamhaidh buan da thar nan stuadhan
Ceo\l nan gruagach anns an a\iridh.
a\iridh sheiling (sometimes written a\irigh)
anns in (but anns an a\irigh = on the shieling)
buaile fold, pen
chaith spent (past tense of caith - spend, use up.
the verbal noun is caitheamh, not
caith - not a mistake you want to
caoimhneil kind, friendly.
this word is often written coibhneil, or
caoibhneil, or coimhneil. I think the different
spellings represent small variations in pronounciation
in different dialects.
caoimhneis kindness, friendliness. same spelling variations
as immediately above.
cianail folorn, unhappy; in this song it means
feeling miserably homesick.
cridheil friendly; "hearty"; joyful (shared joy)
duanag little song(s) (gen. plural and nom. singular)
diminutive of duan (song)
fi\nealta fine, gentle.
fhir-fhuadain exile (genetive case)
gruagach girl (lon haired person)
maighdeanan maidens (pl. of maighdean)
mar ri along with, in the company of
mi\n soft, mild, gentle
ni\onagan young girls (often written nigheanagan).
ni\onag is a diminutive of nighean (daughter)
raoir yesterday evening. oidhche 'n raoir = last night
seisd refrain, chorus
sileadh dropping, dripping, shedding
sior-ionndrain eternally missing, perpetually longing for
stuadhan waves (pl. of stuadh)
ta\laidh attracting, alluring
thar over, across
tiamhaidh plaintive, melancholy, heart-rending
thug took, gave (past independent tense of toir;
thug mi an oidhche - I spent the night)
I spent last night in my dreams with the maids of the cattle fold;
Gentle, noble, mild were the girls singing songs on the shieling.
(Chorus) I spent last night on the shieling (repeat once),
I spent a joyful friendly night with the maids of the shieling.
I spent last night on the shieling where the cows were dripping
enticing milk, and the dew of the night dripping kindness on the
maids on the shieling.
Homesick is the exile's wakening as he longs eternally for the
land of his dream, and perpetually heart-rending for him across
the waves the music of the lasses on the shieling.
Note on grammar/construction
This song contains several examples of a very common Gaelic
construction which leaners need to get the hang of: where
English (most dialects - but some Scots and Irish dialects use
the Gaelic construction in English) has a (finite) clause Gaelic
introduces a phrase with "is" (and) consisting of a noun and
some qualifiers. This represents a state that coexists with the
action or state described by the main clause, and usually needs
some conjunct like "because" or "although" or "where" or "when"
to express in English and is often hard to translate without
introducing a finite verb that isn't present in the Gaelic.
The first example is in the first line: 's mi bruadar = and I
dreaming, and doesn't need a clause to translate it; but think about the
possibility of the noun not being the subject of the sentence -
if it were "thug mi'n oidhche 'n raoir 's i bruadar" you would
have to translate it "I spent last night when she was dreaming".
Even as it is you have to resist the temptation to translate the
phrase just as "dreaming" because that would suggest the writer
was dreaming with the girls rather than dreaming that he was with
them - even if you try to correct that impression by
mistranslating mar ri as "about" instead of "with" you lose some
of the sense, he wasn't just dreaming about the girls he was
dreaming that he was with them.
The second verse has two examples of this construction: "and the
cattle ..." which has to be translated "where the cattle were ..."
and "and the dew ..." where it seems ok to leave out "where" and
"was" because they are in effect supplied in the translation of
the previous clause. The third verse also has two examples ('S
in the first line is a verb, the other two 'Ss aren't).