Highlights of Scotland

Alastair MacDonald -- Glencoe

Oh cruel is the snow that sweeps Glencoe,
and covers the graves 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 o'er 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,
leave no one alive called MacDonald.


They came in the night while our men were asleep,
this band of Argylls, through snow soft and deep,
like murdering foxes among helpless sheep,
they butchered 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.


Words and music: Jim McLean (published by Duart Music)
from: Alastair MacDonald -- "The Songs Of Scotland" -- Scotdisc, BGS Productions Ltd, Glasgow, 1993 (number of the cassette: SCOT100C).
In the notes that came with the cassette Alastair MacDonald claimes to have arranged a traditional song, but that is incorrect, as Alastair MacDonald has agreed with. Jim McLean wrote the song back in 1963 and Nigel Denver recorded it; by now over 50 artists have recorded the song.
  -- Thanks to Jim McLean for informing me about this.

source of the lyrics: thanks to Dacry Kull (darcy@nidlink.com), with minor corrections.

By the way, Moira Anderson sings this song on 20 Scottish Facourites (1990), but omits the third stanza, and one or two words are different (for instance the 'snow thick and deep' in stead of 'snow soft and deep'), but that's not important.
See also this page on the "Ballad of Glencoe", which has some related links.

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last modified: 14 June 2011