Song Lore of Ireland, The, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 11

Song Lore of Ireland, The, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 11
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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
10 THE SONG LORE OF IRELANDTHE BEGINNINGS 11die warmth and the impressionableness of an unso-phisticated race. While the classification does not in-clude all the varieties of tune made use of by theIrish at the present day, nevertheless it indicates threekinds of melody which they have always cultivatedwith singular felicity. The Soontree, or sleepy music,is represented by Erins lullabies, which are admit-tedly the most beautiful in the world; the Goltree, ormusic of sadness, includes the keens and laments; theGauntree, or mirthful music, embraces the jigs andreels danced on many a village green in happy hours.If this classification were set forth in a singlemanuscript only it might seem of comparatively smallsignificance. But it recurs again and again and itsmanifestations are strikingly various. In one thePreludes of the Cooley Cattle Raid which took placein the first century of the Christian era, and is cele-brated in an epic that is to the Irish what the Songof the Nibelungs is to the Germans, an account isgiven of the origin of these three feats which givedistinction to a harper. The description is obvi-ously an allegory; but it is none the less interestingon that account. The three classes of music arecalled three brothers. Their mother was Boand, oneof the fairy people, from whom the Boyne has itsname, and their father was Uaithne, a name of three-fold significance, one meaning being harmony inpoetry or music. Here is the pith of the legend, forwhich also we are indebted to OCurry:At the time that the woman (their mother) was in herlabor, it was crying and mourning with her in the intensityof her pains, at the beginning. It was laughing and joy withher In the middle of them at the pleasure of having broughtforth two sons. It was repose and tranquillity with her onthe birth of the last son, after the weight of the labor: andit was on that account that each one of them was namedafter a third part of the music. Boand then awoke fromthe repose. Accept thou thy three sons, 0 passionateUaithne, said she, in return for thy generosity: namely,crying music, and laughing music, and sleeping music.Another interpretation of the three names is givenin the story of the wooing of Scathach by Finn MacCool, foremost of the champions of the Red Branch,that pagan chivalry which has given Erin so manyburning names. Scathach and Finn fall in love witheach other at first sight. Before she follows herlover to the bridal couch, Scathach asks for the harpSThe household harp was one of three strings.Methinks it was a pleasant jewel:A string of iron, a string of noble bronzeAnd a string of entire silver.The names of the not heavy stringsWere Suantorrgles: Geantorrgles the great:Goltarrgles was the other string,Which sends all men to crying.If the pure Goilteargies be playedFor the heavy hosts of the earth,The hosts of the world, without delay,Would all be sent to constant crying.If the merry Gentorrgles be played,For the hosts of the earth, without heavy executionThey would all be laughing from it,From the hour of the one day to the same of the next.If the free Suantorrgles were playedTo the hosts of the wide universe,The men of the worldgreat the wonderWould fall into a long slumber.
issue Number
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Mason, Redfern
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The Song Lore of Ireland

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