Text: Ní h-Éibhneas gan Chlainn Domhnaill

Giolla Coluim mac an Ollaimh (probably a professional poet of the MacMhuirich dynasty) composed this lament on the forfeiture of the Clan Donald Lordship of the Isles sometime in or after 1493.

The following text was translated by Michael Newton from the edition in Watson, Bardachd Albannach, 90-5, using emendations from Osborn Bergin and Angus Matheson.

§ 1. There is no joy without Clan Donald; there is no strength without them; the best clan in the world: every good man was one of them.

§ 2. The noblest clan ever born, who personified prowess and awesomeness; a people to whom tyrants made submission; they had great wisdom and piety.

§ 3. A brave, kind, mighty clan, the hottest clan in the face of battle, the most gentle clan among women and most valorous in war.

§ 4. The most numerous clan when gathered together, whose honor and esteem was highest; a clan who did not make war on the church; they feared being dispraised.

§ 5. The bright pillars of verdant Scotland, the hardiest clan who were ever baptized; theirs was the victory in each land; the hawks of Islay in warfare.

§ 6. The greatest and most excitable clan; the most elegant and level-headed clan; clan most expansive of heart for the best generosity and restraint.

§ 7. The sons of kings who never earned dispraise, who took most seriously the bonds of kindliness; men who are fierce, noble, high-spirited, greatly magnanimous.

§ 8. The clan best for service and protection; the clan best for heroic deed; I hate how Fate spun such a short existence for them.

§ 9. They were not bad men with deaf ears, nor were they weak and feeble men; when entering into the place of conflict, they were harder than the craigs.

§ 10. They are a clan who are not pompous or tyrannical, who take only the spoils of warfare; their nobility were high-spirited and their peasantry were resilient.

§ 11. Pity those without their troops or who have departed from their camaraderie; there is no other clan like Clan Donald; they were a noble clan of strong mind.

§ 12. Their bounty could not be measured, their gifts could not be counted; the honor of their nobles was without beginning, end or bounds.

§ 13. In the front line of Clan Donald, education was entrusted; and in their rear-guard there was service and honor and moral standards.

§ 14. I have given up erudition and learning because of sorrow and mourning; I have given up everything for them: there is no joy without Clan Donald.

§ 15. Tyrants sounded a loud blast [of war] against that clan, that was prudent and strong; even if they are dishonored today, there is no joy without Clan Donald.

§ 16. The best people in the world, for their exuberance, their excitement, and their excellence; there is no benefit without them: there is no joy without Clan Donald.

§ 17. May we yield to the [Christ] child so that He may deliver us from every tribulation; although He is true to us, there is no joy without Clan Donald.

About Michael Newton

Arts and Sci Information Svcs
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.