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Glencoe Quotations

In the Gaelic tongue, Glencoe signifies the Glen of
Weeping; and in truth that pass is the most dreary and
melancholy of all the Scottish passes, the very Valley of
the Shadow of Death. Mists and storms brood over it
through the greater part of the finest summer; and even
on those rare days when the sun is bright, and when there is no cloud in the sky, the impression made by the
landscape is sad and awful. The path lies along a stream which issues from the most sullen and gloomy of
mountain-pools. Huge precipices of naked stone frown on
both sides. Even in July the streaks of snow may often be discerned in the rifts near the summits. All down the sides of the crags heaps of ruin mark the headlong paths of the torrents. Mile after mile the traveller looks in vain for the smoke of one hut, or for one human form wrapped in a plaid, and listens in vain for the bark of a shepherd’s dog, or the bleat of a lamb. Mile after mile the only sound that indicates life is the faint cry of a bird of prey from some storm-beaten pinnacle of rock. The progress of civilization, which had turned so many wastes into fields yellow with harvests or gay with apple blossoms, has only
made Glencoe more desolate. All the science and industry
of a peaceful age can extract nothing valuable from that
wilderness; but in an age of violence and rapine, the
wilderness itself was valued on account of the shelter it
afforded to the plunderer and his plunder.
Lord Macaulay (1855)

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