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Wiilliam Ross - Uilleam Ros - (1762-90) - Poet

He was born in Strath on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and was sent to Forres in Moray to be educated. On his return the family settled in Gairloch in Wester Ross, and the young Ros joined his father as a travelling packman, a trade that took him all over Scotland. While visiting Stornoway he fell in love with Marion Ross and his unrequited love for her is one of the major themes in his poetry. In 1786 he was appointed parish schoolmaster in Gairloch but his health, never of the best, deserted him and he died, probably of tuberculosis, in 1790. After his death, local legend had it that Ros had died of love for Marion, a story that was lent support by his composition of several earthy courting songs such as 'Oran do Chailin araidh'. His poems to Marion, 'Feasgar Luain' and 'Oran Cumhaidh', are carefully constructed, traditional love-songs but his 'Oran Eile' strikes a harsher note with its bare imagery of the maggot in the breast eating at the heart of love. Ros also wrote a conventional poem on
Prince Charles Edward Stuart and the failure of the Jacobite cause, a number of clan praise poems, two poems on the delights of whisky, and songs illustrating the passing of the seasons; but it is tor the elegiac note struck by his many love-songs that he is best remembered. His poems were collected and edited by John Mackenzie in 1830, who published a further selection in his anthology, Sar-Obairnam Bard Gaelach, in 1841.

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