Song Lore of Ireland, The, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 7

Song Lore of Ireland, The, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 7
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periodical Publisher
The Baker & Taylor Co., New York, 1911
periodical Editor
periodical Title
Song Lore of Ireland, The
volume Number
issue Content
2 THE SONG LORE OF IRELANDTHE BEGINNINGS Sthe deeds of Saxon Alfred. They sang Erins songsin hail and cottage, in defiance of Tudor kings, fan-fling the flame of patriotism with tales of dead heroesand old-time battle fields. Poets aiid musicians, them-selves proscribed, grieved for exiled Tyrone and Tir-connel; they sang the dirge of Owen Roe ONeill.They mourned the ire of Cromwell, and women andchildren murdered in hundreds about the cross ofDrogheda. With a loyalty as devoted as it was mis-placed, they upheld the cause of the dissembling Stu-arts. In happier moments, all too few, they exultedwith Patrick Sarsfield; they sang the praises of theRapparees; they gloried in the charge of Clare s menat Fontenoy. In the Penal Days they were partnersin danger and martyrdom with Irelands priests,hunted like beasts of prey, with no place to lay theirheads. Never in the long night of seven centuriesof foreign oppression have these men ceased to pro-claim the cause of Irish nationality. Languishingin prison, done to death as traitors, they were stilltrue to their cause. From the coming of Strongbowto Ninety-Eight, from Ninety-Eight to ourown day, the poets of Ireland have sung to authenticIrish strains an Erin by right free and independent,in chains truly, but with soul unfettered, irreconcil-able to any ideal save that of Ireland for the Irish,from the center to the sea.Irish song is the expression of the Celtic geniusin music and verse, in everyday life and in history.Understood aright, it will turn foreign contempt ofErin to foolishness and expose to scorn the falseshame of a few unworthy Irishmen and the descend-ants of Irishmen when Erin and the things of Erinare spoken of. John of Salisbury tells us that in theCrusade headed by Godfrey of Bouillon the concertof Christendom would have been mute had it not beenfor the Irish harp. Gerald Barry, the Welsh monkand historian,hater of the Irish though he was, de-clares that Erins harpers surpass all others. Thatwas in the twelfth century. Irelands musical skillhad won her fame long ages before that, however.When the wife of Pepin of France wanted choristersfor her new abbey of Nivelle, it was not to Italy, toGermany, or to England that she sent, but to Ire-land. That was in the seventh century. In Eliza-bethan days the songs of Ireland won praise evenfrom her enemy and traducer, Edmund Spenser.Shakespearean enigmas, long insoluble, become plainin the light of the poets acquaintance with Celtic lore.Bacon of Verulam declared that of all instruments theIrish harp had the sweetest note and the most pro-longed. Irish airs found their way into the virginalbooks of Tudor and Jacobean days. Byrde and Pur-cell wrote variations on Irish tunes. As in peace,so it was in war. Englands battles have been foughtand won to Irish music. The United States won itsfreedom to the strains of All the Way to Galway,known all over the world as Yankee Doodle, and,while the English marched out of Yorktown, thepipes squealed the tune of The World Turned Up-side Down. Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Berliozall confess the beauty of Irish melody.
issue Number
page Number
periodical Author
Mason, Redfern
issue Publication Date

The Song Lore of Ireland

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