Douglas McLean
Highland Prophecy
1.        Light of Home  (Words: Neil Monro: traditional - Music: Douglas McLean © 2006)
Neil Munro (1864 - 1930) was born in Inveraray and worked as a journalist on various Scottish newspapers. Although Neil Munro didn't emigrate any further than Glasgow, his background (his grandmother was from a Gaelic-speaking part of the Highlands) would have given him an insight into emigration and what it felt like to be an exile. This poem was originally entitled: "To Exiles".  A song linking those who stayed with those who left.

2.        Ship of Dreams   (© Douglas McLean 2005)
In a book called "The Former Days" by Norman MacLean, he told a story of an old lady he knew from his childhood on the Island of Skye that everyone referred to as "Grannie.  "Her family and neighbours had joined in a mass emigration to Canada.  She was in delicate health - for a baby was coming - and her young husband thought it wiser that she should follow when he had prepared the way.  But the emigrant ship was lost at sea. Granny had a habit of sitting on a little knoll from which she could see all the roads winding along the shore - the roads by which travelers came and went.  It was thus, in her youth, she watched for the return of her husband and her friends.  She refused to believe that they were drowned.  And there Granny would be seen from the road when the days were sunny, seated on the knoll, keeping her watch.  On that knoll was Granny's sofa.  When she began to keep her vigil, a neighbour, Uisdean (Hugh) had a sudden inspiration.  He was seen one morning working with a spade on the knoll.  When asked what he was doing, he replied, "I am making a sofa for Mary."  The greenest of turf upholstered the sofa.  At the back of it, between it and the south-west wind, he planted black birch bushes."  There it is to this day.

3.        The Ballad of Red Hector   (© Douglas McLean 2009)
I wrote this tune in honor of Eachain Ruadh nan Catha:  "Red Hector of the Battles".  He was the son of Lachlan Lubanach MacLean and he early distinguished himself by daring exploits, and was noted as being one of the best swordsmen of his time. He became so celebrated as a swordsman, that many knights who had gained for themselves renown came from distant parts to measure weapons with him. One of these was a renowned knight of Norway, who challenged Hector Roy to mortal combat. The challenge was accepted. They met at Salen, in Mull where they fought, and where the Norwegian fell. A green mound and cairn on the sea-shore mark the spot where Hector had his antagonist buried.

4.        Lochaber No More (Words: Neil Monro: traditional - Music: Douglas McLean © 2007)
The tune I used was written for a song I wrote as a tribute to my mother after her death.  I found it fit the rhyme and meter of another Neil Monro poem.  He wrote about the loss of Bonnie Prince Charlie and what effect it had upon the Highlands.  It affected people then and today.    Lochaber is an area centered around what is now Fort William.  It  was formerly a hotbed of Jacobite sympathizers but today is a major tourist stop for modern Jacobites from all over the world.

5.        Old Scotia (Words: Joseph Train Traditional - Music: © Douglas McLean 2007)
Joseph Train (1779-1852), was born in Ayrshire. His first slim volume of songs was seen by Sir Walter Scott who was complimentary about the work. Scott would no doubt have approved of the sentiments of "Old Scotia".  The song fit a rousing melody I had been working with for a long time.  It truly expresses the way many of us feel about our Scottish homeland.

6.        Daydreams (Music: © Rod Paul; Klub Records Ltd (Miss Lynn Morrison) - Words: © Douglas McLean 2000)
The tune originally called: "Miss Lynn Morrison" was written by Rod Paul of the group: Iron Horse.  When first I heard it simply as an instrumental, I was inspired to write these words.  Imagine a young man, madly in love going off into the forest to be alone and compose a song to his lady love.

7.        Cuillens of Rum   (traditional)
Rum is a small island off the West coast of Scotland.  The mountains on the island are called the "Cuillens" after the giant Irish dog named in so many stories.  The Cuillins of Rum, with their Norse names - Askival, Hallival, Trollaval, Orval - lend an air of mystery to an island that was known as the Forbidden Island. These mountains are the remains of a huge, ancient volcano and attract geologists from all over the world.  Once supporting a thriving community, the island was 'cleared' of the native population to make way for sheep and deer.


8.        My Dear and Only Love  (Words: James Graham: traditional)  (Music: © Douglas McLean 2006)
It is surprising that someone remembered most for his military genius should also have written a tender and popular love poem. But James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (1612-1650) was a remarkable man.  I put his words to a minor melody that I feel expresses the feeling of new but untried love.

9.        Miner's Song   (traditional)
All over the world, men go down into the bowels of the Earth to dig for coal.  Here's a young man who has decided that he prefers sunshine to darkness and flowers to death.  This song is dedicated to all the brave men who have died and still are still dying today trying to support their families and keep us warm.

10.        Mo Sheul a'd Dheigh   (Traditional Scottish Gaelic)
The title of this song means literally "My eye is crying."  I found this song and fell in love with it.  It's basically an old story,  he loves a girl but she loves someone else.  I found a cassette tape recording recorded in Nova Scotia many years ago: "Caileagan Mhàbu."  (Mabu Girls)  What's very interesting is that some of the girls of the Rankin Family are singing on that album at a very young age. 

11.        Shadows (Words: Prince Charles Edward Stuart  - Music: © Douglas McLean 2006)
Charles was the son of James Francis Edward Stuart who was in turn the son of King James II of England and Ireland (James VII of Scotland), who had been deposed in 1688. The Jacobite movement tried to restore the family to the throne. Charles' mother was James' Polish-born wife, Maria Clementina Sobieski (1702-1735). After his father's death Charles was recognized as "King Charles III" by his supporters; his opponents referred to him as "The Young Pretender."  Many people have written about "Bonnie Prince Charlie", usually that he was some illiterate idiot.  From the time he was born in exile, he was raised and educated to be a king.  This poem was written by him shows not only his intelligence but his sympathy for those who supported his cause in 1745.  I found out later that it was but a small part of a larger work called "Charles Edward at Versailles".  He must have had a lot of charisma to raise and lead a Highland Army all the way to Derby, England.  Following the unfortunate retreat, the Jacobites lost and he narrowly escaped with his life back to the courts of Europe where he died in exile.

12.        Highland Prophecy (© Douglas McLean 2006)
Coinneach Odhar, or Kenneth MacKenzie became the Seer of Brahan in 1625. He had the Highland gift of the Second Sight which was increased by the use of a special stone.  It was a curious stone, bluish-black with a hole through it and about the size of a man's knuckle.  Coinneach looked through the hole in the stone - and gazed upon the future. What he saw, he told others about. In fact, he made so many prophecies that usually only the ones dealing with the distant future were written down.  He talked of great black, bridle less horses, belching fire and steam, drawing lines of carriages through the glens.  He also spoke of the day when Culloden would run with blood, when the best of the Highlanders would die for their king. "The moor, before many generations have passed, shall be stained with the best blood in Scotland. I will not live to see it and I am glad for that."  Another prophecy: "When men can walk from France to England dry-shod, then parliament will return to Edinburgh".  In 1994, the tunnel connecting France to England was complete and in 1998 parliament returned to Edinburgh.  He also predicted how sheep would drive the people away from the Highlands but someday the child of the Gael would return again…


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