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Unfinished essay entitled 'The Bards and Bardism of the Highlands', 16 October 1865

Identifier: Coll-97/CW107/1

Scope and Contents

Unfinished essay entitled 'The Bards and Bardism of the Highlands', written by Alexander Carmichael over several sessions. Carmichael makes comparisons between noted Gaelic poets such as William Ross [Uilleam Ros] and Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair [Alexander MacDonald] and Robert Burns and Lord Byron. He asserts that some of the finest poetry written in English has come from the Gaelic tradition. He refers to the importance of poetry in society citing the loss of Gaelic manuscripts by Captain [Dugald] MacNicol in the West Indies as an example: MacNicol having carried the manuscripts with him everywhere he went because he valued them so highly. He also refers to the importance of the warrior and the blacksmith to Highlanders describing their weapons as being rude and primitive in finish and design but 'wielded by strong arms and impelled by brave hearts'. He states that the ancient status of the kilt can be proved by an effigy found in St Clements Church at Rodel, Harris [Roghadal, Na Hearadh]. He discusses what he sees as a lack of appreciation for Gaelic poetry and makes reference to both English and Gaelic published works throughout the essay. The final page of the essay compares ancient Highland architecture with the architecture of other cultures.


  • 16 October 1865

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 68 folios ; 20.5 x 16.5 cm