Designed & produced by Éric Mac Lewis
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2008-2020

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James Scott Skinner (1843-1927)



Hector The Hero
(Thomas McWilliam)

Lament him, ye mountains of Ross-shire
Your tears be the dew and the rain
Ye forests and straths, let the sobbing winds
Unburden your grief and pain
Lament him, ye warm-hearted clansmen
And mourn for a kinsman so true
The pride of the Highlands, the valiant MacDonald
Will never come back to you
O, wail for the mighty in battle
Loud lift ye the Coronach strain
For Hector, the Hero, of deathless fame
Will never come back again


Lament him, ye sons of old Scotia
Ye kinsmen on many a shore
A patriot-warrior, fearless of foe
Has fallen to rise no more
O cherish his triumph and glory
On Omdurman's death-stricken plain
His glance like the eagle's, his heart like the lion's
His laurels a nation's gain
O, wail for the mighty in battle
Loud lift ye the Coronach strain
For Hector, the Hero, of deathless fame
Will never come back again


O rest thee, brave heart, in thy slumber
Forgotten shall ne'er be thy name
The love and the mercy of Heaven be thine
Our love thou must ever claim
To us thou art Hector the Hero
The chivalrous, dauntless and true
The hills and the glens and the hearts of a nation
Re-echo the wail for you
O, wail for the mighty in battle
Loud lift ye the Coronach strain
For Hector, the Hero, of deathless fame
Will never come back again

The tune was composed by James Scott Skinner in 1903, to honour Major-Général Sir Hector Archibald MacDonald (1853-1903).
This one, coming from a modest background, distinguished himself many times on the battlefield and became aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria.
Illness and slanderous rumors led him to suicide on March, 25th, 1903.

J.S. Skinner wrote the tune just two days after his passing.
Fiddler, he was a key figure in Scottish traditional music and dance.
He also was one of the first Scottish musicians to be recorded since 1899 : by the way, Hector The Hero was recorded on January, 30th, 1905.
See a complete file on University of Aberdeen website.

I've noted the air by listening to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards version : the grace notes, sometimes non-academic, are directly influenced by this listening; other embellishments are of course at the discretion of each piper.

Hector The Hero

- score written by Éric Mac Lewis with CelticPipes

Scottish bagpipe tunes

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