Banríon Sí - Faerie Queen

The first two lines of the tune are illustrative of the love of gambling, drinking and music in eighteenth century Ireland.

The harpers were a numerous class and they were entertained as guests at the Big Houses, playing their repertoire of Irish airs and occasionally taking pupils. They were very much in request on special occasions, such as weddings and funerals, and received with lavish hospitality for which Ireland has always been famous. This tune is also entitled Ciste nó Stór: Coffers and Stores and sometimes less correctly, 'My Love and Treasure'. Bunting has the following note: 'This very ancient Irish air seems to have been the original of Carolan's Faerie Queen, the only difference being that Carolan has added two more parts to it, in which it was generally played by the harpers'... Dónal O'Sullivan.

le Turlough O'Carolan
1. Ciste nó stór go deó ní mholfad,
Ach imirt is ól is ceól do ghnáth;
Taoim ar baois fá mhnaoi 's mó ró-mhaith dhodlaim,
'S nach truagh sin duine ar bith beó mar táim?

by Frank Osborne
Treasure or store I would ne'er advise,
But play and drink and music to frequent;
Fits of folly for a woman mostly is my cause for excess drinking,
Is it not sad that one such as I exists?

2. 'Sé fáth mo thuirse nach bhfágham do chuideacht,
A mhaighdean tséimh má's gnaoi leat mé,
Suidh go dlúth le mo thaobh is tabhair póg dhom bhéal,
Is coingigh dhuit féin ón mbás mé!

The cause of my weariness is I do not leave your company,
O gentle maiden if you love me,
Sit close by my side and kiss my mouth,
And save me from death for yourself!

The Faerie Queen is sometimes found with the title 'Awake the Harp's Slumber'. This is from a song in English of which these are the opening words. It is printed with the tune in Crosby's Irish Musical Repository (1808), p.155. At this time the tobacco habit was widespread, tea was not yet in general use, and the customary drinks were whiskey, ale, and the wines of France, Portugal and Spain - but chiefly claret and port. The descendants of the Protestant settlers seem to have been just as devoted to the Irish music of the harp as were the old Gaelic families. ... Dónal O'Sullivan vol. 1 pg. 15.

Notations by Dónal O'Sullivan from Carolan, the Life and Times of an Irish Harper

Replay background music: Faerie Queen by Turlough O'Carolan, sequenced by Dave Carroll.
Source: O'Sullivan's 1958 2 volume edition of Bunting's 1796-1840 publications, Vol. 2 No. 195 pg. 116-117.
Courtesy of Vivian and Jack Hennessey, 2022
For phonetics consult the pocket dictionairy Fóclóir Póca.

Filleadh go liosta
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