Imágenes de páginas

the human heart, and to this source may be traced much of the formation of our national character.

px píob mar ekk-
A swan-like grace her neck displays.

Second Stanza.
The swan, a bird with which Ireland formerly abounded, is
an object of frequent allusion in Irish and Oriental poetry. So
Lord Byron in his poem,

“ The Giaour,” an Eastern Tale :

“ The cygnet nobly walks the water;
So moves on earth Circassia's daughter,
The loveliest bird of Franguestan ;
As rears her crest the ruffled swan,
And spurns the waves with wings of pride,
When pass the steps of stranger man."

The beautiful simile of the swan in “ O'More's Fair Daughter,” p. 35, may here recur to the recollection of the reader. Our Irish poets, like the Arabians, have delighted in description of female hair. Thus, Lord Byron in the same poem :

“ Her hair in hyacinthine flow,
When left to roll its folds below;
As midst her handmaids in the hall,
She stood superior to them all.
Hath swept the marble where her feet
Gleamed whiter than the mountain sleet,
Ere from the cloud that gave it birth,
It fell and caught one stain of earth."

And Professor Carlyle in his translations from the Arabic :

Tbro' midnight gloom my Leila stray'd,
Her ebon locks around her play'd;
So dark they wav'd-so black they curld,
Another might o'erspread the world.”

Many passages might be produced to show the affinity between Irish and Oriental poetry. They are, however, postponed for some other opportunity, in order here to introduce and preserve a popular Mayo song, composed by a friar of the ancient abbey of Ballyhaunis, in that county, whose name was Costello, and who fell in love with a beautiful girl of that place. Tradition tells, that after pouring forth his soul in these tender stanzas, the love-sick ecclesiastic preserved his vows by tearing himself from the object of his dangerous affection, and departing for a foreign land, where he died. The air is sweet and plaintive.


Air fhonn Phóirt Górdoin.

A Mháire, ghrádh, is tú tám chrádh,
Och! tabhair do lámh zo dlúth dhámh!
'S gur dual damh buádh ná cóige d'fhágháil,
Go brách ná dean mé dhiúltadh!

A chúil na n-dual, sé mo chúmhaidh go buán,
Ach bh-fuilim leát fukidhte á g-cleamhnás,
Beidheld zo duire fa̸ shíor-zhruáimh,


Má bhishin bh-pád uáim-se á ánnsácht.

A bhláith ná g-cáor, o thárla̸igh mé,
Claoidhte tréith le greánn duit

Tápp xáoí❜m dhéighin, A púin mo chléibh,

'Y tábháir grádh gán chláén zán chám dámh.——

F^rKoir ghéur! 's mé 'n ceann gán chéill!

'Y do chómhairle m'a̸thár níor úmhlúíghe ́s ;

'Y zur b'e cómhrádh déigheánnách dubhairt sé liom * sum


· Tréiz-si béul-Kth-shámhnáis.”

Acht thug me gradh, do'd chúilín bán,

Air chúl an gháirdín Pónkire,

Do'd bhéilín tláith, már chúbhár ná trágha̸,
'I do'd dhá zhruádh dhea̸rg már chKorchon ;
do'd bheul is binne, na̸n chuách áir bile,

'Y na ceileabhar ca̸óín ná n-éunlu̸,

Mo leun 's mo mhilleadh ! gán me 's tú chumkinn,
Az éulózhadh le ná chéile.

A zhrádh 's á rúin, « n-glua̸isfeńdh liom,
Go tír na long as Eirinn ?

Hi'l tinneas cinn, ná tuirse croídhe,

Yach leigheasfKídhe Ann gán AmhrKs ;— 'Y tú An réult eóluis, thár mhnáibh ná Fódhlá, Azur cuingidh agad fein ó'n m-bas me;

Oir gán grása Dé, ní mháirfidh mé,

Air An t-sráid-so bhéul-Kth-shámhnáis.

The word cuingidh, in the sixth line of the last stanza, should have been written congbhigh.

Here it may be observed, that the usual term for lyrical composition in Irish is Abhɲán, which means, literally, sweet verse.

This word is compounded of abh sweet, and pán a verse. sometimes called órdhan, compounded of or sound or melody, and dan a poem ; and órán, from ór, and ran a verse. The latter is generally used by the Gael of Scotland.


Eileen a Roon, Ellen the secret treasure of my heart, is one of the most popular of our songs. The present words are the production of a Munster bard, of the seventeenth century, who endeavoured to excel, by profusion of poetic embellishment, the original and sweetly simple song of Eileen a Roon, to be found at p. 264. The incident which led to its composition, will appear in a subsequent note. The air is ancient, and one of our finest. Handel, as related by the venerable Charles O'Conor, in his Dissertations on the History of Ireland, (a book which ought to be in the hands of every Irishman,) declared, that he would rather have been the author of Eileen a Roon, than of the most exquisite of his musical compositions. This ancient Irish air, which our oldest people familiarly remember from their infancy, has been, some few years ago, introduced to the British public as a Scotch melody, under the name of Robin Adair. The grounds for this assumption appear in the correspondence between Robert Burns, and his publisher Thompson, in 1793. The latter in a letter to the bard, wishes him to giveRobin Adair,(meaning Eileen a Roon,) “ a Scottish dress. Peter (Pindar) is furnishing him with an English suit. Robin's air is excellent, though he certainly has an out of the way measure as ever poor parnassian wight was plagued with.” Burns in his answer says, “ I have met with a musical Highlander, who assures me, that he well remembers his mother singing Gaelic songs to both Robin Adair and Gramachree,(our Molly Astore.) “ They certainly have” he adds, more of the Scotch than Irish taste in them.” Here we must differ with the bard. He then continues, “ This man comes from the vicinity of Inverness, so it could not be any intercourse with Ireland, that could bring them; except what I shrewdly suspect to be the case, the wandering minstrels, harpers, and pipers, used to go frequently errant through the wilds both of Scotland and Ireland, and so some favorite airs might be common to both.” Burns was a poet. In the first part of his letter he was dealing in fiction, in the latter part the truth forced itself on him. On this proof, however, the airs in question were pronounced Scotch. It would seem they were not aware that Robin Adair was an Irishman. He was ancestor of viscount Molesworth ; lived at Hollypark, in the county of Wicklow; and early in the last century, was a member of the Irish Parliament. With respect to Molly a Store, or as Burns called it, Gramachree, as well might it be asserted, that the hill of Howth lay in Perthshire, as that this ancient air was Scotch. Indeed further to notice the assertion would be almost as ridiculous, as seriously to go about proving, that that well known bill was not always “the pride of sweet Dublin harbour,” and never wandered to Inverness.

Burns' wish, however, to appropriate these “gems of genius” to his country, is at once evidence of his taste, and of their beauty. The consideration of their ancient names alone, would have been sufficient to show the error of his conclusion. The endearing expressions of love with which our poetry abounds, and the affectionate terms of our colloquial intercourse, are to be found only among the Arabians, and in some degree among the Spaniards. Eileen a RoonGramachree-Molly a Store-Sa Vourneen DeelishCean dubh Deelish, and hundreds of similar phrases, are as familiar to our people in ordinary conversation, as the air which they breathe. Poetic stanzas, full of those tender expressions, are to be met with

« AnteriorContinuar »