Massacre of Glencoe

It has been stated that Alister MacDonald, the chief of Clan Ian (the Clan name of the MacDonalds of Glencoe, in Scotland), escaped from the Massacre of Glencoe; and, to perpetuate that misstatement, a steel engraving has been executed, entitled “The Escape of Alister M‘Donald from the Massacre of Glencoe.” But of the absurdity of that engraving the Highlander observes— “The escape, indeed, of a man who was massacred on his bed!”

The following lines on the “Massacre of Glencoe,” are from the works of the late Professor Buchanan of the Bulwood, Dunoon:

“Alas for Clan-Ian, alas for Glencoe,

The lovely are fled and the valiant are low—

Thy rocks that look down from their cloudland of air

But shadow destruction and shelter despair.

No voice greets the bard from his desolate glen,

The music of mirth or the murmur of men—

No voice but the eagle’s that screams o’er the slain,

Or the sheep-dog that moans for his master in vain.

Alas for Clan-Ian, alas for Glencoe,

Our hearths are forsaken, our homesteads are low,

There cubs the red hill-fox, the coy mountain deer,

Disports through our gardens and feeds without fear.

Thy sons, a sad remnant, faint, famished, and few,

Look down from the crags of the stern Uagh-dhu;

The voice of thy daughters, with weeping and wail,

Comes wild from the snows of the bleak Corri-gail.

Ye sleep not, my kinsmen, the sleep of the brave—

The warrior fills not the warrior’s grave;

No dirge was sung o’er you, no cairn heaves to tell

Where, butchered by traitors and cowards, ye fell.

Ye died not, my friends, as your forefathers died,

The sword in your grasp, and the foe by your side;

The sword was in sheath, and the bow on the wall,

And silence and slumber in hut and in hall.

They chased on your hills, in your halls did they dine—

They ate of your bread, and they drank of your wine;

The hand clasped at midnight in friendship was hued

With crimson ere morn in your life-streaming blood.

Glenlyon, Glenlyon, the false and the fell,

And Lindsay and Drummond, twin blood-hounds of hell,

On your swords, on your souls, wheresoever you go,

Bear the burthen of blood, bear the curse of Glencoe.

Its spell be upon you by day and by night,

Make you dotards in council, and dastards in fight;

As you kneel at the altar or feast in the hall,

With shame to confound you and fear to appal.

Its spell be upon you to shrink when you see

The maid in her beauty, the babe in his glee;

Let them glare on your vision by field and by flood,

The forms you have slaughtered, the avengers of blood,

And hark from the mountain of Moray and Mar,

Round the flag of a king rise the shouts of a war;

Then, then, false Clan-Dermid, with wasting and woe

Comes the reckoning of blood—comes the curse of Glencoe.”