The Royal Scots Cap Badge

 

In Praise Of Morag

As to the tune In Praise of Morag, there is a heather myth that it is one of many Jacobite tunes. Prince Charles Edward Stuart is known to have used Morag as a code name both before Culloden and afterwards while hiding out in the Highlands and Western Islands.

 

Apparently, that notable piper and teacher of the early 1900's, John MacDougall Gillies, phrased and accented the first and later variations to represent the galloping of a horse as the Prince escaped the field of Culloden.

 

On the other hand, a poem such as Beautiful Morag (A Mhoraig Chiatach) by the fervent Jacobite bard, Alasdair mac Maighster Alasdair (Alexander MacDonald), may have inspired the tune. The bard portrays the Prince as a young maiden with flowing locks of fair hair, beloved of many. “Graceful Morag of the curling ringlets” sang the bard. He goes on to say that he has followed Morag faithfully in lands known and lands unknown to him and if Morag would come again, thousands would rise to follow.

 

Although the history of the tune may be uncertain and clothed in a tangle of heather myths, there is indeed a strong case for assuming it to be Jacobite in origin.

 

Exit In Praise Of Morag and return to the General Piobaireachd Stories

 

 


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