Shetland Guide Book
Up Helly Aa Songs

Up-Helly-A' Song

sung throughout the day and during the procession

Words J. J. Haldane Burgess
Music Thomas Manson

From grand old Viking centuries Up-Helly-A' has come,
Then light the torch and form the march, and sound the rolling drum:
And wake the mighty memories of heroes that are dumb;
The waves are rolling on.

Chorus - Grand old Vikings ruled upon the ocean vast,
Their brave battle-songs still thunder on the blast;
Their wild war-cry comes a-ringing from the past;
We answer it "A-oi"!

Roll their glory down the ages,
Sons of warriors and sages,
When the fight for Freedom rages,
Be bold and strong as they!

Of yore, our firey fathers sped upon the Viking Path;
Of yore, their dreaded dragons braved the ocean in its wrath;
And we, their sons, are reaping now their glory's aftermath;
The waves are rolling on.

In distant lands, their raven-flag flew like a blazing star;
And foreign foemen, trembling, heard their battle-cry afar; And they thundered o'er the quaking earth, those mighty men of war;
The waves are rolling on.

On distant seas, their dragon-prows went gleaming outward bound,
The storm-clouds were their banners, and their music ocean's sound;
And we, their sons, go sailing still the wide earth round and round;
The waves are rolliing on.

No more Thor's lurid Hammer flames against the northern sky;
No more from Odin's shining halls the dark valkyrior fly;
Before the Light the heathen Night went slowly rolling by;
The waves are rolling on.

We are the sons of mightly sires, whose souls were staunch and strong; We sweep upon our serried foes, the hosts of Hate and Wrong;
The glory of a grander Age has fired our battle-song;
The waves are rolling on.

Our galley is the People's Right, the dragon of the free;
The Right that rising in its might, brings tyrants to their knee;
The flag that flies above us is the Love of Liberty;
The waves are rolling on.

The Galley Song

sung just before the torches are thrown into the galley

Words - John Nicolson
Norwegian Folk-Song Tune

Floats the ravan banner o'er us, Round our Dragon Ship we stand, Voices joined in gladsome chorus, Raised aloft the flaming band. Every guizer has a duty
When he joins the festive throng Honour, freedom, love and beauty In the feast, the dance, the song. Worthy sons of Vikings make us, Truth be our encircling fire
Shadowy visions backward take us To the Sea-King's fun'ral pyre. Bonds of Brotherhood inherit,
O'er strife the curtain draw;
Let our actions breathe the spirit
Of our grand Up-Helly-A'.

The Norseman's Home

sung whilst the galley is ablaze

(Or "The Hardy Norseman)
Words author unknown
Traditional Norwegian Melody

The Norseman's home in days gone by
Was on the rolling sea,
And there his pennon did defy The foe of Normandy.
Then let us ne'er forget the race, Who bravely fought and died,
Who never filled a craven's grave, But ruled the foaming tide.
The noble spirits, bold and free
Too narrow was their land,
They roved the wide expansive sea, And quelled the Norman band.
Then let us all in harmony, Give honour to the brave
The noble, hardy, northern men,
Who ruled the stormy wave.

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