The Gaelic Tradition: A' Mhairi Bhoidheach

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About this Song

The singer is Sandra MacNeil of Sydney. The song was composed by Alexander Stewart, a schoolmaster in the island of North Uist in the early 1800s. Mary was the daughter of Uist minister Allan MacQueen. According to tradition he did not approve of Stewart, which prevented him from marrying Mary. Stewart supposedly died of a broken heart.

A' Mhàiri Bhòidheach, 1973. Sandra MacNeil. T-743. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.


A Mhàiri bhòidheach 's a Mhàiri ghaolach,
A Mhàiri bhòidheach gur mòr mo ghaol ort;
A Mhàiri bhòidheach gur tu a chlaoidh mi
'S a dh'fhàg mi brònach gun dòigh air d'fhaotainn.

1. A Mhàiri bhòidheach gur mòr mo ghaol ort,
Gur tric mi cuimhneachadh ort 's mi m'aonar;
Ged a shiubhlainn gach ceum dhen t-saoghal
Bidh d'ìomhaigh bhòidheach tighinn beò gach taobh dhiom.

2. Guma slàn do mo Mhàiri bhòidheach
Ge b'e àite sam bi a còmhnaidh;
'S e mo dhùrachd cho fad's is beò mi
Gum bi gach sòlas aig Màiri bhòidheach.


Beautiful Mary

Beautiful Mary, beloved Mary,
Beautiful Mary, great is my love for you;
Beautiful Mary, you have made me weary
And left me sad that you can not be mine.

1. Beautiful Mary, great is my love for you,
I often think of you when I am alone;
Though I would travel every step of the world
Your beautiful image will come alive around me.

2. Farewell to my beautiful Mary
Wherever she may reside;
It is my wish for ever
That beautiful Mary will have every happiness.