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This is the first ever anthology of Gaelic poetry and song from the seventeenth century and includes the melodies for the songs where known. Forty-three poems have been chosen to illustrate the full range of verse from that turbulent century - work songs and rowing songs, political songs and songs of the clans, songs of anger and songs of grief. For the first time on record the song of the people bursts forth from the older medieval learned tradition.
This poetry gives us a last glimpse of the heroic age in Europe. It shows the chief as a warrior and hunter, surrounded in his torchlit hall by the sounds of gambling, harps and poets, as his retainers feasted and drank. In other songs, many composed by women, we hear of the hopes and disappointments of the people.
Colm O'Baoill was born in the City of Armagh in 1938 and educated there, as well as at Queen's University, Belfast. He was Assistant Lecturer in Celtic at Queen's in 1962 and Lecturer in Celtic at Aberdeen University in 1966.
Meg Bateman was born in Edinburgh in 1959 and educated there. She learned Gaelic as an adult, in South Uist and at Aberdeen University where she did a degree in Gaelic Studies and a doctorate on medieval Gaelic religious poetry. After graduating she taught Gaelic in Edinburgh to various groups while gaining some renown as a translator and poet in the language.