Menzies Rant

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MENZIES' RANT. AKA and see "Reel Don ne Marachan." Scottish, Rant or Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BCD. Dance instructions for the piece, but not the melody, appear in the Menzies Manuscript of 1749, contained in the Atholl Collection of the Sandeman Library, Perth. The Culdares branch of the Menzies clan were ardent Jacobites, and as a result Menzies of Culdares (who had been captured at Sherrifmuir) spent many years in exile in Maryland, in the United States, after the uprisings of 1715, before returning to the family seat at Glen Lyon. By 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie again raised the Jacobite standard in Scotland, Menzies was too old to come out for active service, but, still sympathetic, he sent Charles a fine white horse. By this time, however, Charlie was with his forces in northern England, with the tide turning against him. The story goes that the clansman who was sent with the horse by Culdares was taken prisoner by the English, and condemned to death. Under this threat he was offered pardon if he would reveal the name of the person who had made the gift to the Prince. The faithful Highlander, however, refused to betray his master, and suffered the last penalty in consequence. The same Menzies is also famous for introducing the larch tree into Scotland in 1737. It was he, it was remembered, who gave two plants to the Duke of Atholl, to be seen for many years growing beside Dunkeld Cathedral. From them, it is said, derived all the valuable plantations of larch in the Atholl district.

Dance instructions for "The Menzies Rant or Reel Don ne Marachan" were printed in a register of dances at Castle Menzies, dated 1749 [from a MS in A.K. Bell Library, Perth].

1st man turns 2 d woman & casts off, then the 1st woman does the same then the 1st pair goes figure of eight through the 2 d pair; then the 1st man sets to the 2d woman & turns her, then the 1st woman the same; then the 1st pair goes four hands round with the 2d pair & right & left

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 125.

Recorded sources:




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