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Book of the Dean of Lismore


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James MacGregor, Dean of the isle of Lismore in Loch Linnhe, Strathclyde, formerly Argyllshire, compiled this collection of poems in the early 16th century. Unfortunately, he chose to transcribe the Scottish Gaelic in a Scots phonological rendering of his own invention. In the 19th century Thomas MacLauchlan reconstructed the Scottish Gaelic spellings and translated them into English (Edinburgh, 1862). Alexander Cameron included material from the manuscript in his Reliquiae Celticae (Inverness, 1892–4). More recently the Scottish Gaelic Texts Society has issued collections of Scottish Verse, ed. W. J. Watson (Edinburgh, 1937) and Heroic Poetry, ed. Neil Ross (Edinburgh, 1939). The collection of heroic ballads is the earliest extensive corpus of these ballads in existence. This manuscript should be distinguished from the Irish Book of Lismore or Book of Riabhach MacCarthaigh [McCarthy] compiled at Kilbrittain, Co. Cork, in the 15th century. The Irish Lismore, edited by R. A. S. Macalister (Dublin, 1950), deals mostly with saints' lives, including that of St Brendan.

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