O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 59

O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 59
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periodical Publisher
Regan Printing House, Chicago, 1913
periodical Editor
periodical Title
O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians
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i i6 Iris / i llIinstrels and .Musiciansmelodious, he says, sung very low, and with astonishing and true pathos. Thesweet and affecting memories of the past days of Ireland, surviving all her sor-rows in an humble cottage in Connacht, appealed powerfully to the heart.Old songs! old strains! I should not sigh;Joys of the earth on earth must die;But spectral forms will sometimes start\Vitliin the caverns of the heart,Haunting the lone and darkened cellWhere warm in life they used to dwell.Hope, youth, Jove, home, each haunting tieThat binds, we know not how or whAll! all that to the soul belongs,Is closely mingled with old songs.One objection to Irish airs in this generation is the mournful or plaintive keyin which so many of them are pitched. Exceptions are by no means rare, and ofthese some are enlivened with a rollicking chorus.The three great bardic classes of music previously described in Chapter Imight be judiciously increased to twice that number, such as Slumber or Lullaby;Dirge or Lamentation; Rural; Amorous; Festive and Martial.LULLABIESNo form of music can have greater claims to antiquity than lulling or sleep-inducing music, for even the birds croon to their nestlings. In some form it wascommon to all nations and in all ages, but among no people were lullabies asnumerous and varied as in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. The SiuheenSho of the Gaelsanglicised into lullabyhas been modernized into cradlesong. One cannot fail to notice that almost all lullabies or cradle songs aremade up, with little variety, on the same plan, regardless of the age or nation inwhich they may have originated.Following is the first verse of a lullaby of great beauty, translated from theIrish. It purports to be the song of the fairy nurse in the rath of Lisroe for achild stolen by the good people.Sweet babe! a golden cradle holds thee,Shuheen sho, lulo lo!And soft the snow-white fleece enfolds thee,Shuheen sho, lulo lo!In airy bower Ill watch thy sleeping.Shuheen sijo, lulo lo!Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping,Shuheen sho, lulo lo!A LULLABY OR SHTJHEEN SiloIrish Folk Music Exemplified 117DIRGES OR LAMENTSIrish music is rich in laments for the deada form of composition probablyamong the very oldest. Rev. Dr. Campbell, in his Plilloso/thical Survey of theSouth of Ireland, in 1775, says: Their finest airs are of the plaintive turn, andare supposed to have been set to elegies for renowned warriors, or to the sighs ofcomplaining lovers.The form of the lament varied in different parts of Ireland, but the cadencesare often inconceivably plaintive and affecting. Did ever a wail make a mansmarrow quiver, and fill his nostrils with the breath of the grave, queries ThomasDavis, like the Ullulu of the north or the U/Ia qonc or 14/irrastliruc of Munster?Besides the caoine , or dirge for the dead, there were also lamentations forthe living, expressive of every form of regret, such as for eviction, emigration,loss of valued property, or other calamities. Unlike lullabies, lamentations dis-play much diversity of composition. The most ancient, such as The Lamentationof Deirdre for the Sons of Usnach, Ossians Lament, and even lamentationscomposed around the year i6oo, make no appeal to modern ears.Ormoncles Lament, which can be assigned to the early years of theeighteenth century, is now quite generally known as Billy Byrne of Ballyrnanus.Songs entitled A Lament for Thomas Flavell and The County of Mayo havebeen also set to the same air.So quaint and plaintive is Crottys Lament, which dates from about theyear 1742, that a setting of it is herewith presented:CROTTYS LAMENTComposed about 1742r r r ti ir rr r Ir r r UAn air named Sarsfields Lament, entirely distinct from the melody of thatname in modern publications, may not be devoid of interest. It is among thecontents of The Hibernian Muse, published in London in 1787.SARSFIELDS LAMENTATIONFrom the Hibernian Muse. pub. 1787.A . ,._____LIOwen Roe ONeills Lamentation, if not the product of OCarolans genius,as claimed by several authorities, is by no means unworthy of the renowned bard.Caoine Cu Cais. or The Lament for Kilcash, an ancient seat of theOrmondes, a few miles northeast of Clonmel, originated early in the eighteenthcentury. Some dozen songs of varied character were sting to this popular melody,one of the most recent being The Fair at Dungarvan.AVA,1AaeJ & -,---- I_.I- - - - __ - - .. r 1 .
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O'Neill, Capt. Francis
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O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians

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