[from Manx Soc vol XVI]


LIKE many other songs that have to pass down orally to us, there are in this several variations to be met with. The locality of the song is in the parish of Lonan, and it will be observed in the remembrance of it by William Kennish, which is hereafter given, he mentions the long probing-poles which are used by the shepherds in their search after the sheep, as also the " round breathing-holes " formed by the heat of their breath in the snow, which afford them partial ventilation. and also attract the scent of the dog. The tradition handed down is, that Nicholas Kelly was proprietor of the estates of Baljean, Raby, and Graanane, in Lonan, was a member of the House of Keys, and captain of the said parish He did not know the number of sheep he had ; they were only known by the shepherds' marks. There was a woman in the parish that swore against him that he had robbed her on a certain night, and he was taken up and sent to Castle Rushen to be tried for that crime, his expenses in defending himself being so great that he was obliged to sell one of the estates to defray them. The purchaser had only one child, a daughter, who was afterwards married to Nick Raby's son, so that the estate became the inheritance of the Kellys "in. On the very night and hour that the woman swore about being robbed by Kelly, it was proved by witnesses that he was at that hour she swore to, and.all the night, in a public-house in Laxey and being aaked by the Deemster how the witnesses could swear to the hour, without a clock or a watch, they add it was then high-water. It tumed out afterwards that the woman was robbed not by Kelly, but by two Irishmen, who were apprehended about Ballig in Michael, and afterwards executed.

The air of the song is to be found in Barrow's Mona Melodies; the one here given has 'been furnished me ' along with the song, by John F. Crellin, Esq. of Orrysdale.

LURG geurey dy niaghtey as altagh dy rio
Va ny shenn chirree marroo 's n'eayin veggey bio

Oh! irree shiu guillyn, as gow shiu dyn cheu,
Ta ny kirree fo-niaghtey s'en va nyn draid reeve.
Oh! irre, etc.


She shoh dooytt Nick Rabee aa eh ny lhie ching
Ta ny kiree fo-niaghtey ayns Braid-farrane-fing." Oh! irre,.pto.


She shoh dooyt Nick Rabee goll seose er y lout,
Dy row my hiaght bannaght er my ghaa housaue mohlt. O'h! irree, etc.


Kirree taym ayms ny :taggan as Goar sy clue rooie,
Ta ny kirree cor'na-Kishgey nagh jig dy bragh vie." Oh! irree, etc.


Dirree mooinjer Skeeyll Lonnan as hie ad dy chooyl,
Hooar ad ny kirree marroo ayns laggan Vaarool. Oh! irree, etc.


DirreemooiRier Skeeyll Lonnan as Skeeyll-y-Chreest neesht
Hooar ad ny kirree beggey ayns laggan Agneash. Oh! irree, etc.


NY muihlt ayns y toshiaght, ny reaghyn 'sy vean,
Eish ny kirree trome-eayin cheet geiya orroo 'shen. Oh! irree, etc.


Ta molht aym son yn Ollick, as jees son yn chaisht,
As ghaa ny tree elley son yn traa yi6yin's baase!
Oh! irree shiu guillyn as gow shiu dyn clieu,
Ta ny kirree fo-sniaghtey cha down as va'd rieau.


By William Kennish. [Mona's Isle Canto II]

Come, rise up, my lads,
And haste to the mountain;
The snow-drifts are deep on
Each valley and fountain
Our sheep in th e nooks
Are coverd all over
Put on your carranes,
And call the dog Rover.

And arm yourselves, lads, .
With the long probing-poles,
And Rover will lead you
To their round breathing-holes
Near Corna Chesgia
They're buried no doubt,
Then, lads, down that way
Be sure take your route.

And do not delay
In your beds fast asleep,
While smothei?d and perish'd
Iie my round hundred sheep,
Beneath the white snow,
That is gathering fast
Around them in flakes
From the furious blast.


"Done into rhyme" by William F. Peacock.


ONE very keen winter and spring time of frost,
The yqung lainbs were saved and the old sheep were lost;
Oh! rise now, my shepherds, to the mountains up go,
For the sheep are all buried deep under the snow.


Then said Nicholas Raby, when sick he was lying,
" In Braid-farrane-fing the sheep are now dying."
Oh! rise now, etc.


Thus spoke Nicholas Raby as he went up to sleep,
" My best wishes light on my two thousand sheep."
Oh! rise now, etc.


" I have sheep that in mountainous passes do roam,"


On the front were the wethers, next the rams did appear,
And the ewes heavy laden, to make up the rear.
Oh! rise now, etc.

I've one sheep for Christmas, two for Lent I'll put by,
And two or three more for the time when I die.
Oh! rise now, my shepherds, to the mountains up go,
For the sheep axe all buried deep under the snow.

Other References [fpc]

A.W. Moore Manx Ballads p186 et seq

Manx Soc 21 p176 for a 'better version'


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001