MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Cha MhÒr Nach Cho Math Dhuinn Sguir a Bhi StrÌ
(It's Just as Well That We Stop Striving)
John MacLeod CB 1 Tape 8 Track 1
North Shore Audio:
Homeland Song

Gaelic

Ho ro ho ro ho ro ho i
Ho ro ho ro ho ro ho i
Ho ro ill thog i o ro i
Cha mhòr nach cho math dhuinn sguir a bhi strì.

Gur mise tha gu dubhach 'nam shuidh air a'chnoc
Chan fhaic mi cas-chrom ann am fonn ann an sòc
Gun inneal gu cur ann ach....bhochd
Bidh'n dubh air bhàrr cha bhidh air am feasd.

Nuair shèideas a ghailionn o'n àird a tuath
Bidh sinne 's na beannaibh 'gar crannadh le fuachd
Gun càil ann ni tèine ach coille dhubh chruaidh
Gur duine bhios ealanta ghearras i nuas.

Nuair thèideas an cathadh a-mach troimh na geug
Chan fhaigh sinn gu rathad cho fad' 's gum bi'n ceum
Gun dad agus sleigh gan tarruing 'nar deidh
Is briseadh an rathaid mun dean mi air ceum.

Nuair thig am an t-samhraidh is am cur an t-sìl
Bidh'n teas 'gar fanndraigeadh 's gann ni sinn ceum
Bidh pileachan tèine ri dathadh ar cinn
'S cha bhi smàladh gun losgadh a bhios mu ar druim.

Nuair chuir mi an t-eòrna 's bu chor dha bhi fàs
'S ann na laighe gu h-iosal na shineadh air lar
'S ged a dh'eireadh a ghrian air chan eireadh e'n aird
'S ann a thoisich e crionadh 's cha b'fhiach e dhuinn strac.

Ach nam bithinn 's na Hearadh far na chleadh mi bhi òg
Chan fhaicinn de'n ghaillionn ach frasagan reòdht'
Is tonnan na mara gan sadadh mar cheò
'Dol suas feadh an fhearainn 's bu mhath leinn bhi fòp'.

[Chorus repeated]

English

Ho ro ho ro ho ro ho i
Ho ro ho ro ho ro ho i
Ho ro ill thog o ro i
It's just as well that we stop striving.

Very sad am I as I sit on the hillock
I don't see the old cas-chrom (digging implement) used anymore
With nothing to plant but poor....
The crops will become black and never ripen.

When the storms blow in form the north
We, in the mountains are shivering with cold
With nothing for kindling except black, hard wood
It takes an expert man to cut it down.

When the drifting snow blows through the branches
We cannot get tot he highway no matter how long the step
With only a sleight to pull behind us
Having to clear the way with every step.

When summer comes, time for planting
The heat exhausts us, we can hardly move
The extreme heat bleaches our hair
An every stitch of our backs is burnt.

When I planted the barley, it should have grown
It lay flattened to the ground
And though the sun shone, it did not revive it
It started to wither and was of no use.

But if I were in Harris, where I was brought up
The stormiest weather was just showers of hail
The waves of the ocean blew them like mist
Spreading over the land and it was good to be out then.

[Chorus repeated]


Notes

In this song, an immigrant from the Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides bemoans his difficult lifestyle on the North Shore of Cape Breton. Life in Cape Breton posed many obstacles for immigrant Gaels from the Hebrides. Harris, as is the case with most Scottish islands, is completely treeless while the Nova Scotian forest is dense, stretching from the hilltop to the shoreline. Snow is also far less common in the Scottish islands than in Canada. The composers main compliant however, is that in this strange, difficult environment, he cannot grow his crops.

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