Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 2, Issue 9, Page 9

Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 2, Issue 9, Page 9


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Irish Folk Song Society
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Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society
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1617Young William strippd off him and swam the lake round;He swam unto an island but found there no ground.He cried, Comrade, dear comrade, let ye no venture in IFor theres deep and false water in the lake of Wolfrinn.It was early next morning his sister arose,And up to her mothers bed chamber she goes,Saying, Mother, dear mother, I dreamt a sad dream,That our Willie was floating on a cruel, false stream,Twas early next morning his mother came down,A wringing her fingers and tearing her hair;Crying, Murder, cruel murder! twas there nobody byThat would venture their lives for my own darling boy?It was early next morning his uncle came by;He walked round the lake like a man fit to die,Saying, Where was he drowned? Where did he fall in?For theres deep and false water in the lake of Wolfrinn.The day of his funeral twas such a grand sightTo see four and twenty young men dressed all in white;They carried him on their shoulders till they laid, him in theclay,Crying, Adieu to you, comrade! then they all marchedaway.Cbe OriGIn 01 ihleen Iroou.THE following article is reprinted from the Belfast Evening Telegraph, and appearshere by kind permission of the Editor of that paper.Mr. Alfred Moffat, in his volume of songs, The Minstrelsy of Ireland,has a long footnote to the air Erin, the tear and the smile in thine eyes.We shall refer to this footnote later. The particular version of the air hegives is Moores, recently rejected by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford in his 1895revised edition of Moores Melodies, atul replaced by the more authenticversion from the first edition of Bunting. Now, between Sir 0. V. Stanford andMr. Moffat, as authorities o Irish folk music, there can be no hesitationwhen the question is one of a choice between versions of an Irish folk ture.Anyone who knows anything of the Irish traditional style will not hesitateone moment in pronouncing Buntings version a genuinely traditional one, andthoroughly in the Irish style and spirit. Buntings sources were uncontaminated,and the only flaw in the chain of his evidence is in his statement that theair as taken from Hempsons harp version (a set of variations which evincevery graceful and original genius, and arranged by Lyons) is restored to itsoriginal simplicity. We know only too well what that restoration to itsoriginal simplicity means when indulged in by editors of ancient folk loreand fragments of ancient masterpieces. Of course, the successive transmittersof a traditional air unconsciously alter the original. But the case of Buntingwas different. He was not a transmitter of tradition; he was only a recorder.The harper, Hempson, and Lyons, the arranger, also a harper, were, on theother hand, themselves in the tradition and pure transmitters. And according toBuntings instructions he should not have attempted to restore any airs to theiroriginal simplicity, hut should have adhered to the actual version played byHempson and others. But even with all the editing bestowed upon the airs hewrote down, Buntings version of this tune remains the best written tradition wehave of Eibhlin a ruin. \Ve may take it that Hempson and Lyons weremore in touch with the true sources of Irish folk song than any musicianswho have merely transcribed the melodies. And the version adopted fromBunting and derived from them by Sir C. V. Stanford in his 1395 edition ofMoores Melodies in preference to Moores version in the first number ofthe Melodies itself, will be as near to the pure tradition as any we arelikely to get. Moors was a notorious arranger; he bowdlerised nearly everytune he touched. And the source for his Erin, the tear and the smile,was probably not an Irish source at all, but Thomsons Edinburgh Miscellany,the arrangements in which were by Haydn. Thomsons volume appeared in1803 with Robin Adair; Moores first set of Melodies appeared in 1807.The version of Robin Adair which has the Scotch snap practically theonly difference between the Scotch and Moores airappears to have beenF
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Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, Volume 2, Issue 9

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