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BALLAD OF GLENCOE
Jim McLean

O cruel is the snow that sweeps Glencoe
And covers the grave of Donald
And cruel was the foe that raped Glencoe
And murdered the house o' Macdonald.
 
They came in a blizzard, we offered them heat,
A roof o'er their heads, dry shoes for their feet.
We wined them, dined them, they ate of our meat,
And slept in the house o' Macdonald.
 
Chorus :
And cruel is the snow that swept Glencoe
And covers the grave of Donald
And cruel was the foe that raped Glencoe
And murdered the house o' Macdonald.
 
They came from Fort William with murder in mind,
The Campbells had orders, King William had signed.
Put all to the sword, these words underlined,
And leave non alive called Macdonald.
 
They came in the night when our men were asleep,
This band of Argylls, through snow soft and deep
Like murdering foxes amongst helpless sheep
They murdered the house o' Macdonald.
 
Some died in their beds at the hands o 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.

Footnote : My thanks to Anne Fowler of Peterhead for the words of this fine song by Jim McLean which she published in 'The Blue Toon Song Book' in 2000. Jim McLean composed many braw Republican/Nationalist songs, which like this song, quickly entered into the repertoire of many Scottish Folksingers. This week sees the anniversary of the notorious Massacre of Glencoe which was carried out on 13 February 1692. Under orders from King William a Royalist force, under the command of Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, carried out the Massacre of Glencoe which resulted in the death of 38 MacIan MacDonalds. King William together with his representative in Scotland, John Dalrymple, Master of Stair, were determined to make an example of a clan loyal to the Jacobite cause and the MacIan MacDonalds fitted the bill. Most of the clan escaped the massacre and the Glencoe MacDonalds turned out in force in the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite Risings. The 'ethnic cleasing' caused an uproar in the Scottish Parliament who held an inquiry into the massacre. 

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