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Leslie’s March (D)

This highland march, called “Leslie’s March (To Longmarston Moor),” is part of the ballet Oscar and Malvina (a.k.a. The Hall of Fingal) written by Maria de Caro and produced some time before 1793. The opera Oscar and Malvina was a long-running pantomime staged several times in London in the last decade of the 18th century into the early years of the next. For a few years it featured the playing of uilleann piper O’Farrell (his first name is not known, but it may have been Patrick), whose tutor and collections of music are important historical snapshots of the repertoire of the time. This tune was composed as part of a Rondo by William Reeve and published in London in 1791, scored for harp and uilleann pipes. It is believed that Oscar and Malvina came from the largely spurious Ossianic literature created by James MacPherson in the late 18th century,[1] as Oscar was one of his characters. However, the Battle of Marston Moor was fought on 2 July 1644 near Long Marston, North Yorkshire, during the First English Civil War of 1642–1646, between the English Parliamentarians and Scottish Covenanters on one side and the English Royalists on the other. Lowland Scots marauders, Moss Troopers, used this tune as a rallying call. David Leslie, first Lord Newark (c. 1600–1682) was a cavalry officer and won the day by leading a successful cavalry charge against the Royalist Cavaliers while Oliver Cromwell was wounded.  This tune is also called “Blue Bonnets are over the Border” in reference to the blue woolen cap worn in 17th century Scotland, with lyrics written by Sir Walter Scott (see the poem “Border Ballad”).


D     / D  A / D  A / D/F#  Em / A    / D  A / D   / G D /

D A / D  A / G Bm / G     Bm / D A / D  A / D   / G D /

D     /         / Em      /               / D     /    A   / D   / G D /


Leslie’s March, slow tempo

Leslie’s March, med tempo


[1] MacPherson, a Scotsman, claimed to have uncovered an ancient epic, and in 1761 published Fingal: an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books, together with Several Other Poems composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal, translated from the Gaelic Language. This work largely mirrors the Irish epic Tales of Fionn MacCumhail – or Tales of Finn McCool.

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