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Lyr/Tune Req: MacNamara's Bilingual Ballad

Jim Carroll 07 Mar 08 - 03:32 PM
Joe Offer 07 Mar 08 - 04:34 PM
Joe Offer 07 Mar 08 - 05:16 PM
keberoxu 26 Dec 15 - 11:26 PM
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Subject: Ballads of the Pubs of Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 03:32 PM

Anybody have a copy of James N Healy's Ballads of the Pubs of Ireland (?); if so, I'm looking for the words for "MacNamara's Bilingual Ballad." and a tune if it comes with one.
Jim Carroll

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Subject: RE: lyr/tune req: MacNamara's Bilingual Ballad
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 04:34 PM

Hi, Jim - I have volumes 1 and 2 of Healy's Ballads from the Pubs of Ireland, and neither one has the song. I changed the thread title to request the song, not the book. Maybe that will help.

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Subject: ADD: MacNamara's Bilingual Ballad
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 05:16 PM

But as it was Healy's Ballads of the Pubs OF Ireland, I figured I'd better look farther. The book has no tune for the song, but here are the lyrics.

MacNamara's Bilingual Ballad
[words: Donough MacNamara (CDonnchadh Mac Con-Mara)

As I was walking one evening fair,
Agus me go déanacha m-baile Sheagáin
I met a gang of English blades
Agus iad da d-traohadh ag neart a námhaid;
I boozed and drank both late and early,
With those courageous 'men-of-war;'
'S gur bhinne liom Sasanaigh ag ruith ar
'S gan do Ghaoidhil ann acht flor bheagán.

I spent my fortune by being freakish,
Drinking, raking and playing cards;
Gidh ná raibh airgiod agam, 'ná greithre,
Na rád san t-saogal, achd nídh gan áird!
Then I turned a jolly tradesman,
By work and labour I lived abroad;
'S bloch ar m'fallaing-si gur mór an bhréag sin
Is beag dén t-saothar do thuit le m'láimh.

Newfoundland is a fine plantation,
It shall be my station till I die,
Mo chrádh! go m'fhearr liom a bheith a n-éire,
Ag díol gáirteiríghe, ná ag dul fá'n g-coill;
Here you may find a virtuous lady
A smiling fair one to please your eye,
An paca staigionnadh is measa tréithe,
Go m-beireadh mé ar a bheith as radharc!

I'll join in fellowship with 'Jack-of-all-Trades,'
The last of August could I but see;
Atá fhios ag Coisdhealbhadh's ar maghaisdir báid e,
Gur b'olc an láimh me ar muir 'ná air tír;
If fortune smiles then, I'll be her darling,
But, if she scorns my company
Déanfad 'Bainistídhe an Toill anáirde.'
'S as fada ón áit-si do bheidheadh mé 'ris.

Come drink a health, boys, to Royal George,
Our chief commander, nár órdaigh Críosd;
'S biodh bhúr n-athchuingidhe chum Muire Mhatair
E fein 's a ghárdaighe do Leagadh síos:
We'll fear no Cannon, nor 'War's Alarms,'
While noble George will be our guide,
A Chríost go bhfeiceadh mé an bhrúid da chárnadh
Ag an Mac* soar fán uainn thall san bhFrainc.

Rough translations of the lines in Irish: —
verse I
line 2 'and I lately in St. Johns'
line 4 'and they being subdued by the strength of their enemies'
7 and 8 'and Sweet 'twas for me to see English retreating and only few Irish there'.

verse 2
lines 3 and 4 'Although I had no money or jewels
or anything in the world that was valuable
7 and 8 'And, by my soul, but thats a great lie — 'twas little work that I did

verse 3
lines 3 and 4 'Alas, I'd rather be in Ireland
Selling garters or taking to the woods'
7 and 8 'A pack of whores of the worst kind
— May I be swept out of their sight!

verse 4
lines 3 and 4 'Costello knows, and he's a ship's master That I'm no good on sea or land
7 and 8 'I'll manage for myself a little hideout and it's far from this place I'll be again'.

verse 5
line 2 'Not blessed by Christ'
3 and 4 'And let your prayers to Mother Mary be
That he and his gangsters may be struck down'
7 and 8 'O Christ; May I see the brute defeated
By this son astray from us over in France'.

*Prince Charles Edward Stuart. ('Bonnie Prince Charlie')

MacNamara spent much of his time away from Ireland, but died at last at home, aged over a hundred in 1814, and is buried in the graveyard near Kilmacthomas in County Waterford.
The use of two languages in his clever bilingual song is significant for the long century of his life was the time of when the Irish peasantry were beginning to speak English instead of their native tongue. It was one of the last phases of a natural expression of poetry in the old tongue — a phase which had produced such Irish song-makers as Egan O'Reilly or (Aodhagan O'Rathaille) and Owen Roe O'Sullivan (Eoghan Roe O'Suilleabhàin). It also produced a remarkable group of wandering poets in County Limerick centered on the public house of John Twomey the Gay (Seán ó Túama, an Grínn) in Croom.
Aindreas MacGrath — 'An Mangaire Súgac' ('The Jolly Pedlar') probably the best-known wandering song-maker of the day, improvident and hard-drinking, was one of these.
Eventually they eat and drank O'Tuama out of house and home and after a wandering life of various occupations — some of the time spent as a domestic servant which produced the well known 'Bean na Cleithe Caoile' (Woman of the Slender Wattle) — he died, aged sixty-nine, in Limerick in 1775, and received the tribute of an enormous funeral attended by bards, ballad-makers and poets of every degree who had remembered the days when he proudly and lavishly dispensed hospitality to all.

Source: Ballads from the Pubs of Ireland, James N. Healy, Mercier Press, 1965 (1974 printing) (#15, pages 48-50).

I hope I got the fádas right.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: MacNamara's Bilingual Ballad
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Dec 15 - 11:26 PM

Would you be interested in some remarks, in English, on "Donncha MacConmara,"   as the commentator calls him?
My source is a bilingual book called "Irish Comic Poems." It is an anthology really. The Gaelic originals run the whole gamut of Ireland's literary history. The English translations are provided by the editor of the book, one Criostoir O Floinn. He writes the remarks about the authors. True, O Floinn decided against using Mac Conmara's bilingual lyric, the macaronic song on this thread; he chose an epic poem entirely in Gaelic, by the same author. He introduces said poem with these remarks.

Like several other poets, the color of his hair added the descriptive word rua to the personal name of Donncha Rua Mac Conmara. He was born in the village of Cratloe in County Clare, some six miles north of the city of Limerick. He must surely have frequented that tavern "at the Mungret gate" and met up with Sean o Tuama, Aindreas Mac Craith, and other poets from the converging counties of Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary. He is said to have studied for the priesthood at the Irish College in Salamanca. Later he spent some time in Newfoundland. Eventually, Mac Conmara settled in Country Waterford where he kept a school. He outlived all the other poets of his circle, and his long life provided the novelist, Francis MacManus, with material for a trilogy of novels. His death in 1810 was fulsomely noted in several newspapers, one account concluding thus: 'His compositions will be received and read until the end of time with rapturous admiration and enthusiastic applause.' Alas, in the Ireland of today his name and work are practically unknown.

On the epic Gaelic poem in Irish Comic Poems, O Floinn includes this comparison:

The poem may well have been the model for Merriman's better known Cúirt an Mhéan Oíche, the Midnight Ciourt, which it preceded by thirty years or more. The poets were contemporaries, both natives of the same general area in County Clare. Their poems are in the same metre and style, Both contain a dream sequence featuring the queen of the local fairy fort. This poem shows that acquaintance with the classics which was common to the Irish poets of the eighteenth century: Mac Conmara even indicates the kind of poetry written by each of the Roman poets he encounters in the Underworld (through which he is guided by the aforementioned queen). Reading either Mac Conmara's poem, or Merriman's, one feels that, given the time and leisure such as Milton and Dante enjoyed, these Irish poets could have produced an epic in Irish to match Paradise Lost or the Divina Commedia.

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