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John Campbell poet
A sweet singer, an ardent lover of nature; an earnest christian teacher; a most lovable man. 

 

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GAELIC POEMS

JOHN CAMPBELL  

Gaelic PoemsJohn Campbell front cover

"An excellent present for a learner or Gaelic-speaking friend"

 

New Edition in paperback, or download, with biographical notes

Gaelic Poems

ISBN 978-1-4092-9034-6

John "Iain" Campbell, The Ledaig Bard, (1823 - 1897) born in Oban, Argyll, raised in Benderloch.

Poet and Songwriter

An enthusiastic Bard of Clan Campbell, he co-founded An Comunn Gaidhealach and the Mod.

A prolific writer of Gaelic poems and songs, the Bard had a typical Celtic spirit with a genial, hospitable personality that won him a countrywide circle of friends. He received many honours, including Fellowships of Celtic, Scientific and Literary Societies.

He spent some time in Glasgow where he developed a profoundly Christian character, before returning to his roots. Opening a small store, running the Post Office and acting as sub-inspector of the poor kept him busy and involved with the community. An Associate of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, his general love of nature found expression in growing flowers, fruit and vegetables to send to Oban. Campbell Munro, his great grandson still runs the local shop.

Sunday School Teacher

His image endures as the beloved Sunday School teacher and poet with the flowing, white beard who taught the children in a rocky grotto by the seashore. A tree trunk associated with Robert the Bruce's parliament at Ardchattan Priory served as his table. The Campbell Memorial Hall was built in his honour.

The Bard was a man for all people, from the poorest and humblest to the educated and aristocratic, treating them all with a patriarchal, Christian, Celtic equanimity.

On the installation of a new organ in a Taymouth church, Lady Breadalbane sought mottoes from all the leading Gaelic bards. She chose The Ledaig Bard's contribution:

        "Thig crioch air an t-saoghal, ach mairidh gaol is ceol"  
        "The world will come to an end but love and song are eternal".

Gaelic Poems was originally published in 1884. The author's royalties from this edition will go to Mod funds, continuing Iain's life's work of supporting his native language.

Gaelic Poems

Example of John Campbell's verse

AN GAIDHEAL AN TIR CHEIN A' MOLADH TIR A DHUTHCHAIS.

air fonn -" Guidheam slainte do'n ribhinn mhalda ". 

Is tric mi cuimhneach air tr mo dhthchais,
Air tr nam beanntan 's nan gleanntan rar ;
Air tr nan sgrnaichan rda, ruisgte,
Nan creagan corrach, 's 'nan lochan dghorm. 

Air struthain chaisleach nan caran lbach,
Ri mire 's gleadhraich feadh bhac a's stchdan ;
No 'ruith gu smhach 'sa' ghleannan chiin ud,
'S an doire challtuinn gu teann 'g an dnadh. 

An eidheann dhuallach mar sgil-bhrat uaine,
'S a' gheamhradh 's fuaire fo shnuadh a' fs,
'S i' dion le 'sgiathan nan rd-chreag liath ud,
Mar gu 'm b'e h-iarrtus an cumail blth. 

An tonn ri crnan air cladach cmhnard,
Le morbhan bidheach 'toirt cel gu ridh ;
No 'g irigh suas dhuinn le toirm an uamhais,
'S an cath na chuartaig 'g sguab' do'n speur. 

Sud tr a' chirdeis 's an d' fhuair mi m' rach,
'Sa bheil a' Ghidhlig is illidh fonn,
'Si thogadh m' inntinn 'nuair bhithinn tursach,
'Sa dh' fhgadh sunndach mo chridhe trom. 

Is tric a thionndaidh mi air mo chul'aobh,
'Nuair chluinnin dlth i air sraid nan Gall ;
Mo chridhe dh' eireadh mar aiteal grine,
'Thoirt sil am dhigh a dh' fheuch c "bhiodh ann. 

Is ged a shealladh na Goill a' sios oirnn,
'Nuair bhiodhmaid dreach o thir nam beann ;
Fuidh 'n chairt is suaraiche 's tric a fhuaras,
Am fiodh is luachmhor' am measg nan crann. 

'S i sud an dthaich a thog na firain,
Bha gaisgeil, cliteach, bha ilmhor, treun,
A sheasadh laidir a dhion gach cs leinn,
'S gu brth nach d'fhailnich an l an fheum. 

Tha 'n gaisgeadh ainmeil, is tric a dhearbht' e,
Air tr 's air fairge, an cath 's an strth ;
B' iad luchd an fhilidh gu brth nach gilleadh,
Fhad 's ruitheadh deur de fhuil ridh n' an crdh'. 

'S i'n fhor fhuil uasal o thir n'an fuar-bheann,
A bhiodh 's a' ghruagaich d'an tugainn spis ;
Te bhruidhneadh blth rium 's a' chnain luinn
Bu ro mhath ththadh ar gradh r' a cheil'. 

'S a chaoidh cha chaochail an tlus tha'm thaobhsa
Do m' thir, 's do m' dhaoine, a b' aobhach leam ;
'S cha leig air dichuimhn' gach comhairl' phrseil,
Thug teachdair dleas na firinn dhuinn. 

A's ged a ruiginn-sa cl nan Innsean,
'S gach eilean romhach 's na tirean thall ;
Is ann am dhthaich a ghuidhinn ni' ir bhi,
'N uair bhiodh mo shillean ga'n dnadh teann. 

'S mo chead 's an uair so do thir nam buagh ud
'S mo bheannachd buan leis an t-sluagh tha nn
'S an cli a fhuair sinn o linn ar sinnsir,
Gu ceann ar crche nach dealaich ruinn.

Gaelic Poems

 TRANSLATION BY PROFESSOR BLACKIE.

THE GAEL IN A FOREIGN LAND.

Dear land of my fathers, my home in the Highlands,
'Tis oft that I think on thy bonnie green glens,
Thy far-gleaming lochs, and thy sheer-sided corries
Thy dark frowning cliffs and thy glory of Bens ! 

Thy wild-sweeping torrents, with bound and with bicker
That toss their white manes down the steep rocky brae,
Thy burnies that, babbling o'er beds of the granite,
Through thick copse of hazel are wimpling their way. 

Thy close-clinging ivy, with fresh shining leafage,
That blooms through the winter and smiles at the storm,
And spreads its green arms o'er the hoary old castle,
To bind its grey ruin and keep its heart warm.

The sweet-sounding plash of thy light-rippling billows,
As they beat on the sand where the white pebbles lie,
And their thundering war when, with whirling commotion,
They lift their white crests in grim face of the sky.

The land I was born in, the land I was bred in,
Where soft-sounding Gaelic falls sweet on the ear ;
Dear Gaelic, whose accents take sharpness from sorrow,
And fill me despairing, with words of good cheer. 

'Twas oft I looked backward, and wistfully turned me,
When my travel-worn foot to the Lowlands was near ;
Like a glimpse of the sun through the dark cloud out-peeping
Was the land of my love which I left with a tear. 

What though from the hills, when we first know the Lowlands,
The Lowlander greets us with sneer and with jest ;
Oft times when the bark is the roughest and hardest
The pith is the soundest, the wood is the best ! 

O this is the country that bore the brave fellows,
High-hearted in purpose, heroic in deed,
Who stood like a rampart from danger to shield us,
Whose help never failed in the hour of our need. 

O these were the stout ones whose mettle was tested
On red field of battle and fierce swelling flood
Still forward to strike and still slow to surrender,
Till they shed from their veins the last drop of their blood. 

O these are true gentlemen, breed of the mountains,
Whom all bonnie lassies will meet with a smile,
And welcome them home with a voice of endearment,
That sweetens their sorrows, and lightens their toil ! 

Seasons may roll, but no Time shall divorce me
From the land and the people, the light of mine eyes ;
And memory never shall drop from her quiver
The words I take with me from lips of the wise. 

And though I should wander far west to the Indies,
Where the green isles uprise from the clear coral bed,
Be my rest 'neath a sod in the land of the heather,
And a cairn of grey granite be piled on my head ! 

My blessing be with you, brave land and brave people !
In the bright roll of story is blazoned your name ;
And may the fair fame of our forefathers never
Be blurred with dishonour, or blotted with shame.

 John S. Blackie.

Oban, 25th September, 1880

 Gaelic Poems

CONTENTS of Gaelic Poems.

TO PROFESSOR BLACKIE. 9

AN GAIDHEAL RA DHUTHAICH 'S RA DHAOINE. 9

TRANSLATION BY PROFESSOR BLACKIE. 11

THE GAEL TO HIS COUNTRY AND HIS COUNTRYMEN : 11

A SONG.

BRUTHAICHEAN NA LEDAIG. 13

AN GAIDHEAL A FAGAIL A DHUTHCHA. 14

AN GAIDHEAL AN TIR CHEIN A' MOLADH TIR A  DHUTHCHAIS. 16

TRANSLATION BY PROFESSOR BLACKIE.  

THE GAEL IN A FOREIGN LAND. 18

AN' GAIDHEAL A TILLEADH GA DHUTHAICH A TIR CHEIN. 19

TAOBH MO THEINE FEIN.  21

CUIMHNEACHADH AIR NA LAITHEAN 'S AN ROBH Ml ANN AN SGOIL NA LEDAIG. 21

TO MRS. HOSACK. 23

Translation. 24

MAIGHDEAN LOCH-N'AN-EALA. 25

SAIGHDEAR GAIDHEALACH. 27

A MOTHER BEWAILING THE LOSS OF HER DAUGHTER, 29

who perished in the wreck of the  'Royal charter'

LINES ON THE DEATH OF AN ONLY SON. 31

WRITTEN ON THE DEATH OF A SISTER AND HER TWO CHILDREN, as if by her husband. 32

A MHAIRI GHAOIL 33

NA COMPANAICH 34

DO 'M DHACHAIDH. 35

MO ROGHUINN COMPANAICH. 36

AN  CARAID BU MHAITH LEAM. 37

RANN AIR SON CLACH-CHINN. 37

TOIMHSEAGAN. 38

LINES WRITTEN IN A YOUNG LADY'S ALBUM. 38

TO AN OBAN FRIEND 39

LINES TO DR. R. B. MACKELVIE ON HIS LEAVING APPIN. 40

LINES TO J. O. MACNIVEN, esq., MANCHESTER. 41

GILLE MO LUAIDH. 42

TRANSLATION. 42

FAILTE A GHAIDHAIL DO 'N BHANN PRIUNNSA.

(THE HIGHLANDERS' WELCOME TO THE PRINCESS.) 43

LORD COLIN CAMPBELL, ON HIS ELECTION AS MEMBER FOR ARGYLLSHIRE. 44

RANNAN AN LEITHSGUL NA BARDACHD. 45

FEAR THA TOILICHTE LE STID. 46

CAILLEACHAN NA 'N CUIRM 'S NA CILLIDH. 47

BEAN RA FEAR A THA 'S AN TIGH OSDA. 49

ORAN 50

ORAN 51

ORAN GAOIL 52

DO MHAIREARAD, 53

ORAN GAOIL 54

DO DHUIN' OG A MHEALL NIGHINN 55

AN GILLE RUADH. 56

THEID MI GA D' AMHARC. 57

ORAN GAOIL. 58

ORAN GAOIL. 59

DEALLACHADH RI CIRDEAN. 60

TUIREADH SEANN FHLEASGACH  61

COR SEANN FHLEASGAICH EILE- A CHOM-PANACH GA FHREAGAIRT. 62

TUIREADH SEANN MHAIGHDEAN 64

A BAN-CHOMPANACH GA FREAGAIRT. 65

RANNAN AIR CLUINNTINN MU PHSADH CARAID. 66

DO'N GHAOL. 67

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE OBAN MUTUAL

IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY.  68

TO THE OBAN MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY, 1881. 69

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE OBAN FREE

CHURCH MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY.

Thoughts on the new year at the close of the old. 70

RANNAN DHOIBHSAN D' AM FREGAIR IAD. 71

RANNAN AIR NOTE PUND SASSANNACH  72

NA LAITHEAN A DH' FHALBH. 74

AM POST 76

THE POSTBOY. TRANSLATED BY PROFESSOR BLACKIE. 77

DO NEOINEAN A BHA A CINNTINN GU DOSRACH URAR FO BHLATH AIR AN RATHAD MHOR AIR MADUINN NA BLIADHNA UIRE, 1868. 79

BARDIC SALUTATIONS.  80

FAREWELL TO LOCHABER. (Traslation) 82

"ILKA BLADE O' GRASS ..." TRANSLATION 83

"STARLESS CROWN.." TRANSLATION 84

 Gaelic Poems

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