Beannachadh Luinge

Detail of birlinn from the wall tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, 8th Chief of Clan MacLeod, St. Clement's Church, Rodel, Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, 1528.
Detail of birlinn from the wall tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, 8th Chief of Clan MacLeod, St. Clement’s Church, Rodel, Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, 1528.

God bless the good ship of Clan Ranald,
The first day it leaps on the wave,
The ship and the sailors who man it
The first on the roll of the brave!

May the Three and the One be their guidance,
Who tempers the blasts when they bray,
Or tossed mid the war of the billow
Or lulled in the sleep of the bay!

Great Father that gathered the waters,
Whose breath is the strength of the storm,
Bless Thou our frail bark and its men
When the rage of the tempest is warm.

O Son of the Father give blessing
To anchor and rudder and mast,
To sail and to sheet and to tackle,
When they stand the rude strain of the blast.

Bless yard and halyard and stay,
All gear both above and below,
Give soundness to rigging and rope,
That no flaw and no fault they may know.

May the Spirit the Holy protect us,
Whose grace we devoutly implore,
Who hath fathomed all depths of the ocean,
And numbered all bays of the shore!

— Form of prayer for the blessing of a ship on going to sea Beannachadh Luinge, from the Gàidhlig poem, Birlinn Chlann Raghnaill, Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair, Englished by Professor John Stuart Blackie.

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Beannachadh Luinge

Maille ri brosnachadh fairge, a rinneadh do sgioba is do bhirlinn tighearna Chlann Raghnaill.

Gum beannaicheadh Dia long Chlann Raghnaill
A’ cheud là do chaidh air sàile,
E fèin ‘s a thrèin-fhir da caitheamh,
Trèin a chuaidh thar maitheas chàich.

Gum beannaich an Coimh-dhia naomh
An iùnnrais, anal nan speur,
Gun sguabte garbhlach na mara,
G’ ar tarraing gu cala rèidh.

Athair, a chruthaich an fhairge
‘S gach gaoth a shèideas às gach àird,
Beannaich ar caol-bhàirc ‘s ar gaisgich,
‘S cum i fhèin ‟s a gasraidh slàn.

A Mhic, beannaich fèin ar n-acair,
Ar siùil, ar beartean, ‘s ar stiùir,
‘S gach droineap tha crochte ri ‘r crannaibh,
‘S thoir gu caladh sinn le d’ iùl.

Beannaich ar racain ‘s ar slats,
Ar crainn ‘s ar teudaibh gu lèir
Ar stagh ‘s ar tarraing cùm fallen
‘S na leig-s’ ann ar cara beud.

An Spiorad Naomh biodh air stiùir,
Seòlaidh e ‘n t-iùl a bhios ceart;
‘S eòl da gach longphort fon ghrèin,
Tilgeamaid sinn fèin fo ‘bheachd.

— Form of prayer for the blessing of a ship on going to sea, Beannachadh Luinge, from the Gàidhlig poem, Birlinn Chlann Raghnaill, Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair.

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A considerably more literal English translation by Gordon Barr (1924):

Blessing of the Ship

Including encouragement of the ocean which was made for the crew and ship of the Lord of Clan Ranald.

May God bless Clan Ranald’s ship the first day it went to sea, itself and the strong men driving it, warriors who went beyond the excellence of the rest.

May the sacred Lord bless the storm, the breath of the stars, and may the stony river bed of the sea not be hit and may he pull us to a smooth harbour.

O Father, you who formed the ocean and every wind that blows from every direction, bless our narrow bark and our champion heros and keep herself and her crew in good health.

O Son, bless even our anchor, our sails, our mast rope-rings, our rudder and all the rigging which is bound to our mast and take us to a harbour with your guidance.

Bless our mast rings, our yard-arms, our masts and all our mooring ropes, and keep safe our stays and our halyards and don’t allow any messing up of our direction.

Let the Holy Spirit be at the helm and he will sail a route which will be correct; let him have discernment about every boat-harbour under the sun and let us move ourselves with care.

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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