O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 12

O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 12
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periodical Publisher
Regan Printing House, Chicago, 1913
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periodical Title
O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians
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22Irish JYlinstrels and Musiciansfervent, and ardent burning and scorching, sultry heat, and pinching.penetrating piercing of the cold past, present, and future weather.The premises and foregoing of the few mentioned of the aforesaidimprecations, orations, and supplications, and petitions, tenderly andcompassionately considered ; these ruminated and properly weighed,your petitioner will forever with protection, and satisfaction, to thewelldisposed donor, giver, or bestower in contribution, now, andthen, and there and forevermore.Asserted, assured, verified and truly demonstrated to be true,By me myself,DENNIS McCARTHY, ESQ.This literary curiosity in all its pedantic verbosity no doubt pictures thetypical nliserv which beset the native gentry whose holdings and estates had beenconfiscated.Though Turlogli OCarolan is commonly regarded as the last of the bards, hewas by no means the last of the poets or harpers. Renowned as a poet and m isicalcomposer he was undistinguished as a harper. Admittedly he Ilad no successorswho possessed in such an eminent degree the arts and attributes associated in theiuhiic mmd with the hardic profession. Gifted poets of the people always abounded.They were most of them hedge schoolmasters who were forced to conceal inGaelic their Jacobite sentiments, and their indigence, genius and learning presentedstrange incongruities.The (lescri [ )tion of Bridget Brady by her lover Thaddeus Ruddy, a bard,who lived about the niiddle of tile seventeenth century is perhaps unique as a speci-men Of local simile.Shes as straight as a pine on tile mountains of Kilmannan;Shes as fair as tile lilies on the banks of the Shannon;I fer breath is as sweet as the blossomS of Drumcallan,And her breasts gently swell like tile waves of Lough AllanI-Icr eves are as mild as the dews of Dunsany,Her veins are as pure as tile blue-hells of Slanev:Her words are as smooth as tile pebbles of Terwinnv,And 11cr hair flows adown like the streamlets of Finns.A bare century since OCaroians (leath, saw the last of the great harpers;but lineal descendants of the Filea or poetic bardsthe hedge poets and songwriterscontinued in existence down to the early years of the nmeteenthcentury. Still downward, those minor poets degenerated into the itinerant balladsingers of recent tinies ; the inglorious and vanisiling survivals of an order orprofession which for untold centuries had ranked next to royalty.CHAPTER IIIRISH 1-IARPERS IN HISTORY, ENI:ING WITH THE REIGN OF QUEEN ELiZABETHOLR readers know what immense influence tile ancient Irish ilarpers or bardswielded. They wei-e tile counselors of tlleir princes. and no expedition or feat ofwar was undertaken without constilting them. Ihev sat in tile chair of honor attile festive board, and as tile mead or winecup went round their plaintive loveditties or martial chants were listened to Witil dehght. They were ever welcome intile ladies bower according to all able writer in The Emerald of forty odd yearsago. Tilev headed tile troops (Ill their mardI to battle with ilarp ill hand, andsword 011 thigh. smging tile chant of var ; and many a swmgmg 1 )10W they strucktoo. Their skill was a subject of universal wonder and even tile bitterly antiIrish Giraldus Cambrensis praised the unequaled beauty of their mtlsic and piaymgin tile most ellthusiastic terms.Ihe Englisil early discovered the influence of tile bards so hostile to them, andIllade the 1110st desperate efforts to suppress tile bardic institutions. Illey evenoffered rewards for tile slaying of the Irish Ilarpers, hut all ill vain. Tile Normaninvaders themselves adopted the svstelll of llavillg a bard in their ilouseholdand in tins and other respects, acquired tile reputation whicil was intended byEngland as a reproacil ; that they were more Jrisil than tile Irish tllelllselves. Moreremarkable still it was complained in England, that no sooner had tile Cr0111weihan invaders settled down on tile confiscated estates tilan they began toadopt IriSil custonis, and keefl harpers in their houses. Indeed tile saille was saidof the followers of \Vilham of Orange.In tile olden tililes tile bard ilad tile privilege of paying Cuairt, or a visit toany prince or chief he pleased, and he was always sure to he treated witil tilegreatest respect and ilospitality ; for one good reason if for 110 other tile bardswere dangerous persons to offend for their poweis of satire were terrific andmudil dreaded.Tile history of Ireland is studded all over with tile deeds of he bards andmusicians. But ill tile course of time tile harpers began to fade away and tileharp of Erin may now be said to be silent forever.Before introducing to our readers tile harpers immortahzed in tile IrishAnnals, it might be well to quote tile opening paragrapil of Prof. Eugene OCurrvsLecture on Music and Musical Instruments in Ancient Erinn.The early cultivation of niusic and melody, and a special respect for theprofessors of the art bespeak a pectiliar civilization. \Vilicll ilIlplieS 110 small degreeof refinement of habit and of taste ill a people. If tilere ever was a people giftedwith a musical soul aiid sensthiitv in a higher degree than allotiler. I wouldventure to assert that the Gaedhii of Ancient Erinn were that people.In 110 country ill Europe. at least I llelieye so. is tile antiquity and nifluenceof the harp thrown so far back into the (lark regions of history as ill Erinn. Ourtraditions are more distinct tilall those of tile Greeks. for they give time and place.rame and occasion. Ours is not tile shadowy 111\th of Orpheus going to the reallllS23
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O'Neill, Capt. Francis
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O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians

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