"Bu tu camhanaich air a’ Chuilthionn,
's latha suilbhir air a' Chlàraich,
grian air a h-uilinn anns an òr-shruth,
agus ròs geal bristeadh fàire.
Làinnir sheòl air linne ghrianaich,
Gorm a’ chuain is iarmailt àr-bhuidh,
An òg-mhadainn ‘na do chuailean
‘s na do ghruaidhean soilleir àllainn.
Mo leug camhanaich is oidhche
T’ aodann ‘s do choibhneas gràdhach,
Ged tha bior glas an dòlais
Tro chliabh m’òg-mhaidne sàthte.”
You were dawn on the mountain,
And daylight dancing over the water,
A sun on her elbow in the gold-stream
And a white rose breaking the horizon.
Glitter of sails on a sunlit firth
The blue depths and bronzed sky
Morning is young in your hair,
And in your cheeks, bright, beautiful.
My jewel of night and daybreak -
your face, your love and kindness,
Though the arrows of misfortune
Marr this morning of our youth.
NOTE: Both Sorley MacLean and Iain Crichton Smith have translated this poem too. I borrowed one line from Smith “glitter of sails on a sunlit firth” but otherwise the translation is my own, inadequate, work. I have deRassified and simplified the poem to make it more English-friendly. In Gaidhlig the first line “Bu tu camhanaich air a’ Chuilthionn” has an almost Biblical feel in the majesty MacLean sees in Eimhir, but the Cuilthionn means little to non-Highlanders, so I just generalized it to mountains. Gaelic words like ‘og-mhadainn’ have no real English equivalents either, so I just gave up and made up something similar. I hope you enjoy my translation.