Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fanny Power 
(Click on the performance - lower right under Harp Demo)

Fanny Power was likely composed before 1728 by Turlough O'Carolan in praise of the daughter and heiress of David Power, County Galway. According to Lady Morgan, Carolan called her "the Swan of the Shore," because her father's residence was situated on the edge of Lough Riadh. Frances changed her name to Mrs. Trench on March 13th, 1732, on her marriage to Richard Trench, and was the mother of Lady Clancarty, surviving to the year 1793. The melody was published in 1745 and 1779 as "Mrs. Trench."

words: W.B. Yeats

music: Turlough O'Carolan

Verse I (music part A)

When all but dreaming was Fanny Power

A light came streaming from out her bower

A heavy thought at her door delayed
A heavy hand on the latch was layed

Verse II (music part A)

Now who dare venture at this dark hour

Unbid to enter my maiden bower

"Oh, Fanny, open the door to me
And your true lover you'll surely see"

Verse III (music part B)

"My own true lover so tall and brave

He lives in next isle o'er the angry wave"

"Your true love's body lies on the pier,
"His faithful spirit is with you here."

Verse IV (music part B)

"Oh, his look was cheerful and his voice was gay,

Your face is fearful and your speech is gray

And sad and tearful your eye of blue
Ah, but Patrick, Patrick, alas tis you"

Verse V (music part A)
The dawn was breaking, she heard below
The two cocks shaking their wings to crow
"Oh, hush you! hush you! both red and gray
Or will you hurry my love away?"

Verse VI (music part B)

"Oh, hush your crowin', both gray and red

Or he will be goin' to join the dead
And cease you calling his ghost to the mold
And I'll come crowning your wings with gold"

Verse VII (music part A)

When all but dreaming was Fanny Power

A light came streaming beneath her bower
And on the morrow when they awoke
They knew that sorrow, her heart had broke.

(play music part B)

Turlough O'Carolan was born in Ireland at Newtown in the County Meath, in the year 1670.  In his twenty-second year he became blind as a result of Scarlet Fever, and having displayed much proficiency on the harp, determined to pursue the avocation of harper. Accordingly, in 1693 we find him travelling "on a good horse, with a servant, well mounted also, to carry his harp and wait on him"--all provided for him through the generosity of Madame MacDermot, of Alderford House, County Roscommon.