Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 38

Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 38
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Irish Folk Song Society
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Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society
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6263Ireland; came to see him, and that he told the Captain that Chancys cockade was inhis fathers house.Hampson was brought into the Pretenders presence by Colonel Kelly, ofRoscommon, and Sir Thomas Sheridan; and he (Hampson) was then about fifty yearsold. He played in many Irish houses; among others those of Lord D. Courcey,Mr. Fortescue, Sir P. Bellew, Squire Roche ;. and in the great townsDublin, Cork, &c.,&c.respecting all which he interspersed pleasant anecdotes with surprising gaiety andcorrectness. As to correctness, he mentioned many anecdotes of my grandfather andgrand-aunt, at whose houses he used to be frequently. In fact, in this identical harper,whom you sent me to survey, I recognised an acquaintance who, as soon as he found meout, seemed exhilarated at having an old friend of (what he called) the old stock inhis poor cabin. He even mentioned many anecdotes of my own boyhood, which, thoughby me long forgotten, were accurately true. These things shew the surprising power ofrecollection at the age of an hundred and eight years. Since I saw him last, which wasin 1787, the won on the back of his head is greatly increased; it is now hanging overhis neck and shoulders, nearly as large as his head, from which circumstance he deriveshis appellative, the man with two heads. General Hart, who is an admirer of music,sent a limner lately to take a drawing of him ; which cannot fail to be interesting, if itwere only for the venerable expression of his meagre, blind countenance, and thesymmetry of his tall, thin, but not debilitated, person. I found him lying on his back inbed, near the fire of his cabin, his family employed in the usual way; his harp underthe bed-clothes, by which his face was covered also. When he heard my name, hestarted up (being already dressed), and seemed rejoiced to hear the sound of my voice,which, he said, he began to recollect. He asked for my children, whom I brought to seehim, and he felt them over and over; then with tones of great affection he blessed Godthat he had seen four generations of the name, and ended by giving the children hisblessing. He then tuned his old time-beaten harp, his solace and bed-fellow, and playedwith astonishing justness and good taste.The tunes which he played were his favounites; and he, with an elegance ofmanner, said at the same time, I remember you have a fondness for music, and thetunes you used to ask for I have not forgotten, which were Caulin,* The Dawning ofthe Day, Eileen Aroon,J- Ceandubhdilis,t &c These, except the third, were the first*An Cuilfhion; Eibhlfn arfin; Cean dubh diIjs.E which, according to regulation, he played at the famous Meeting of Harpers atBelfast, under the patronage of some amateurs of Irish music. Mr. Bunting, thecelebrated musician of that town, was here the year before at Hampsons, noting histunes and his manner of playing, which is in the best old style. He said with the honestfeeling of self-love, When I played the old tunes, not another of the harpers wouldplay after me. He came to Magilligan many years ago, and at the age of eighty-sixmarried a woman of Innishowen, whom he found living in the house of a friend. Icant tell, quoth Hampson, if it was not the dl buckled us together; she beinglame, and I blind! By this wife he had one daughter, married to a cooper, who hasseveral children, and maintains them all; though Hampson (in this alone seeming todote) says that his son-in-law is a spendthrift, and that he maintains them. The familyhumour his whim, and the old man is quieted. He is pleased when they tell him, as hethinks is the case, that peopie of character, for musical taste, send letters to invite him;and he, though incapable now of leaving the house, is planning expeditions never to beattempted, much less realised. These are the only traces of mental debility; as to hisbody, he has no inconvenience but that arising from a chronic disorder. His habitshave ever been sober; his favourite drink, once beer, now milk and water; his dietchiefly potatoes. I asked him to teach my daughter, but he declined, adding, however,that it was too hard for a young girl; but nothing would give him greater pleasure if hethought it could be done.Lord Bristol, when lodging at the ba thing house of Mount Salut, near Magilligan,gave three guineas, and ground rent free, to build the house where Hampson now lives.At the house-warming his Lordship with his lady and family came, and the childrendanced to his harp. The Bishop gave three crowns to the family, and in the dear yearhis Lordship called in his coach and six, stopped at the door, and gave a guinea to buymeal.ADDENDA.In the time of Noah was green,After his flood I have not been seen,Until seventeen hundred and twoI was foundBy Corman Kelly under ground.He raised me up to that degree,Queen of Mu ib they call me.The above lines are sculptured on the old harp, which is made, the sides and frontV
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Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 1, Issue 1

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