The Gaelic Tradition: Fuadach Nan Gàidheal

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About this Song

This poignant lament is sung by Ross MacDonald from Loch Lomond.

The tune Lord Lovat's (1667-1747) Lament was composed by his loyal piper, David Fraser (1716-1812). Lovat was defeated at Culloden and convicted of treason against the British and was beheaded, on Tower Hill, the last person to be so in Britain.

The piece is said to have been composed by either Ewen MacGregor or his pupil David Fraser, both pipers to Simon Lord Lovat. Lovat was famous for his role in the unsuccessful Jacobite rebellion of 1745.

Fuadach Nan Gàidheal. Ross MacDonald. T-3033 (D.J. MacDermaid Collection). Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

About the Artist

Ross and his brothers, Ian and Donald, were all very good singers. A proud native of Loch Lomond, Ross was renowned for his powerful voice, impressive memory, and for his ability to handle all styles of Gaelic song.

Lyrics

1. Gur e mise tha tùrsach,
A' caoidh cor na dùthcha,
'S nan seann daoine cùiseil
Bha cliùiteach is treun;
Rinn uachdarain am fuadach
Gu fada null thar chuantan,
Am fearann ga thoirt bhuapa
'S thoirt suas dha na fèidh.

2. 'S e sud a' chulaidh-nàire,
Bhith faicinn dhaoine làidir
Gam fuadach thar sàile
Mar bhàrrlach gun fheum.
'S am fonn a bha àlainn
Chaidh chur fo chaoraich bhàna;
Tha feanntagach 's a' ghàradh,
'S an làrach fo fheur.

3. Far an robh mòran dhaoine
Le 'm mnathan is le'n teaghlaich,
Chan eil ach caoraich-mhaola
Ri fhaotainn 'n an àit';
Chan fhaicear air a' bhuailidh
A' bhanarach le buaraich
No idir an crodh guaillfhionn
'S am buachaile bàn.

4. Tha 'n uiseag anns na speuran
A' seinn a luinneig ghleusda,
'S gun neach a tha ga h-èisteachd,
Nuair dh'èireas i àrd.
Cha till, cha till na daoine,
Bha cridheil agus aoigheil,
Mar mholl air latha gaoithe,
Chaidh 'n sgaoileadh gu bràth.

Translation:

The Eviction of the Highlanders

1. I am so sad
Mourning for the state of the country
And the old thrifty people
Who were worthy and courageous.
Landlords evicted them
Far over the seas;
Their lands were taken from them
And given up to the deer.

2. That was a matter of shame,
To see strong people
Being evicted over the ocean
Like useless debris;
And the beautiful land
Occupied by Cheviot sheep.
There are nettles in the garden
And the ruins covered with grass.

3. Where there were many men
With their wives and families,
There are only hornless sheep
To be found in their place.
You cannot see in the cattle-fold
The milkmaid with her fetter,
Or the white-shouldered cattle
And the fair-haired herdsman.

4. The lark is in the skies
Singing her tuneful song,
With no one listening to her
As she climbs higher.
The people will never return, never return,
Who were hearty and genial;
Like chaff on a windy day
They were dispersed for ever.