18mh linn / Rob Donn

Beachdan

Taghadh à lèirmheas a chaidh a sgrìobhadh mun bhàrdachd aig Rob Donn, cuide ri beachdan air an clàradh air bhidio agus ann an earrainnean fuaim.

Grimble, I. (1979)

The World of Rob Donn, dd. 207-209

The World of Rob Donn

Many have speculated on what Rob Donn's achievement might have been, had he been literate in a society that could have given full rein to his talents. With his gift for dialogue and his eye for dramatic situation he might have been another Euripides among the Greeks, for he possessed the same irreverence for conventional beliefs combined with a strong moral sense, an equal preoccupation with what lies beneath the surface of human relations. His voice is perhaps the most modern and relevant today of all that still echo from the eighteenth century Highlands, and this might appear to place him in the company of Strindberg amongst modern dramatists. But while Rob Donn could shock his audience, both for fun and in the interests of truth, he was a well-balanced extrovert. Who looked into peoples hearts to explore what was good there, as well as what was evil or diseased.

...

Rob Donn remains the last and greatest of those who were in a position to interpret and illuminate the traditional, tribal way of life of Scotland before it was destroyed. His picture bears scant resemblance to those of the lowland writers who have ignored his testimony and that of other people who's circumstances they have described with such assurance. One thing the bard evidently could not bring himself to do. He left no comment on the disintegration of his society that he witnessed during his last years, and we can only guess at the reasons for his silence.

But the corpus of poetry that he did bequeath to posterity entitles him to the highest place amongst the illiterate peasant poets of Europe. "He stood alone," wrote Donald sage. "His poetry is history – a history of everyone and everything with which he at any time came into contact in the country in which he lived. His descriptions do not merely let us know what these things or persons were, but as things that are."

In that vanished world the figure of Rob Donn still stands, telling us of things that are.

Macleod, D. J. (1971)

"The Poetry of Rob Donn Mackay", Scottish Gaelic Studies, 12, dd. 19-20

The economy and precision of his language is one of the most distinctive features of Rob Donn's poetry. Strings of epithets – so common in bardic eulogy, invective and nature-description – are very rare in his work, as is ornamental language. His is a lean and athletic language, remarkably similar to that of the modern Gaelic poet, Iain Crichton Smith (reflecting the similar role of the intellect in their work). This language lacks music and richness, which are also virtues, but it would be silly to condemn it on that account – as has been done. Rob Donn's style is justified, for him, by its fitness for the task he sets it; it also has many important intrinsic merits, and, importantly, added a new dimension to Gaelic literature.

...

Rob Donn Mackay is an extremely important figure in the history of Gaelic literature, introducing new subjects, attitudes, and styles. But his work did not become a part of the mainstream of Gaelic tradition and so it is only quite recently that his influence has become at all detectable. The main importance of his work is intrinsic. He brought to his analysis of character and motives a subtle and exploratory mind and the gift of precise description. Consequently, he gives us an important picture in depth of Gaelic society at a period of crucial significance for the present day, and tells us much about basic human nature which is still relevant. Ultimately, Mackay's importance is that his poetry – unlike that of many more famous Gaelic poets – is still a useful tool in our attempts to create a better life for ourselves, and this – at the risk of my sounding simultaneously sententious and over-worldly – is the only valid test for any sector of human endeavour.

  • "...leis gach breitheamh d'an eòl dàn,
  • Bidh cuimhne gu bràth air Rob Donn."

Teacsa

Carson a tha a' bhàrdachd a' còrdadh ris?

Tha bhàrdachd aig Rob Donn a' còrdadh riumsa cho math air sgath gu bheil e bruidhinn mu dheidhinn daoine. 'S glè thoil leamsa bàrdachd gaoil, 's glè thoil leamsa bàrdachd mu dheidhinn nàdar, ach tha mhòr-chuid againn, tha ùidh againn gu h-àraidh ann an daoine eile, annainn fhèin, 's ann an daoine eile 's an dol a-mach a th' aca, 's an dol a-mach, an ceangal a th' eadar daoine ri chèile, agus 's ann mu na rudan sin a bha Rob Donn a' dèanamh bàrdachd. 'S bha e dèanamh bàrdachd gu math breithneachail mu dheidhinn cuideachd, agus chan fhaigh thu sin mòran ann am bàrdachd Ghàidhlig ron an fhicheadamh linn, gheibh thu tòrr dhe anns an fhicheadamh linn, 's e sin an seòrsa litreachas bitheanta, ach chan fhaigh thu mòran dhe ron a' sin.

'S e sin a' phrìomh rud is toigh leamsa mun a' bhàrdachd aig Rob Donn, gu bheil e bruidhinn mu dheidhinn coimhearsnachd, tha e a' bruidhinn mu dheidhinn toirt sùil gheur air coimhearsnachd, tha e toirt sùil gheur air daoine 's an dol a-mach a th' aca, agus tha e toir' a bheachd fhèin air na rudan sin.

Rud eile is toigh leam mu dheidhinn 's e gu bheil e uamhasach geur air a' theangaidh, agus tha dòigh aige dìreach rud a chuir ann am beagan bhriathran, dh'fhaodainn eisimpleir no dhà thoirt, mar eisimpleir, a' bruidhinn air bàrd a bha sgrìobhadh mu dheidhinn duine nach bu toil le Rob Donn, tha e ràdh "Nuair shaoil leat a thogail mar chraoibh, 's ann a rinn thu a chrìonadh mar lus," agus tha dòigh aige rudan a chuir ann am beagan bhriathran mar sin.

Bha fear eile ann, chuala e gun do chaochail an duine a bha seo, mar a thachair cha do chaochail, cha robh an naidheachd fìor, ach duine nach bu toil leis a-rithist, gun do chaochail e, agus rinn e marbhrann mu dheidhinn mar gum b' e seo an ceann-cinnidh air na rògairean, na daoine dàna, agus tha a' rud a' dol rudeigin mar, "Tha rògairean aisnealach trom, taobh bhos is thall dhan chrasg, on chuala 'ad mun mun cuairt an ceann-cinnidh, gun do dh'eug e ann an Siorramachd Pheairt," is tha e leantainn air a' chuspair sin gum b'fheudar dhan an t-sàtan election a chumail, taghadh a chumail, airson taghadh duine a ghabhadh àite mar ceann-cinnidh, 's mar sin air adhart.

'S tha 'n dàn air fad mu dheidhinn sin, so, bha gu math geur, an dòigh smaoineachaidh, an dòigh a chuireadh e rud, ach cuideachd dìreach as na briathran a chleachdadh e. So, an dà rud sin is toigh leamsa, dà rud gu h-àraidh mar sin is toigh leamsa mun bhàrdachd aig Rob Donn, gu bheil e sgrìobhadh mu dheidhinn daoine 's a breithneachadh ann an dòigh bhreithneachail gheur, 's ag innse dhuinn rudan mun dol a-mach dhaoine agus ceangal, buntainneas ri chèile, seòrsa saoghal às an robh e fhèin beò, agus tha tòrr a dh'fhaodhadh sinne ionnsachadh às a sin, chan ann a-mhàin a thaobh eachraidh a thàinig às a dhèidh, ach cuideachd mun latha againn fhèin. Agus cuideachd gu robh e cho eirmseach, 's cho èibhinn, 's cho geur anns an dòigh a bha e a' cur rudan.

Air adhart gu

Ceanglaichean

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