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The Scottish Nation
MacBean, MacBane, MacBain


MACBEAN, MACBANE, or MACBAIN, (clan Bheann,) a sept of the clan Chattan, deriving their name from the fair complexion of their progenitor, or, according to some, from their living in a high country, beann being the Gaelic name for a mountain, hence Ben Nevis, Ben Lomond, &c. The distinctive badge of the MacBeans, like that of the Macleods, was the red whortleberry. Of the Macintosh clan they are considered an offshoot, although some of themselves believe that they are Camerons. It is true that a division of the MacBeans fought under Locheil in 1745, but their chief, Golice or Gillies MacBane of Kinchoil, held the rank of major in the Macintosh battalion. This gigantic Highlander, who was six feet four and a half inches in height, could bring somewhat more than a hundred men into the field, and at the battle of Culloden his prowess was remarkable. Being beset by a party of the government troops, he placed his back against a wall, and though wounded in several places, he defended himself with his target and claymore against his assailants, till he had laid thirteen of them dead at his feet. An officer, observing his heroism, called to the soldiers “to save that brave man,” but exasperated by his resistance, they cut him down. His son escaped from that memorable and disastrous field, and subsequently obtained a commission in Lord Drumlanrig’s regiment. A pathetic lament in Gaelic, entitled Mo run geal oig, or, ‘My fair young beloved,’ is said to have been composed by MacBane’s widow. An elegiac poem in English, on the death of Golice MacBane, erroneously stated to have been one of Byron’s early effusions, is quoted in Logan’s well-known work, ‘The Gael,’ from which the following three verses are extracted:

   With they back to the wall, and thy breast to the targe,
Full flashed thy claymore in the face of their charge,
The blood of the boldest that barren turf stain,
But alas! Thine is reddest there, Gillies MacBane!

   Hewn down, but still battling, thou sunk’st on the ground,
Thy plain was one gore, and thy breast was one wound.
Thirteen of thy foes by thy right hand lay slain,
Oh! Would they were thousands for Gillies MacBane!

   Oh! Loud and long heard shall thy coronach be,
And high o’er the heather thy cairn we shall see,
And deep in all bosoms thy name shall remain,
But deepest in mine, dearest Gillies MacBane!


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