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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some Gaelic Proverbs: Is buaine bladh na saoghal.

1)Cha d'fhag claidheamh Fhinn riamh fuigheall beuma.
Fingal's sword never had to cut twice.

2)1Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil.
It's better to try than to hope.

3)Chan eil tuil air nach tig traoghadh.
Every flood will have an ebb.

5) Is e 'n cadal fada ni 'n t-iomradh teth.
Long sleep makes hot rowing.

6) Na abair do sheanfhacal gus an toir thu do long gu caladh.
Don't quote your proverb till you bring your ship to port.

7)Aon bho a bhristeas an garradh, 's a dha dheug a leumas
One cow breaks the fence, and a dozen leap it.

8_Is leor luathas na h-earba gun na coin a chur rithe.
The roe is swift enough without setting the dogs on her.

9)Mhealladh e 'n t-ugh bhon chorra-ghlais, ged bhiodh a da shuil a' coimhead air.
He would cheat the heron of her egg, though her two eyes were fixed on him.
(a very crafty and crooked man!!)

10) Is duilich burn glan a thoirt a tobar salach.
It's difficult to draw pure water from a dirty well.
(Often used methaphorically)

11) Is fhearr an t-olc a chluinntinn na fhaicinn.
Better to hear the evil than see it.

12) Dh'aithnichinn air do sheirc do thabhartas.
I would know your gift by your graciousness.

13)Is iomadh urchair tha dol san fhraoch.
Many a shot goes into the heather.

14)Is fad' an abhainn air nach fhaighear ceann.
It's a long river whose head can't be found.

15)Gheibh righ feachd, 's gheibh domhan daoine.
Kings will find armies, and the world men.

16) Ge cruaidh sgarachdainn, cha robh dithis gun dealachadh.
Though separation be hard, two never met but had to part.
(Aye, 'Struth; so it was for the leal and true of the Ants and many others)

17) Ruigidh an ro-ghiullachd air an ro-ghalar.
The best of nursing may overcome the worst disease.

18) Is fhurasda caisteal gun seisdeadh a ghleidheach.
It's easy to keep a castle that's not besieged.

19)Is minig a bha claidheamh math an droch thruaill.
Good sword has often been in poor scabbard.

20) Na geill do ghis, cha gheill gis dhut.
Don't give in to spells, they won't give in to you.

21)Is tric as daoir' a' chomain na 'n dubh-cheannach.
A favour often costs more than what's hard-bought.

22_Cha bhi suaimhneas aig eucoir, no seasamh aig droch-bheairt.
Wrong cannot rest, nor ill deed stand.

23)Is ann a tha 'n cairdeas mar a chumar e.
Friendship is as it's kept.

24) Am fear nach gleidh na h-airm san t-sith, cha bhi iad aige 'n am a' chogaidh.
He that keeps not his arms in time of peace will have none in time of war.
VERY TRUE; there are similar expressions in Latin and French; but the Highland one is more personal and goes with the 2nd amendment.

25)Tha fios fithich agad.
You have a raven's knowledge.
( I wrote a one act play called the RAVEN on the ROOF; Raven's supposedly had secret knowledge; this is an ancient pagan metaphor which probably recalls faintly an ancient pagan story)

26)Cha tuig an t-og aimbeart, 's cha tuig amadan aimhleas.
Youth foresees not poverty, nor the fool his mischief.

27)Is mios' an t-eagal na 'n cogadh.
Fear is worse than fighting.

28) Bheir duine beath' air eiginn, ach cha toir e rath air eiginn.
A man may force a livelihood, but cannot force fortune.

30)Ma tha Dia ann, 's chan eil fhios a bheil, fag eadar sinn fhein 's na biodagan!
If there be a God, and no one knows whether there be, leave it between ourselves and the dirks! (SPOKEN BY HIGHLAND SKEPTIC)

31) Is minig a bha an fhirinn searbh ri h-innse.
Truth is often harsh to tell.

32) Is buaine bladh na saoghal.
Renown is more lasting than life.

33) Na tarraing mi gun adhbhar, 's na pill mi gun chliu.
Neither draw me without cause, nor return me without honour.
(A sword inscription.)

33)Is cruaidh a leonar an leanabh nach innis a ghearan.
The child is sadly hurt that doesn't tell his illness.

34)Is fhearr na 'n t-or sgeul innse air choir.
Better than gold is a tale rightly told.

35)Chan or a h-uile rud buidhe, 's chan uighean a h-uile rud ban.
All that's yellow is not gold, and all white things are not eggs.

36)Tha chomhachag ri bron, thig tuiltean oirinn.
The owl is mourning, rain is coming. (it rhymes in Gaelic)

37) Fialachd don fhogarrach, 's cnaimhean briste don eucorach!
Hospitality to the exile, and broken bones to the oppressor!

38 )Is lugha na fride mathair a' chonnsachaidh.
The mother of dissension is smaller than a mite.'

39)Mar a theid an t-eun o dhuilleag gu duilleag, theid am meanan o dhuine gu duine.
As the bird goes from leaf to leaf, the yawn goes from man to man.

40)Na innis do run do d'charaide gorach, no do d'namhaid glic.
Tell not thy mind to thy foolish friend, nor to thy wise enemy.

41) Ithear cruach 'na breacagan.
A stack can be eaten in cakes.

42)Chan e gogadh nan ceann a ni an t-iomradh.
It is not the nodding of heads that does the rowing.

43) Is math an sgathan suil caraide.
A friend's eye is a good looking-glass.

44)Is binn gach eun 'na dhoire fhein.
Sweet sings each bird in his own grove.

45) An rud a nitear sa chuil, thig e dh'ionnsaigh an teine.
What's done in the corner will come to the hearth.

Source: Gaelic Proverbs, by Alexander Nicolson (collected in the 19th century; a selection). I know some others that are not in any book.

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