Few young men I know write poetry; it is an art well worth undertaking, as well as fencing. Here is a poem I wrote recently on the subject of the Massacre of Glencoe. It should be informative enough but if it isn’t; look at this website: Glencoe. As one should know, this event should bring some interesting issues to mind, such as injustice, murder, or even Jacobite sympathies. I am not a Jacobite but an infamous deed like this is certainly brutal, and this act of betrayal was very disfavored by the Scots.
In 1692, a winter mean and cold
swept the braes o’ Glencoe.
Oft times in history, tales are told
Of treacherous deeds and blows aimed low.
Yet this is a tale that none surpass
For the bravest men shiver and women beat their breasts
To hear the tale of cold Glencoe
Our tale begins a few years before the massacre of Glencoe
For the rising of ’69 enlisted far and wide
All those who called King Willie their foe
Among the Highlanders on the Jacobite side
Twas Alasdair MacIain Macdonald of Glencoe
A proud man to fight along side his leader
Bonny Dundee, Willie’s greatest foe.
Macdonald and his men of Glencoe
Were beaten at Killiecrankie and Dunkeld
They fought well but lost to the foe
Their brothers hewn down like grass in the field
But Old Alasdair and his Macdonald men
Made it back to their families and bothies
While stealing cattle from the Campbell clan
King Willie twas pleased with his victory
So he pardoned all those who enlisted with Dundee
But the Stewart sovereign wasn’t a Tory
So he huffed and puffed and delayed his subjects’ plea.
Till he agreed they’d swear the oath
four days before the deadline twas due.
So poor Macdonald was late to take the oath.
Sir John Dalrymple, the Lord Advocate
gave orders that such a poor, popish clan
Be made example of and be eliminate’
So that all highlanders strong and wan
Be subject to Willie’s title and crown
And no more play the Jacobite
Or subject of the Stewart crown.
That Dalrymple lord issued a plan
That “proper vindication of publick justice”
Be executed on the Macdonalds by Campbell of Glenlyon
Two companies of Argyll regiment were to render “justice”
A time to sup at the sheep’s board before slaughtering them in the morn
With a warrant from the king they quartered in the homes
Of those whom they were to slaughter ere the morn
A fortnight passed with joy and very kind words
British soldiers and Macdonalds enjoying their fellowship
Drinking usige beatha and playing cards
But on the twelfth of February’s cold nip
An order came from Ballachulish
To slay all under the age of seventy
For it was the king’s wish
At five o’ the clock on the dawn of the 13th
The government troops with gruesome intent
Shot old Alasdair in his bed of heath
And killed thirty eight of Macdonald mint
Men, women and bairns all killed
In cold blooded murder by the English Crown
Many more died in the hills whereto they fled
Though the massacre of Glencoe
Did not “extirpate that sept of thieves”
It raised the hopes of the Crown’s foe
And forged the way for the Rising of Highland thieves
Who supported the Stewart king
In hopes that Scotland might at last be free
And have, at last, its own sovereign king.