MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Cha Bhith Mi Buan 's Tu Bhith Bhuam
(I Will Not Survive With You Gone)
Malcolm Angus MacLeod CB 1 Tape 8 Track 7
Skir Dhu Audio:
Milling Song


Cha bhith mi buan 's tu bhith bhuam
Thug mi luaidh òg dhut
Cha bhith mi buan 's tu bhith bhuam.

Chi mi bata 'dol seachad
Muir a'sgapadh mu 'bòrdan.

'S mar a deachaidh mi mearachd
Bha mo leannan air bòrd innt'

Bha mo leannan 'ga stiùreadh
Oigear ur a chùil bhòidhich.

'S e do bhòidsichean fada
Sgaoil a Lochlann a leòn mi.

'S do thurus do'n bhaile
Dh'fhàg mi 'cadal 'nam ònar.

'S e do thurus a dh'Eirinn
Dh'fhàg fo eislean ri'm bheò mi.

Ach na faicinn thu tighinn
'S mi gu ruitheadh 'nad chonneamh.

Ged bhiodh reòthadh glè chruaidh ann
Sneachda fuar air a'mhòine.

Làmh as grinne ni sgrìobhadh
Làmh a chuidhleadh na ròpa.


I will not survive with you gone
I have loved you since I was young
I will not survive with you gone.

I see the boat as she passes
The sea splashing round her decks.

And if I am not wrong
My sweetheart was on board.

My love was at the wheel
The young lad of the handsome face.

It was your acts of stupidity
That Lachlann spread that hurt me.

It was your trip to the town
That left me sleeping on my own.

it was your visit to Ireland
That will grieve me forever.

But if I saw you coming
I would run to meet you.

I would run to meet you
On my bare feet without shoes.

Although it were freezing hard
With cold snow on the moor.

Your hand writes neatly
The hand that winches the ropes.


This song has frequently been referred to by Cape Breton Gaelic speakers as an “Old Cape Breton Milling Song.” This is more than likely a reference to its origins as a milling song in Scotland. The verses all appear in couplet form and the subject matter is clearly female, leading one to believe that it would have been classified generically as a milling song even before it was brought to Canada. In Cape Breton, songs of various genres were incorporated into the milling canon. Others, such as this one however, have persisted as such in over hundreds of years.

This song has been in various regions in Scotland and Cape Breton. A similar melody to the one which is presented here may also be heard from recordings of the late Christina Shaw, a native of the Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, where many of Malcolm Angus’ own family originated.

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.