Salubrious Saturday: “Mo Ghruagach Dhonn,” Julie Fowlis

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This is such a lovely song.  Julie Fowlis is from the tippity-top of Scotland, a place called North Uist in the outer Hebrides (look for it on Google Images – it’s just gorgeous).  Her music always makes me happy and homesick at the same time, and as it’s cold and windy in D.C. today, it puts me a Scottish frame of mind.  A good day for bundling up and venturing outside with a hot beverage and some good tunes.

Hi ho ro, mo ghruagach dhonn,
S ann ort fhèin a dhfhàs an loinn:
Dhfhàg siud acaid na mo chom,
An gaol cho trom s a ghabh mi ort.

Fhuair mi do litir Dimàirt,
Dhinnseadh dhòmhsa mar a bha:
Gu robh thu a tighinn gun dàil
A-mach air bàta Ghlaschu.

Nuair a leugh mi mar a bha,
Ghabh mi sìos am Brumalà:
Chunnaic mi a tighinn am bàt
S an t-àilleagan, an ainnir, innt.

Nuair a shìn mi mach mo làmh,
Thionndaidh thu le fiamh a ghàir
S labhair thu facal no dhà
Dhfhàg iomadh tràth gun chadal mi.

S ann ort fhèin tha ghruag a fàs –
Cha dubh s cha ruadh is cha bhàn,
Ach mar an t-òr as àille snuadh,
Gu buidhe, dualach, camalagach.

Dhèanainn sgrìobhadh dhut le peannt,
Dhèanainn treabhadh dhut le crann,
Dhèanainn sgiobair dhut air luing,
Air nighean donn nam meall-shùilean.

Meòir is grinn thu air an t-snàth
No cur peannt air pàipear bàn,
Ach ma chaidh thu null thar sàil
DhAstràilia, mo bheannachd leat.

Cha bhi mi tuilleadh fo leòn,
Glacaidh mi tè ùr air spòig –
Solamh bu ghlice bha beò,
Bha aige mòran leannanan

Hi ho ro, my brown-haired lass,
whose beauty becomes more beguiling.
The deep love I have for you
has left me sorely wounded.

Your letter arrived on Tuesday
Telling of what was to be.
It told that your ship would arrive
in Glasgow without delay.

When I read this,
I immediately headed for the Broomielaw.
I saw the ship carrying the jewel,
the maiden, approach.

When I held out my hand
you turned with a slight smile and
uttered a couple of words
which left me sleepless many nights

You have the lovliest hair,
neither black, nor red nor fair,
but the colour of the most beautiful gold,
yellow, braided and curled. 

I would write for you with a pen.
I would cultivate for you with a plough.
I would captain a ship for you,
brown haired lass of the deceiving eyes.

You are skilled at working wool
and at writing on blank paper.
But if you have gone overseas, to Australia,
goodbye to you.

I will no longer be in despair.
Ill grab a new one by the hand.
Solomon, the wisest man who lived,
had many sweethearts.

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