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Till rium a leannain

One of my favourite traditional voices is that of the late Angus Kenneth MacIver of Uig, Lewis. His voice was truly unique and I love his singing of this particular song.


The bard longs for his sweetheart to return home to him. He wishes to be alone with and describes her beauty as being without comparison.

Till rium a leannan o till o till

Till rium a leannan o till o till

Till rium a leannan  dha d’ dh’ eoin no led eu-dheòin **

No thèid mi le cabhaig don chill don chilll.


‘S tha gruaidhean mo leannan mar lilidh nan gleann

Do mhil-laisean geala ‘s gur taitneach iad leam

‘S ged dhèanadh sinn cadal air cluasagan geala

Ged bhiodh sinn gun fhearann, gun fhonn gun fhonn


‘S truagh nach robh mise ‘s mo ghràdh ‘s mo ghràdh

Air m’ ullach na beinne gu h-àrd, gu h-àrd

Gun duine bhith faisg dhuinn ach leanabh gun astair

A bheireadh sgeul dhachaigh gu cach, gu cach.


‘S truagh nach robh mise ‘s mo ghaol ‘s mo ghaol

An lagan beag falaichte san fhraoch, san fhraoch

Gun càil a bhith eataroinn ach leine chaol anart

Gun dèanadh sinn cadal sinn taobh ri taobh


Ach, càite am beil comas dom luaidh, dom luaidh

Mar ròs air uchd-gheala tha gruaidh, tha gruaidh

Clar-aghaidh is sgìlean nam bainne ga bhleoghan

‘S a ghrian a’ dol fodha ‘s a chuan ‘s a chuan


**last chorus (A mhairi den cabhaig bho dhùthaich nan Gallaibh)

Return to me my love, o return o return

Return to me my love, o return o return

Return my love whether it be your will or not**

Or I will quickly be in my grave.


My loves cheeks are like the lily of the glen

Her fine features are so appealing to me 

If only we could sleep on the white pillows

Even if we had no land of our own.


It's such a pity that my love and I 

Weren't in the hills high above, high above

Without anyone been near us but a child at distance

That would bring home the story to the people, the people.


It's such a pity that my love and I

Weren't in the hidden hollow in the heather, the heather

With nothing between us but a fine cotton shirt

We'd sleep peacefully, side by side


But who can compare to my love, my love

Her cheeks are like a rose upon the swan

To picture her with her skills milking the cows

And on the horizon the sun disappearing into the sea, the sea


**last chorus (O Màiri, return from the foreign lands)

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