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Dance Rob Roy MacGregor 5624

Strathspey · 32 bars · 3 couples · Longwise - 4   (Progression: 213)

Devised by
880 880 822 880 = 62% (1 turn), 47% (whole dance)
  • Strathspey setting, Strathspey travel
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Recommended Music
Extra Info
Rob Roy MacGregor

Heretical as it may sound to partisans of both sides, Rob Roy MacGregor was neither so good nor so bad as he has been given credit for being. Neither Robin Hood nor Attila the Hun, Rob Roy was simply a dues-paying member of a clan that had succeeded in getting itself into a good deal of trouble over a long period of time.

The Griogaraich, the Children of the Mist or, not to put too fine a point on it, the Men of the Fog, claim descent from Griogar, third son of King Kenneth MacAlpin, and thus made their Gaelic motto “'S rioghal mo dhream”, “Royal is my race”. Perhaps they thought that this pretension gave them some sort of prerogative to behave without regard to the laws of the time. However, by the middle of the 16th century, when Queen Mary came to the throne, the MacGregors had become anathema in the Highlands and letters of “fire and sword” were issued against them. In 1603, on the eve of his departure for London, James VI (I) ordered the proscription of the name of MacGregor. In 1613 the king further ordered that the clansmen would hold no weapons beyond blunt knives intended for cutting their meat and that no more than four MacGregors could gather together in the same place at the same time. Charles I denounced the clan in 1635 for their unlawful activities and, though the restrictions against them were lifted briefly by Charles II for favours rendered, they were again put unter heavy proscription by William III. It was not until 1774 that the laws, and the stringent penalties they carried, were finally revoked.

Sir Walter Scott, whose pen exuded a good deal of whitewash, romanticised the MacGregors and in all honesty it must be said that there were upstanding, law-abiding clansmen who suffered unduly for the curse put upon those whose burning and cattle-lifting and killing resulted in such strong measures as “fire and sword” and the taking away of a man’s name.

The moon’s on the lake and the mist’s on the brae,
And the clan has a name that is nameless by day.
  Then gather, gather, gather, Grigalach!
  Gather, gather, gather, etc.

Our signal for fight, that from monarchs we drew,
Must be heard but by night in our vengeful haloo!
  Then haloo, Grigalach! haloo, Grigalach!
  Haloo, haloo, haloo, Grigalach, etc.

Glen Orchy’s proud mountains, Coalchuirn and her towers,
Glenstrae and Glenlyon no longer are ours;
  We’re landless, landless, landless, Grigalach!
  Landless, landless, landless, etc.

But doom’d and devoted by vassal and lord,
MacGregor has still both his heart and his sword!
  Then courage, courage, courage, Grigalach!
  Courage, courage, courage, etc.

If they rob us of hame, and pursue us with beagles,
Give their roofs to the flame, and their flesh to the eagles!
  Then vengeance, vengeance, vengeance, Grigalach!
  Vengeance, vengeance, vengeance, etc.

While there’s leaves in the forest, and foam on the river,
MacGregor, despite them, shall flourish forever!
  Come then, Grigalach, come then, Grigalach,
  Come then, come then, come then, etc.

Through the depths of Loch Katrine and the steed shall career,
O’er the peak of Ben-Lomond the galley shall steer,
And the rocks of Craig-Royston like icicles melt,
Ere our wrongs be forgot, or our vengeance unfelt!
  Then gather, gather, gather, Grigalach!
  Gather, gather, gather, etc.

Rob Roy MacGregor used many names: Robert or Robert Roy Campbell, Robert or Robert Roy MacGregor, MacGregor of Craigrostan and Inversnaid. He was born in 1671, the son of Lieutenant Colonel Donald MacGregor of Glengyle, brother of Gregor MacGregor, 15th of MacGregor, and of Margaret Campbell, sister of the notorious Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, the commander of the Campbells at the Massacre of Glencoe. Rob Roy was an educated man, a Jacobite and, at the time of his death, a Roman Catholic. He wa also Tutor of Glengyle during the minority of his nephew, Gregor Glun Dubh, “Black Knee”, the young chief. His lifetime activities included cattle-driving, south to the Border, and cattle-lifting, in the Highlands, a certain amount of blackmail, and embezzlement, chiefly of the funds of James Graham, 1st Duke of Montrose, great-grandson of the “Great Montrose”. In 1712 a warrant for his arrest was ordered by the duke, but Rob Roy managed to avoid capture. The Rising of 1715 brought him to the side of James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender, and in 1716 he seized Falkland Palace for the Jacobites. Five years later he surrendered to General George Wade and was imprisoned in London’s Newgate. He was on the point of being transported to Barbados when pardon came, probably the work of the influential John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll. He returned to Balquhidder in Perthshire and resumed his activities. In 1734 he set out on a harrying raid of the MacLarens, the hereditary victims of the MacGregors. The MacLarens called upon the Stewarts of Appin to come to their aid and Rob Roy was wounded in single combat with Alasdair Stewart. He died of his wounds on 28 December, 1734 (old style), and was buried in the old churchyard at Balquhidder.

William Wordsworth’s view of Rob Roy is interesting.

A famous man is Robin Hood,
The English ballad-singer’s joy!
And Scotland has a thief as good,
An outlaw of as daring mood:
  She has her brave Rob Roy!

Heaven gave Rob Roy a dauntless heart,
And wondrous length and strength of arm;
Nor craved he more to quell his foes,
  Or keep his friends from harm.

Yet was Rob Roy as wise as brave;
Forgive me if the phrase be strong; –
A poet worthy of Rob Roy
  Must scorn a timid song.

Say, then, that he was wise as brave;
As wise in thought as bold in deed:
For in the principles of things
  He sought his moral creed.

Said generous Rob, “What need of books?
Burn all the statues and their shelves;
They stir us up against our kind;
  And worse, against ourselves.

“We have a passion, make a law,
Too false to guide us or control!
And for the law itself we fight
  In bitterness of soul.

“And puzzled, blinded thus, we lose
Distinctions that are plain and few;
These find I graven on my heart:
  That tells me what to do.

“The creatures see of flood and field,
And those that travel on the wind!
With them no strife can last; they live
  In peace, and peace of mind.

“For why? – because the good old rule
Sufficeth them, the simple plan,
That they should take who have the power,
  And they should keep who can.

“Since, then, the rule of right is plain,
And longest life is but a day;
To have my ends, maintain my rights,
  I’ll take the shortest way.”

And thus among these rocks he lived,
Through summer’s heat and winter’s snow:
The eagle, he was lord above,
  And Rob was lord below.

Rob Roy MacGregor 3/4L · S32
1c followed by 2c lead down ; 2c+1c ½ R&L inside the set
1c (leading)+2c lead up to (1x,2x,3) ; 1c+2c ½ R&L, 1c to face 1cnr (1W no polite turn)
SetH&G , with petronella to (2,1,3)
2c+1c R&L
Rob Roy MacGregor 3/4L · S32
1s followed by 2s lead down, 2s+1s dance 1/2 R&L (in middle at bottom of set)
1s followed by 2s (on opposite sides) lead up to top, 1s+2s dance 1/2 R&L (1L omit polite turn), 1s end facing 1st corners
1s dance ‘Hello-Goodbye’ setting ending with petronella turn to 2nd places
2s+1s dance R&L

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NameDateOwnerLast changed
Valentine's Dance Delft 2012 2012-02-11 Edwin Werner Oct. 15, 2023, 12:45 p.m.
Barnstormers 16th June George Hobson June 13, 2021, 12:20 p.m.
ZA 2016-10-01 McGregor Ceilidh 2016-10-01 Heather Hodgson Aug. 16, 2016, 12:10 a.m.
ZA 2015-09-19 McGregor Ceilidh 2015-09-19 Heather Hodgson Sept. 14, 2015, 1:30 p.m.
RSCDS-LA Zoom Class, 2020-09 September 2020-09-25 Tony McQuilkin Nov. 9, 2021, 7:19 p.m.
SCD Strathspey (Longway 3+4) Marc Hagebölling March 18, 2017, 3:24 p.m.

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