Catalogue of Gaelic Manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland

© Ronald Black, 2011

Adv. MS 72.1.36

(Gaelic MS.XXXVI). CLASSICAL VERSE & TALES

Mackinnon, pp.91, 116 f., 142–6, 205 f.; Mackechnie pp.176–9.


Gaelic letter file 24/3/59 has correspondence on Hugh MacLean. LF v, xiv.

17th cent. Paper. Beg. – f.94: 20.5 x 14.5 cms. F.95 – end: 19.5 x 13.5 cms. Ff.123. Scribe: Eoghan Mac Gilleoin (Hugh MacLean), in 1699 schoolmaster at Kilchenzie, Kintyre. The manuscript consisted originally of three parts. Part I was being written by 29th November 1690 (see f.104r) and was still incomplete on 9th December (f.110v). It was paginated by Mac Gilleoin at top centre of each page, save for the endpapers, which served as covers and thus became much rubbed on their outsides. Two watermarks are found, one sheet bearing the letters A D, the rest having a “grape” design with the letter J. Part II, like Part I, was being written on 9th December 1690 (f.127r), and was paginated by the scribe at top centre of each page—again, commencing with p.1 after a front endpaper of which the outside is now soiled. The watermark appears to be a cross with the letters B R. Part III consists of folios up to 1 cm. longer and broader than those of Parts I and II, watermarked throughout with “grapes” and the letters A B. It was being written by 24th January 1691 (f.26v) and was finished on or after 7th March (ff.79r, 94v). It has no pagination, but a foliation marked at top right of every recto. Mac Gilleoin placed Parts I and II after it and carried over his foliation to them in the same reddish ink employed for Part III, counting as folios the rear endpaper of Part III (f.94) and both endpapers of Part I (ff.95, 115), but excluding the front endpaper of Part II (hereafter called f.115a) – probably because, unlike the others, it bears no text. Two successive folios were marked as f.123; for clarity, therefore, the original pagination is given below in square brackets in addition to the foliation. While marking the folio numbers Mac Gilleoin inserted the titles of the tales at ff.96r, 104v, 116r, and 127v. At f.96r he at first wrote ‘Bruighion Cheisi Coruin’ (the title of the tale at f.104v), then corrected it to ‘Bruighion bheag na hAlmhain’. Finally, two of his probationes pennae are found on the juxtaposed endpapers of Parts I and II (ff.115v and 115a r), viz.: ‘Cionnus sin a phinn a bfionntar linn do locht / a bfoghnadh thu mar gleas na bfuil feidhm ort’; ‘Aon ghas rath – nuaidh no gas biolara’.

The manuscript was written for a Colin Campbell of Kilberry? – JMB, whose pedigree Mac Gilleoin gives twice in Part I and once in Part III. On ff.79r and 104r it is taken back three generations – Cailín mac Donnchaidh mhic Dubhghaill mhic Cailín Óig. On f.110v Cailín Óg is made, perhaps with some illogicality, the son of a “Maighistir Archibald” (AFM sub anno 1555). However Mac Gilleoin gives a more rational version in a manuscript written for the same Colin Campbell a year later, TCD 1362 (H.4.21), p.161, where Cailín Óg is the son of ‘Cailín Mór mac Maighistir Archibald .i. mac Maighistir Gilleasbuig’. Mgr Archibald is witness of treaty between Argyll & O’Donnell, 1555 (SGS.7.99). He has not been further identified. He was not Colin Campbell of Achnaba, minister of Ardchattan, despite the implication to that effect in the ref. (to p.10) under that name in the index of Campbell & Thomson, Edward Lhuyd in the Scottish Highlands. At any rate his hand appears on some of the endpapers (ff.94v, 95r, 115a r), where he has written his name and other jottings. F.115a r bears his name with what seems to be the date, followed by “Colline Campbell is y e owner of this book”; at the foot are some words in Latin. Ff.101v and 127v have some illegible scrawls.

The manuscript passed into the hands of Major MacLachlan of Kilbride, and there is substantial evidence to show that much of its present ravaged condition dates from the period of his ownership. Ff.1–14 are totally missing, save for a single fragment identified by Dr Alan Bruford from Adv.MS.72.1.34 in July, 1964, now marked A-B and kept in an envelope with the present manuscript. Ff.15–42 are much perished from the corners, resulting at ff.15–18 in substantial loss of text. The inscription ‘This Manuscript be[longs to John] McLachlan Kilbride’ across the foot of ff.128v and 129r is similarly imperfect, and loss of text proper begins again from the same cause at f.130, the last two remaining folios (ff.134–5) being little more than fragmentary. The Rev. Donald Mackintosh (Keeper of the Gaelic Manuscripts of the Highland Society of Scotland), in a catalogue of Kilbride manuscripts which he compiled in MacLachlan’s house at Kilchoan, Nether Lorne (Sinclair, Poems of Ossian (London, 1807) III. 570), describes the manuscripts as “having ninety pages lost at the beginning, and part of the end”. Plainly what had happened was that Part III had parted company from the rest, revealing Mac Gilleoin’s foliation “95” prominently displayed on the front cover of Part I. The fact that MacLachlan had chosen to inscribe ‘This Manuscript is the Property of John McLachlan of Kilbride’ on f.95v, in addition to his above-mentioned inscription towards the end of Part II, may be regarded as confirmation of this. Mackintosh proceeds to point out that Adv.MS.72.1.26 was one of the five manuscripts “left with the Society, very reluctantly, by the Major, upon Mr. Mackintosh the keeper’s receipt” (No.5 – see Report p. 296). His own hand appears at ff. 82v, 84v and 85v, and he has left a transcript of most of the manuscript (following one of part of Adv.MS.72.1.34) in what is now Adv.MS.72.3.11. This transcript does not include the text of A-B, but begins at a later juncture of “Eachtra Chonaill Ghulban” with the words as an luing a ttir 7 tainic an fear mor do lathair. Thus it still provides us with a section of text amounting in size to 12 pp. of the original, before the beginning of the extant remainder is reached at the words do Choire [da Ruaidh 7 do Choire Bhreacain seach Muile] 7 Ile 7 Cintire. It would therefore appear that in his day the manuscript began at f.9, yet this seems to be contradicted by his two relevant prefatory remarks in Adv.MS.72.3.11. It should be noted that each of these remarks was written in the same point and ink, and added to in a point and ink differing uniformly from the first. On the flyleaf is “ All before the 12th page is gone of the 2d M.S.”; the addition is “—copied here”. Immediately prefacing the transcript of the present manuscript is “The following was copied from a M.S belonging to Major Maclauchlan of Kilbride – written by Ewen Maclean & Colin Campbell before 1690—“; the addition is “From p.12 to p of the M.S. is gone”. It seems to the present cataloguer that what had happened was as follows. Mackintosh made his transcript at Kilchoan. Transcript made in 1804, see 72.3.11 p.201. He then wrote the above observations from memory, mistakenly substituting “p.12” for f.9. When he later gained possession of the manuscript for the Highland Society, he found that everything up to f.14 had now been torn out; in point of fact Mackinnon and Mackechnie record the survival, with part of a skin cover, of traces of at least a dozen leaves torn out at both beginning and end. Thus Mackintosh was unable to verify his figure 12. Ff.15–18, moreover, would have been so tattered that Mac Gilleoin’s folio numbers would have perished – as indeed, no doubt, had some of the text which Mackintosh had previously transcribed from them in full. (This, at any rate, is the present condition of the manuscript.) Hence the qualifications to Mackintosh’s remarks. Report p.283 (From Bannatyne). “Mr Mackintosh was…allowed to take inspection, and bring the Society an account of these and the other MSS. in Major McLachlan’s possession. Part of these the major afterwards sent to the Society”. Mackintosh sent to Kilchoan May 1801-Ingliston MSS. A.iv.2. p.8.

W.F. Skene records in his MS. catalogue of 1861 that Adv.MS.72.1.36 was at that time missing, having been last heard of in 1841 in the possession of Thomas Thomson, Depute Clerk Register, who had borrowed it along with Adv.MS.72.1.32, and who was now dead. A later pencilled note in the catalogue says simply ‘returned’. In 1962 the manuscript was laminated in silk and bound, and its 19th-century paper cover (with a rough description of the manuscript in Skene’s hand) inserted after the text.

(a) Part III

f.

15 r EACHTRA CHONAILL GHULBAN. Beg. (acephalous) do Choire [da Ruaidh 7 do Choire Bhreacain seach Muile] 7 Ile 7 Cintire [7 Colbhonsa 7 Leoghas tar uile] oillenaibh Alban [7 Fionnlochlan]. Fragment A-B (in separate envelope), one of first 8 ff. of MS., supplies some of initial portion of text; transcript (c.1800) in Adv.MS.72.3.11 supplies text from f. 9 on. The scribe has written the following in spaces in the text before the commencement of verse passages: (f.26v11) ‘Eoghan Mac Ghilleoin 24 Januarius 1691’; (f.41r7) ‘Eoghan Mac Ghilleoin Februar 12. 1691’; (f.50r2) ‘in 14 la do mi Februar 1691 Eoghan Mac Gilleoin’; (f.68r3) ‘Eoghan Mac Ghilleoin le mo laimh’; (f.69v14) ‘Eoghan Mac Gilleoin in 2 la don mi Mhairt 1691’. F.51v blank. F.52 torn out, but producing no lacuna; it was already torn out when Mackintosh made his transcript (Adv.MS.72.3.11, p.76). Text again gapped at ff.54r m. – 55r. A hand is drawn at f.68r, marg. inf. Colophon (f.79r): ‘Eoghan Mac Ghilleoin le mo laimh do criochnuidh in echtrasa da sgriobhadh in sechtmadh la don mhios Mhairt aon mhile se ced aon deg 7 cethre fithid d’annaladh ar ttighearna Iosa Criosd. Caillain Caimpbel leis in leis in leabharan .i. Caillain mac Donchaidh mhic Dughil mhic Chaillain oig’.

79 r17 Ni me tenga lem let, 3 qq. Copy Z, f.17.

79 v1 Triath na nGaoidheal Giolla Espag, 37 qq. On Archibald, 9th Earl of Argyll 1661–85. Copy Z, f.9.

81 r10 Muiris Ó Maoilghirigh. Rug eadrain ar iath nAlban, 26 qq. On an Earl of Argyll. At f.82v1 Mac Gilleoin has copied out the colophon: cf. Aonghas Dorcha O Maoilghirigh, RIA 475 (24 P25), 76v.

‘Benacht chugaibh a thighearna ar son na h-aithne do rin sibh ar an dan so 7 teachtaire do chuir da iaruidh seach moran do chach oile do chuala é; 7 se is locht liom air anois olcas na sgriobhneorachta o iomarcaidh deithfire 7 nar sgribhas an oireadsa do Ghaoidhealg o tangas a nAlbuin, 7 ni h-iongnadh sin oir ni bfuil moran do lucht tuigsean san chuirt a bfuilim anois. Ni beg sin, acht tabhar mo benocht d’Eoin mhac Mhaighisdir Domhnall.
Do tsherbonntuigh fein go feadh a chumhacht,
Muris O Mhuilghirigh’.

82 v12 Bregach sin, a bhen, 12 qq. The poem is finished at the foot of f.83r in the space left beneath the next item, which was written first.

83 r1 Go mbenuigh Dia in tighe ‘s a mhuinter, 15 11. Incantation in verse and prose. Copy Z, f.18.

83 v1 A Chonuill, ca sealbh na cinn, 27 qq. Preceding § 20 at f.84v marg. sup., Mackintosh has written ‘The following poem is in the genealogy book of Clanranald’. The poem is not now in either of the works known as the Book of Clanranald, nor in any known related manuscript.

85 r1 Na maoi h’uaisle oruim fein, 8 qq. At his transcript of this poem (Adv.MS.72.3.11, p.127) Mackintosh notes ‘Said to be Bp. Carswells address to his lady’. Copy Z, f.19.

85 r18 Innis disi giodh be me, 3 qq. Also at f.114v9.

85 v1 [Niall Mór MacMhuirich.] Soraidh slan don aoidhche reir, 6 qq. Headed by Mackintosh ‘This poem is in Clanranald’s Book’.

85 v15 Mairg ni uaill as óige, 4 qq.

86 r1 SGÉALA MUICCE MHIC DÁ THÓ. Beg. Bhui brughadh amra do Laighnuibh feacht n-aon da bu coimhainm Mac Da Shogh.

92 r1 Súd í in tshlatog mheduigh m’aicid, chrannraigh n’osna lar mo chleibh, 3 qq. Copy Z, f.20.

92 v1 Is fuath liom óinsach gan óiran, 26 qq. Headed ‘Na fuatha dhligthes na daoine lochdach nach bhi re [ ]’. Additional couplet at end: ‘Is fuath liom filidh gan tuigsi / 7 sin duitsi nis fuath liom’. In a coarse contemporary hand is added (f.93v, marg. inf.) ‘is fuve lem ben losc ge laver is fuve lem eg avell gan uvla’ (i.e. Is fuath liom bean leasg go labhar / is fuath liom ag abhall gan ubhla). Copy Z, f.21.

93 v8 Ni bfuigheadh misi bas duit, 5 qq. Cf. Adv.MS.72.1.2, f.66r.

94 r1 A dhuine, cuimnigh an bas, 9 qq.

94 v Colophon: ‘The 7th March 1691 / in sechtamh la don mhi Mhairt aon mhile se ced aon deg 7 ceithre fithid d’andalaibh ar ttighearna Iosa’.

(b) Part I

[p] f.

95 r blank save for signature ‘Collin Campbell’ and scribblings.

95 v Proverbial quatrains, beg.:

(a) Nech sin bhios corach do ghnath

(b) Mur fhado tinne fuidh loch . cf. Eigse 3.5* Copy Z, f. 24.

[1] 96 r1 BRUIGHION BHEG NA hALMHAIN. Beg. Fleadh mhor chaoin moradbhuil do rinnadh le Fionn mac Cumhail mhic Trenmhoir I Bhaoisgne a nAlmhuin lethanmor Laighen. Colophon (f.104r): ‘Finis 29 November 1690. Caillain Caimpbeil leis in leis in leabharsi .i. Caillain mac Donchaidh mhic Dughil mhic Chaillain Oig’.

[18] 104 v1 BRUIGHION CHÉISI CORUIN. Beg. Sealg suairc sochruidh saoraoibhin do roinadh le Fion mac Cumhaill mhic Trenmoir I Bhaoisgne fa chriochuibh caomhaille an Choruin. Colophon (f.110v): ‘Criochnugh an sgela sin an naoiemh lo do mi December 1690. Gach nech do leighios e tugadh a bhenocht ar an sgriobnior amen. Caillain Caimpbel mac Dhonchaidh mhic Dughil mhic Chaillain Oig mhic Maighistir Archibald les an leis an leoibhrain’. Ed. Ní Sheaghdla - see Best’s Bib. p. 81.

[31] 111 r1 Greis ar chaithrem an fhir mhoir, 67 qq. Laoidh an Deirg.

[37] 114 r1 Is maith mo leaba, is olc mo shuain, 14 qq. On committal of Marquess of Argyll to Tower of London, 1660. Copy Z, f.15 Lr. Na Féinne, p.211. Voices from the Hills [T.89.a] p.252.

114 v9 Innis disi giodh be me, 3 qq. Also at f.85r18.

114 v15 Single-stanza sayings and riddles, beg.:

(a) Na srotha is edoimne
(b) A fhir is arde menmna
(c) Decar anois no n-aois oige (2nd couplet illegible due to worn lower edge of f.114)
(d) A dhuine oig leis nach aill mosgladh
(e) Mas i an tuigsi, mas í an toil
(f) Srian re do thoil ‘s na tí go dian
(g) Ni bian búr beo gan án
(h) Ban tiobhra
(i) Ciall is maith chon an innidh
(j) Coll ailm coll curtar ad bheil
(k) Beth ón dúir beruin duit.

115 v blank save for probati pennae.

(c) Part II

115 a No text.

[1] 116 r1 AN CEITHEARNACH. Beg.La n-aon da raibh O Domhnall .i. Aodh Ruad mac Neill Ghairbh mhic Toirdhealbhaigh an Fhiona go maithibh a mhuintire 7 a thir 7 a thalamh maraon fris ag caithemh fleidhe 7 fesda a mBeil Ath Senaig. At f.22v3 the scribe has written ‘is fuar an lo niudh’ in the space before a verse quotation. Colophon (f.127r): ‘…Gonadh e Ceithearnach Ui Domhnal go nuige sin FINID an naoithemh lo do mhi December aon mhile se ced deich bliadhna 7 ceithre fithid scdlgbhn Mac gngllscdlngn ddl scrngb sdl [i.e. Eoghan Mac Gilleoin do scribh so]’.

[26] 127 v1 MURCHADH MAC BRIAN 7 AN DIRIOCH. Beg. Sealg mhor do chomoradh le Brian Boruidh mac Ceinaduidh. 17 pp., incomplete. See Eigse 12.303; 13.85.

* Also in Hist. of Feuds & Conflicts (1780), p. 132.

© Ronald Black, 2011