Traditional Scottish Songs
- Ballad of Glencoe

The attempted genocide of the MacIans, a branch of the Clan Donald, took place in February 1692, when 38 of the clan were put to the sword by government forces, on the orders of the Master of Stair, the then Secretary of State for Scotland. If the military organisation had not been so incompetent, even more would have been killed. The horror at the incident was even more intense because the soldiers, led by Captain Robert Campbell of Glengoyn, had betrayed the Highland hospitality they had been given beforehand.

The song was written as recently as 1963 by Jim McLean. The words and music are copyright and held by Duart Music, London.

Ballad of Glencoe

Oh, cruel was the snow that sweeps Glencoe
And covers the grave o' Donald.
Oh, cruel was the foe that raped Glencoe
And murdered the house of MacDonald

They came in a blizzard, we offered them heat,
A roof for their heads, dry shoes for their feet.
We wined them and dined them, they ate of our meat
And they slept in the house of MacDonald.


They came from Fort William with murder in mind.
The Campbell had orders King William had signed.
"Put all to the sword"- these words underlined,
"And leave none alive called MacDonald."


They came in the night when the men were asleep,
This band of Argyles, through snow soft and deep,
Like murdering foxes amongst helpless sheep,
They slaughtered the house of MacDonald.

Some died in their beds at the hand of the foe;
Some fled in the night and were lost in the snow;
Some lived to accuse him who struck the first blow;
But gone was the house of MacDonald.


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