Up among yon Clifty Rocks
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UP AMONG YON CLIFFY ROCKS. AKA - "Maid that Tends the Goats (The)," "Nighean donn nan gobhar." Scottish, Air (whole time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The song is attributed to "Mr. Dudgeon" in James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1 (1787, Song 40), where it appears under the title "The Maid that tends the Goats." That title predates the 'Museum' publication by a few years, and was first published as a song in Reverend Patrick McDonald's 1784 under the title of "Nighean donn nan gobhar" (The Maid that tends the Goats). William Dudgeon (c. 1753-1813) was the son of an East Lothian farmer, and himself farmed in Preston, Berwickshire. Poet Robert Burns met him in 1787 (the year Dudgeon's song was published in the 'Museum') while on his tour of the Border counties, and recorded this opinion of him:-- ""Mr. Dudgeon—a poet at times—a worthy remarkable character—natural penetration—a great deal of information, some genius, and extreme modesty." The first stanza of Dodgeon's song goes:
Up amang yon cliffy rocks,
Sweetly rings the rising echo,
To the maid that tends the goats,
Lilting o'er her native notes.
Hark, she sings, "Young Sandy's kind,
An' he's promis'd aye to lo'e me;
Here's a broach I ne'er shall tine,
Till he's fairly married to me;
Drive away, ye drone, Time,
An' bring about our bridal day.
The song appears in subsequent late 18th and early 19th century anthologies and songsters. See note for "Maid that Tends the Goats (The)" for more.
Source for notated version: