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Clan MacQuarrie Songs, Poems and Music

There is actually a lot of songs, poems and music for the Clan MacQuarrie. A person just needs to know where to look. There are even some contemporary pieces done by "modern" people (for example, Jon wrote a song called The Battle of Inverkeithing). Contributions will be accepted for original songs, poems and music about the Clan. Perhaps in the future, our grandchildrens' grandchildren will look upon what we wrote with pride in their ancestors!

Songs and Music
An T'Arm Breac Dearg*
The most sought after song is, of course, An T'Arm Breac Dearg, the soul of the Clan. There are a total of seven variations to the song, which I will be posting as soon as I transcribe it into something legible. I am also going to compose a MIDI file for it on my keyboard, but that is put on hold until I figure out how to do that!

The Canadian MacQuarries*
From "The Edinburgh Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music", published by David Glen, Edinburgh (c. 1900), this march is Part XI p.32 of said publication and can be found in the Music Annex of the Edinburgh City Library. I will post this music, too, once I transcribe it, and even make a MIDI file!

Welcome To Ulva*
For the MacQuarrie Clan Gathering on the Isle of Mull in 1985, Jean Spence of Dundee wrote this song for the Clan and gave use of it to the clan. GET THE MIDI FILE!

   Welcome to Ulva

    1.   No matter how far you have wandered away,
                to what distant shore you belong,
            Until you are able to come back some day
                Remember the words of this song:

Chorus Welcome home, welcome home,
                    Although it is just for awhile; 
                    And when you depart, may you keep in your heart
                    The warmest of welcomes from Ulva's green isle.

    2. It's many a year since you left Scotland's shore
                And sailed o'er the silvery main.
            Until you are able to come back once more
                Remember this lilting refrain:   Chorus

    3. You've gathered together a moment, and then
                You'll go, though the way may be long;
            Until you are able to come back again
                Remember the words of this song:   Chorus
c. 1985 Jean Spence, with rights given to Clan MacQuarrie. The webmaster assumes this to apply to all aspects of the Clan and uses Jean Spence's work under said assumption.

The Battle of Inverkeithing
This song was written in an attempt to emulate the Celtic folk-style of writing, but also able to be transformed into a contemporary rock song, able to be played either "plugged" or "unplugged". Plans for the song include a screaming electric guitar solo that can be substituted by a penny whistle solo in the "unplugged" version. As soon as I find the song, I will post it. It's nowhere around my desk at the moment.... Sorry!

Lord Ullin's Daughter*
This poem was written by Thomas Campbell in the late 1700's while tutoring on the Isle of Mull. He heard many stories during his time there, and one in particular struck his fancy; he elaborated and romanticized it in thie following poem. P.A. MacNab of Mull says the original story involved a daughter of Allan Maclean of Knock (south shore of Mull) who was eloping with a MacQuarrie. Apparantly Campbell "changed the names to protect the guilty" and there is much dispute today as to how much of the poem is fact. The gravesite for Lord Ullin's daughter is below Oskamull near Ulva Ferry. During the Gathering of the Clan MacQuarrie in 1985, the Clan dedicated a Celtic Cross bearing this poem over the grave.

Lord Ullin's Daughter A Chieftain, to the Highlands bound, Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry! And I'll give thee a silver pound, To row us o'er the ferry." "Now, who be ye, would cross Lochgyle, This dark and stormy water?" "Oh, I am the chief of Ulva's isle. And this Lord Ullin's daughter. "And fast before her father's men Three days we've fled together, For should he find us in the glen My blood would stain the heather. "His horseman hard behind us ride; Should they our steps discover, Then who would cheer my bonny bride, When they have slain her lover?" Out spoke the hardy Highland wight, "I'll go, my chief -- I'm ready; It is not your silver bright, But for your winsome lady: "And by my word! the bonny bird In danger shall not tarry; So though the waves are raging white, I'll row you o'er the ferry." By this the storm grew loud apace, The water-wraith was shrieking; And in the scowl of heaven each face Grew dark as they were speaking. But still as wilder blew the wind, And as the night grew drearer, Adown the glen rode armed men, Their trampling sounded nearer "Oh haste thee, haste!" the lady cries, "Though tempests round us gather, I'll meet the raging of the skies, But not an angry father." The boat has left a stormy land, A stormy sea before her. When, oh! too strong for human hand, The tempest gathered o'er her. And still they rowed amidst the roar Of waters fast prevailing: Lord Ullin reached that fatal shore-- His wrath was changed to wailing. For sore dismayed, through storm and shade, His child he did discover: One lovely arm she stretched for aid, And one was round her lover. "Come back! come back!" he cried in grief, "Across this stormy water: And I'll forgive your Highland Chief My daughter -- Oh, my daughter!" 'Twas vain: the loud waves lashed the shore Return or aid preventing: The waters wild went o'er his child-- And he was left lamenting.

Salute to the MacQuarries*
Again, written by Jean Spence for the 1985 Gathering.

Salute to the MacQuarries MacQuarrie of Ulva - a grand Scottish name A name that forever will last Now let's draw aside the veil of the years And take a long look at the past. For 900 years they were the chiefs Of the smallest of clans- but the proudest The bravest in battle, the biggest in heart And when they'd a wee dram- aye the loudest. They were real friendly with the Lords of the Isles MacDonalds and MacQuarries were buddies They raided the mainland and harried their foes, And rustled their cows with their cuddies. They fought with MacDonald and turned to MacLean They argues and tempers would flare But when Scotland was threatened with Sassenach foes The MacQuarries where the first to be there. They fought against Cromwell - sensible folk. And in Bloody and horrible strife, The chief of the MacQuarrie and each of his men For King and for Scotland, gave up his life. Over the years those who were left Played various parts in our story Some were one side - some the other, but Always they fought for Clan glory. Lachlan MacQuarrie, the 1st of the Chiefs, Found his bank account well in the red. So deeply in debt and pockets to let "I'll have to sell Ulva," he said. So the island was then in some stranger's hands A heart-rending sight to see Lachlan grew pensive, was cut off in his prime And died at 103. Lachlan Macquarie, most famous of all Governor of New South Wales did become Got stuck into Sydney, cleaned up the place And banished the odour of rum. Just as well he stayed in Australia I think It would have been a bit risky To come back to Ulva and attempt the impossible Banish the odour of whiskey. It wasn't all fighting and quarrels and wars There was love and romance to be found But Lord Ullin's daughter and Ulva's young Chief While crossing the loch, sadly drowned. Then came the clearances, long bitter years When sheep, more than men, were worth, MacQuarries and others were put off the land And wandered the faces of the earth. At universities the MacQuarrie did well They were bright, this I do not deny Perhaps this accounts for reports I have heard That their foreheads were remarkable high. MacQuarrie today is still a great name An M.P. and professor I hear There's Tam and there's Jock - "Who are they?" you might ask, Well, they just hand around at the pier. Now we've dealt with events of the past Let's remember where it all began It started right here - On this tiny isle, Ulva - still the heart of the Clan. We know with Australia it cannot compare Being that wee bit smaller, you'll find The sun's not so hot, and it's seen not a lot. And the rain drives you out of your mind. Now our American and Canadian friends Like the bright city lights, so I hear. There are no lights on Ulva - no, wait I am wrong There's one shining down on the pier. Now gathering on Ulva in August 85 Are MacQuarries from far distant parts And we hope when you leave the memories of this week Will forever remain free in your hearts. To finish this verse, may I lapse into Scots So afore ye a' gang awa' Here's tae MacQuarries, a' o'ver the world Frae Ulva - a sincere 'Slainte Va'!

c. 1985 Jean Spense, with rights given to Clan MacQuarrie. The webmaster assumes this to apply to all aspects of the Clan and uses Jean Spence's work under said assumption.

Email us your contributions!

*Songs and poems marked with an asterick (*) were taken from A Book About MacQuarries, Featuring The MacQuarrie Heritage by Rodney L. McQuary, BD, DD, and used for the purpose of information and education. It is not the intent of the webmaster to infringe any copyright laws.