“Mo Nighean donn a Cornaig”

Alternate titles: “My Bonny Cornaig Lassie”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917 (Kennedy-Fraser)
Keywords: grief love sex wedding violence abduction crime homicide revenge beauty death funeral mourning foreignlanguage lament lover wine
Found in: Scotland(Hebr)


Singer's fiancee, coming to church, is murdered by ruffians. The wine saved for their wedding is instead drunk at her funeral. The singer wishes he could find those who killed his beloved; he has a sword, and will test the strength of his arm with it.


Flora McNeil, from whom the song was collected, notes that while she had only heard the song in Barra, it may have come from the island of Tiree, where there is a place called Cornaig. - PJS, paraphrasing Kennedy

Kennedy-Fraser, however, has a very different story: Words (not quite the same!) collected in Eigg, with a tune from Eriskay. The source of the tune was one Annie MacNeill.

According to Kennedy-Fraser, the girl's brothers had wanted to kill he lover, but got her instead; "the lover spent the rest of his years making passionate songs to her who had given her life for his own." - RBW


  1. Kennedy 19, "Mo Nighean Donn a Cornaig [My Dark-Haired Maid from Cornaig]" (1 text in Scottish Gaelic + translation, 1 tune)
  2. Kennedy-Fraser II, pp. 140-145, "A Tiree Tragedy (Mo Nighean donn a Cornaig)" (1 text in Scottish Gaelic + translation, 1 tune)
  3. BI, K019