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Saturday, July 5, 2008

To the 51st Division by Mackintosh

To the 51st Division:
High Wood, July-August 1916
Oh gay were we in spirit
In the hours of the night
When we lay in rest by Albert
And waited for the fight;
Gay and gallant were we
On the day that we set forth,
But broken, broken, broken
Is the valour of the North.

The wild warpipes were calling
Our hearts were blithe and free
When we went up the valley
To the death we could not see.
Clear lay the wood before us
In the clear summer weather,
But broken, broken, broken
Are the sons of the heather.

In the cold of the morning,
In the burning of the day,
The thin lines stumbled forward,
The dead and dying lay.
By the unseen death that caught us
By the bullets' raging hail
Broken, broken, broken
Is the pride of the Gael.

Ewart Alan Mackintosh (1893-1917)

Cha Till Maccruimein (McCrimmon Will Never Return)
(Departure of the 4th Camerons)
The pipes in the streets were playing bravely,
The marching lads went by
With merry hearts and voices singing
My friends marched out to die;
But I was hearing a lonely pibroch
Out of an older war,
Farewell, farewell, farewell, MacCrimmon,
MacCrimmon comes no more.'

And every lad in his heart was dreaming
Of honour and wealth to come,
And honour and noble pride were calling
To the tune of the pipes and drum;
But I was hearing a woman singing
On dark Dunvegan shore,
In battle or peace, with wealth or honour,
MacCrimmon comes no more.'

And there in front of the men were marching
With feet that made no mark,
The grey old ghosts of the ancient fighters
Come back again from the dark;
And in front of them all MacCrimmon piping
A weary tune and sore,
On gathering day, for ever and ever,
MacCrimmon comes no more.'

Ewart Alan Mackintosh (1893-1917)

The Original Lament -a very famous pipe tune which dates from the '45 Rising has been recorded many times. My favorte modern recording is from Mairi MacInnes from her CAUSEWAY album.

Dh' aidh cèo nan stùc mu aodann chuilinn
(The mist of the stacks is about the face of the Cuillinn)
'Us sheinn a' bheinn-shith a torman mulaid
*And the fairy woman has sung her sad song)
Gorm shuilean ciuin san Dun a' sileadh
Gentle blues eyes in the fort are crying
O'n thriall thu bhuainn 's nach till thu tuille
Since you left, and will never return

Sèist: Chorus (after each verse):
Cha till, cha till, cha till Maccrimmain
Never returning! O MacCrioman is never returning!
An cogadh no sìth cha till Maccrimmain
In war-time or peace he will never return
Le airgiod no ni cha till Maccrimmain
With neither money nor possessions he will return

Cha till e gu bràth gu la na cruinne
He will never return 'til judgement day
Tha osag nam beann gu fann ag imeachd
The sigh of the hills is weakly departing
Gach sruthan 's gach allt gu mall le bruthach
Each stream and brook go slowly down the hillside
Tha ealtainn nan speur feadh geugan dubhach
The birds of the sky are sad in the branches
A caoidh gu'n d'fhalbh 's nach till thu tuille
Lamenting that you left and will never more return

Cha chluinnear do cheòl san Dun mu fheasgar
Your music will not be heard in Dunvegan in the evening
'Smac-talla nam mùr le muirn ga fhreagairt
And the echo of the ramparts mourning in answer
Gach fleasgach us òigh, gun cheol gun bheadrach
Each handsome man and maiden without music or merriment
O'n thriall thu bhuainn, 'snach till thu tuille
Since you left us and never will return!


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