Obligation to Dr. Arthur Perceval Graves and Mr. The Beginnings 1 II. The Bards and Minstrels The Nature op Irish Music Songs of Joy and Sorrow Songs of Pagan Chivalry Gael and Gall X. The Curse of Cromwell XI. The Dawning of the Day The Coulin 54 Ex. The Coulin as sung in Clare. The Coulin Embroidered by Harpers 57 Ex. Major scale of C 60 Ex. Celtic scale 60 Ex. Limerick, air based on five-note scale 60 Ex. The Last Rose 63 Ex. My Love's an Arbutus 65 Ex. Scale of G major 68 Ex. Hypodorian scale 68 Ex. Scale of A minor 68 Ex. IS, Ben Erinn i 71 Ex. Eileen Aroon 75 Ex. Balunderhy 81 Ex.
Paisteen Fionn 85 Ex. Nora of the Amber Hair Lullauies 96, 98 Ex. Plow Tune Ex. Smith's Song Ex. Spinning Song Ex. Theme op Scherzo op " Eroica " Sym- phony Ex. Three Little Drummers. Kerry Jig. Wink and She will Fol- low You Ex. Clare Reel. Toss the Feathers. Song of Oonagh Ex. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. The Cry op the Banshee. I6I Ex. Lamentation of Deirdre. Dirge of Ossian Ex. Gathering Sound Ex. Grania Waile ,. Lament Ex.
Shane O'Dwyer of the Glen. The Wild Geese Ex. The White Cockade Ex. All the Way. March of the Irish Volunteers. Together they form a tra- dition — a tradition still vital and operative, through which we touch hands with the poets and musicians of a past that antedates the Christian era. The gol- den chain of music-makers unites us with the harpers who sat in their appointed places on the hill of Tara and, with their music, " softened the pillow " of Cor- mac Mac Art, high-king of Erin. That was in the first century after Christ. Bards and minstrels taught their craft to younger men and the successors of Cormac's servitors knelt before St.
Patrick, when he came on his apostolic mission. Bard and minstrel led the rejoicings over the defeat of the Danes at Clon- tarf and mourned the death of Brian and Murcad. They sang Erin's songs in hall and cottage, in defiance of Tudor kings, fan- ning the flame of patriotism with tales of dead heroes and old-time battle fields. Poets and musicians, them- selves proscribed, grieved for exiled Tyrone and Tir- connel; they sang the dirge of Owen Roe O'Neill.
They mourned the ire of Cromwell, and women and children murdered in hundreds about the cross of Drogheda. With a loyalty as devoted as it was mis- placed, they upheld the cause of the dissembling Stu- arts. In happier moments, all too few, they exulted with Patrick Sarsfield; they sang the praises of the Rapparees ; they gloried in the charge of Clare's men at Fontenoy. In the Penal Days they were partners in danger and martyrdom with Ireland's priests, hunted like beasts of prey, with no place to lay their heads. Never in the long night of seven centuries of foreign oppression have these men ceased to pro- claim the cause of Irish nationality.
Languishing in prison, done to death as traitors, they were still true to their cause. From the coming of Strongbow to "Ninety-Eight," from "Ninety-Eight" to our own day, the poets of Ireland have sung to authentic Irish strains an Erin by right free and independent, in chains truly, but with soul unfettered, irreconcil- able to any ideal save that of Ireland for the Irish, " from the center to the sea.
John of Salisbury tells us that in the Crusade headed by Godfrey of Bouillon the concert of Christendom would have been mute had it not been for the Irish harp. Gerald Barry, the Welsh monk and historian, hater of the Irish though he was, de- clares that Erin's harpers surpass all others. That was in the twelfth century. Ireland's musical skill had won her fame long ages before that, however. When the wife of Pepin of France wanted choristers for her new abbey of Nivelle, it was not to Italy, to Germany, or to England that she sent, but to Ire- land.
That was in the seventh century. In Eliza- bethan days the songs of Ireland won praise even from her enemy and traducer, Edmund Spenser. Shakespearean enigmas, long insoluble, become plain in the light of the poet's acquaintance with Celtic lore. Bacon of Verulam declared that of all instruments the Irish harp had the sweetest note and the most pro- longed. Irish airs found their way into the virginal books of Tudor and Jacobean days. Byrde and Pur- cell wrote variations on Irish tunes. As in peace, so it was in war.
England's battles have been fought and won to Irish music. Only a generation has gone by since a professor of Trinity College had the courage of his ignorance to declare that, prior to the coming of the Normans and Saxons, Ireland had no culture worthy of a civilized race. The maker of that observation focussed in one small identity the ignorance and prejudice which, for centuries past, have made English people incapable of understanding the Irish character.
At the very time that this of- ficial know-nothing was airing his folly the patient labors of Irish archaeologists were bringing to light treasure of Irish art and literature which to-day fills the scholars of the world with delight and amaze- ment. It is as though a new planet had swum into the firmament of knowledge. The great pathbreaker of scientific Celticism was Eugene O'Curry. There is in the ability of this remarkable man to extract from ancient manuscript the spirit of the Gaelic past something seer-like and druidic.
His work is an evocation of centuries long imagined dead, but, in reality, only sleeping, like the princess in the fairy-tale, until a lover's kiss should awaken them. O'Curry dissipates the night of misconception, amplifies the mental horizon of hu- manity, and re-creates the ancient Celtic world. What O'Curry did for Celticism in its literary as- pect, George Petrie achieved in the domain of music.
The work of these men and of scholars like Dr. Doug- las Hyde, the Joyces, Dr. Then the Irish folk is its own historian. The songs of the people are free from guile or pretense or the bias of the professional historian ; they tell what is in the singer's heart, its loves and its hates, its long- ings, its aspirations, its ideals.
They are the cry of the natural man ; the people sing them with the accent they use when they speak to God. Nothing is too great, nothing too small, for these confidences entrusted to poetry and music. Theirs also is the song of the thrush in the morning ; the voice of the plowman urging on his team ; the reek of the peat smoke is in them ; they echo the hue and cry of hunter and hounds and the music of the waves on the beach.
They are Erin's own speech. Strange words to be penned by an Englishman ; yet what Briton would not write them, if Erin were Britannia and Britannia Erin. The earliest allusions to music in Irish story re- fer to the harp, or, to give it its ancient Celtic name, the cruit. Its origin is the theme of the most ancient legends. It is the tale of a man and his wife.
Cull, the son of Midhuel, is the man, and Canoclach Mhor the woman. Canoclach hated her husband and fled away from him. But he as persistently followed her. Through forest and wilderness she still flew before him and, in her wanderings, she reached the seashore of Camas. As Canoclach walked over the ribbed sand, she came upon the skeleton of a whale and the wind, passing through the sinews of the dead monster, made a murmuring. Listening to this strange music the woman fell asleep, and her husband, who was hard on her trail, came up.
He greatly marveled how it was that his wife had fallen asleep and, casting about in his mind for a reason, he decided it must be the sounds made by the wind in the tightly strung sinews of the whale. Then the latent artist in Cull asserted itself. What nature had effected by chance he would do by design. He went into the wood and, taking a limb of a tree, he made it into the framework of a harp. He put strings upon it made from the sinews of the whale, and that is how the first harp came to be made. This tale of Cull and Canoclach belongs to the same family of stories as the Grecian fable of the lyre.
If history and personal experience have nothing to say the imagination builds up a rainbow-hued might- have-been. The fable of the harp is a fantasy of this kind framed of " such stuff as dreams are made of. A constant mingling of fact and fancy character- izes these early Celtic tales, and it is oftentimes no easy matter to draw the dividing line between them. A story of the warfare of the Tuatha de Danann and the Fomorians illustrates this difficulty.
It also shows that, even where the imagination appears most unbridled, there is apt to be a sub-stratum of truth which it is worth the utmost pains of the investigator to find. This battle is supposed to have taken place about years before the Christian era. On the one hand were the Tuatha de Danann, the then pos- sessors of Ireland, a mysterious people who are sup- posed to have migrated from Greece and whom the Celtic imagination endowed with magical powers. On the other hand were the Fomorians, the sea-born people, vikings of an earlier age. That this con- flict took place in the remote past and that the Fomorians were defeated with great slaughter is credible tradition.
For we must remember that the national self-consciousness of the Irish people has been uninterruptedly Celtic for more than years. The laws of pagan Ireland, with comparatively slight revision, persevered until the time of the Stuarts, and their spirit dwells in the heart of the people to this day. So it is with the genius of Gaelic poetry and music. The Irish people were never conquered in the sense that the people of Gaul and Britain were con- quered. They never lost their language ; their racial characteristics continued vital and aggressive ; enemy after enemy was assimilated, Danish sea kings be- came Irishmen ; the Norman settlers in Ireland forgot their native speech and were soon " more Irish than the Irish themselves"; within a hundred years of Oliver's battles, the descendants of Cromwell's Iron- sides were talking Gaelic, and as Irish in their way of thinking as though they had been the issue of an unbroken succession of Irish ancestors.
This tenac- ity of racial instinct makes Irish tradition a living link between the Celtic past and the civilizations of to-day. Each successive wave of foreign immigra- tion only served to enrich the main Celtic stream. Imbedded as it were in the chronicle of deeds of blood, we find details which throw a vivid light on Irish culture. Treasure trove of this kind is found in this ancient battle of the Northern Moytura fought between the Fomorians and the Tuatha de Danann. In addition to the story of the fighting, it gives us a classification of music which was in use among the ancient Irish long before the birth of Christ.
An episode in the battle accounts for the introduction of this apparently extrinsic matter. This loss was regarded as a serious matter, possibly on account of the value of the instrument, possibly also because of magical virtues attributed to it. The King of the Tuatha de Danann, his Dagda or chief druid, and a cham- pion named Ogma set out to try to get it back again.
They found the Fomorians feasting and there, on the wall of the banqueting chamber, hung the harp. But the music was silent within it, for the instrument was spellbound and would not answer to any touch save that of the Dagda. The druid called to the instru- ment and, leaping down from the wall, it charged through the feasting Fomorians, killing nine unfor- tunate persons who happened to be in its way.
What follows may best be told in O'Curry's trans- lation of the Gaelic original : It the harp came to the Dagda; and he played for them the three feats which give distinction to a harper, namely the Soontree which, from its deep murmuring, causes sleep : the Gauntree which from its merriment causes laughter ; and the Goltree which, from its melting plaintiveness, causes tears.
He played them the Goltree until their women wept tears; he played them the Gauntree until their women and youths burst into laughter; he played them the Soontree until the entire host fell asleep. It was through that" sleep that they the three champions escaped from those who were desirous to kill them. This is not the language of musical savants; it is the language of poetry. While the classification does not in- clude all the varieties of tune made use of by the Irish at the present day, nevertheless it indicates three kinds of melody which they have always cultivated with singular felicity.
The Soontree, or sleepy music, is represented by Erin's lullabies, which are admit- tedly the most beautiful in the world ; the Goltree, or music of sadness, includes the keens and laments ; the Gauntree, or mirthful music, embraces the jigs and reels danced on many a village gi'een in happy hours. If this classification were set forth in a single manuscript only it might seem of comparatively small significance. But it recurs again and again and its manifestations are strikingly various.
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In one the Preludes of the Cooley Cattle Raid which took place in the first century of the Christian era, and is cele- brated in an epic that is to the Irish what the Song of the Nibelungs is to the Germans, an account is given of the origin of these " three feats which give distinction to a harper.
The three classes of music are called three brothers. Their mother was Boand, one of the fairy people, from whom the Boyne has its name, and their father was Uaithne, a name of three- fold significance, one meaning being harmony in poetry or music. It was laughing and joy with her in the middle of them at the pleasure of having brought forth two sons. It was repose and tranquillity with her on the birth of the last son, after the weight of the labor: and it was on that account that each one of them was named after a third part of the music.
Boand then awoke from the repose. Scathach and Finn fall in love with each other at first sight. Before she follows her lover to the bridal couch, Scathach asks for the harp. The household harp was one of three strings. Methinlcs it was a pleasant jewel: A string of iron, a string of noble bronza And a string of entire silver. The names of the not heavy strings Were Suantorrgles; Geantorrgles the great: Goltarrgles was the other string. Which sends all men to crying. If the pure Gollteargles be played For the heavy hosts of the earth.
The hosts of the world, without delay. Would all be sent to 'constant crying. If the merry Gentorrgles be played. For the hosts of the earth, without heavy execution They would all be laughing from it. From the hour of the one day to the same of the next. If the free Suantorrgles were played To the hosts of the wide universe. The men of the world — great the wonder — Would fall into a long slumber. Ai'e we to accept the idea of a three-stringed hai"p h'terally? Or were thei'e three different registers, one of strings of iron, an- other of silver, a third of bronze?
It is easy to as- sociate silver with the sweet music of slumber and iron with woe. Nor is it inconceivable that bronze may have the ring of light-heartedness. But unless the strings were stopped by the fingers into differ- ent lengths so as to produce different notes, after the manner of the violin, we should only have a sin- gle note for each kind of music. We can only hope that literary or archaeological store as yet unrevealed will give us the key to the mystery. An old sculpture at Ullard, dating back to the ninth century, shows us that in those days the Irish were familiar with the idea of a harp without a forepost, and O'Curry hoped that the bogs — which at once conceal and preserve so much of Ireland's past — will deliver up one of the antique instruments.
Meanwhile these ancient stories of the harp and the makers of music are proof incontestable of the possession by the ancient Irish, centuries before Saxon or Nonnan set foot in the land, of a musical aesthetic to parallel which we must turn to the an- cient Greeks. In the story of Cull and the harp the attitude of the Celt is that of the natural philoso- pher; he is scientific, rationalist, experimental.
In the tale of the Dagda, on the other hand, he looks upon the phenomena of music through the windows of the soul. The realm of the supernatural was not so remote from the ancient Celts as it is from us.
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Even within the last two hundred years, we find the people attributing the beauty of the music made by certain harpers to a fairy mistress, who dwelt within the instrument and whispered to her lover. In the allegory of Boand and Uaithne, music is given human form, with a fairy woman for mother and har- mony incarnate for sire. Melody, the element of music in which the highest creative genius expresses itself, is given a supernatural origin; while harmony, the part of music into which calculation most enters, is credited to man.
Music is thus defined as a human. Nor is this idea only to be met with in the poems of learned bards. It finds expression in the term " Fairy music," a phrase coined by the people to describe certain melodies of a haunting sublety, such as the famous " Song of the Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow. The belief that music is the result of the mingling of the human and the supernatural is the deepest word of the Celts on the philosophy of the art.
Per- Iiaps it is the deepest word ever uttered ; for what have Grecian sublety, Roman order, or German transcen- dentalism said which carries us further. Fortunately, on this subject we have authentic in- formation going back many centuries. The ancient Irish drew a sharp distinction between the bard and the musician.
The bard was a poet, learned in the complex metres of Gaelic verse, a com- poser of panegyrics and elegies, of odes and satires. When, as was often the case, his verses were intended to be sung, he generally entrusted that duty to a vocalist, whom an instrumentalist accompanied upon the harp. The sole occupation of the bard was poetry and it gave ample scope for the play of his gifts.
If he was a man of ability and character, swift to catch the drift of public sentiment and give it eloquent expression, his voice would take on almost prophetic ring; he became patriarchal, the counsel- lor and judge of kings. This seer-like aspect of the bardic character has riveted itself on the popular imagination, and time and error have distorted the image into the picturesque but unhistoric harp-player, white-robed and bearded, with which all are familiar.
The would-be bard was apprenticed at an early age to an ollave or doctor of the craft and followed a novitiate which varied in length according to the degree of hardship aspired to. The highest bardic rank was that of a File or arch-poet and to graduate to this office asked a dozen years of a man's life.
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Master and pupil lived together and, under the tra- ditional law of the Brehons or Gaelic judges, the master was bound to teach the student his art with- out harshness, while the latter had to render his master obedience and help to support him. Not all the novices, however, went through the exacting twelve years' course.
Bardic knowledge suflicient to equip the average practitioner of the art was given during the first seven years. As a natural conse- quence hardship had different degrees. We are told in the Book of Rights that the rights and privileges of the kings " are not known to every prattling bard. Bardic rights and privileges were guarded by the law; the bards had their allotted place at the royal table; it was even specified what part of the roast should fall to their share.
They were the friends of kings, Brian Boru used to visit his arch-poet, Mac Liag, and gave him rich presents. So great indeed was their power at one time, and so notorious their abuse of it, that the extinction of the wliole bardic order was seriously contemplated. But St. Columba acted as peace-maker; a compromise was arrived at and thereafter the bards were subject to a stricter discipline.
To the primitive bardic age we may probably refer the rann or verse in which are set forth the quali- fications of poets. They are to have: Purity of nature, bright without wounding; Purity of mouth without poisonous satire; Purity of learning, without reproach; Purity of husbandship. Every great chief had several bards and they ranked according to ability. It was the duty of the ard-file or chief bard to celebrate the deeds of his master and the family, to make birthday odes and compose laments.
He accompanied the chieftain into battle; he sang the glories of the clan in the very presence of the enemy ; he was the eye-witness of his master's prowess. Such was the bardic estate in the Celtic prime. But the inroads of the Danes and the desolation which they spread over the land weakened the ascendency of the ancient order.
The Norman invasion swept away much of what the Danes had left. The pursuit of these professions was hereditary, one fam- ily devoting itself to medicine, another to poetry, a third to music. Each man had land assigned to him for his support. These professions were taught in Irish colleges, which were so highly considered that kings and princes took a personal interest in them. They were indeed in direct lineal succession with the Irish schools to which, in the seventh and eighth centuries, the young noblemen of Britain and the mainland of Europe had resort, as the home of learning. Even to the last the professors were eminent scholars, and in early days the appointment of the examiners lay with the arch-poet of the king.
Valleys and woodlands remote from the city were chosen sites for the colleges, and no youth from near by was allowed to be a student, for fear lest family and friends should hinder his work. The college itself usually consisted of a long, low group of white- washed buildings, warmly thatched. The interior was monastic in its simplicity.
There was a large general meeting hall where the students gathered. Here the chief ollave or doctor would address them and give out a subject for poetic composition; here too centered the social life of the school. Early in the morning the students assembled and, having heard a discourse and been given a subject to work upon, they breakfasted and retired to their rooms. Window there was none; for the ollaves believed the light of day and glimpses of the world without incompatible with the concentration neces- sary for bardic composition.
The student flung him- self on the bed and gave his mind to poetic creation. To have a fine idea was not sufficient ; it must be ex- pressed in orthodox form. Towards the close of day a servant came round with candles and each student wrote down what he had composed. Supper followed and the evening was spent in social converse. In the Gaelic prime students were billeted on the people, like soldiers, or maintained by patrons. Even in later days the people from round about would bring provisions and', at the beginning of the school year, the students made presents to the professors.
The old order lingered on till the close of the seventeenth century, though many of the bards were killed during the Cromwellian invasion. It was the war between William of Orange and the Jacobites and the penal laws, however, that brought final de- struction on the ancient Gaelic academies. The Wil- liamite code made it a prison offense for any Catho- lic to teach. That ordinance, rigorously enforced, dealt a death blow to the bardic colleges. They ut- terly ceased to be and, if it were not for a description in the " Memoirs of Clanrickarde," published in , even the all too meager account here given would be unavailable, though references to the schools are fre- quent in Gaelic literature for more than a thousand years.
Even in the heyday of Celticism we find the professions co- quetting with each other. For example, we are told in the Book of Lecan that "When Felin Mac Grif- fin, monarch of Erin, was in Cashel of the Kings, there came to him the abbot of a church, who took his little eight-stringed harp from his girdle and played sweet music and sang a poem to it," Here we have a churchman who is also both musician and poet. The fact is significant, for we may be sure that, if ecclesiastics played the harp, bards often did the same, though it was no part of their profession.
Adamnan, the seventh-century biographer of St. Co- lumba, tells us that the poet Cronan " sang verses after the manner of his art. Passages in poems dating from the thirteenth century onward picture a type of artist who was both poet and musician. Gilla Bride Mac Conmee is a good example. Mac Conmee, who was born in Ulster towards the end of the twelfth century, took service under Donnchadh Cairbre O'Brien, chief of the Dalcassians. O'Brien sent him to try to recover a harp which had fallen into the hands of the Scotch. Was Albanach a poet or a musician? That is the question.
The manner of the poem calls him a poet ; its matter proclaims him a musician. He surely had in him the stuff of which bards ai'e made. Even in O'Curry's literal translation we feel the glow of genius. He asks that the harp may be brought to him until, upon it, he may forget his grief. He wishes for the life of the evergreen yew tree that he may have the keeping of the harp in repair. What is this if not the authentic speech, the idiom, of the musician? Until upon it I forget my grief — A man's grief is soon banished By the notes of tliat sweet-sounding tree.
He to whom this music-tree belonged Was a noble youth of sweetest performance. Many an inspired song has he sweetly sung To that elegant, sweet-voiced instrument. Many a splendid jewel has he bestowed From behind this gem-set tree; Often has he distributed the spoils of the race of Conn, With its graceful curve placed to his slioulder.
Beloved the hand that struck The thin, slender-sided board; A tall, brave youth was he who played upon it With dexterous hand, with perfect facility. Whenever his hand touched That home of music in perfection. Its prolonged, soft, deep sigh Took away from us all our grief. The maiden became known to all men Throughout the soft-bordered lands of Banba; It is the Tiarp of Donchadh cried everyone — Tlie slender, tliin and fragrnnt tree.
O'Brien's harp! No son of a bright Gaedhil shall get The harp of O'Brien of the flowing hair; No son of a foreigner shall obtain The graceful, gem-set, fairy instrument! Thou harp of the chieftain of fair Limerick — Woe! Sweet to me is thy melodious voice, O maid, that wast once the arch-king's; Thy sprightly voice to me is sweet, Thou maiden from the Island of Erin. If to me were permitted in this Eastern land. The life of the evergreen yew tree.
The noble chief of Brendon's hill, His hand-harp I would keep in repair. Beloved to me — it is natural to me — Are the beautiful woods of Scotland. Albanach does not stand alone, however. Chance has preserved for us some verses written by a poet who was confessedly both a singer and a player upon the harp. Doncad Mor was his name, Lenox his home, and he flourished in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. It would have fascinated Balzac. Here are two verses of the poem, in Dr. Sigerson's translation : Grieve for him wtiose voice is o'er When once more called to meet with men; Him whose words come slow as sighs.
Who ever tries and fails again. Nor wake, when tried, its minstrelsy. Other examples may be cited. First, in order of time, comes Carrol O'Daly, with whose name tradi- tion has linked that loveliest of melodies, " Eileen Aroon. But when Thomas Moore wrote " Erin, the tear and the smile in thine eye," the melody was heard once more in Irish form and took its place as the queen of folk song.
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But the endearing refrain, " Eileen Aroon " " Eileen, Darling" — has in it an appeal that Moore cannot rival. Moreover, the song has enriched GaeHc with the salutation, " Cead mille Failte," " A hundred thousand welcomes," surely the most hearty welcome in any language. Tradition says the song is the outpouring of O'Daly's passion for Eileen Kavanagh. Kavanagh was a chieftain and the family drove O'Daly out of the country and tricked Eileen into believing her lover untrue.
But there came an uninvited guest, none other than O'Daly himself. Nobody recognized him in liis harper's disguise, not even Eileen herself, until, taking up his harp, he burst into this devout love song. While he sang " Wilt thou or wilt thou go with me, Eileen Aroon?
That night the lovers fled away and were united. It is a legend and it ought to be true. Rating the evidence at is lowest worth, it shows that people were familiar with the idea of artists who were at once poets, composers and instrumentalists. To modern ears the word minstrel describes him most accurately As late as the reign of Elizabeth, the makers of verse and its singers were regarded as two different professions. Edmund Spenser says that the Irish have bards who are to them " instead of poets," and adds that their profession is " to set forth the praise or dispraise of men in their poems and rhymes," which compositions, he declares, " are at so high re- quest and estimation amongst them that none dare to displease them for fear of running into reproach beyond their offense and to be made infamous in the mouths of men.
Then came the penal laws like a blight, and the schools were destroyed. Shane Claragh Mac Donnell is the last Irishman to whom the title of bard can accurately be given. Those who apply the name to Carolan are slipshod in their use of terms, Mac Donnell was exclusively a poet and lamented Erin's misfortunes in the great bardic manner. He was a " rank " Jacobite and, on several occasions, he had to save his life by fleeing from his enemies the bard hunters. John Tuomy, who mourned Mac Donnell in a fine lament, might have been a bard in the strict sense of the term had he been given the proper training.
But he had to get such education as he could in the " hedge schools " — classes held by roadway, under the canopy of heaven, and taught by men who risked imprisonment as Catholic schoolmasters to give Irishmen the educa- tion they wanted. Even the bardic sessions held at Bruree and Charleville, where poets recited in friendly rivalry before the people, were suppressed. The bard must tread the higher walks of pocti-y ; his verse must tell of Ireland's past or voice her as- pirations.
When, therefore, people call Turlough O'Carolan the " Last of the Bards," they are guilty of a solecism. O'Conor of Balinagare, Carolan's patron, called him an oirfideadh, a musician. This name is too narrow, however, to be accurate. He did earn that musician's com- tnendation, however, by correcting a composition which had been altered to deceive him. But it was in original composition that Carolan showed his real genius. His songs and harp pieces are melodious and full of character, in spite of his mistaken imi- tation of Corelli. As a poet he won wide celebrity, though he rarely essayed anything but sentimental ditties and drinking songs, dedicated for the most part to his patrons.
What he might have done, if he had had his sight — he was blind from youth up — and if he had had such a musical training as fell to Bach or Handel, can only be conjectured. Beethoven, glancing over a few of his songs, was quick to perceive the genius in them. The stories told of Carolan show him to be a high-spirited, chivalrous gentleman. In his youth he had a sweetheart, Bridget Cruise, whose name lives in one of his songs. When the pair had been parted twenty years and more, Caro- lan went on a pilgrimage to the wild locality known as St. Patrick's Purgatory. Assisting some of the company in a difficult place, he took the hand of a lady.
The episode is slight enough; but it could only have happened to an extraordinary man. In his last illness Carolan asked O'FIynn, the butler at Alderford, the residence of his lifelong patron, for a drink. And I have found millions strong and valiant; But, by my baptism, I never found in any part One who quenched my thirst right, but William O'Flynn.
It was the last flash of the poet's genius, and soon afterwards he closed his eyes in death.
Moores Lore: Better and Better, Faster and Faster
The butler at Alderford should not be confused with that churlish O'Flynn who once refused O'Carolan admis- sion to the wine cellar. Him the poet immortalized in an ironical quatrain : Alas! O Dermod O'Flynn, That it is not you who guard the door of hell; For it is you who would not let anyone approach you Wlherever you would be doorkeeper. When the news of Carolan's death got abroad, the whole country poured forth to do him revcx'cnce. Sixty clergymen, Catholic and Protestant alike, were present at the funeral. They loved the man and knew that he stood for something that was best in the Irish race.
And while it's not totally self-sufficient, with a little help, it gestates and gives birth to something new, something sufficiently real. He doesn't mean the images. MediFor started in when the agency saw the fakery game leveling up. The first level involves searching for dirty digital fingerprints, like noise that's characteristic of a particular camera model, or compression artifacts. The second level is physical: Maybe the lighting on someone's face is wrong, or a reflection isn't the way it should be given where the lamp is.
So if, say, a video of a soccer game claims to come from Central Park at 2 pm on Tuesday, October 9, , does the state of the sky match the archival weather report? Stack all those levels, and voila: integrity score. By the end of MediFor, Darpa hopes to have prototype systems it can test at scale. But the clock is ticking or is that just a repetitive sound generated by an AI trained on timekeeping data? And if courts don't think they can rely on visual data, they might also throw out legitimate evidence.
Taken to its logical conclusion, that could mean our pictures end up worth zero words. And the problem, says Moore, goes far beyond swapping one visage for another. They can " imagine away " parts of pictures, and delete foreground objects from videos. Say you have two collections: a bunch of real pictures, and a bunch of made-up representations from a particular AI. But beyond that, places like Los Alamos need to be able to believe—or, to be more realistic, to know when not to believe—their eyes.
Because what if you see satellite images of a country mobilizing or testing nuclear weapons? What if someone synthesized sensor measurements? That's a scary future, one that work like Moore's and Lyu's will ideally circumvent. But in that lost-cause world, seeing is not believing, and seemingly concrete measurements are mere creations. Anything digital is in doubt. Many people will take fakes at face value remember that picture of a shark in Houston?
Do you feel lucky? Paul Jenner : [Laughter] That's all very flattering. I started life as a journalist, and that of course will give you all kinds of experience and stories, and so on. I started writing books about twenty years ago. My partner Christine Smith and I wrote a book about the Pyrenees, Rough Guide to the Pyrenees , and for that we did a lot of hiking, outdoors things — canyoning, skiing, cycling, horseback riding — and met a lot of interesting people who are still practicing old crafts.
We used to live in England, and decided to move to France. So we lived there for a few years, and then moved to Spain, where we are now. And as a result of that, you meet a lot of different people and get to do a lot of different things. We have horses, so I've learned how to shoe them, and I have a sailing boat and learned a lot about navigation. Jenner : There's always a market for nostalgia — the way that things were done, crafts that are dying out.
It's fascinating, the way people lived, the culture, the etiquette of life years ago, I think it continues to fascinate us. Certainly where I'm living, in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees, there are a lot of people who have come from all over Europe to live here, and get back to a lifestyle that's much more in touch with nature. And consequently, they're interested in these types of things, even if they don't practice them. I think learning to tell the time from the position of the stars is something that's quite fascinating, even if we have watches and so on. I think it's important that we know how these crafts and skills were carried out in the past, and some of them are still quite useful today.
It's a part of our heritage, and I think it would be a shame if we lost sight of that. Jenner : To answer your question, truthfully, as a writer, I love finding out all this information. There's nothing I like better than getting a new project, and having all these things I can research and interesting people I can interview and find out how they do things, and how they think about things. That, for me, is the fascination, and I hope that the readers find it fascinating and interesting and informative when they're looking through the book.
Jenner : Some of it, I drew upon my routine knowledge. I've got a sailing boat, and I learned navigation, and in fact one time, when I wasn't writing, I used to deal a little bit in nautical antiques — sextants, telescopes, globes, scrimshaw, ship's figureheads, etc. I even had a stall on Portobello Road in London for a time, because I was quite an enthusiast. So some of it comes from my own experience, and some of it comes from interviewing people who still practice these crafts and techniques.
And, of course, I have to spend time with old books, old manuscripts. That's a big part of it, and what gives it a sort of intensity and nostalgic fascination is that you can get the voices of people who were writing in the nineteenth century, and the eighteenth century, and even two thousand years ago. Megan : I imagine you met some interesting people you met during the course of your research? Jenner : Oh, yes. Here in my house in Spain, it's an old water mill, but now there's very little water here, it's quite an arid region.
So we had to have a well dug here, and we had a dowser come.
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