Skip to main content

Manuscript containing a collection of Ossianic poems by the Reverend Alexander Pope (circa 1706-1782) of Reay.

Identifier: Adv.MS.73.1.23

Scope and Contents

A letter written by Alexander Pope in 1763 and published in the Ossian Report, Appendix, page 52, indicates that this collecting activity took place about 1739. Folios 1-7 are in Pope’s hand, and a note at folio 1 verso confirming his identity appears to be signed W P, perhaps his son William. Folios 8-11 are in hand of the Reverend Alexander Sage (1753-1824) of Kildonan, as are numerous corrections passim and a reference at folio 5 verso.

The contents are as follows.

(i) (John Mackechnie, fragment A). ‘Shian sin sa Hullaich’, 14 stanzas. (Folio 1 recto, column a.)

(ii) “O s’ cui liom Iomachd ochdnar”, 8 stanzas. (Folio 1 recto, column b, line 5.)

(iii) ‘Hanig hugin dhe bar Bivil’, 20 stanzas. (Folio 1 verso.)

(iv) (John Mackechnie, fragment B). ‘Glen shi sho ri er taobh’, 22 quatrains. (Folio 2 recto.)

(v) (John Mackechnie, fragment C). ‘Noacht hagam er Fin fiorghlic’, 16 stanzas. With descriptive note. (Folio 3 recto.)

(vi) (John Mackechnie, fragment D). ‘Is kionol shin Hullach ard’, 24 stanzas. With descriptive note. (Folio 4 recto.)

(vii) (John Mackechnie, fragment E). Last 4 quatrains of “Mànus” (cf. ‘Leabhar na Feine’, page 73), here titled “N’ Delginach Mhoir”. Beginning ‘Bho harla du mo ghrasin fein’. With descriptive note. Two omitted quatrains subscribed. (Folio 5 recto.)

(viii) ‘Is kinol shin a Thulaich ard’, 10 quatrains. With descriptive note. (Folio 6 recto.)

(ix) (John Mackechnie, fragment F). ‘Inis ghuin Osein eile’, 108 lines. (Folio 7 recto.)

(x) (John Mackechnie, fragment G). ‘La do dhfin e shelg ni Clauin’, 23 quatrains. Cf. Adv.MS.73.2.16, folio 139. (Folio 8 recto.)

(xi) (John Mackechnie, fragment H). “Cha’n mharbh I ach an Fhian”, 124 lines. ‘Am Muireartach’ (acephalous). (Folio 9 recto.)

(xii) Sermon beginning ‘Mar sin be caira Feoil Pheacach’. (Folio 11 verso, line 5.)


  • Creation: [Circa 1739.]

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


12 Leaves ; Folio and under.

Language of Materials

Gaelic; Scottish Gaelic


12 folios.

Custodial History

Formerly Gaelic MS.CXVIII.

The manuscript was in possession of the Highland Society of Scotland by 1822 (cf. Ingliston MS. A.iv.11, page 4).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.


The manuscript has been previously catalogued in: John Mackechnie, ‘Catalogue of Gaelic manuscripts in selected libraries in Great Britain and Ireland’ (Boston, 1973), page 277, and Donald Mackinnon, “Descriptive catalogue of Gaelic manuscripts in the Advocates' library, Edinburgh, and elsewhere in Scotland” (Edinburgh, 1912), page 277 (box 2, number 1).

See John Francis Campbell ‘Leabhar na Feine’ (London, 1872), pages v, xv, 218. The present manuscript is printed almost complete on pages 218-224.

An improved transcript by Alexander Sage of three of the poems is printed in ‘Reliquiae Celticae, texts papers and studies in Gaelic literature and philology left by the late Reverend Alexander Cameron, L.L.D.’, volume 1, ‘Ossianica’ (Inverness, 1892), edited by Alexander Macbain, and the Reverend John Kennedy, pages 393-399.
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division
Description rules
International Standard for Archival Description - General
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
0131 623 3700