With Dòmhnall Mac Fhionnlaigh nan Dàn
A critical edition with English translation and annotations
Òran na Comhachaig, ascribed to the sixteenth-century poet, Dòmhnall mac Fhionnlaigh nan Dàn, has long been regarded as a jewel in the crown of Gaelic poetry. It is concerned with a number of themes which are common within the Gaelic poetic tradition, but the poem itself cannot be placed within a single category of verse. Although it includes praise of heroes and chiefs, it is not a clan poem or a panegyric; although it expresses regret for loss and mortality, it is not an elegy; nor is it a call to arms, or to the hunt, although it reflects deeply on hunting.
The natural world is a central topic, but it is not treated in isolation from other subjects. Several themes are, in fact, worked together, creating a sense of order and balance, where conflict and variance might have been expected. Recollecting past pleasures mainly through the 'voice' of an Owl, Òran na Comhachaig depicts a radiant landscape in which harmony prevails.
Given its variety of themes, scholars have wondered whether the poem might be a conflation of several poems, rather than a single work. The present volume proposes an answer to that question. It contains an updated, indicative text, based on the existing documentary evidence, with an English translation, annotations and a discussion of the background and literary context of the poem.