Page images
PDF
EPUB

ries, became peculiary obnoxious to the Reformers, and soon the whole of them were pillaged and demolished. Icolmkill itself, the chief repository of old papers, shared in the general ruin; and whatever it contained of antiquity or arts, was destroyed. This gave a fatal stab to Gaelic learning.

To add to the misfortune, the apostles of these innovations exclaimed vehemently against the Gaelic literati of that age, for being fonder of their native poetry, than theological investigations. One of these zealots, John Carswell, in the preface to his "Foirm na Nurrnuidheadh," or Forms of Prayer, printed in 1567, the first Gaelic book ever put into the press, evinces this. For the satisfaction of the reader, I shall quote a translation of the author's words, with the original below, for the amusement of the Gaelic scholar.*

"We, Gaels of Scotland and Ireland, suffer

"peculiar "peculiar loss and inconvenience above any

* " Acht at a ni cheana is mor an leathtrom agas an uireas

"bhuidh

"other part of the world, in not having our lite

"rature and language printed, as other tribes of

"men have: and we suffer a greater than all

"other losses, in not having the holy Bible

"printed in the Gaelic, as it is printed in Latin,

"English, and many other tongues. And be

"sides, we have never had in print, the history

"or antiquity, of our ancestors, although a

"certain portion of the literature of the Gaels

"of Scotland and Ireland, exists in manuscripts,

"in the possession of bards and teachers, an(J

ft their patrons.

"Great is the labour of writing by the hand, "in comparison of printing, which shortens, "and speedily finishes whatever is done by it, '* however great. And great is the blindness and

"sinful

"bhuidh ata riamh orainde gaoidill alban 8c eireand, tar an gcuid "eile don domhan, gan ar gcanamhna gaoidheilge do chur agclo "riamh mar ataid ag canamhna & adteangtha f6in agclo ag gach "vile chinel dhaoine oile sa domhan, & ata vireasbhuidh is mo *' ina gach vireasbuidh oraind, gan an Biobla naomhtha do "bheith agclo gaoidheilge againd, marta se agclo laidne agas "bherla agas ingach teangaidh eile osin arnach, agas fos gan "seanchus ar sean no ar sindsear do bheith mar an gcedna "agclo againd riamh, acht ge ta cuid eigin do tseanchus ghaoid"heal alban agas eireand sgriobhtha aleabhruibh lamh, agas

"adtamhlorgaibh

"sinful darkness, and ignorance, and perverse"ness of those who teach, and write, and com"pose in Gaelic, in exhibiting much more atteiv "tion, and showing more anxiety to preserve the "vain, extravagant, false, and worldly histories "of the Tuath-de-Danans and Milesians, and "of the heroes of Fingal, the son of Cumhail, "of the Fingalians, and of many others, which "I shall not here mention nor name, nor at"tempt to examine; for the purpose of obtain"ing the vain rewards of the world themselves, "than they display to write, and to teach, and "to compose the sincere words of God, and the "perfect way to truth: for the world loves false"hood more than the truth; and, as a proof of "it, worldly sinful men will pay for falsehood, "and will not listen to the truth, though they "have it for nothing. A great portion of the

"darkness

"adtamhlorgaibh fileadh & ollamhan, agas asleachtaibh suadh, "Is mor tsaothair sin re sgriobhadh do laimh, ag fechain an "neithe buailtear sa chlo araibrisge agas ar aithghiorra bhios gach "en ni dha mhed da chriochnughadh leis. Agas is mor an doille "agas andorchadas peacaidh agas aineolais agas indtleachta do "lucht deachtaidh agas sgriobhtha agas chumhdaigh na gaoid"heilge, gurab mo is mian leo agas gurab mo ghnathuidheas "siad eachtradha dimhaoineacha buaidheartha brcgacha saoghalta "do cumadh ar thuathaibh dedhanond agas ar mhacaibh mileadh "agas arna curadhaibh agas f hind mhac cumhaill gona f hianaibh

"agai

"darkness and ignorance of such persons, arises "too, from the foresaid truths not being taught "in good books, understood by all who speak "the general language, or habitual Gaelic "tongue.

"Already has the God of all power, and "King of Mercies, and of Archangels, opened to "us a path to the everlasting ways, by revealing "that we are permitted to read, and to enforce "the holy Scriptures among all people. And "in like manner, the forms and substance of "prayers, the dispensation of the sacraments, "and the confession of the Christian religion, "are transmitted to us by our Christian bre". thren of the church (chair) called Geneva. "But with regard to Gaels of Scotland and Ire"land, certain persons have wished the good

"office

"agas ar mhoran etle nach airbhim agas nach indisim and "so do chumhdach, agas do choimhleasughagh, do choind "laudhuidheachta dimhaoinigh an traoghail dfaghail doibhfein, "ina briathra disk De agas slighthe foirfe na firinde do sgriob"hadh, agas do dheachtadh, agas do chumhdach. Oir is andsa "leis an tsaoghal an bhreg go raor ina anf hirinde, da dhearb"hadh gurab fior an abruim dobh eirid daoine saoghalta ceandach "ar an mbreig agas ni hail leo an fhirinde do chluisdin an "aisgidh. Cuid mhor eile dar nainbfios agas dar naineolas an "drongsa adubhramar romhaind, dith teagaisg fhirindigh ora

"ind,

"office to the church of God, of translating "this little book into the Gaelic language, un"derstood by the people, to be undertaken for "their use; a circumstance which 1 rejoiced at. "I myself could have wished not to have.at"tempted the performance of this labour; but "since it has not been done, as far as is con"sistent with my knowledge, I have undertaken, "out of love to God and the church, a task "which requires so much courage, and have "exerted myself in it to the utmost, in hopes

E "that

"ind, agas leabhar maith neoch do thuigfedis cach go coitche"and as am briathruibh fein, agas as adteangaidh ghnathaidh "ghaoideilge."

"Acht chena do fhosgail Dia na nuile chumhacht, agas Ri "nan dul & na nirchaingeal roid agas slighthe suaithenta & "doirsidhuine anois, da cliur ng ceill diiinn go bsuil ceadaighthe "againd an sgriobhtuir diadha do leghadh agas do thuigsin agas "do chur ag ceill do na poibleachaibh. Agas fos go bfuill foirnt "agas bridh na nurmaidheadh agas modh freasdail na Sacra"muinteadh & foirceadal an chreidimh Crisdaidhe arna chur "• aneagar diiinn o na braithrcachaibh Crisdaidhe dobbi sa chat"hraidh dara comhainm, Geneua. Ache ata ni cheana dabfaicind "duine eigin do thaobh ghaoidheal Alban no Eireand, do "ghebhadh do laimh an uireadsa do chuidiughadh do dhenamh "re heagluis De, an leabhar beagsa do chur ag canamhain "ghaoidilge asad tuigfedis each e, do badh maith Hum e. Agas "ni rachaind fein aseilbh an tsaothairse do dhenamh. Agas "onach bfuaras sin, & mata se and nach aithnidh dhamhsa e fos, •" do ghabhas fein do laimh ar gradh De agas na heagluise

"meisneach

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »