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Saturday, 22 November 2008

Maclntyre Ancestry Perthshire Scotland

Duncan Ban Maclntyre, 1724-1812, Poet, was born on 20th March 1724 in Glen Orchy on the Argyll and Perthshire border; there he worked as a gamekeeper and forester, and the experience of being in such close contact with nature was to exert a considerable influence on much of his later poetry. Another influence was the Reverend James Stewart of Killin who may have introduced Mac an t-Saoir to the poetry of the time. When Mac an t-Saoir began to compose his own poetry it was the minister's son, John, who wrote down the works, and edited them and prepared them for press in 1768, for the poet was not able to write himself, even though his linguistic skills and ability to compose were developed to an astonishing degree. Shortly before the publication of his poems he moved to Edinburgh, where he served in the City Guard and later as a soldier in the Breadalbane Fencibles. Although he continued to write in Edinburgh, mainly satires on the manners of the city, he had no contact with its literary society and it is safe to say that his best work had been written in the earlier part of his life. In all his nature poetry Mac an t-Saoir brought a freshness of observation to his detailed descriptions of the countryside and the birds and animals that populate the high hills of the country of his birth. No single item seems to be too small to excite his curiosity; in 'Orain Coire a cheathaich' ('Song of the misty Corrie'), for example, a complete picture is painted of the sights and sounds of a burn running through a mountain corrie, and the birds and deer that have made it their home. That visual quality is found again in his long poem 'Moladh Beinn Dobhrainn' ('The praise of Ben Doran'). Although the mountain and its scenery form the centre-point of his praise, Mac an t-Saoir reserves particular approbation for the deer, imbuing them almost with human qualities as they go about their daily business. The poem is also memorable for its intricate rhyming structure which resembles the formal patterns of pibroch or ceol mor, the classical music of the Highland bagpipe. In all Mac an t-Saoir's nature poetry, which is the finest exposition of his art, it is possible to experience the poet's own warmth of feeling for nature and the positive delight that he took in its beauties. His richly evocative language and the brio of his descriptions make Mac an t-Saoir one of the most remarkable celebrants of nature in either Scots or Gaelic.
Praise poems of a different kind were written for the Campbells, and although these are formal, technically correct offerings, Mac an t-Saoir achieves a sense of genuine feeling in the lament for Colin Campbell of Glenure, who was killed in the Appin murder of 1752. Other examples of his poetic style in the 1768 collection include love poems, satires and drinking-songs.

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