Ól-Ré Chearbhalláin - Carolan's Receipt

At one point a doctor advised Carolan to stop drinking for a period of time. Complying with this, Carolan began to feel worse instead of better.

He then found a doctor who gave him the opposite advice, at the same time filling a glass for Carolan and requesting him to take it'. He obeyed with alacrity and 'at once his spirits became lively and cheerful'. He then repeated the following: ... O'Sullivan

le Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin
Is duine leamh do thréigfeadh an t-ól,
Bheir sé beós do dhuine gan chroidhe,
Eineach don té bhios cruaidh,
Meisneach is stuaim don daoí.

Bheir sé freagra don té bhios mall
An focal i n-am a rádh,
Is an té nár chorruigh a bhaill
ó Nodlaic do chainnt ar mhná.

Bheir sé meisneach don té bhíos fann
Go dtroideadh an Fhrainnc is an Spáinn,
' Nois os mian lion sgur de mo rann
Cuir agam an dram sin lán!

by unknown
He's a fool who gives up the liquor,
It softens the skinflint at once,
It urges the slow coach on quicker,
Gives spirit and brains to the dunce.

The man who is dumb as a rule
Discovers a great deal to say,
While he who is bashful since Yule
Will talk in an amorous way.

It's drink that uplifts the coward
To give battle in France and in Spain,
Now here is an end of my turn-
And fill me that bumper again!

Dr. John Stafford of Elphin, County Roscommon, was the second doctor mentioned above and a lifelong friend of Carolan. According to Bunting, Carolan was living in Boyle and at the time was temporarily a total abstainer, on medical advice. As a result, he suffered from extreme depression and his harp lay 'neglected and unstrung.' At length, after six weeks 'quarantine', he called on Dr. Staford while he was on his way to a friend's for dinner. Dr. Stafford pressured him to stay a spell and at the same time pressed Carolan to take a draught of his cordial. He drank freely after that, his depression lifted, and he composed this air ever after known as Carolan's Receipt to Stafford in the morning. ...Dónal O'Sullivan.

le Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin
1. Más tinn nó slán do thárla mé,
Ghlúaiseas trá & dob' fheárr-de an sgéal,
Air cuairt 'un Seán 'un sócamhuil fhágail,
An Stafardach breágh sáimh nár ghnáth ghan chéill.

Seal air misge seal air buile,
Reubadh téid & dul air mire,
An faisiun sin a chleachtamar,
Ní sgarfam leis go deo,
Insighim féin díbh éaithrisidh don tsaoghal é,
Más maith lidh bheith saoghalach bígi ag ól.

2. Is i dtaca an mheodhain oidhche bhid sinn ag ól,
Aguis air maidin arís an cordíal,
Sé mheasain ó chéill mhaith gurb é rúd an gléus.
Le Cearbhallán caoch a bheobhachan,

3. Go mbu fada buan sáoghalach a bhéas tú beó,
A aon mhic Sheán mhic Thomáis bháin,
Spalpaire an úr-chróide d'fillfeadh air an tsúgradh,
A's go bhfuil na cúig cúigí lán do do ghrádh.

4. Fear is grinne i gcéill 'sa dtuigse,
Chuirfeadh na cléirc'go léir air misge,
Is ionmhuin leis an tsaoghal é
Agus go dteannfuinn le mo chroidhe é,

5. An Stafardach breágh sionsamhail,
Is gurb é a mhían bheith ag ól.
[So sláinte gach óigfhir lér mhían a bheith 'g-ól,
Is ní áirighim an Stafardach óg tá súgach cóir:

6. Fear bréagh flaitheamhail (a) scapadh fion agas beóir,
Go mbu bhúan é, (i) bhfad , an ard-fhlaith gan smúid,
Is aoibhinn dá thir é, tá gean agus grádh an tsaoghail air,
Sé ceannphort gach sionsa an mac óidhrigheacht sin Sheoin].

by unknown
1. If sick or strong I chanced to be,
I went along - 'twas well for me -
To Doctor John to find relief,
Brave Stafford, skillful leech is he!

Sometimes tipsy, sometimes raking,
Wild in frenzy, harpstrings breaking,
The custom that we followed, we will never let it die!
I tell you once again, Sirs,
I will always maintain, Sirs,
For a long merry life of it, be drinking for aye!

2. About the witching hour we would start our carouse,
By morn our zest for whiskey was the sharper:
Sensible man! for such was his plan
To put life in the poor blind harper!

3. May you have a long and lively life,
Only son John, son of greying Thomas,
Ne'er-do-well light-hearted one who'd return to play,
And the five provinces are full of your love's promise.

4. Sharpest in mind and understanding,
Would make the whole clergy drunk (by his charm?)
He is beloved by the world
And I would stress that from with my heart.

5. Stafford the fine lingerer,
And his desire was to be drinking
[Here's a toast to all young men who like to imbibe,
And I count not young Stafford who is proper merry:

6. A fine man who'd share wine and beer
Good on him, altogether, on high sans gloom,
'Tis pleasant for his land, the world has affection and love for him,
He is center of each lingering that male heir of Seán].

Dr. John Stafford, Elphin, County Roscommon, was a lifelong friend of Carolan's. He attended Carolan when he was dying and was one of the pall-bearers at his funeral. His family was transported from Wexford to Connaught by Cromwell. He had a brother who took advantage of the penal laws to turn Protestant and seized the family estates, making his father a mere tenant-for-life and reducing his brother 'to the necessity of being bred to the trades'.
John Stafford, accordingly 'was a bound apprentice to an apothecary in Mullingar and later set himself up in that business in Elfin where he prospered. The brother who had gotten the property, however, turned out profligate and lost everything. "The Doctor, evidently succeeded in life as his second son is now (1785) principal of a college in Paris." ...Walker


Courtesy of Vivian and Jack Hennessey, IrishPage.com February 2024.
1. First poem lyrics Irish and English: Carolan, the life and times of an Irish harper by Dónal O'Sullivan, vol. 1 pg. 91.
2. Irish lyrics: Carolon by Tómas Ó Máille, 1916, Irish Texts Society. pg 115, No 6.
3. English lyrics: Carolan, the life and times of an Irish harper by Dónal O'Sullivan, verses 1-2 pg. 101 No. 161.
4. Cuidiú ó Proinsias Osborne.
5. Notations: Op. Cit. O'Sullivan vol. 1 pg. 249, No. 161.

Back to Carolan Tunes Page