O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 55

O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 55
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periodical Publisher
Regan Printing House, Chicago, 1913
periodical Editor
periodical Title
O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians
volume Number
issue Content
i o8aIrish l 1 .uinstrels and 21 /Iusiciansgreater volume than that of any other nation, there being, according to Dr. P. W.Joyce, over three thousand distinct melodies, exclusive of variants; and this isall the more remarkable in view of the assertion of Bayle Bernard, in his biog-raphy of Samuel Lover, that out of some five thousand operas written since thebeginning of the past century, not more than a hundred have survived, and thatin the main they owe their preservation to their melodies and their dramaticinterest.Those who minister to amusement are everywhere popular characters, andamongst the Irisha jovial, fun-loving peoplenone were more welcome thanthe wandering pipers and fiddlers, upon whom devolved to a large extent theburden of supplying entertainment and promoting good humor in the community.The harpers, it is true, were of more ancient lineage, but their art and talentshad been devoted to the service of the rulers rather than the people. Alwaystreated with respect and consideration, there was yet something about themnot in perfect accord with the habits and feelings of the majority, on account oftheir association with persons of rank and wealth.Not so with the pipers and fiddlers; they were the minstrels of the multitude.They mingled in every feature of Irish life, from the cabin to the castle, especiallywhere the ancient race predominated. Never at a loss for a bed or for board;every door was open to them and every purse untied. With seldom a worryexcept the rivalry of professional brethren, Irish minstrels and musicians werepeculiarly free from care.Living and circulating in an atmosphere of happiness, hearing little butmirth, and experiencing nothing but kindness at festivities and merry-makings,the pipers and fiddlers in the heyday of their popularity were the source andcentre of all good and friendly feelings. Who will say that life was less worthliving then than now?James Lynam Molloy, of Cornolare, Kings County, hardly thought so whenhe penned the following lines:I think of the Irish PiperAs oer the hills at close of dayHe came with a breath of musicThat made you dance in spite of yourselfAs soon as you heard him play,The moment you heard him play.And, Save von kindly, he would cry,With merry voice and twinkling eye;Theres no divarsion can compareWith an Irish dance and an Irish air !And we dancd away to the Pipers tune,Laughing under the rising moon;And. ah! it seems hut yesterday,Tho years of life have pass d away.And who but the Irish Piper,\Vhen times were clark and wild with care,Came up to the mountain shieling.And made us laugh thro all our tears,\Vlien the hunger was hard to hear,And the hunger was hard to hear.Iris / i Folk Music WaningHe sang the glorious songs of old,Of Irish Kings and chieftains bold,And fairy tales of the little menThat lived below in the haunted glen.And twas oh! the touch of a loving handThat made the music wild and grand,And charm us to forget our woeIn the wistful dreams of long ago.Tho the great Atlantic rolls its waves betweenAnd were only dreaming of days that once have been,Our hearts are over the water,And throb with many a tear,For the friends weve left in the old land,And that land is oh! so dear.And we dream again of the mountain home,The dance and song and the Pipers tune;And tho the years are old and grey,Its fresh in our hearts as yesterday,Its fresh in our hearts as yesterday.109Ah, yes; many are they from every province, county, and parish in Irelandwho think of the Irish piper now, when he is following the footsteps of the harperinto Dodoland; but we never miss the water till the well runs dry.The conditions under which minstrels and musicians prospered no longerexist. Gone are the days when their merry music, heard on every hand, memorygathered like nursery jingles and retained without effort. The mind was ledcaptive by the iteration of musical phrases in dance tunes, likeAn echo from a measured strainIn some old corner of the brain,With haunting sameness in the rhymes.That came and went a thousand times.And much as we may cherish the memory of the Days of Auld Lang Synewhen the Green Isle was a Land of Music and Song, we are being brought faceto face with the inevitable, forIt is written in the sunshineAs it gilds the shining dome;It is written in the joyous smileThat lights the hearth of home;It is written on all fairest thingsBeneath the suns bright ray,That all were made for one brief hour,That all must pass away.Too true! The old must give wa to the new; but what blessings has thechange brought to Ireland? Mainly monotony. and melodeons made in Germans-.England is the only country where laws were enacted against music, and whilethe results of their barbarous enforcement are incalculable, it must be conceded
issue Number
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periodical Author
O'Neill, Capt. Francis
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O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians

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