Pléaráca na Ruarcach - O'Rourke's Feast
O Rourke Crest
The O'Rourke Family Crest

One of Carolan's earliest friends was Hugh MacGauran, a gentleman of the county of Leitrim, who had a happy poetical talent, and excelled particularly in the ludicrous species of poetry. He was the author of O'Rourke's Feast which he prevailed on Carolan to put to music. This is the only poem written by another person that Carolan wrote music for.

by Hugh MacGauran, music by Carolan
Pléaráca na Ruarcach i gcuimhne gach uile dhuine
Dhá dtiocfaidh is dá dtáinic is dá maireann go fóill.
Seacht bhfichid muc, mart agus caora
Dhá gcasgairt don ghasraidh gach aon lá.

Ceád páil uisce bheatha is na meadra dhá líonadh,
Ag éirghe ar maiden is againn do bhí an spóirt.
Briseadh do phíopa-sa sladadh mo phóca-sa,
Goideadh do bríste-sa loisgeadh mo chlóca-sa,

Chaill mé mo bhaireád, m'fhileád,
Ó d'imigh na gairéid, ár seacht mbeannacht leó.
Cuir s[raic ar a' gcláirsigh sin, seinn suas a' pleáráca sin,
An bucsa sin, 'Áine, agus gredóg le n-ol!

by Dean Jonathan Swift
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

Usequebaugh to our feast - In pails was brought up,
A hundred at least, - And the madder our cup,
O there is the sport! - We rise with the light
In disorderly sort, - From snoring all night.

O how I was 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'il take the searcher.

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

Musical notations

In general, Jonathan Swift's translation is not very literal. Two lines of his represent one of Carolan's original,(I have combined each 2 lines into one in the English presentation above) but Swift's rendering of lines 5 and 6 of the original extends to eight lines. However it is possible to sing both the Irish and English versions to the same tune.

Courtesy of Jack & Vivian Hennessey, IrishPage May 2022
Irish Text: Carolan, the Life and times of an Irish Harper
by Donal O'Sullivan, 1958 Vol 2 pg 119 No 199.
Replay background music: O'Rourke's Feast
sequenced by Mike Lydiat, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.

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