Ned of the Hill


Two English versions follow. We're not sure which one Chris was most familiar with.



Oh dark is the evening and silent the hour

Oh who is that minstrel by yon shady tower

Whose harp is so tenderly touching with skill

Oh who could it be but young Ned of the Hill

And he sings, "Lady love, will you come with me now

Come and live merrily under the bough

I'll pillow your head where the light fairies tread

If you will but wed with young ned of the Hill"


Young Ned of the Hill has no castle or hall

No bowmen or spearmen to come at his call

But one little archer of exquisite skill

Has loosed a bright shaft for young Ned of the Hill

It is hard to escape to this young lady's bower

For high is the castle and guarded the tower

But where there's a will there's always a way

And young Eileen is gone with young ned of the Hill


EDMUND OF THE HILL (Ned of the Hill)


"Oh who is without

That with passionate shout

Keeps beating my bolted door?"

"I am Ned of the Hill

Forspent wet and chill

>From long trudging marsh and moor"

"My love, fond and true

What else could I do

But shield you from wind and from weather?

When the shots fall like hail

They us both shall assail

And mayhap we shall die together."


"Through forest and through snow

Tired and hunted I go

In fear both from friend and from neighbor

My horses run wild

My acres untilled

And they all of them lost to my labor

But it grieves me far more

Than the loss of my store

That there's none who would shield me from danger

So my fate it must be

To fare eastward o'er sea

And languish amid the stranger"

Eamonn a' Chnuic

"Ce-h-é sin amuigh

Go bhfuil faor ar a ghuth

A' reaba mo dhorais dúnta?"

"Mise Eamonn a' Chnuic

Tá báidhte fuar fluich

O shior-shúil sléibhte is gleannta"

"A lao ghil's a chuid

Cad do dhéannfainnse duit

Mara gcuirfinn ort béinn dom ghúna?

'S go mbeidh púdar dubh

Is go mbeimis araon muchta"

"Is fada mise amuigh

Faoi sneachta is faoi shioc

Is gan dánacht agam ar éinne

Mo bhranar gan cur

Mo sheisreach gar sgur

Is gan iad agam ar aon chor

Nil cairde agam

(Is danaid liom san)

Do ghlacfadh mé moch na déanach

Is go gcaithear mé dul

Thar farraige soir

O's ann na fúil mo ghaolta"

Edmund Ryan of the Hill was an Irish earl displaced by Cromwell after the Battle of the Boyne who stayed in Ireland to fight the British. Here he sheltered with his old girlfriend. Later a neighbor killed him while giving him "shelter" for the reward money, only to find that the reward had just been withdrawn after Edmund had done an Englishman a service.

The original Ned was Eamonn O Riain (Edmund or Edward Ryan) from County Tipperary (1670-1724). He became an outlaw after shooting a tax collector dead during a quarrel over the confiscation of a poor woman's cow. He was murdered for "blood money", £200. He was a poet and wrote these lines:

I am long outside in snow and frost, never daring to approach my home, my horse team still tied, my fallow field unsown, I no longer have them all, nor friends alas to harbour me, I have no kindred and must go over the sea.

Printed in Donal O'Sullivan's Songs of the Irish. Other version recorded by Jean Redpath. Also sung by Bridget Fitzgerald


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