THIS WORK is especially
intended for Gaelic-speaking Canadians. Some of them, it is true, take
very little interest in the past; they forget or ignore their
obligations to it. But others are of a nobler stamp. They work hard to
make a comfortable living for themselves; still they find some leisure
hours for reading the poetry, legends, traditions, and history of their
ancestors. They are Canadians by birth and are thoroughly loyal to their
own country; but they are Kelts by blood, and are not ashamed of the
poetic, warm-hearted, and warlike people from whom they have sprung. The
Old Highlanders had faults, but they were men.
I have in this work given specimens of the compositions of the best
known poets and song-writers of the Gaeldom of Scotland from 1411 to
1513, or from the Battle of Harlaw to the Battle of Sheriffmuir. I have
also given a brief account of every author respecting whom it was
possible for me to obtain any information. I have added glossaries and
explanatory notes, which I trust may be useful in making the poems
intelligible. I have not given as many poems as I would like to have
given, and for the very good reason that I could not afford to pay for a
I have departed to some extent from the common orthography. I am very
far, however, from thinking that the mode of spelling I have adopted is
free from faults. Still I do not suppose that it can, as a mere
experiment, do any harm.
I have prepared the first fifteen pages of the Introduction for the
benefit of English readers who speak Gaelic and would like to be able to
read it. I feel confident that any person of ordinary intelligence who
can read English and speak Gaelic can, if he will only try, learn to
read Gaelic in a very few hours.
Several of the poems in this work are from Dr. Maclean's MS. I feel
convinced that it would be useful, especially for philological purposes,
to publish that MS. verbatim et literatim. I shall be glad to hand it
over to any person or persons who
will agree to do so.
The printers of this work do not understand a word of Gaelic. I live
twenty miles from Charlottetown, and it was inconvenient to send me
proofs more than once. In consequence of these facts there are a few
typographical errors. Fortunately, however, they are not of very much
importance. They can cause no difficulty to any reader.
A. Maclean Sinclair.
Belfast, Prince Edward Island,
October 28th, 1890.
You can download
The Gaelic Bards here
You might also like to read...
Unpublished Old Gaelic Songs
With Illustrative Traditions by Colin Chisholm (1885) (pdf)
The first song on my list for this evening
is one composed by Donald Gobha for the first Glengarry Fencible
Regiment. Here I may briefly state that the idea of embodying those
Highlanders into a Fencible Regiment originated with the late Right Rev.
Bishop Macdonnell of Canada, when he was a young missionary. He procured
a meeting at Fort-Augustus in February 1794. An address was drawn up to
the King, offering the service of a Catholic Corps, which Glengarry and
Fletcher of Duiian handed to the King. A letter of service was received.
The missionary was gazetted chaplain to the regiment. The corps
volunteered for England, &c. The regiment was disbanded in 1802. In 1804
the Bishop obtained for them patent deeds for one hundred and sixty
thousand acres of land in Canada.
The Gaelic Folk Songs of
By Alexander Fraser (1903) (pdf)