Robert Roy MacGregor

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A Poet worthy of Rob Roy must scorn a timid song. ~ Wordsworth

Robert Roy MacGregor (7 March 167128 December 1734), Scottish folk hero and outlaw whose life and legend has inspired many romantic portrayals, in literature and film.

Quotes about MacGregor[edit]

  • Honor made him a man. Courage made him a hero. History made him a Legend.

Rob Roy (1817)[edit]

Novel by Sir Walter Scott
  • I can follow ye nae farther, even if ye suld founder and perish from the way for lack of guidance and counsel. To gang into Rob Roy's country is a mere tempting o' Providence.
  • If ye are seeking Rob Roy, he's ken'd to be better than half a hunder men strong when he's at the fewest.
  • Our last accounts of Rob Roy correspond with what this fellow has confessed, that, finding himself surrounded on all sides, he had dismissed the greater part of his followers, with the purpose either of lying concealed, or of making his escape through his superior knowledge of the passes.
  • Though habituated to think of Rob Roy in rather a friendly point of view, I will confess frankly that I never heard him speak but that it seemed to thrill my blood. The intonation of the mountaineers gives a habitual depth and hollowness to the sound of their words, owing to the guttural expression so common in their native language, and they usually speak with a good deal of emphasis. To these national peculiarities Rob Roy added a sort of hard indifference of accent and manner, expressive of a mind neither to be daunted, nor surprised, nor affected by what passed before him, however dreadful, however sudden, however afflicting. Habitual danger, with unbounded confidence in his own strength and sagacity, had rendered him indifferent to fear, and the lawless and precarious life he led had blunted, though its dangers and errors had not destroyed, his feelings for others.

Rob Roy's Grave[edit]

Poem by William Wordsworth, in Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 1803
  • A famous man is Robin Hood,
    The English ballad-singer's joy!
    And Scotland has a thief as good,
    An outlaw of as daring mood;
    She has her brave Rob Roy!
  • Heaven gave Rob Roy a dauntless heart
    And wondrous length and strength of arm:
    Nor craved he more to quell his foes,
    Or keep his friends from harm.
    Yet was Rob Roy as wise as brave;
    Forgive me if the phrase be strong; —
    A Poet worthy of Rob Roy
    Must scorn a timid song.
  • As wise in thought as bold in deed:
    For in the principles of things
    He sought his moral creed.
    Said generous Rob, "What need of books?
    Burn all the statutes and their shelves:
    They stir us up against our kind;
    And worse, against ourselves.
    "
    "We have a passion — make a law,
    Too false to guide us or control!
    And for the law itself we fight
    In bitterness of soul."
    "And, puzzled, blinded thus, we lose
    Distinctions that are plain and few:
    These find I graven on my heart:
    That tells me what to do."
    "The creatures see of flood and field,
    And those that travel on the wind!
    With them no strife can last; they live
    In peace, and peace of mind."
    "For why? — because the good old rule
    Sufficeth them, the simple plan,
    That they should take, who have the power,
    And they should keep who can.
    "
    "A lesson that is quickly learned,
    A signal this which all can see!
    Thus nothing here provokes the strong
    To wanton cruelty."
    "All freakishness of mind is checked;
    He tamed, who foolishly aspires;
    While to the measure of his might
    Each fashions his desires."
    "All kinds, and creatures, stand and fall
    By strength of prowess or of wit:
    'Tis God's appointment who must sway,
    And who is to submit."
    "Since, then, the rule of right is plain,
    And longest life is but a day;
    To have my ends, maintain my rights,
    I'll take the shortest way."
  • And thus among these rocks he lived,
    Through summer heat and winter snow:
    The Eagle, he was lord above,
    And Rob was lord below.
  • I would not wrong thee, Champion brave!
    Would wrong thee nowhere; least of all
    Here standing by thy grave.
    For Thou, although with some wild thoughts,
    Wild Chieftain of a savage Clan!
    Hadst this to boast of; thou didst love
    The liberty of man.
    And, had it been thy lot to live
    With us who now behold the light,
    Thou would'st have nobly stirred thyself,
    And battled for the Right.
    For thou wert still the poor man's stay,
    The poor man's heart, the poor man's hand;
    And all the oppressed, who wanted strength,
    Had thine at their command.
  • And, far and near, through vale and hill,
    Are faces that attest the same,
    And kindle like a fire new stirr'd,
    At sound of Rob Roy's name.
  • And, far and near, through vale and hill,
    Are faces that attest the same;
    The proud heart flashing through the eyes,
    At sound of Rob Roy's name.

External links[edit]

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