The Gaelic Tradition: Cumha

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About this Song

The singer is Mary Margaret Maclean from Whycocomagh. The song regrets the departure of men from Inverness County to work in the coal mines of Glace Bay and New Waterford. Those referred to in this song were from Egypt Falls and Pipers' Glen near Lake Ainslie. The composer was Angus MacFarlane, a farmer in Margaree. He died in 1931 at the age of 90.

The song is appeared in Smeòrach nan Cnoc 's nan Gleann, a collection of Margaree poetry published in 1939.

Cumha Tìr A' Ghuail. Mary Margaret Maclean. T-2030. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Lyrics

O gur misde hè gur misde,
O gur misde leam mar thà chuis,
Misde leam gun d' rinn thu gluasad
Null gu tìr a' ghuail a thàmh ann.

'S mòr am milleadh air an Èipheit
Na fir ghleusta bhith gar fàgail:
MacIllEathain, MacIllFhaolain
Is Mac Èamainn thrèig an t-àite.

Nuair a ràinig mi an clìreadh
Anns an robh MacNìll a' tàmhachd,
Fhuair mi 'n fhàrdach air a dùnadh,
Shil mo shùilean 's cha bu nàr dhomh.

Nuair a chruinnicheadh na h-eòlaich
Staigh nad sheòmar mar bu ghnath leo',
Gum biodh cridhealas gu leòr ann,
'S gheibhte ceòl is òrain Ghàidhlig.

Dh'fhalbh thu bhuainn à Gleann a' Phìobair',
Chuir sud mì-ghean air mo nàdar.
'S ann ort fhèin 's air do chuid chloinne
Chaidh a shloinneadh, tha iad ag ràitinn.

Seinnidh Iain grinn a' phìob dhuinn,
Seinnidh Sine agus Teàrlach,
Eachann, Flòraidh agus Seumas,
Mairi Jane is May is Seàrlot.

Nam biodh fios ac' anns an tìr sin
Air cho grinn 's a tha do nàdar,
Thogte pàileas a bhiodh daor ann,
'S gheibheadh tusa saor o mhàl e.

Bho nach b'urrainn dhomh do bhuadhan
A chur suas ort mar a b'fheàrr leam,
'S ann a sguireas mi dhe m'òran
Le bhith 'g òl air do dheoch-slàinte.

O gur misde hè gur misde,
O gur misde leam mar thà chuis,
Misde leam gun d' rinn thu gluasad
Null gu tìr a' ghuail a thàmh ann.

Translation:

Lament

Oh I am sad, I am sad,
Sad for what has happened,
Sad that you have moved
Over to the land of coal to live.

Great is the harm done to Egypt (Falls)
By the departure of the shrewd men:
MacLean, MacLellan
And MacAdam who have deserted the place.

When I reached the clearing
Where you, Neil, used to live,
I found the home closed;
My eyes shed tears and that was no shame.

When the neighbours would gather
In your house as was their custom,
There would be much merriment
And music and Gaelic songs.

You left us from Pipers' Glen;
That made me unhappy;
It was after you and your children
That it was named, they say.

John will play the pipes well for us,
So will Jean and Charles,
Hector, Flora and James,
Mary Jane and May and Charlotte.

If they knew in that land
How gentle your nature is,
An expensive edifice would be built
And you would get it rent-free.

Since I cannot extol your virtues
As much as I would wish,
I will conclude my song
By having a drink to your health.

Oh I am sad, I am sad,
Sad for what has happened,
Sad that you have moved
Over to the land of coal to live.