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TITLE
A' Choille Ghruamach (The Gloomy Woodland)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_HIGHLANDERS_ON_THE_MOVE_09
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
John Maclean
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
40922
KEYWORDS
The Gloomy Woodland
audios
A' Choille Ghruamach
emigration
audios

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The 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.

A' Choille Ghruamach

'Gu bheil mi 'm ònrachd sa choille ghruamaich,
Mo smaointean luaineach, cha tog mi fonn:
Fhuair mi 'n t-àite seo 'n aghaidh nàdair -
Gun d' thrèig gach tàlanta bha nam cheann.
Cha dèan mi òran a chur air dòigh ann -
Nuair nì mi tòiseachadh bidh mi trom:
Chaill mi a' Ghàidhlig seach mar a b' àbhaist dhomh
Nuair a bha mi san dùthaich thall.

'S i seo an dùthaich 's a bheil an cruadal
Gun fhios do'n t-sluagh a tha tigh'nn a-nall,
Gur h-olc a fhuaras oirnn luchd a bhuairidh
A rinn le'n tuairisgeul ar toirt ann;
Mi nì iad buannachd cha mhair i buan dhaibh,
Cha dèan i suas iad 's chan iongnadh leam,
'S gach mallachd truaghain a bhios 'gan ruagadh
Bho'n chaidh am fuadach a chur fo'n ceann.

Nuair thig an geamhradh is àm na dùbhlachd,
Bidh sneachda 'dlùthadh ri cùl nan geug,
'S gu domhain dùmhail dol thar na glùine,
'S ge maith an triùbhsair cha dèan i feum;
Gun stocain dùbhailt' 's a' mhocais chlùdaich
'Bhios air an dùnadh gu dlùth le éill;
B'e 'm fasan ùr dhuinn a cosg le fionntach
Mar chaidh a rùsgadh de'n bhrùid an dé.

Ge mòr an seanchas a bh'aca an Albainn,
Tha a' chùis a' dearbhadh nach robh e fìor;
Na dolair ghorma chan fhaic mi falbh iad,
Ged bha iad ainmeil a bhith 'san tìr.
Ma nìtear bargain chan fhaighear airgead,
Ged 's éiginn ainmeachadh anns a' phrìs;
Ma gheibheare cùnnradh air feadh nam bùthan
Gu'm pàighear null e le flùr no ìm.'

The English translates as:

'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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High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
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A' Choille Ghruamach (The Gloomy Woodland)

2000s

The Gloomy Woodland; audios; A' Choille Ghruamach; emigration; audios

Am Baile

Am Baile: Highlanders on the Move

The 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 /> A' Choille Ghruamach<br /> <br /> 'Gu bheil mi 'm ònrachd sa choille ghruamaich,<br /> Mo smaointean luaineach, cha tog mi fonn:<br /> Fhuair mi 'n t-àite seo 'n aghaidh nàdair -<br /> Gun d' thrèig gach tàlanta bha nam cheann.<br /> Cha dèan mi òran a chur air dòigh ann -<br /> Nuair nì mi tòiseachadh bidh mi trom:<br /> Chaill mi a' Ghàidhlig seach mar a b' àbhaist dhomh<br /> Nuair a bha mi san dùthaich thall.<br /> <br /> 'S i seo an dùthaich 's a bheil an cruadal<br /> Gun fhios do'n t-sluagh a tha tigh'nn a-nall,<br /> Gur h-olc a fhuaras oirnn luchd a bhuairidh<br /> A rinn le'n tuairisgeul ar toirt ann;<br /> Mi nì iad buannachd cha mhair i buan dhaibh,<br /> Cha dèan i suas iad 's chan iongnadh leam,<br /> 'S gach mallachd truaghain a bhios 'gan ruagadh<br /> Bho'n chaidh am fuadach a chur fo'n ceann.<br /> <br /> Nuair thig an geamhradh is àm na dùbhlachd,<br /> Bidh sneachda 'dlùthadh ri cùl nan geug,<br /> 'S gu domhain dùmhail dol thar na glùine,<br /> 'S ge maith an triùbhsair cha dèan i feum;<br /> Gun stocain dùbhailt' 's a' mhocais chlùdaich<br /> 'Bhios air an dùnadh gu dlùth le éill;<br /> B'e 'm fasan ùr dhuinn a cosg le fionntach<br /> Mar chaidh a rùsgadh de'n bhrùid an dé.<br /> <br /> Ge mòr an seanchas a bh'aca an Albainn,<br /> Tha a' chùis a' dearbhadh nach robh e fìor;<br /> Na dolair ghorma chan fhaic mi falbh iad,<br /> Ged bha iad ainmeil a bhith 'san tìr.<br /> Ma nìtear bargain chan fhaighear airgead,<br /> Ged 's éiginn ainmeachadh anns a' phrìs;<br /> Ma gheibheare cùnnradh air feadh nam bùthan<br /> Gu'm pàighear null e le flùr no ìm.'<br /> <br /> The English translates as:<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.