Wanderer and Vagabond
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: Wytheville, Virginia
Here's a song for you with some background info. I have included both the Scottish Gaelic and English versions. Can't remember where I found this on the internet!
Leanaibh an Aigh
'Mary MacDonald belonged to the Ross of Mull, where she and her husband had a croft. Born in 1789, she was much against smoking and frequently reproved her husband who was a heavy smoker. She died at Ardtun in 1872. She wrote many hymns but is best known for this one, sung to the Tune ?Bunessan?** after her native village.
I received the words from a farmer in the Ross of Mull, who asked me to make this translation.'
**'Bunessan' is the well known tune to which the hymn 'Morning has Broken' is set.
This is the original Gaelic version:
'S e leanabh an aigh an leanabh bh'aig Main,
A rugadh 'san stabull, Righ nan Dul,
Thainig do'n fhasach dh'fhulang 'nar n-aite,
Is sona do'n aireamh bhiteas dha dluth.
Is ann an Iudea chualas an sgeulachd
As binne r'a eisdeachd na teudan ciuil,
Armailt na Flaitheis is ainglean Neimh
Ag ard-mholadh Dhe 's a'seinn a chliu.
Iriosal, striochdach thainig an Ti so,
'S deacair dhomh innseadh meud a chliu;
Prionnsa na sithe a rugadh mar chiochran
Ann an staid iosal is gun mhuirn.
Eisdubh an fhuaim le sgeula nam buadh
A dh'aithris na buchaillean o thus:
"Gheibh sibh an t-Uan 's a'phrasaich 'na shuain,
'S e shaoras a shluagh le buaidh is le cliu."
'S e teachgdaire 'n aigh a thainig o'n airde
A dh'innis le gradh na bha 'na run:
"Geibh sibh 'san stabull 'm fochar a mhathar
Naoidhean thug barr air cach gach uair."
"Seallaibh ged tha e 'm prasaich 'san stabull,
An armailt ro-laidir air a chul:
Ainglean o'n airde a'frithealadh dha-san,
Cumhachd is gras is gradh 'na ghnuis."
Ged a bhiodh leanaban aig righribh na talmhainn
Le greadhnachas garbh 's le anabarr muirn,
'S gearr gus am falbh iad 's fasaidh muirn,
An ailleachd 's an deabh a'searg 's an uir.
'S iomadh fear treubhach, gaisgealach, gleusda
Chaisg air an steud 's nach eirich dhiubh
A chaoidh gus an seidear trompaid Mhic Dhe
Ag ar-mholadh Dhe 's a'seinn a chliu.
Cha b'ionnan 's an t-Uan a thainig g'ar fuasgladh,
Iriosal, stuama ghluais e an tus,
E naomh gun truailleachd, cruithear an t-sluaigh
A dh'eirich a suas le buaidh o'n uir.
Seallaibh cia ard E nis ann am Parras
Ag ullacgadh aite d'a chairdean ruin;
O?n cheannaich a bhas dhaibh sonas do-aireamh,
A ghealladh gu brath cha teid air chul.
Athair nan gras, neartaich ar cail
Chum moladh gu brath thoirt dha le cliu,
Do'n Ti as ro-airde a dh'ullaich dhuinn Slanighear
A dh'fhuiling am bas 'nar n-aite 's nar rum.
Teagaisg a Righ dhuinn slighe na sithe,
'Nad cheumaibh direach cum sinn dluth;
Thusa bha dileas dhuinne bho shiorruiddheachd,
Urras ro-chinnteach air an cul.
Neartaich ar dochas, meudaich ar n-eolas,
Cum sinn 'nad roidean direach, dluth,
Le ola 'nar lochrain mar ris na h-oighibh
A'seinn ann an gloir an orain uir.
So leanbh an aigh mar dh'aithris na faidhean
'S na h-ainglean arda b'e miann as sul,
'S e as airidh air gradh 's air urram thiort dha,
Is sona do'n aireamh bhitheas dha dluth.
This was translated from the Gaelic by Hilda Leslie in 1978:
Infant of wonder, infant of Mary,
Born in a stable, Lord over all,
Came from on high to hear our transgressions,
Happy are those who may on Him call.
From Bethlehem came that wonderful story,
Sweeter than music, new of His birth;
Hosts from on high of heavenly angels
Praising our Lord and lauding His worth.
Lowly and humble He came to save us,
Boundless His power and mighty His name,
Symbol of peace, He was born of a virgin
In lowly estate without pomp or acclaim.
List to the sound and the tale of His glory
Told to the shepherds there in the fold:
"The Lamb will be found asleep in a manger,
He who will save us from Satan's fold."
The herald of tidings wondrous and joyful
Came from on high his good news to bear:
"There in the stable lies your sweet saviour,
Peerless and mighty, beyond compare."
"Behold though you find Him asleep in a manger,
Mighty His army, wondrous His power;
Angels from heaven haste to attend Him,
Love and compassion both are His dower."
Though princes be born to riches and splendour,
Glad bells be rung to herald their sway,
Yet is their glory transient and fleeting
Soon to be lost to death and decay.
Brave men of valour, powerful and mighty,
Go forth to war in carnage to die,
They shall arise when sounds the last trumpet
Praising our Lord, our Saviour on high.
Lowly the lamb who came to redeem us,
Humble and meek but mighty to save,
Faultless and perfect, Saviour of Glory,
Ever victorious over the grave.
Now far on high in Paradise waiting,
Welcome prepared for all of His own;
By death He redeemed us, gladness unending,
Promised by Jesus close to His throne.
Father of grace, O strengthen our purpose
To praise Him forever, great is His name;
God from on high who sent our Redeemer
To die on the cross, from heaven He came.
Lead us, O Lord, on life's peaceful pathways;
Thee we would follow, close by Thy side.
Prize for the faithful, life everlasting,
Through life's dark shadows be Thou our guide.
Hope will sustain us, knowledge will guide us,
Staunch in Thy footsteps we follow Thee,
Singing Thy praises on highways to glory,
Happy and joyful, Lord, we shall be.
Child of perfection, foretold by the prophets,
Blessed, divine, His cradle a stall,
Worthy of faith and trust through the ages,
Happy are those who on Him may call.
Laoidh - 'Leanaibh an Aigh'
The hymn 'Child in the Manger' was originally written in Gaelic, with the title ?Leanaibh an Aigh'. The tune of this song is "Morning Has Broken," which is a traditional Gaelic air.
The hymn was written by Mary MacDonald and the Gaelic air takes its name from her birthplace ?Bun Easain? (Bunessan) on the Isle of Mull. A memorial cairn to her can be seen just outside the village of Bun Easain on Mull.
Though the song "Morning Has Broken" is sometimes ascribed to Cat Stevens, in fact the words were written by Eleanor Farjeon and the tune by the lady from Bunessan.
The Church of Scotland Hymn Book contains an English version of ?Leanaibh an Aigh,? but it is not strictly a translation from the Gaelic as written by Mary MacDonald. It is called ?Child in a Manger? and is normally treated as a Christmas carol.
Slàn agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman
'S i Alba tìr mo chridhe. 'S i Gàidhlig cànan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.