Éamonn a' Chnuic
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ÉAMONN A' CHNUIC (Nos na Ronne). AKA and see "Ned of the Hill (1)," "Edmond of the Hill." Irish, Air (3/4). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One Part (Ó Canainn): AB (O'Farrell, Roche). The melody first appears in James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (1760, vol. 11, p. 10, as "Yemon o' Nock") and a quarter-century later in the appendix to Walker's Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards (1786) and in Burk Thumoth's Forty Eight English, Irish and Scotch Airs with Variations (1785, published in London by the firm of Samuel, Ann and Peter Thompson, where it appears as "Yemon O Nock"). The song tells of Edmund Ryan of the Hill (Éamonn a' Chnuic), of Knockmeoil Castle, County Tipperary, an Irish earl who refused to go into exile and instead chose to stay on in Ireland after the Battle of the Boyne to fight the English. One of the rapparees o f the era, Éamonn had been forced into outlawry as the result of a altercation with a tax collector, and by 1702 had a price of 200 pounds on his head. He found some shelter for a time with an old lover but at the end was killed by a neighbour who had similarly offered him safe haven, but who betrayed him for English reward money (only to find that the reward had recently been withdrawn due to a service Edmund had performed for an Englishman). Éamonn was an associate of Sarsfield's famous scout "Galloping Hogan" (see "Galloping O'Hogan"). An English translation of the lyrics goes thus:
Who is that outside with anger in his voice beating my closed door?
I am Éamann of the Hill, soakend through and wet
From constant walking of mountains and glens
My love, fond and true, what else could I do
but shield you from wind and from weather?
When the shot falls like hail, they us both shall assail
and mayhap we will die together.
Through frost and through snow, tired and hunted
I go in fear both of friend and of neighbour;
My horses run wild, my acres untilled
and all of lost to my labour.
What grieves me far more than the loss of my store
is there is no one would shield me from danger
so my fate it must be to bid farewell to thee
and languish amid strangers
My darling, my beloved
we will go off together for a while
to forests of fragrant fruit trees
and the blackbird in his nest
the deer and the buck calling
sweet little birds singing on branches
And the little cuckoo on top of the green yew tree
Forever, forever, death will not come near us
in the middle of our fragrant forest.
(translation by Barbara Carswell on Connie Dover's CD "If Ever I Return"). See more under entry for "Ned of the Hill (1)."
Source for notated version:
O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1805; p. 3 (appears as "Yemon O Knock").
Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 92, p. 79.
O'Sullivan (Songs of the Irish), 1981; p. 150.
Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 3), 1927; p. 1, No. 3.
MKM 7590, Mike McHale – "The Schoolmaster's House" (2000).
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