Ross, William (1762-1790) (DNB00)

ROSS, WILLIAM (1762–1790), Gaelic poet, was born at Broadford, Skye, in 1762. His father, a pedlar, settled for some time at Forres, Morayshire, where Ross was well educated. Afterwards the family removed to Gairloch, Ross-shire, his mother's native place. Ross made occasional excursions with his father, in the course of which he became proficient in the Gaelic dialects of the western highlands, and received impressions from scenery and character that stimulated his poetic powers. An accomplished musician, he both sang well and played with skill on several instruments. He was appointed parish schoolmaster at Gairloch, where he was popular and successful. He died at Gairloch in 1790, broken-hearted, it is averred, by the indifference of Marion Ross of Stornoway (afterwards Mrs. Clough of Liverpool), who rejected his advances. He celebrated her with freshness and force in his ‘Praise of the Highland Maid.’ His poetic range was considerable, and Gaelic scholars claim for him uncommon excellence in pastoral, descriptive, and anacreontic verse. Two volumes of his Gaelic poems were published—‘Orain Ghae'lach’ (Inverness, 1830, 12mo) and ‘An dara clòbhualadh’ (Glasgow, 1834, 12mo). Translations exhibit spirit, humour, and depth of feeling.

[Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica; Rogers's Modern Scottish Minstrel.]

T. B.