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TITLE
The Gloomy Woodland
EXTERNAL ID
AB_HIGHLANDERS_ON_THE_MOVE_08
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Murdo MacArthur
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
40921
KEYWORDS
The Gloomy Woodland
audios
emigration

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Murdo MacArthurMurdo MacArthurThe poet John Maclean (1787-1848) was born on Tiree and emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1819. His poem, 'The Poet in Canada', also known as 'The Gloomy Woodland', reveals that life for the emigrant Highlanders was hard - much harder than the emigration agents had led them to believe. The selected verses are read by Iain Maclean.

'The Gloomy Woodland' (selected verses)

'I'm all alone in this gloomy woodland,
my mind is troubled, I sing no song:
against all nature I took this place here
and native wit from my mind has gone.
I have no spirit to polish poems,
my will to start them is dulled by care;
I lose the Gaelic that was my custom
in yon far country over there.

This is a country that's hard and cruel,
they do not know it who journey still;
evil the yarns of the smooth-tongued coaxers
who brought us hither against our will;
yet if they profit it won't advance them,
may they not prosper despite their loot,
the cursed wretches who drive out people
since first this Clearance was set afoot.

When comes the winter, a bitter season
the forest branches are clothed in snow,
and no plain cloth is defence against it,
thigh deep and thick on the ground below;
but clouted moccasins and double stockings
and leather thongs are our forest boots;
rawhide and fur are our latest fashions
ripped from the backs of the forest brutes.

Great were the tales that they told in Scotland
their falsehood proved by our sorry lot;
I've never handled a silver dollar
although I'm told that they can be got.
A deal is made, but there's no coin passes,
though you have bargained that cash be paid,
they'll take your gear but they'll pay no money,
for flour and butter is all their trade.'

(translated by William Neill)

This audio was produced for the schools' resource package, 'Highlanders on the Move', Am Baile's contribution to Homecoming Scotland 2009.

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The Gloomy Woodland

2000s

The Gloomy Woodland; audios; emigration;

Am Baile

Am Baile: Highlanders on the Move

Murdo MacArthurMurdo MacArthurThe poet John Maclean (1787-1848) was born on Tiree and emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1819. His poem, 'The Poet in Canada', also known as 'The Gloomy Woodland', reveals that life for the emigrant Highlanders was hard - much harder than the emigration agents had led them to believe. The selected verses are read by Iain Maclean.<br /> <br /> 'The Gloomy Woodland' (selected verses)<br /> <br /> 'I'm all alone in this gloomy woodland,<br /> my mind is troubled, I sing no song:<br /> against all nature I took this place here<br /> and native wit from my mind has gone.<br /> I have no spirit to polish poems,<br /> my will to start them is dulled by care;<br /> I lose the Gaelic that was my custom<br /> in yon far country over there.<br /> <br /> This is a country that's hard and cruel,<br /> they do not know it who journey still;<br /> evil the yarns of the smooth-tongued coaxers<br /> who brought us hither against our will;<br /> yet if they profit it won't advance them,<br /> may they not prosper despite their loot,<br /> the cursed wretches who drive out people<br /> since first this Clearance was set afoot.<br /> <br /> When comes the winter, a bitter season<br /> the forest branches are clothed in snow,<br /> and no plain cloth is defence against it,<br /> thigh deep and thick on the ground below;<br /> but clouted moccasins and double stockings<br /> and leather thongs are our forest boots;<br /> rawhide and fur are our latest fashions<br /> ripped from the backs of the forest brutes.<br /> <br /> Great were the tales that they told in Scotland<br /> their falsehood proved by our sorry lot;<br /> I've never handled a silver dollar<br /> although I'm told that they can be got.<br /> A deal is made, but there's no coin passes,<br /> though you have bargained that cash be paid,<br /> they'll take your gear but they'll pay no money,<br /> for flour and butter is all their trade.'<br /> <br /> (translated by William Neill)<br /> <br /> This audio was produced for the schools' resource package, 'Highlanders on the Move', Am Baile's contribution to Homecoming Scotland 2009.