Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rob Roy MacGregor

'Far and near, through vale and hill,
Are laces that attest the same,
And kindle like a fire new stirr'd
At sound of Rob Roy's name.'
Most people are familiar with Rob Roy MacGregor, at least from the movie with Liam Neeson playing the lead role.  The text above comes from Walter Scott's introduction to his "Rob Roy", which according to Edinburgh University's Walter Scott site was well received, both critically and with the public.  Scott provides background to the action of his story in the intro: 'There had been a long and bloody feud betwixt the MacGregors and the Laird of Luss, head of the family of Colquhoun, a powerful race on the lower part of Loch Lomond. The MacGregors' tradition affirms that the quarrel began on a very trifling subject. Two of the MacGregors being benighted, asked shelter in a house belonging to a dependant of the Colquhouns, and were refused. They then retreated to an out-house, took a wedder from the fold, killed it, and supped off the carcass, for which (it is said) they offered payment to the proprietor. The Laird of Luss seized on the offenders, and, by the summary process which feudal barons had at their command, had them both condemned and executed. The MacGregors verify this account of the feud by appealing to a proverb current amongst them execrating the hour {Mult dhu an carbail ghiT) that the black wedder with the white tail was ever lambed. To avenge this quarrel the Laird of MacGregor assembled his clan, to the number of three or four hundred men, and marched towards Luss from the banks of Loch Long, by a pass called Raid na Gael, or the Highlandman's Pass...'
Rob Roy fought with Jacobites in the risings of 1688 and 1715, the year "Rob Roy" the novel is set in.  Rob Roy's career as a cattleman developed after this period, and it was dealings with James Graham that caused him to be imprisoned.  Rob Roy MacGregor died on December 28, 1734.

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