Chaidh mi null a Chearsabhagh
Gràn an Seicannan ’s Sìol am Pocannan
C2 Cha m nu’n Kersavag C2.35: 85
K1 Gràn a Seichanan’s Sial am Pocanan / Grain in hides and seed in Sa[cks] / Index: …Bags K1.110: 249
KK Gràn a Seicanan’s Siol am Pocanan / Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks KK.74: 144
Notes on Gaelic Titles
Chaidh mi null a Chearsabhagh Cha m nu’n Kersavag C2. I went over to Kersabhagh. A place in North Uist, near Lochmaddy.
Gràn an Seicannan ’s Sìol am Pocannan Gràn a Seichanan’s Sial am Pocanan / Grain in hides and seed in Sa[cks] K1; in K1 index the last word is Bags K1; Gràn a Seicanan’s Siol am Pocanan / Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks KK. Grain in hides and seed in sacks.
1 thought on “PS 119 – Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks”
The apparently placid bucolic title conceals the fact that people stored their food supply in sacks and hides, and these were typically stolen from them during plundering raids. In his book ‘Highland Warrior’, David Stevenson relates how boats laden with such booty returned from a raid on Colonsay in 1639. (p.69).
The Gaelic title also fits the rhythm of the music, ‘pocanan’ and ‘seichanan’ having a ONE-two-three stress pattern which is paralled by the vocables ‘cheendan’, ‘haendan’, and ‘hioendam’ in the CC. The placing of these stresses, raises the possibility that this was a rowing chant, perhaps even celebrating the loot being carried away.
Campbell’s name, ‘Cha en n’un Kersavaig’ does not on the face of it make sense. I think to suggest that he meant to write ‘Chaidh mi’ is a step too far, as he had written ‘Cha til mi tuile’ for another title, showing he was aware of the distinction between ‘cha’ and ‘chaidh’, and knew how to write ‘mi’.
A possible but far-fetched meaning is ‘There is nothing in Kersavaig’; however, David Stevenson relates how Colkitto (the father of Montrose’s General Alasdair MacColla) was on the run and went on an extended boat-trip during his conflict with the Campbells in 1614 over possession of Islay, a voyage which took him to North Uist, where Kersavaig is located, and even to Hirta (St.Kilda).(‘Highland Warrior’, p.42) The possibility therefore exists that this title may refer to that journey.( It is recorded that some supplies were sent to him there by the owner.)