Marbhna Uillioc Burca - Lament for Sir Ulick Burke

Burke family Crest
Burke Family Crest

Carolan had left Mr. Maguire's house in Tempo and was on his way to Sir Ulick Burkes in Co. Mayo. Along the way the weather turned bad and he was forced to stop at a place called Glean Geivle in Co. Cavan in a miserable cabin, where they were made welcome to the humble fare the house-owner could afford. There was a great fall of snow that night which retarded their journey for some days. With difficulty Carolan was able to get to Burke's house but Burke was dead and buried some days before he arrived there. Lady Burke told the servants not to tell Carolan of his death until she could do so herself.
While snowbound in Co. Cavan, Carolan had composed two verses for Sir Ulick and when he arrived at Burke's house and could get no answer for several days from the family as to Sir Ulick's whereabouts, he took up the harp and played the verses. When the family and domestics heard his name mentioned in the song, they broke out in tears and sobs and informed Carolan of Sir Ulick's fate. Carolan, himself, laid down his harp and wept. Then he picked it up and sang the last verse in elegiac style, far surpassing the first two verses. ... O'Sullivan 2001 1 vol. edition, pg. 298.

1. A' gcuala duine truaighe
Chomh mór le h-éag Sir Uileag?
Dísle na h-uasle
Do adhbhar is mo chruadh-chneadh

2. A bheith sínte i gcarcair Chaoil Chrébha
Is é a bheith gan chuideachta
Mar a bhíodh sgaoith do lucht siansa
Go síorruidhe in a dháil.

3. A chuisle chroidhe na daonacht
Nár chlaon ariamh in aon locht,
Is go silfidhe ar a' tsaoghal so
Gur naomh thú fuair bás.

Song Notations

Notations are courtesy of Carolan, the Life and Times of an Irish Harper by Dónal O'Sullivan p. Celtic Music Edition 1983.

Courtesy of Vivian and Jack Hennessey, IrishPage.com, 2005.
Replay background music: Ulick Burke
Lyrics for Sir Ulick Burke's elegy are in Tomás ÓMáille No 53 p 166.

Filleadh go liosta
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