> Folk Music > Songs > The Bonny Blue-Eyed Lassie / Blue-Eyed Nancy

The Bonny Blue-Eyed Lassie / Blue-Eyed Nancy

[ Roud 3870 ; Ballad Index LyCr133 ; trad.]

Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill sang How Can I Live at the Top of a Mountain at a Bothy Band concert at the Palais Des Arts, Paris, in June 1978. This concert’s recording was released in the same year on The Bothy Band’s Mulligan album Afterhours.

Sinéad Caher sang My Blue-Eyed Lassie in 1978 on her Mulligan album The Flower of Magherally.

Bram Taylor sang Bonny Blue-Eyed Nancy in 1989 on his Fellside album Taylor Made. This track was also included in 1999 on his Fellside anthology Singing! The Bram Taylor Collection. He noted:

Alas I know little of the origins of this song which was given to me by my producer, Paul Adams. The little research I have made has shown an Irish connection with the song My Bonnie Blue Eyed Lassie, one of several fine songs which have emanated from the recordings of the late Elizabeth Cronin of Baile Mhuirne. Still it’s a lovely song with a terrific chorus, which goes down well with audiences.

Misalliance sang On Top of a Mountain in 1996 on their WildGoose album Fortune My Foe. They complained:

This is a song whose main proposition is totally illogical. Why would you need money at the top of a mountain anyway?

Eithne Ní Chatáin sang Bonny Blue-Eyed Lassie in 2007 on her eponymous album Eithne.

Robyn Stapleton sang Blue-Eyed Nancy in 2015 on her album of songs of the Scottish and Irish folk traditions, Fickle Fortune. She noted:

This was the first song I learned when I moved to Limerick to study Irish music, and it was taught to me by Muireann Nie Amhlaoibh. A beautiful Irish song with hints of Scotland—this is one of my favourite songs.


Robyn Stapleton sings Blue-Eyed Nancy

How could I live on the top of a mountain
With no money in my pocket and no gold for the countin’?
But I would let the money go all for to please her fancy
And I would marry no one but my own dear blue-eyed Nancy.

She’s my bonnie blue-eyed lassie with an air so sweet and tender,
Her walk like swans on water and her waist so small and slender.
Her golden hair in ringlets fell all o’er her snow-white shoulder
And I’ll ask her for to marry me for there’s no one could be bolder.

Now there’s some people say that she is very low in station
And other people say she’ll be the cause of my ruination.
But let them all say what they will, to her I will prove constant still
Till the day that I die, she’ll be my only lovely lady.

How softly skims the swallow o’er the dark waters of Eochaill
And blithely sings the nightingale so happy to behold her.
The winds may blow, the moorcocks crow, the moon shines out so clearly,
Ah but deeper by far is my love for my own lady.