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TITLE
Verses from 'Nuair bha mi Og' (When I was Young)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_MAIRI_MHOR_01
PLACENAME
Skeabost
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Snizort
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Màiri Mhòr
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1402
KEYWORDS
poem
poems
audio
literary landscapes

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'Nuair bha mi Og' (When I was Young) was written by the Gaelic bardess from Skye, Màiri Mhòr nan Òran (Big Mary of the Songs). In this audio extract, three verses are read by Fiona J MacKenzie, the Highland Council's former Màiri Mhòr Gaelic Song Fellow (2002-9).

Nuair bha mi Og

Moch 's mi g-èirigh air
Moch 's mi g-èirigh air bheagan eislein
Air madainn Chèitein 's mi ann an Os
Bha sprèidh a geumnaich an ceann a chèile
'S a ghrian ag èirigh air Leac an Storr
Bha gath a boillsgeadh air slios nam beanntan
Cur tuar na h-oidhche na dheann fo sgod
Is os mo chionn sheinn an uiseag ghreannmhor
Toirt na mo chuimhne nuair bha mi og

Toirt na mo chuimhne iomadh ni a rinn mi
Nach faigh mi 'm bann gu ceann thall mo sgeòil
A falbh sa gheamhradh gu luaidh is bainnsean
Gun solas lainnteir ach ceann an fhoid
Bhiodh òigridh ghreannmhor ro ceòl is dannsa
Ach dh'fhalbh an t-am sin 's tha 'n glean fo bhron
Bha'n tobht aig Anndra 's e lan de fheanntaig
Toirt na mo chuimhne nuair bha mi og

Nuair chuir mi cuairt air gach gleann is cruachan
Far an robh mi suaimhneach is cuallach bho
Le òigridh ghuanach tha nis air fuadach
De shliochd na tuath bha gun uaill gun gho
Na raoin ;s na cluaintean fo fhraoch is luachair
Far 'n tric na bhuaineadh leam sguab is dlò
'S nam faicinn sluagh agus taighean suas annt'
Gum fasainn suaimhneach mar bha mi og'

The English translation reads:

'Early I awakened with little sorrow on a May morning in Ose
The cattle were lowing as they gathered and the sun rising on Leac an Stor
The rays were beaming on the flanks of the mountains, covering over nights gloom hastily
And up above me the lively lark sung
Reminding me of when I was young

My memory teems with all we did I can't contain it all
Wintertime weddings gatherings no lantern but a peat
Young ones dancing making music all gone the glen is empty
Nettles growing where houses were, the days when I was young

When I walked by every glen and hillock, where I was contented herding the cattle
With happy youths who have now been exiled natives of the North without pride or deceit
The fields and pastures were under heather and rushes, where often I reaped the wisps and sheaves of corn
If only I could see people and houses there now I would grow contented as when I was young'

From the age of fifty, Màiri Mhòr nan Òran (Big Mary of the Songs), a native of Skeabost, Skye, wrote numerous songs of exile, praise and hope, as well as protest songs about the treatment of the Gaels. Born Mary MacDonald in 1821, she left Skye for Inverness in 1847 to marry Isaac Macpherson. On his death in 1871, Màiri was left as a single parent of five and it was during a short imprisonment in 1872, on a charge of petty theft, that she turned to poetry, protesting her innocence and expressing her anger through Gaelic verse.

On her release, Mary moved to Glasgow and trained as a nurse. She attended Highland Society ceilidhs, meeting leading advocates of Highland Land Reform. On her return to Skye in the 1880s she became Bard of the Land League. In 1891 'Gaelic Songs and Poems' was published, transcribed from Màiri's recitations.

After a short illness, Mary died on 8 November 1898 while visiting Portree. She was buried in Chapel Yard burial ground, Inverness, where Charles Fraser Mackintosh MP erected a monument to her. In 2002 the Highland Council established the Màiri Mhòr Gaelic Song Fellowship in her memory, to develop and promote Gaelic singing.

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Verses from 'Nuair bha mi Og' (When I was Young)

INVERNESS: Snizort

2000s

poem; poems; audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Màiri Mhòr nan Òran

'Nuair bha mi Og' (When I was Young) was written by the Gaelic bardess from Skye, Màiri Mhòr nan Òran (Big Mary of the Songs). In this audio extract, three verses are read by Fiona J MacKenzie, the Highland Council's former Màiri Mhòr Gaelic Song Fellow (2002-9).<br /> <br /> Nuair bha mi Og<br /> <br /> Moch 's mi g-èirigh air <br /> Moch 's mi g-èirigh air bheagan eislein<br /> Air madainn Chèitein 's mi ann an Os<br /> Bha sprèidh a geumnaich an ceann a chèile<br /> 'S a ghrian ag èirigh air Leac an Storr<br /> Bha gath a boillsgeadh air slios nam beanntan<br /> Cur tuar na h-oidhche na dheann fo sgod<br /> Is os mo chionn sheinn an uiseag ghreannmhor<br /> Toirt na mo chuimhne nuair bha mi og<br /> <br /> Toirt na mo chuimhne iomadh ni a rinn mi<br /> Nach faigh mi 'm bann gu ceann thall mo sgeòil<br /> A falbh sa gheamhradh gu luaidh is bainnsean<br /> Gun solas lainnteir ach ceann an fhoid<br /> Bhiodh òigridh ghreannmhor ro ceòl is dannsa<br /> Ach dh'fhalbh an t-am sin 's tha 'n glean fo bhron <br /> Bha'n tobht aig Anndra 's e lan de fheanntaig<br /> Toirt na mo chuimhne nuair bha mi og<br /> <br /> Nuair chuir mi cuairt air gach gleann is cruachan<br /> Far an robh mi suaimhneach is cuallach bho<br /> Le òigridh ghuanach tha nis air fuadach<br /> De shliochd na tuath bha gun uaill gun gho<br /> Na raoin ;s na cluaintean fo fhraoch is luachair<br /> Far 'n tric na bhuaineadh leam sguab is dlò<br /> 'S nam faicinn sluagh agus taighean suas annt'<br /> Gum fasainn suaimhneach mar bha mi og'<br /> <br /> The English translation reads:<br /> <br /> 'Early I awakened with little sorrow on a May morning in Ose<br /> The cattle were lowing as they gathered and the sun rising on Leac an Stor<br /> The rays were beaming on the flanks of the mountains, covering over nights gloom hastily<br /> And up above me the lively lark sung<br /> Reminding me of when I was young<br /> <br /> My memory teems with all we did I can't contain it all<br /> Wintertime weddings gatherings no lantern but a peat<br /> Young ones dancing making music all gone the glen is empty<br /> Nettles growing where houses were, the days when I was young<br /> <br /> When I walked by every glen and hillock, where I was contented herding the cattle<br /> With happy youths who have now been exiled natives of the North without pride or deceit<br /> The fields and pastures were under heather and rushes, where often I reaped the wisps and sheaves of corn<br /> If only I could see people and houses there now I would grow contented as when I was young'<br /> <br /> From the age of fifty, Màiri Mhòr nan Òran (Big Mary of the Songs), a native of Skeabost, Skye, wrote numerous songs of exile, praise and hope, as well as protest songs about the treatment of the Gaels. Born Mary MacDonald in 1821, she left Skye for Inverness in 1847 to marry Isaac Macpherson. On his death in 1871, Màiri was left as a single parent of five and it was during a short imprisonment in 1872, on a charge of petty theft, that she turned to poetry, protesting her innocence and expressing her anger through Gaelic verse.<br /> <br /> On her release, Mary moved to Glasgow and trained as a nurse. She attended Highland Society ceilidhs, meeting leading advocates of Highland Land Reform. On her return to Skye in the 1880s she became Bard of the Land League. In 1891 'Gaelic Songs and Poems' was published, transcribed from Màiri's recitations. <br /> <br /> After a short illness, Mary died on 8 November 1898 while visiting Portree. She was buried in Chapel Yard burial ground, Inverness, where Charles Fraser Mackintosh MP erected a monument to her. In 2002 the Highland Council established the Màiri Mhòr Gaelic Song Fellowship in her memory, to develop and promote Gaelic singing.