MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Dheanainn SÙgradh ris an Nighean Duibh
(I Would Frolic with the Dusky maiden)
Hector Carmichael CB 1 Tape 4 Track 8
Munroe's Point Audio:
Milling Song


Dheanain sùgradh ris an nighinn duibh
Agus èiridh anns a mhaduinn
Dheanain sùgradh ris an nighinn duibh.

'S ann Diluain an deidh Didòmhnaich
Sheòl mi o'n àit'-sa dhachaidh.

Cha robh gin ac' air a "voyage"
Bheatadh mi an uair a dh'asdar

Cha robh ròpa feum air spliseadh
Air mo mhaighdean-sa tighinn dhachaidh.

Dheanainn sùgradh an am dùsgadh
Ri maighdean òg na siuil chairtidh.

Dheanain sùgradh mìle sùgradh
Dheanain sùgradh ris an nighinn duibh.

Dheanain sùgradh ris a'ghruagach
'S am ruadh... aig bruach mo leabaidh.

Rib 'ga cheangal ròp 'ga fhuasgladh
Muir m'a gualainn fuaim is fead oirre.

Chuirinn stapull ris an asadh
Ceann a "bhoom" an deidh a shlaiseadh.

'S i 'dol tiomchioll Point Aconidh
B'fheudar na siùil mhòra phàsgadh.

'S i 'dol tiomchioll Ruadh Chinn Tìre
B' fheàrr leam fhèin gu robh mi àiste.

'S bu bhòidheach leam rinn thu'n t-èibh
A'tighinn ro'n choille 's an oidhche fhrasach.

Dheanain sùgradh mìle sùgradh
Dheanain sùgradh ri mo nighinn duibh.


I would frolic with the dark-haired maid
And arise early in the morning
I would frolic with the dark-haired maid

It was on Monday, after Sunday
That I sailed home from this place

There were none on the voyage
That could beat me at speeding

There was no need to splice the ropes
On my maiden coming home.

I would frolic on waking up
With the young maiden of the tanned sails.

I would frolic a thousand times
I would frolic with the dark-haired maid

I would frolic with the maid
And the my bedside

Fixing reefs and untying ropes
The sea about her shoulders, noise and whistling on her.

When at anchor, I would nail
The top of the boom after splicing it.

As she rounded Point Aconi
We had to fold the big sails.

Going round the point of the headland
I wish I were out of her.

It is good to hear you call
Coming through the woods on a rainy night.

I would frolic a thousand times
I would frolic with the dusky maid.


This boat song was well known in various parts of Cape Breton at one time. There were two distinct airs sung for it. This version consists primarily of verses brought from Scotland (as can be seen in the references below) although verse 9 has been modified to reflect a local place-name, Point Aconi, with which the singer was familiar.

Printed versions of this song may be found in Eilean Fhraoich (p. 81), Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist (p. 234-236), and Orain Luaidh Mairi Nighean Alasdair (p. 40). As Margaret Fay Shaw notes in FFSU (p.236) some "verses praise a beautiful maiden, but it is the custom to address a sailing ship as though she were a maiden and to attribute to her the charms of her namesake. The singer regarded these lines as being most appropriate, but they probably really belong to another song."

Corrections and additions by Lorrie MacKinnon.

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