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For this, " the exactest version,” as he calls it, no authority whatever is cited. It may have been a version of the song in the olden time, too, for aught we can say, or will say to the contrary; for, as we intimated, many versions of it have been in circulation ; with many and various readings : but will this convict us of perpetrating a foul, wilful, and corrupt forgery? Then, in the next place, please your Worships, what is the superior sense in the latter quoted version, or what is the stark nonsense in the former, so offensive to the delicate acumen of this critic, who thus flippantly declares our print a Alam, and our version a forgery? He can't understand "to fling” without the words “ from his councils." Oh! thick-head! oh! numbscull ! where wert thou born, bred, or reared ? in Doncaster ?-_in Cockneyshire ?-or in what other foggy hole in Bull-land? And so, your Wor. ships, we pray your judgment—are we guilty of any forgery, or of uttering, as true, any counterfeit ?" Acquitted, of course.
The next charge against us is no less than ROBBERY. Our accuser says we denied the authorship of Edward Lysaght, feloniously assaulting him on the high way of literature, and taking away his fame, which is his property. With regard to this we hope we can clear ourselves in a manner no less satisfactory. First, your Worships, we did not deny the alleged fact. But further how has the allegation of the fact been sustained ?_upon hearsay merely. Why, we had plenty of hearsay ourselves, and we gave all we heard, as we dare say others also are willing to do, for there be many, truly, who, if they were as tedious as kings, could find it in their hearts to bestow it all on your Worships ; but, upon the whole, we had only to lament the want of any authority that we could trace for any of the hearsays; and does this framer of imputations upon our character supply more, when he says have always heard the song was written by Edward Lysaght?" Not a jot; he left us as before, with guess against guess, hearsay against hearsay, to await the developements of time, and the results of further inquiry.* So your Worships will be pleased to give us our discharge.” Discharged, of
Yet, after all, these accusations are not altogether unbearable. Such things must be. Men that have somewhat to say, must be let to say it; albeit they cannot tell the thing either temperately or well. But what will you think, ladies and gentlemen, of one who has nothing to say, and says his nothing vilely? But what do we call nothing ? Can we call that nothing which is worse than nothing? Imagine to yourselves a man—no doubt one of your worthy, well-meaning, winter-witted gentlemen, who ventures to denounce the song, which we have been discussing, as too well known to re
* Notwithstanding all the knocks, blows, and blustering in our text, our readers must not suppose but that we are delighted to see the controversy taken up, regarding the song of “our Island." are now happy to annex the following extract from Sir Jonah Barrington's Personal Sketches, which seems pretty decisive respecting the authorship of the words; as he was at variance with Lysaght, (though he pretends forgiveness and all that,) and would scarcely have attributed to him what does him so much credit, if there had been any doubt about it. As to what he says about the bribe of £400, that must be taken cum grano salis. Sir Jonah's skill in drawing the long-bow is well known. The time of the composition is still, however, a matter of uncertainty, as Lysaght flourished (as the dictionary.makers have it) from about 1785 to 1800. After the Union he emigrated to London, and, if Barrington may be believed, married there the ill-favoured heiress of a rich Jew. The Jew, however, turned out to be a Saxon, and a mere Christian bill-broker, who went off one fine morning, to the new or the other world, we don't remember which, leaving poor Lysaght accountable to an immense amount.
Now for Sir Jonah himself:
“ Having no fixed politics, or in truth decided principles respecting any thing, he (Lysaght) was one day a patriot, the next a courtier, and wrote squibs both for government and against it. The stanzas relatively commencing
Green were the fields that our forefathers dwelt on,' &c.
"Where the loud cannons rattle, to battle we'll go,' &c. and
• Some few years ago, though now she says no,' &c. were three of the best of his patriotic effusions; they were certainly very exciting, and he sang them with great effect. He ended his literary career by a periodical paper, written principally against me, and called the “ Lantern,” for which, and similar squibs, he received £400 from Lord Castloreagh."Barrington's Personal Sketches, vol. 3, p, 320,
quire republication,* and to say of the extatic, wild, bounding dance, No. 6, in our collection, that it has no Irish character! Too well known! If so, where can we get other copies? If we could get them, would that be a reason why the words—why the air-should not be circulated among our readers ? If every one of our readers possessed both, as formerly edited, are we to be cried down for newly arranging, in native dress, and as a duet, an air so much admired, but so long neglected. Bah! These are the gentlemen that go about daily, decrying every thing native, even because it is known and dear to usand extolling every thing alien, even because it is worthless and unknown. These are they, who praise Messrs. Chappell and Co's. collection of English airs one day, and that highly--and the next inform us, that our native music requires not re-publication, and is characterless!
We willingly turn to remarks from others, which have reached our ears rather than our eyes. We have heard it said, that No. 3, in our collection, is to be found in Bunting's last publication. We suppose No. 51 in that work, called “ Get up early," is alluded to. There is a resemblance certainlyqualem decet esse Sororum, (that is, Ladies, such as becomes sisters,) but it is no more than a sisterly likeness, and the better the two tunes are studied, the more the diversity of their spirit becomes striking. There are many instances in national music of much stronger analogies between airs, which yet are not, and are not to be, confounded. This we can vouch, that we have for full many a year, through joy and through sorrow, held fast the unbroken friendship of our own No. 3; and that it was by Bunting, in 1840, that we were first introduced to the acquaintance of the sister-air.
One more remembrance. We have learned that one of our professors-a man of great talent and ability-in expressing his opinion of our musical endeavours—an opinion not of cold disparagement, nor of self-conceited decrying, but of warm and generous sympathy,-has remarked upon some error in our musical notation, which had struck him. We are well aware that we can scarcely hope to write music faultlessly-we know that we are not without our errors--but we are anxious to know upon what particularly the attention of so competent a judge has thus been fixed, and there is nothing at this moment we should more desire to be in possession of, than the just criticism (we doubt not that such it must be) of a gentleman so highly qualified to pronounce it.
The holiday admonitions of the gentlemen “first above-mentioned,” (we wish we could as easily forget, as we heartily forgive them,) shall not deter us from re-introducing to our readers “ The Deserter,” a song by Curran. That we may not be again accused of uttering counterfeit versions of original words, we beg to inform all those whom it may concern, that our reprint is taken from the Life of Curran, by his Son-one of the best and best-written books of modern biography with which we are acquainted. The words will be found in Vol. I. pp. 211, 212,4 in the Note ; and we beg to
Such is not Mr. O'Callaghan's opinion. He expressly bears testimony to its rarity. His remarks are so much to the purpose, that we copy them :
“ This spirited effusion, of which I regret that I do not know any name for the air, and am thus unable to convey a sufficient idea of the words to a general reader, is one of the several clever Anti. Union songs written by the witty and convivial Edward Lysaght of the Irish Bar-when our Bar was properly such. Even Lord Castlereagh paid a great compliment to the merit of these compositions, after hearing the author sing them at the castle, by telling him, as I have been informed, that if such songs were sung generally throughout the country, they would excite a greater opposition to the Union than all the speeches against it in Parliament, since those speeches did not give the objections to the measure with half the point in prose, that the songs expressed them in verse. May God in whose hand' is now, however, so scarce, that I am only indebted for a copy of it to a contemporary of the author; for in the posthumous collection of Mr. Lysaght's poems, every unpalatable effusion to the Tory destroyers of Irish independence, was suppressed, through circumstances connected with certain family considerations unnecessary to mention. Thus, like the lines of Burns on a similar topic, hereafter (p. 153) adverted to, the best productions of Mr. Lysaght were consigned, as far as possible, to the fate of the national independence in which they originated! Well and truly has Homer said
• Jove makes it certain, that whatever day
Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away! “ Such interesting memorials of poetical Anti-Unionism, and all similar remains of Irish national feeling in its most extended sense, should, however, be collected from old music-books into a regular work, like the Jacobite Minstrelsy of Scotland.”—The Green Book, by John Cornelius O'Callaghan, p. 135-6.
† Edition, 1819.
announce that we shall not wilfully permit a single letter to be altered. They appear to have been written by Curran as he travelled the rounds of the Munster circuit, and about the year 1786. They are thus introduced :
“ Upon one of these journeys, and about this period, as Mr. Curran was travelling upon an unfre“quented road, he perceived a man in a soldier's dress, sitting by the road side, and apparently much “ exhausted by fatigue and agitation. He invited him to take a seat in the chaise, and soon discovered “ that he was a deserter. Having stopped at a small inn for refreshment, Mr. Curran observed to w the soldier, that he had committed an offence of which the penalty was death, and that his chance of “escaping it was small. • Tell me, then, (continued he) whether you feel disposed to pass the little “ remnant of life that is left you in penitence and fasting, or whether you would prefer to drown your
sorrow in a merry glass ?' The following is the deserter's answer, which Mr. Curran, in compos“ing it, adapted to a plaintive Irish air.”
We have often heard the words sung to the air of “the Groves of Blarney ;” the same metre answering for both. We don't mean “ The Last Rose of Summer,” which Moore calls “ The Groves of Blarney,” nor that between “ The Groves of Blarney” and Moore's air, which Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall* have published, in their Illustrations of Ireland (p. 49,); but the air which is usually sung to Milliken's well-known words.
We have confident assurance that that which we now publish, and which has nothing to say to “ The Groves of Blarney,” is the genuine air for Curran's words. It is certainly far more appropriate, as every body will feel, when the flat seventh, which opens the second part, is properly appreciated. I.
To joy a stranger,
A way-worn ranger,
In every danger
My course I've run;
Now hope all ending,
And Death befriending,
His last aid lending,
My cares are done:
No more a rover,
Or hapless lover,
My griefs are over,
And my glass runs low;
Then for that reason,
And for a season,
Let us be merry
Before we go!
Walk in, Ladies and Gentlemen, walk in; here is one of the real Wonders of the World. It beats out the Temple of Ephesus and the Colossus of Rhodes, far and away. We are neither Ulster King of Arms, keeping watch and ward upon Birmingham Tower, nor the Great Showman, exhibiting the mythic marvels of the mighty bench in Crn Court; but we have a miraculous curiosity for your inspection, more ancient and more surely genuine than the mustiest parchment ever opened by the one, and much more to be vaunted and extolled than the finest pedlar’s wares ever puffed off and paraded as precious jewels by the other.
Walk in, Ladies and Gentlemen, our show is no humbug. We offer to view an Aucient Irish Air of a construction not to be met with every day. In foreign countries you may now and then find a national melody, which differs, in some particular, from the ordinary structure, viz. parts of eight
* It is not to be supposed, because we do not stop to quarrel with this gentleman, (we say nothing of the lady), that we agree in what we do not contradict; for instance, when he intimates, that while Milliken wrote the song to ridicule the habit of writing with a smattering of classical names, that either the “ village poets,” or the people whom he stiles “their still more ignorant auditors," were not fully as much alive to the fun and frolic of every thing of the kind, as was Milliken himself. Milliken was one of the people.
bars, composed of two phrases of four bars each. But of such melodies there are not many. Half a dozen for each nation you can think of would be a large average. But in Irish music it is otherwise. Great variety of scope was taken by the Bards, who seem to have ranged to the wildest fields in the imagination of new rhythms, and at the same time to have composed their music in those rhythms with a freedom of though which shows that they could, at any moment, escape out of the mould, into which the natural musical mind of man elsewhere seems to be inevitably cast, whilst struggling to expand its energies for the invention of new melody.'
Observe the air, Ladies and Gentlemen, which we now present to your inspection. It has been discovered in that same remarkable repository of natural curiosities, which we have so repeatedly submitted to your notice, the great “Farmer aud O'Reilly Collection.” It rejoices in the Hiberno-Celtic denomination of hfearr liom a beic marb; that is, in modern characters, Bfearr liom a bheith marbh, meaning, (being interpreted,) “I had rather be dead.” An expression, doubtless, of singular import, that ; "I had rather be dead." You will perceive that each part of the air consists of Twelve barg-a circumstance not unworthy of note; but even that might have occurred in another way, without astonishing the observer in the manner that this most rare song is calculated to do. Twelve bars might be made up of three phrases of four bars each, which would no more resemble this, than a hawk resembles a handsaw. These twelve bars are each compounded of four phrases of Three bars each; and therein lies the secret of the extraordinary, and “un-in-one-breath-utterable” singularity of this rare melody. Those amongst our readers who attend cathedral services can testify, whether or not there is any thing spirit-stirring in the rhythm of the ecclesiastical “ Chant;" and most of them, we dare say, are aware that the fundamental structure of the chant requires, that its first, or first and third parts, should contain three bars only, and not four, as its second, or second and fourth parts must. There is not a jib” in Trinity College, who would not turn out and lick the choir, if they had the audacity to add a bar to the first and third parts of Lord Mornington's chant, and proceeded so to sing it ; so totally would the character be altered. Invert the component parts, and what is the form of Church Music which you obtain ? The ordinary Psalm tune in Common Mca. sure, first four bars, and then three; as in the 1st Psalm by Ravenscroft; the 6th by Purcell; the 28th by Handel; the 38th by Greene, and the like. How different in character! (We say nothing here of the Long Measure, for that takes parts of four and four bars; as in the 100th Psalm, by Martin Luther, &c.) The Psalm tune for Short Measure has a nearer approach to the division now before us. It receives a first part, in two phrases of three bars each; but the second part resembles Common Measure, as in the 25th Psalm by Isaac Smith; the 51st by Richard Taylor. In the 130th Psalm by Dr. Green, we have seen the whole verse arranged to two parts of six bars, each comprising two phrases of three bars; which would be the metre before us; but the strain is so stiff and withal so uneasy within these limits, that we doubt exceedingly if its author ever intended it to be timed otherwise than as the other Psalms to the same measure have been usually set.
These are all the materials of kindred rhythm that we have by us, to compare this air withal. There may be, but at the pinch we cannot find, nor think of, a single tune, Swiss, Tyrolese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, or other, with which we can fairly try the comparison. Looking then to such models from the popular walks of cultivated life as we see at hand, how shall we speak of the shapes and features of our Mountain Nymph? We should place her beside the other, and think of her, as the poet did of his Nora ;
Lesbia wears a robe of gold,
But all so close the nymph hath laced it,
Presumes to stay where nature placed it.
That floats as wild as mountain breezes ;
To sink or swell as Heaven pleases. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you will find it all exactly so. “Nature's dress Is loveliness"-you know the rest of it, Madam.
We have descanted so much at length, and at our ease, upon the rhythm, we hardly know whether or not you will feel disposed to bear with us for a few moments, whilst we point out a thing or two
in the modulation and general character of the air. I know by your face, good sir, that you are a connoisseur ; now please, observe the “fine, mellow, tone of colouring,” (a musician may say that, quite as justifiably as a painter,) here, where the first part closes, in no trite style, by passing into the key of the sub-dominant. Hem! Then you will see, in the second part, how glowing, in that key, is all the light of the song, until it reaches the ever-to-be-remembered true Irish emphatic sixth ; and how gently and beautifully the shading leads you back to the brilliant tonic which concludes the air. Haw!
The character of the air would equally demand your attention. At present it must suffice to say, that it breathes of the spirit of the man that has been oppressed and wronged—but yet in the midst of the abrupt bursting of his passion, he has his heart full to overflowing with all the kindlier impulses of his affections. Even these he finds are despised, outraged, and trampled upon, and he thinks, in the wildness of a dream ;-can the heart of man endure it ?
Ladies and Gentlemen, to conclude; if any of you have Saxon souls, we may as well request that you will proceed no further. What follows would be simply thrown away upon you.
You cannot enter into it. We reserve our song for our own mere Irish, and for those, who, though of a mixed blood, yet glory in the epithet applied to their ancestors, Hibernicis ipsis Hiberniores. To them we present
“THE WILD JUSTICE OF REVENGE.”
In the gloom of a cold winter's morn,
They drove me, with all I loved best,
Where I hoped in my old-age to rest.
And my loved ones stood weeping before me
Ere the wild dream of vengeance came o'er me.
Thin and pale grew the cheek of my child,
Yet she laboured her father to cheer,
While her blue eye was dim with a tear.
Yet the spoiler passed scatheless before me-
Ere the wild dream of vengeance came o'er me.
Oh! the evening was gloomy and chill,
And my breast heaved with many a sigh,
Where the bones of my forefathers lie.
While my hoine lay in ruins before me
Ere the wild dream of vengeance came o'er me.
Behold an air called “ Pastheen Fuen,” found in a work, entitled, “ The Vocal Magazine, contain. ing a selection of the most esteemed English, Scots, and Irish Songs, antient and modern; adapted for the Harpsichord or Violin. 2 vols. Edinburgh, printed by C. Stewart and Co. 1797. 1798.” It is in Vol. I., Song XIV., and is denominated “ Irish.” You might know it without the carmark. A song is set to it which is quite Beranger-like in its retrospective contentment, and Epicurean indifferentism; and people of old-fashioned tastes will think it a capital one; but it seems to us little suited to the air whereto it was attached. Whether we read and construe the name aright or wrongly, we know not; but we may guess it to mean “ The Good Child;" for Paisdin means infant,” and we find in O'Reilly, Fuinne signifying “good.” Perhaps the word was Fionn which
VOL. III.-N0. XVII.