The Gaelic Tradition: Òran Nam Mocaisean

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About this Song

This song, sung by Jim Charlie MacNeil of Sydney, was composed by Murdock MacArthur of Inverness, Cape Breton, who had settled in the Codroy Valley in Newfoundland. Mr. MacNeil learned the song from a Mrs. Campbell, a sister of the composer.

Òran Nam Mocaisean, 1969. Jim Charlie MacNeil. T-278. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Lyrics

Sèist
Tha fonn, fonn, fonn,
Tha fonn air na mocaisean,
Tha fonn gun bhith trom,
Thog i hò air mo mhocaisean.

1. Fhuair mi craiceann caorach,
'S mi 'n dùil gun dèanainn mocaisean;
Thilg mi 'n dàrna taobh e,
'S gun d'fhuair mi laoircean gamhainne.

2. Bhog mi ann an aol iad
Fad naoi lathaichean,
'S chuir mi 'n sin air bòrd iad,
'S gun tug mi sgròbadh math orra.

3. Bidh gach aon a' faighneachd
Cò a rinn na mocaisean:
Mi-fhìn 's mo mhinidh crom
Chuir an greim air an tarsainn unnt'.

4. Labhair Iain MacGuaire
Cò dh'fhuaigheil na mocaisean;
Gum faic mis' an snàth
Tha na shnàithleanan geal unnta.

5. Chan fhaic thusa snàth
Tha na shnàithleanan geal unnta;
Ach salachar do shùilean
Tha mùchadh do shealladh ort.

(An aon cheathramh a-rithist)

6. Didòmhnaich dol dhan Aifrinn
An coibhneas nan caileagan,
Cha ghabh iad facal ùrnaigh,
Ach suil air mo mhocaisean.

Translation:

Song of the Moccasins

Chorus
Let's sing, sing, sing,
Let's sing to the moccasins,
A song that's not heavy,
"Thog i ho" to my moccasins.

1. I got a sheepskin
In the hope of making moccasins,
But I threw it aside
And found the hide of a stirk.

2. I steeped them in lime
For nine days,
And then put them on a table
And gave them a good scraping.

3. Everyone will be asking
Who made the moccasins:
I did with my bent awl,
Sewing the stitches in them cross-wise.

4. John MacQuarrie asked
Who had sewn the moccasins:
I can see the thread
With white stitching in them.

5. You don't see the thread
With white stitching in them;
It's the dirt in your eyes
That is blinding your vision.

(Verse 5 repeated)

6. On Sunday going to Mass,
In the company of the maidens,
They say no word of prayer,
But look at my moccasins.