Ballad of Glencoe
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John Renfro Davis

Information
Lyrics
The tune and words to Glencoe were written by Jim McLean around 40 years ago. It is copyright Duart Music and IS NOT a traditional tune. It is a testament to the beauty and emotion of the song, that over the years it has become confused as a traditional song. It is given here with the kind permission of Jim McLean of Duart Music.

Although the history of the highlands is filled with clan warfare, the Massacre at Glen Coe stands out because of the betrayal of the time honored tradition of highland hospitality and it's genocidal intent.

See below for details of the massacre and related links.

For other Jacobite tunes go to the bottom of The Contemplator's Short History of the Jacobite Uprisings.

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


Related Links
Lyrics From A Jacobite Legacy: From Bonnie Dundee to Bonnie Prince Charlie
See Bibliography for full information.