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has preserved itself free from all tinge of foreign innovation,* anri ane chief corruptions of which we have to complain arise from the unskilful performance of our own itinerant musicians, from whom, too frequently, the airs are noted down, encumbered by their tasteless decorations, and responsible for all their ignorant anomalies Though it be sometimes impossible to trace the original strain, yet in most of them, “auri per ramos aura refulget," + the pure gold of the melody shines through the ungraceful foliage which surrounds it; and the most delicate and difficult duty of a compiler is to endeavour, as much as possible, by retrenching these inelegant superfluities, and collating the various methods of playing or singing each air, to restore the regularity of its form, and the chaste sime plicity of its character.
I must again observe that, in doubting the antiquity of our music, my scepticism extends but to those polished specimens of the art which it is difficult to conceive anterior to the dawn of modern improvement; and that I would by no means invalidate the claims of Ireland to as early a rank in the annals of minstrelsy as the most zealous antiquary may be inclined to allow her. In addition, indeed, to the power which music must always have possessed over the minds of a people so ardent and susceptible, the stimulus of persecution was not wanting to quicken our taste into enthusiasm ; the charms of song were ennobled with the glories of martyrdom, and the acts against minstrels in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth were as successful, I doubt not, in making my countrymen musicians as the penal laws have been in keeping them Catholics.
With respect to the verses which I have written for these melo. dies, as they are intended rather to be sung than read, I can answer for their sound with somewhat more confidence than their sense ; yet it would be affectation to deny that I have given much attention to the task, and that it is not through want of zeal or industry if I unfortunately disgrace the sweet airs of my country by poetry altogether unworthy of their taste, their energy, and their tender
Though the humble nature of my contributions to this work may exempt them from the rigours of literary criticism, it was not to be expected that those touches of political feeling, those tones of national complaint, in which the poetry sometimes sympathises with the music, would be suffered to pass without censure or alarm. It has been accordingly said, that the tendency of this publication is mischievous, I and that I have chosen these airs but as a vehicle of dangerous politics—as fair and precious vessels (to borrow an image
Among other false refinements of the art, our music (with the exception, perhaps, of the air called "Mamma, Mamma," and one or two more of the same ludicrous description) has avoided that puerile mimicry of natural noises, motions, &c., which disgraces so often the works of even the great Handel himself. D'Alembert ought to have had better taste than to become the patron of this imitative affectation, (Discours Préliminaire de l'Envclopédie.) The reader may find some good remarks on the subject in Avison upon Musicai Expression ; a work which, though under the name of Avison, was written, it is said, by Dr. Brown. # Virgil, Æneid, lib. 6, v. 204.
See Letters, under the signatures of “Timæus," &c., in the Morning Post, Pilot, and other papers.
of St. Augustine) from which the wine of erro: might be ar?ministered. To those who identify nationality with treason, an! who see in every effort for Ireland a system of hostility cowards England-to those too, who, nursed in the gloom of prejudice, are alarmed by the faintest gleam of liberality that threatens to disturb their darkness, like that Demophon of old who, when the sun shone upon him, shivered !*—to such men I shall not deign to apologise for the warmth of any political sentiment which may occur in the course of these pages.
But as there are many among the more wise and tolerant who, with feeling enough to mourn over the wrongs of their country, and sense enough to perceive all the danger of not redressing them, may yet think that allusions in the least degree bold or inflammatory should be avoided in a publication of this popular description-I beg of these respected persons to believe that there is no one who deprecates more sincerely than I do any appeal to the passions of an ignorant and angry multitude; but that it is not through that gross and inflammable region of society a work of this nature could ever have been intended to circulate. It looks much higher for its audience and readers--it is found upon the pianofortes of the rich and the educated--of those who can afford to have their national zeal a little stimulated without exciting much dread of the excesses into which it may hurry them; and of many whose nerves may be now and then alarmed with advantage, as much more is to be gained by their fears than could ever br expected from their justice.
Having thus adverted to the principal objection which has been hitherto made to the poetical part of this work, allow me to add a few words in defence of my ingenious coadjutor, Sir John Stevenson, who has been accused of having spoiled the simplicity of the airs, by the chromatic richness of his symphonies, and the elaborate variety of his harmonies. We might cite the example of the admirable Haydn, who has sported through all the mazes of musical science in his arrangement of the simplest Scottish melodies; but it appears to me that Sir John Stevenson has brought a national ieeling to this task, which it would be in vain to expect from a foreigner, however tasteful or judicious. Through many'of his own compositions we trace a vein of Irish sentiment, which points him out as peculiarly suited to catch the spirit of his country's music; and, far from agreeing with those critics who think that his symphonies have nothing kindred with the airs which they introduce, I would say that, in general, they resemble those illuminated initials of old manuscripts which are of the same character with the writing which follows, though more highly coloured tand more curiously ornamented.
In those airs which are arranged for voices, his skill has par. ticularly distinguished itself, and, though it cannot be denied that a single melody most naturally expresses the language of feeling and passion, yet often, when a favourite strain has been dismissed as
“This emblem of modern bigots was head-butler (TpaTE SOTOLOS) to Alex. ander the Great." --Sert Empor. Pyrrh. Hypoth, lib. i
† The word "chromatic" might have been used here, without any violence" its meaning.
having lost its charm of novelty for the ear, it returns in a har; monised shape with new claims upon our interest and attention and to those who study the delicate artifices of composition, the construction of the inner parts of these pieces must afford, I think, considerable satisfaction. Every voice has an air to itself, a flowing Succession of notes, which might be heard with pleasure independent of the rest, so artfully has the harmonist (if I may thus express it) gavelled the melody, distributing an equal portion of its sweetness to every part.
GO WHERE GLORY WAITS THEE.
Go where glory waits thee ;
Oh! still remember me.
Oh! then remember me.
Sweeter far may be ;
Oh! then remember me.
Oh! then remember me.
Oh! thus remember me.
Once so loved by thee,
Oh ! then remember me.
Oh! then remember me.
Oh! still remember me.
Draw one tear from thee;
Oh! then remember me,
REMEMBER THE GLORIES OF BRIEN THE BRAVE.
Though the days of the hero are o'er;
He returns to Kinkora I no more.
Its beam on the battle, is set ;
To light us to victory yet.
Of thy fields and thy mountains so fair,
The footstep of slavery there?
Go, tell our invaders, the Danes,
Than to sleep but a moment in chains.
In the day of distress by our side ;
They stirred not, but conquered and died.
Saw them fall upon Ossory's plain ;-
To find that they fell there in vain.
ERIN! THE TEAR AND THE SMILE IN THINE EYES.
ERIN! the tear and the smile in thine eyes
Shining through sorrow's stream,
Weep while they rise.
Brien Borohme, the great monarch of Ireland, who was killed at the battle of Clontarf in the beginning of the with century, after having defeated the Danes in twenty-five engagements. † Munster.
The palace of Brien. § This alludes to an interesting circumstance relating to the Dalgais, the favourite troops of Brien, when they were interrupted in their return trom the battle of Clontarf, by Fitzpatrick, prince of Ossory.
The wounded men entreated that they might be allowed to fight with the rest. “Let stakes," they said, " be stuck in the ground, and suffer each of us, tied to and supported by one of these stakes, to be placed in his rank by the side of a sound man.' “ Betweeen seven and eighi hundred wounded men (adds O'Halloran), pale, emaciated, and supported in this manner, appeared mixed with the foremost of the troops ; never was such another sight exhibited."-History of Ireland. book 12, chap. i.
Erin ! thy silent tear never shall cease,
Till, like the rainbow's light,
One arch of peace !
OH! BREATHE NOT HIS NAME. OH! breathe not his name ; let it sleep in the shade, Where cold and unhonoured his relics are laid ; Sad, silent, and dark be the tears that we shed, As the night-dew that falls on the grass o'er his head. But the night-dew that falls, though in silence it weeps. Shall brighten with verdure the grave where he sleeps ; And the tear that we shed, though in secret it rolls Shall long keep his memory green in our souls.
WHEN HE WHO ADORES THEE.
WHEN he who adores thee has left but the naine
Of his sault and his sorrows behind,
Of a life that for thee was resigned ?
Thy tears shall efface their decree;
I have been but too faithful to thee.
With thee were the dreams of my earliest love;
Every thought of my reason was thine ;
Thy name shall be mingled with mine.
The days of thy glory to see; But the next dearest blessing that Heaven can give
Is the pride of thus dying for thee.
THE HARP THAT ONCE THROUGH TARA'S HALLS.
The harp that once through Tara's halls
The soul of music shed
As if that soul were fled.
So glory's thrill is o'er,
Now feel that pulse no more.