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Updated 04/29/2013


Fear a' Bhta
(The Boatman)
Sne NicFhionnlaigh

Fear a' Bhta is a Scots Gaelic song from the late 1800s, written by Sne NicFhionnlaigh of Tong, Lewis who was courting a young fisherman from Uig, Dmhnall MacRath. The song captures the emotions that she endured during their courtship. The part of the story that is rarely told is that they were married not long after she composed the song.



Lyrics by Sine NichFionnlaigh
This is the original Scottish Gaelic version of the song.

Fhir a' bhta, 's na ho ro eile
Fhir a' bhta, 's na ho ro eile
Fhir a' bhta, 's na ho ro eile
Mo shoraidh sln leat 's gach it' an tid thu

Is tric mi 'sealltainn o'n chnoc a's irde
Dh'fheuch am faic mi fear a' bhta
An tig thi an diigh no'n tig thu a-mireach?
'S mur tig thu idir gur truagh a t mi


Tha mo chridhe-sa briste, brite
'S tric na deir a' ruith o m' shilean
An tig thu a-nochd no'm bi mo dhil riut
No'n din mi'n dorus le osna thrsaich?


'S tric mi foighneachd de luchd nam bta
Am fac' iad thu no am bheil thu sbhailt'
Ach 's ann a tha gach aon dhibh 'g ritinn
Gur grach mise ma thug mi grdh dhut


Oh boatman, 's na ho ro eile
Oh boatman, 's na ho ro eile
Oh boatman, 's na ho ro eile
My best wishes go with you wherever you may be

I'm often searching on the highest hilltop
Trying to find the boatman
Will you come tonight or tomorrow?
If you don't come at all, I'll be distraught


My heart is broken, bruised
Often tears are running down my cheeks
Will you come tonight or will I wait up for you
But close the door, sighing heavily?


Often I'm asking the boatmen
If they've seen you or if you're safe
But everyone of them there says
That I am a fool to give my love to you