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Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 12

Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 12
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periodical Publisher
Clementi & Co., London, 1809
periodical Editor
Edward Bunting
periodical Title
Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland
volume Number
1
issue Content
3being insolent and troublesome; amongst other causes ofthe royal displeasure, they were charged with demandingfor their order, the golden boddikin that fastened thekings robe, and had been handed down as a regal or-nament from one king to another for many reigns insuccession. Hence, the reigning king Hugh, A. D. 558,or sso, convened a council of the princes 5 nobility, andclergy, at Drumceat, or Drum-chill, in the county ofDonegall, with a view to their final expulsion. They hadthen become a kind of sacred order or college, and sonumerous, that one-third of the kingdom took shelter intheir order as an asylum for idleness and easeTo divert the impending storm, the principal poetsassembled to the number of a thousand, and resolved toretire to Scotland before the expected sentence of banish..latent should be pronounced. They were saved by St.Comb cillj., the Dove of the Cell, a presbyter and abbot,who, A. D. 565, had gone from Ireland (as venerableBede relates) to preach the gospel among the northernprovince of the Picts.This eminently pious man hurried over from hispeaceful retreat in lona or Hy, as d procured liberty forthe poets to disperse over the kingdom, with a dimi-nution of their numbers, and promises of amendedmanners .We discover from the same qearter, that Connor,king of Ulster, allowed them to remain several years inDairiada ; within that province, at different times, theprinces of Ulster had taken them under their protectionThey afterwards came into great repute, and had landsand revenues assigned for their maintenance . Who-ever slightly injured a bard was fined 126 cows. Thebards preceded armies to battle; held their lands free;and at the three festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whit-suntide, sat at the kings table.Speaking of their productions in much more moderntimes, Edmund Spencer, the poet, says, so lately asin Elizabeths reign, I have caused divers of themto be translated unto me that I might understandthem, and surely they savoured of sweet wit andgood invention, but skilled not of the goodly ornaments of poetry; yet were they sprinkled with some prettyflowers of their natural device which gave good grace and comeliness to them, the which it is treat pity to see so abused to the gracing of wickedness mid vice,which, with good usage, would serve to adorn andbeautify virtue.With respect to the musical compositions of the Irishbards, an ingenious critic and antiquarian * has observed,that the incomparable skill allowed to the Irish irs musiccould never be predicated of unlearned extemporaneousbardic airs; that it implies a knowledge of the diagram,and an exact division of the harmonic intervals; a justexpression of the tones; and, in the quickest movements,a unity of melody. An early writer (Cambrensis) accu-rately distinguishes the Irish and Welsh styles; the latterbeing of the diatonic genus, slow and made of concords;the former, the enharmonic genus, full of minute di-visions, with every diesis marked; the succession of themelodies lively and rapid, its modulations full andsweet f.This transcendant excellence could be derived butfrom two sources, a perfect knowledge of it as a scienceand practice. We are not, it is true (he adds) able toproduce our ancient tablature or tunes from MSS. hither-to discovered; but as from Caradoc it appears that wecommunicated both to the %Velsh, and as they exist inMr. Morriss collections, we may fairly assume them as ourown, and derivations from this isle. These collectionsare of the twelfth century, the very time when Caradocand Cambrensis flourished; so that, connecting the evi-dence together, that we had music in score can hardly hedisputed. What is more extraordinary, most of the piecesfor the Harp are in full harmony and counterpoint j:.GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS , in A. D. 1185, gives astriking account of Irish music at that period. That in-genious prelate, born in Wales, where music was muchcultivated, and intimately acquainted with the fine artsin general, has, in his Itinerary, the following pas-sage, in which he prefers the music of this country Keating.$ St. Columb-cill was of the blood royal of ONiall of the nine hostages, and founder of the monastery at Derry. The island of boa, orHy, was a gift to him by Brudeus, king of the Picts, whom he had converted to Christianity. By this celebrated monastery, many others werepropagated in Ireland and Britain, of all which, this island monastery was the chief. loisa was formerly called Junis-Druinach, and was pos-sessed by the Druids till St. Columb occupied it. its burying place is still called Cluodh-nan-Druinack. [ Smyths Sean Dana.]Campbells Eec. and Lit. H. of Ireland. Dairiada, the county of Down, and part of the county of Antrins.(I Keating. Canibrensia, and others. Dr. Ledwich.ft It would appear by Cambrensiss remarks on Irish music, that Ireland must have possessed the rloukle Harp in the twelfth century, as itspresent Harp has no semitones, except those incident to the diatonic genus.Dr. Ledwichs Enquiry concerning the ancient Trials Harp. Gerald Barry, or Giraldus Cambrensis, was bishop of St. Davids in Wales, of a noble Flemish family in Pembrokeshire, his mother beingdescended from the princes of South Wales. He had been secretary to Henry II. and tutor to his son, prince, afterwards king, John. He made atour through Wales with bishop Baldwin, and visited Ireland twice, first with his brother Philip Barry, and his uncle, Fitzstephen; then withprince John, who offered him the united sees of Leighlin and Fernes. His Description of Wales and Topography of Ireland are highlycurious. Those who refuse assent to every thing he has recorded, on account of his having too often indulged in the marvellous, are certainly inerror; since his works contain a fund of sound knowledge. Were we thus to undervalue all our old English authorities, the few lights we have intoour early annals would be lost. Thilliam, the monk of Malmsiury, also dealt in wonders, for such was the custom of their age. The solidfoundations of history are to be found in such authors; and it is the province of the critic to clear away the rubbish, not to condemn the whole forthe defect of a part. Caznbrensis was born at Mainapar in Pembrokeshire, A. D. 1146, and lived 70 years.
issue Number
1
page Number
12
periodical Author
Edward Bunting
issue Publication Date
1809-01-01T00:00:00
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anonymous,guest,friend,member

Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland