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An Litir Bheag (The Little Letter) An Litir Bheag

Ruairidh MacIlleathain Sreath de litrichean a bheir taic do luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig. Bidh iad seo cuideachail do luchd-ionnsachaidh a tha seachad air ìre-tòiseachaidh agus a tha ag iarraidh barrachd Gàidhlig a leughadh. Tha faidhle fuaim, teacsa agus eadar-theangachadh an cois gach litir. Sna tràth-litrichean, tha puingean cànain is abairtean a’ gabhail àite eadar-theangachadh slàn. A series of letters that offer support to Gaelic learners. These will be helpful to learners who are beyond a beginners’ level and want to read more. Audio, text and translation accompany each letter. In the early letters, language points and phrases are provided instead of a full translation.

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John Anderson, friend of Burns (Litir Bheag 493) John Anderson, caraid Bhurns (Litir Bheag 493)

John Anderson, friend of Burns John Anderson, caraid Bhurns

John Anderson, my jo, John,

When we were first acquent;

Your locks were like the raven,

Your bonnie brow was brent;

But now your brow is beld, John,

Your locks are like the snaw;

But blessings on your frosty pow,

John Anderson, my jo.

Many of you will know that Robert Burns wrote that verse. Burns and John Anderson were friends. They were born in the same county – Ayrshire – in the same year – 1759.

I was walking in the old cemetery in Fort Augustus. It’s a beautiful place with views of the hills. I saw an old gravestone. There were moss and lichen on it.

Beside it there was a small notice on which was ‘John Anderson, my Jo. Friend of Robert Burns, character of one of the most touching of Burns’ songs’. I looked closely at the stone itself. ‘Sacred to the Memory of John Anderson,’ is carved on it, ‘who died at Invergarry on the 4 May 1832.’

John was a joiner. He made Robert Burns’ coffin. I don’t know why he was living in the Highlands. But it appears that his daughter was living in Invergarry. She died six months after her father. She is named on the same gravestone.

Some scholars say that the two-verse song we have today is not its first manifestation. Burns wrote a somewhat rude song – some might call it ‘obscene’ – in which there were six verses. They were about how John was become incapable in [the] bed. But today we have a beautiful poem about love in old age.

John Anderson my jo, John,

We clamb the hill the gither;

And mony a canty day, John,

We've had wi' ane anither:

Now we maun totter down, John,

And hand in hand we'll go;

And sleep the gither at the foot,

John Anderson, my jo.

And it’s in Fort Augustus that John Anderson’s story ended. He sleeps at the base of the mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Anderson, caraid Bhurns (Litir Bheag 493)

John Anderson, friend of Burns

John Anderson, my jo, John,

When we were first acquent;

Your locks were like the raven,

Your bonnie brow was brent;

But now your brow is beld, John,

Your locks are like the snaw;

But blessings on your frosty pow,

John Anderson, my jo.

Bidh fios aig mòran agaibh gur e Raibeart Burns a sgrìobh an rann sin. Bha Burns agus John Anderson nan caraidean. Rugadh iad anns an aon siorrachd – Siorrachd Adhair – anns an aon bhliadhna – seachd ceud deug, caogad ’s a naoi (1759).

Bha mi a’ coiseachd anns an t-seann chladh ann an Cille Chuimein. ’S e àite brèagha a tha ann le seallaidhean dhen mhonadh. Chunnaic mi seann chlach-uaighe. Bha còinneach is crotal oirre.

Ri a taobh bha sanas beag air an robh ‘John Anderson, my Jo. Friend of Robert Burns, character of one of the most touching of Burns’ songs’. Choimhead mi gu dlùth air a’ chloich fhèin. Tha ‘Sacred to the Memory of John Anderson,’ snàighte oirre, ‘who died at Invergarry on the 4 May 1832.’

’S e saor a bha ann an John. Rinn e a’ chiste-laighe aig Raibeart Burns. Chan eil mi cinnteach carson a bha e a’ fuireach air a’ Ghàidhealtachd. Ach tha e coltach gun robh a nighean a’ fuireach ann an Inbhir Garadh. Chaochail ise sia mìosan an dèidh a h-athar. Tha i air a h-ainmeachadh air an aon chloich-uaighe.

Tha cuid de sgoilearan ag ràdh nach e an dàn dà-rannach a tha againn an-diugh a’ chiad dreach a bha air. Sgrìobh Burns òran car mì-mhodhail – chanadh cuid ‘drabasta’ ’s dòcha – anns an robh sia rannan. Bha iad mu dheidhinn mar a bha John a’ fàs eu-comasach anns an leabaidh. Ach an-diugh tha dàn brèagha againn mu ghaol ann an seann aois.

John Anderson my jo, John,

We clamb the hill the gither;

And mony a canty day, John,

We've had wi' ane anither:

Now we maun totter down, John,

And hand in hand we'll go;

And sleep the gither at the foot,

John Anderson, my jo.

Agus ’s ann ann an Cille Chuimein a thàinig sgeul John Anderson gu crìch. Tha e na chadal aig bonn nam beann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PDF

Download the text of this week's letter as a PDF: Thoir a-nuas Litir mar PDF: Adobe PDF of this letter

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Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh

This letter corresponds to Tha an Litir seo a’ buntainn ri Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh 797

Podcast

BBC offers this litir as a podcast – visit the programme page for more info and to download or subscribe. Tha am BBC a’ tabhainn seo mar podcast. Tadhail air an duilleag-phrògraim airson barrachd fiosrachaidh no airson podcast fhaighinn

Other Letters Litrichean eile

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Àireamh / Number

Facal / Word