The Gaelic Tradition: Mo Rìbhinn Choibhneil

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About this Song

The singer of this Scottish love song is Dr. Kay MacDonald. In recognition of her work on the Gaelic language, including teaching and working in the Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2009.

Mo Rìbhinn Choibhneil, 1973. Dr. Kay MacDonald. T-743. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Lyrics

Sèist
Nach robh mise 's mo rìbhinn choibhneil
Anns a' choill far an goir an smeòrach;
Eòin air gheugan 's iad seinn le aoibhneas,
'S a' ghrian a' soillseadh gu boillsgeach bòidheach.

1. Tha do ghruaidhean cho dearg ri caorann,
Mar ite faoilinn do mhuineal bhòidheach,
Dà shùil mhìogach a mhealladh mìltean,
'S do chùl snìomhain mar it' an lòn-duibh.

2. Tha mais is àilleachd is suairceas nàdair
Anns an àilleig tha banail mòdhar;
'S e gaol na rìbhinn chuir mi fo mhì-ghean
'S a bhrist mo chrìdh' 's a dh'fhàg m'inntinn bronach.

3. Ged a sheòlainn-sa thar nan cuantan
Gum bi mo smuaintean gach uair mun òg-bhean;
Bhon thug i cùl rium tha mi làn tùrsa,
Mo chreach 's mo dhìubhail 's i chiùrr 's a leòn mi.

4. Soraidh slàn leis an rìbhinn mhàlda,
Ge b'e àite sam bi i còmhnaidh;
'S e mo dhùrachd gum bi i sàbhailt,
'S gach sonas 's àgh bhith aic' fhad's is beò i.

Translation:

My Kindly Maiden

Chorus
If only I and my gentle maid were
In the forest where the thrush sings,
The birds on the branches singing joyfully
And the sun shining brilliantly.

1. Your cheeks are as red as rowan berries,
Your lovely neck like a gull's down,
Your playful eyes would beguile thousands,
Your plaited tresses are like the blackbird's feather.

2. There is beauty, nobility and gentility
In the lovely one who is modest and mild;
The maiden's love has left me sad,
Broken my heart and made me despondent.

3. Although I would sail over the oceans
My thoughts will be with the maiden always.
Since she rejected me I am filled with sorrow;
My ruination and loss, she hurt and wounded me.

4. Farewell forever to the modest lass
Wherever she may dwell;
My wish is that she will be safe
With every joy and good fortune as long as she lives.