Song of Clan Uisneach in the Poem of Deirdre
|TYPE||2 - Simple Melody|
|TUNE STRUCTURE||A8 B8|
|TEXT SOURCE||Edward Bunting, The Ancient Music of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges and Smith, 1840), pp.87-88|
|TUNE SOURCE||Bunting Notebooks. Special Collections, QUB Library. MS 4.5 (1805-1810) no.47|
|Two similarly named tunes, no. 47 'Song of Clan Usineach in the Poem of Deirdre' and no.51 'Nuail Duaghadh Dheirdre', are transcribed in close proximity to each other in MS 4.5. Despite his annotation to the latter, it is not easy to see what musical resemblance Bunting would have seen between these items. In his 1840 publication, Bunting publishes the former under the title of the latter, giving his version of the Gaelic tale, in which Deirdre, the daughter of Fedlimid, is prophesied to grow into a beautiful woman over whom kings and lords would make war. She elopes to Scotland with Naoise, son of Uisneach, escaping from her betrothal to Conchobar Mac Nessa, the high king. Eventually Mac Nessa tricks Fedlimid into returning home, where he has him and his brothers slain, and marries a distraught Deirdre who lives out her days in despair. The words of the poem represent her grief at the death of Naoise and his brothers.|
The Lamentation of Deirdre for the Sons of UsnachThe lions of the hills are gone,And I am left alone-alone;Dig the grave both wide and deep,For I am sick, and fain would sleep.The falcons of the wood are flown,And I am left alone- alone;Dig the grave both deep and wide,And let us slumber side by side.The dragons of the rock are sleeping,Sleep that wakes not for our weeping;Dig the grave, and make it ready,Lay me on my true love's body.Lay their spears and bucklers brightBy the warriors' sides aright;Many a day the three before meOn their linkéd bucklers bore me.Lay upon the low grave floor,'Neath each head the blue claymore;Many a time the noble threeReddened these blue blades for me.Lay the collars, as is meet,Of their greyhounds at their feet;Many a time for me have theybrought the tall red deer to bay.In the falcon's jesses throw,Hook and arrow, line and bow;Never again by stream or plainShall the gentle woodsmen go.Sweet companions, were you everHarsh to me your sister , never;Woods and wilds and misty valleysWere with you as good 's a palace.Oh! to hear my true love singing, Sweet as sounds of trumpets' ringing;Like the sway of ocean swellingRolled his deep voice round our dwelling.Oh! to hear the echoes pealingRound our green and fairy sheeling,When the three with soaring chorusMade the skylark silent o'er us.Echo now sleep morn and even;Lark, alone enchant the heaven;Ardan's lips are scant of breath,Naisi's tongue is cold in death.Stag, exult on glen and mountain;Salmon, leap from loch to fountain;Heron in the free air warm ye,Usneach's sons no more will harm ye.Erin's stay, no more ye areRulers of the ridge of war;Never more 'twill be your fateTo keep the beam of battle straight.Woe is me! by fraud and worng,Traitors false, and tyrants strong,Fell Clan Usnach, bought and soldFor Barach's feats and Conor's gold.Woe to Eman, roof and wall!Woe to red Branch, hearth and hall!Tenfold woe and black dishonourTo the foul and false Clan Conor.Dig the grave both wide and deep,Sick I am, and fain would sleep!Dig the grave, and make it ready,Lay me on my true love's body.