Where All the Women are Strong, All the Men are Good Looking…

The inhabitants of this Island are for the most part of a good stature, strong and nimble, of a good complexion, live verie long, much addicted to hunting, arching, shooting, swimming, wherein they are expert. Their language for the most part is Irish, which is very empathetick, and for its antiquity Scaliger reckons it one of the material languages of Europe. They are good lovers of all sorts of mussick — have a good ear.

As to their women they are very modest, temperet in ther dyet and apparell, excessively grieved at the death of any near relation.

All the inhabitants here have a great veneration for their superiour, whom with the King they make particular mention of in ther privat devotion. Besides ther land rents, they ordinarilie send gratis to their superiours of the product of ther lands of all sorts. They honour ther ministers in a high degree, to whose care, under God, they owe ther freedom from idolatrie and many superstitious customes. Their traditions, wherein they are verie faithful, gives account that this Isle has been in time of the Danes and since, the scene of many warlik exploits. Some of ther genealogers can neither read nor writt, and yett will give an account of some passages in Buchanan his Chronicles, Plutarches Lives; yea, they will not onlie talk of what has passed in former ages, but in ther pedigree will almost ascend near Adam, as ifthey had an Ephemerides of all ther ancestors’ lives. They treat strangers with great civility, and give them such as the place does afford without ever demanding any payment. There are among them who excell in poetrie, and can give a satyre or panegyrick ex tempore on sight upon anie subject whatsomever.

Description of Sky from The Spottiswoode Miscellany: A Collection of Original Papers and Tracts, Illustrative Chiefly of the Civil and Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, Spottiswoode Society, 1845.

The Eloquence of Columba in My Speech

Ora Buaidh
(A Prayer for Victory)

Ionnlaidh mi m’ aodann
‘S na naoi gatha greine,
Mar a dh’ ionnlaid Moir a Mac,
Am bainne bragh na breine.

Mil a bhi ‘na m’bheul,
Seirc a bhi ‘na m’aodann;
An gaol thug Moire dha Mac
Bhi an cridhe gach cairc domhsa.

Gum bu suileach, cluasach, briathrach Dia,
Da m’riarachadh, is da m’neartachadh;
Gum bu dall, bodhar, balbh, sion sior,
Mo luchd tair is mo luchd taimhlis.

Teanga Chalum-chille ‘na mo cheann,
Agall Chalum-chille ‘na mo chainn;
Foisneachd Mhic bhuadhaich nan gras
Dhol thugam-sa an lathair sluaigh.

Carmina Gadelica, ed. Alexander Carmichael.

Continue reading “The Eloquence of Columba in My Speech”

An t-Eilean Sgitheanach

The Isle of Skye as shown on Willem Blaeu’s 1654 Atlas of Scotland.

“This Ile is callit Ellan Skiannach in Irish, that is to say in Inglish the wyngit Ile, be reason it has mony wyngis and pointis lyand furth fra it, throw the dividing of thir foirsaid Lochis.”

— Description of the Western Isles of Scotland called Hybrides, by Mr. Donald Munro, High Dean of the Isles, who travelled through most of them in the year 1549.

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Here is the link to the large version of this map.