Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    Morning Has Broken.  

    This traditional folk tune was popularized by Cat Stevens (now Yusf Islam).  The melody that is anonymous. Its origins, which probably date back several centuries are Gaelic.  The lyrics were written in 1931 by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), English poet, journalist, broadcaster and writer of children’s stories. The text consists of three verses and speaks of the beauties of nature with a deeply spiritual sense. 

        Before Eleanor Farjeon's words, the tune was used as a Christmas carol, which began Child in the manger, Infant of Mary, translated from the Gaelic lyrics written by Mary MacDonald. The English-language Roman Catholic hymnal also uses the tune for the hymn, This Day God Gives Me.  The Unitarians and Lutherans also sing this tune.

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

O’ROURKE’S FEAST takes its name from a song composed by Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738). 

One of Carolan's earliest friends was Hugh MacGauran, a gentleman of the county Leitrim, who had a happy poetical talent and excelled particularly in writing humorous poetry.  He wrote the original Irish lyrics to commemorate a remarkable banquet given by O’Rourke who was a powerful chieftain of Ulster during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Hugh MacGauran then prevailed upon Carolan to put his verse to music -- the only poem written by another person that Carolan ever put to music

The original Irish words were translated to English by Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, in 1721.  It is almost a literal translation. You can find an arrangement of this song in Sylvia Woods'  book, 40 O’Carolan Tunes For All Harps.

O'ROURKE'S noble fare Will ne'er be forgot,
By those who were there, Or those who were not.

His revels to keep, We sup and we dine
On seven score sheep, Fat bullocks, and swine.

Usquebaugh to our feast In pails was brought up,
A hundred at least, And a madder our cup.

O there is the sport! We rise with the light
In disorderly sort, From snoring all night.

O how was I trick'd! My pipe it was broke,
My pocket was pick'd, I lost my new cloak.

I'm rifled, quoth Nell, Of mantle and kercher,
Why then fare them well,The de'el take the searcher.

Come, harper, strike up; But, first, by your favour,
Boy, give us a cup: Ah! this hath some savour.

O'Rourke's jolly boys Ne'er dreamt of the matter,
Till, roused by the noise, And musical clatter,

They bounce from their nest, No longer will tarry,
They rise ready drest, Without one Ave-Mary.

They dance in a round, Cutting capers and ramping;
A mercy the ground Did not burst with their stamping.

The floor is all wet With leaps and with jumps,
While the water and sweat splish-splash in their pumps.

Bless you late and early, Laughlin O'Enagin!
But, my hand, you dance rarely. Margery Grinagin.

Bring straw for our bed, Shake it down to the feet,
Then over us spread The winnowing sheet.

To show I don't flinch, Fill the bowl up again:
Then give us a pinch Of your sneezing, a Yean.

Good lord! what a sight, After all their good cheer,
For people to fight In the midst of their beer!

They rise from their feast, And hot are their brains,
A cubit at least The length of their skeans.

What stabs and what cuts, What clattering of sticks;
What strokes on the guts, What bastings and kicks!

With cudgels of oak, Well harden'd in flame,
A hundred heads broke, A hundred struck lame.

You churl, I'll maintain My father built Lusk,
The castle of Slane, And Carrick Drumrusk:

The Earl of Kildare, And Moynalta his brother,
As great as they are, I was nurst by their mother.

Ask that of old madam: She'll tell you who's who,
As far up as Adam, mShe knows it is true.

Come down with that beam, If cudgels are scarce,

A blow on the weam, Or a kick on the a----se.