Ban MacIntyre Song to The
Gun Named Nic Coiseim
This is one of the most
popular of Macintyre’s songs, with its rousing chorus and lively tune.
It may have been composed before he left Dalness, though it was not
included in the first edition; in any case, the long tramps through
passes and corries seem delightful in retrospect, each place has its own
associations, and the poet is clearly happy in recalling name after
Coire a’ Cheathaich in
Glen Lochay and Coire a’ Chruiteir on Ben Dobhrain have been
noted in other poems; east of the latter ben, and separated from it by
the valley of Allt Chonghiais, lies Beinn a’ Chaisteil, linked
by a high saddle, named Am Màm, to Beinn nam Fuaran; and,
on the northern flank of the latter, Creag an Aprain stands due
east of Ais an t-Sithein (Map B).
Let us now follow the
Tyndrum—Glencoe road to Kingshouse. From this point we note Stob na
Créise, two and a half miles to the south-west; Meall a’
Bhùiridh, two miles due south, and Beinn a’ Chrùlaist, two
miles to the north-west. Some eight miles east of this ben lies the long
ridge of A’ Chruach, west of Loch Laidon; and ‘behind’ this
ridge (on the north side) we note the Black Corries. These places are
outside the area of Map A.
Half-way down the road
from Kingshouse to Dalness we pass Clach an Tuairneir; from
Dalness we look north-east to Làirig Ghartain, between the
Shepherds of Etive, and we look south to Fàs Ghlaic on Ben
Ceitlein. This ben is bounded on the east by Allt a’ Chaorrainn, and
on the south side by Allt Cheitlein; Allt Coire Chaoiain, flowing
north-west, joins the former a mile above the Etive; Féith a’
Chaorrainn lies south-east of Ben Ceitlein; and Beinn Chaorach is
situated south of Allt Cheitlein, which joins the Etive near Tòrr
Uaine. (There is another Meall a’ Bhùiridh three miles
west of Dalness.)
The poet called his gun
after its previous owner.
In the 17th century
there were Macintyres in Craignish, who believed that the surname
"Clanntyre Vc Coshem wer of auld native men, servandis and
dependaris to the house and sure-name of Clandule Cregnis alias
Campbellis in Cregnis." In 1612 they gave a bond of manrent to
Ronald Campbell of Barrichbyan, their chief being called in the bond,
Gillicallum McDonchie Vc Intyre Vc Coshem. (Coil. de Rebus
Albanicis, p. 206)
The name Osham mc
Intyar occurs in the list of Fencible men for Craignish and Braelorn
in 1692. (The Commons of Argyll, p. 36)
The poet, according to
tradition, bought the gun from a kinsman.
Horo, my own comrade,
in thy absence I feel doleful;
horo, my own comrade,
when I climbed peaks and hill slopes,
I joyed to have thy company,
and thy weight upon my shoulder.
When I went to Glen Lochay
and purchased Nic Coiseim,
‘tis I was not imprudent
when I used gold to ransom her. Horo, my own comrade, &c.
I took thee to Misty Corrie,
when I myself frequented it;
by means of thee, I oft laid low
the stags and the red young hinds.
I took thee to Ben Chaisteil,
and to the moor adjoining it,
the Mam and Creag an Aprain,
on the flank of Ben nam Fuaran.
I took thee to Ben Dobhrain,
whereon the antlered stags would thrive:
what time they started roaring,
I thought their belling charming.
I took thee to Corrie Chruiteir—
O ‘tis a sunny, sheltered spot,
so fruitful, grassy, rich in herbs:
the gentry would have sport there.
I bore thee to Glen Etive,
and lifted thee up the Creisean;
‘twas the depth of love I gave thee
that made my step so roving.
Thou art good on Meall Bhuiridh
and not worse on Ben Chrulaist;
I blazed the powder oft with thee
in the corrie behind the Cruach.
I took thee to the Gartan Pass,
O ‘tis a lovely nursing combe,
while the deer make their couches
on the grey fell of the Buachaill.
I took thee to the Lone Dell
in the glen which the old harts haunt;
oft have they been raised around
the brae of Clach an Tuairneir.
I went to Feith Chaorrainn
by the track of Corrie Chaolain,
where men who had affection
for the jaunty herd resided.
I took thee to Ben Chaorach
in quest of bucks and roes;
there was no fear of finding none—
they are ever on Torr Uaine.
When I make for the mountain,
of all the guns I favour thee;
since thou hast gained this honour
who now can keep it from thee?
Though I have scant resources
to sit down with the topers,
yet, though I go into the inn,
I will not drink thee in a cup.
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