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TITLE
'Mur b' e thusa bhiodh an Cuilthionn'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_SORLEY_MACLEAN_GAELIC_01
PLACENAME
Raasay
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Sorley MacLean
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1448
KEYWORDS
poems
audio
literary landscapes

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The poem, 'Mur b' e thusa bhiodh an Cuilthionn' ('If it weren't for you the Cuillin') was written by Sorley MacLean. It was first published in 1943 as part of the collection 'Dain Do Eimhir agus Dain Eile' (Poems to Eimhir and Other Poems).

More recently, the poem was set to music by Donald Shaw of Capercaille and released in 1998 as 'Am Mur Gorm' (The Blue Rampart) on the group's cd 'Beautiful Wasteland'.

The poem is read by a pupil from Plockton High School. (Image by kind permission of Dr. Julian Toms.)

'Mur b'e thusa bhiodh an Cuilthionn
'na mhùr eagarra gorm
ag crioslachadh le bhalla-crìche
na tha 'nam chrìdhe borb.

Mur b'e thusa bhiodh a' ghaineamh
tha 'n Talasgar dùmhail geal
'na clàr biothbhuan do mo dhùilean,
air nach tilleadh an rùn-ghath.

'S mur b'e thusa bhiodh na cuantan
'nan luasgan is 'nan tàmh
a' togail càir mo bhuadhan,
'ga cur air suaimhneas àrd.

'S bhiodh am monadh donn riabhach
agus mo chiall co-shìnt'
ach chuir thusa orra riaghladh
os cionn mo phianaidh fhìn.

Agus air creachainn chèin fhàsmhor
chinn blàthmhor craobh nan teud,
'na meangach duillich t'aodann,
mo chiall is aogas reil.'

The poet Sorley Maclean is one of the key figures in modern Scottish literature. Born at Oscaig on the island of Raasay in 1911, he attended Raasay Primary School and Portree High School before going on to study English at Edinburgh University. He took up teaching and held posts in Tobermory, Hawick and Edinburgh before being promoted to headmaster of Plockton High School where he remained until his retirement in 1972.

Having been born into a family of traditional singers and pipers, and brought up within a community steeped in Gaelic language and culture, Sorley Maclean appropriately chose Gaelic as the medium for his poetry. However, he later translated much of his work into English opening it up to a much wider audience. He was also brought to the public's attention with the publication of Gordon Wright's 'Four Points of a Saltire' (1970).
Maclean was influenced by the metaphysical poets as well as ancient Celtic literature and traditional Gaelic song. His seminal work, 'Dain do Eimhir agus Dain Eile' (Poems to Eimhir and Other Poems), written in the late 1930s, addresses issues of love, as well as political injustice. Maclean had similar Communist and Nationalist leanings as his friend, Hugh MacDiarmid, and events such as the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Facism influenced his work. His major collection of poems, 'Reothairt is Contraigh' (Spring Tide and Neap Tide), was published in 1977.

As well as sparking off a revival in Gaelic literature Sorley Maclean was instrumental in the promotion of Gaelic language teaching in Scottish schools. Amongst his awards was the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1990. He died in 1996 at the age of 85, survived by his wife and two daughters.

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'Mur b' e thusa bhiodh an Cuilthionn'

INVERNESS: Portree

2000s

poems; audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Sorley MacLean

The poem, 'Mur b' e thusa bhiodh an Cuilthionn' ('If it weren't for you the Cuillin') was written by Sorley MacLean. It was first published in 1943 as part of the collection 'Dain Do Eimhir agus Dain Eile' (Poems to Eimhir and Other Poems). <br /> <br /> More recently, the poem was set to music by Donald Shaw of Capercaille and released in 1998 as 'Am Mur Gorm' (The Blue Rampart) on the group's cd 'Beautiful Wasteland'.<br /> <br /> The poem is read by a pupil from Plockton High School. (Image by kind permission of Dr. Julian Toms.)<br /> <br /> 'Mur b'e thusa bhiodh an Cuilthionn<br /> 'na mhùr eagarra gorm<br /> ag crioslachadh le bhalla-crìche<br /> na tha 'nam chrìdhe borb.<br /> <br /> Mur b'e thusa bhiodh a' ghaineamh<br /> tha 'n Talasgar dùmhail geal<br /> 'na clàr biothbhuan do mo dhùilean,<br /> air nach tilleadh an rùn-ghath. <br /> <br /> 'S mur b'e thusa bhiodh na cuantan<br /> 'nan luasgan is 'nan tàmh<br /> a' togail càir mo bhuadhan,<br /> 'ga cur air suaimhneas àrd.<br /> <br /> 'S bhiodh am monadh donn riabhach<br /> agus mo chiall co-shìnt'<br /> ach chuir thusa orra riaghladh<br /> os cionn mo phianaidh fhìn.<br /> <br /> Agus air creachainn chèin fhàsmhor<br /> chinn blàthmhor craobh nan teud,<br /> 'na meangach duillich t'aodann,<br /> mo chiall is aogas reil.'<br /> <br /> The poet Sorley Maclean is one of the key figures in modern Scottish literature. Born at Oscaig on the island of Raasay in 1911, he attended Raasay Primary School and Portree High School before going on to study English at Edinburgh University. He took up teaching and held posts in Tobermory, Hawick and Edinburgh before being promoted to headmaster of Plockton High School where he remained until his retirement in 1972.<br /> <br /> Having been born into a family of traditional singers and pipers, and brought up within a community steeped in Gaelic language and culture, Sorley Maclean appropriately chose Gaelic as the medium for his poetry. However, he later translated much of his work into English opening it up to a much wider audience. He was also brought to the public's attention with the publication of Gordon Wright's 'Four Points of a Saltire' (1970).<br /> Maclean was influenced by the metaphysical poets as well as ancient Celtic literature and traditional Gaelic song. His seminal work, 'Dain do Eimhir agus Dain Eile' (Poems to Eimhir and Other Poems), written in the late 1930s, addresses issues of love, as well as political injustice. Maclean had similar Communist and Nationalist leanings as his friend, Hugh MacDiarmid, and events such as the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Facism influenced his work. His major collection of poems, 'Reothairt is Contraigh' (Spring Tide and Neap Tide), was published in 1977.<br /> <br /> As well as sparking off a revival in Gaelic literature Sorley Maclean was instrumental in the promotion of Gaelic language teaching in Scottish schools. Amongst his awards was the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1990. He died in 1996 at the age of 85, survived by his wife and two daughters.