Mo robairneach gaolach

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MO ROBAIRNEACH GAOLACH (My dear clever lad). AKA - "O Nach Tigeadh Mo Robairneach Gaolach," "Òran Gaoil le Ban-tighearn de Theaghlach Shlèibhte." Scottish, Slow Air (6/8 time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. A woman's love song for her sailor lover. Rev. Archibald Macdonald (Greenock) wrote a paper, contributed to the Gaelic Society of Inverness in April, 1890, that mentions this song in closing:

The following stanzas are also of the nature of a sea song, and with them I shall bring this paper to a close. I have not been able to localise them or state positively that they are Hebridean in their origin. I have heard it said, however, that they were composed by a lady of the Macdonald family of Sleat, but they afford no internal evidence as to their authorship or the person to whom they are addressed. Macpherson, Strathmashie, in the chorus of a song called "An Long Eiginn"* has borrowed part of the chorus of this song, as, I think, there can be little doubt of its being the older of composition of the two. I am not aware of its being in print, and I think it possesses the merit of poetic and refined sentiment:--

Seisd--
Ho nan tigeadh mo Robairneach gaolach,
Birlinn aig' agus ceatharna dhaoine,
Dheanainnse mire co theireadh nach faodadh,
B'aighearrach mise 'nan tilleadh a ghaoth sibh.

Tha bhirlinn a tigheann fo h-uidheam an trathsa,
Timchioll an rudh' agus buidheann mo ghraidh innt',
Fear a' chuil bhuidhe 'na shuidh' air a braighe,
'S tu dheanadh a stiuireadh ri cul nan tonn arda.

(*for which see "Remnants of Gaelic Poetry, No. II", The Celtic Magazine, vol. 1 (p. 356).)

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Morison (Highland Airs and Quicksteps, vol. 2), c. 1882; No. 5, p. 3.

Recorded sources: Greentrax Records, Catherine Ann MacPhee - "Suil Air Ais (Looking Back)" (2004).

See also listing at:
Hear a 1965 recording of the song at Tobar an Dualchais [1] [2]




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