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Duncan 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 name.

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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