Sunday, April 16, 2006

Culloden Moor 1746

Today is the anniversary of a bit o’ Scottish history and of the great battle fought on Culloden Moor in Scotland on this date in April 1746 when brave Highlanders died for the cause. A story in which the MacLeod clan (of which I am a proud member) figured prominently. The tragic rout of the Scottish Highlanders by English troops is one of the most famous battles in British military history. After the inglorious defeat, Charles put on a disguise as a woman and was transported by boat to the Isle of Skye, while other brave lads lay dead on the field.

A lullaby my father sang to me, the Skye Boat Song, tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s trip across the sea. Played on the bagpipe, the melody is haunting and makes me cry. My great grandmother who was born on the Isle of Skye told the story and sang the song to my father who told and sang it to me. This family lore has been passed down through the ages.

In memory of the souls that rest upon Culloden Moor:

Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,

Onward, the sailors cry
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunder clouds rend the air;
Baffled our foe's stand on the shore
Follow they will not dare

Speed bonnie boat....

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep
Ocean's a royal bed
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head

Speed bonnie boat....

Many's the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore could wield
When the night came, silently lay
Dead on Culloden's field

Speed bonnie boat...
Burned are our homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men
Yet, e'er the sword cool in the sheath,
Charlie will come again.

Speed bonnie boat...


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