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The Lambs on the Green Hills
(Roud 154)

Ollie Conway
Recorded in Conway’s Bar, Mullagh, September 1973

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Ollie Conway and JJ Lenihan

The lambs on the green hills, they sport and they play,
And many strawberries grow around the salt sea.
And many strawberries grow around the salt sea,
And many's the ships sails the ocean.

A bride and bride party to church they did go,
The bride she rode foremost, for to make the best show.
And I followed after with my heart full of woe,
To see my love wed to another.

The first place I saw her was on the church stand,
A ring on her finger and her love by the hand.
And says I, 'My wee lassie, sure I'll be your man,
Although you are wed to another.'

The next place I saw her was on the way home,
I rode alongside her, not knowing where to roam.
And said I, 'My wee lassie, sure, I'll be your man,
Although you are wed to another.'

'Stop, stop', said the bridegroom, 'till I speak a word
Would you venture your life with the point of my sword?
For courting too slowly you have lost this fair maid,
So, begone, for you'll never enjoy her.'

Oh, dig me a grave, dig it long, wide, and deep,
And sprinkle it over with flowers so sweet.
And lay me down easy for to take my last sleep,
For that's the best way I'll forget her.


“Ollie says he got this from a Johnsons’ album; they in turn got it from Colm O Lochlainn’s ‘Irish Street Ballads’. O Lochlainn says it came from a Mrs Reddin of Dublin in 1915 and that it was published in Padraic Collum’s ‘Broadsheet Ballads’. It was widely popular with country singers in England under the titles ‘The Week Before Easter’ and ‘The False Bride’. Kenneth Peacock, in his note to two Newfoundland versions, proudly proclaims:

‘Both these Newfoundland tunes are superior to the one given by O Lochlainn which sounds a little like a professional parlour tune.’”

Irish Street Ballads, Colm O Lochlainn, Three Candles Press, 1939.
Songs of the Newfoundland Outports, vol. 2, Kenneth Peacock, National Museum of Canada, 1965.

Jim Carroll

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