The Bonny Cuckoo / An tsaoi bheag is an tSaoi mhór
|TYPE||3 - Complex Melody|
|TOPIC||Rural life / Folk Tale|
|TUNE STRUCTURE||A16 B16|
|VERSE STRUCTURE||4v 2l|
|TEXT SOURCE||Royal Irish Academy MS 23 A 1: 13|
|TUNE SOURCE||A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes (Dublin: John and William Neal, 1724), p.14|
|FIRST LINE||Imreas mór 'tharlaigh aidir na ríogha, 'd'fhás ón dá chnoc saoithe|
|Bunting wrote that this was the original melody of Carolan’s first song, ‘Sheebeg and Sheemore’ (1840). Carolan’s poem was written c.1691. The composer of the melody is unknown. Nicholas Carolan quotes both the text of ‘The Bonny Cuckoo’ (from Bunting 1840) and the words of Carolan’s early poem, and notes that ‘The tune is obviously imitative of the bird’s call’ (Carolan, 2010, p.92). The texts of both of these songs are given here. For these details and other notes on the Neals’ Celebrated Irish Tunes, see Nicholas Carolan’s modern edition (1986; 2010 revised ed.).|
The Bonny CuckooMy bonny cuckoo, I tell thee trueThat through the groves I’ll rove with you;I’ll rove with you until the next spring,And then my cuckoo shall sweetly singCuckoo, cuckoo, untill the next spring,And then my cuckoo shall sweetly sing.The ash and the hazel shall mourning sayMy bonny cuckoo, don’t go away;Don’t go away but tarry here, And make the season last all the year.
Bunting 1809: 96.An tSaoi Bheag is an tSaoi MhórImreas mór ‘tharlaigh aidir na ríogha, ‘d’fhás ón dá chnoc saoithe;‘S é dubhairt an tSaoi mhór go m’fear í féin fá dhó, go mór ná ‘n tSaoi-chnoc.‘Ní raibh tú riamh chó uasal linn, a gcéim dár ordaigh a dtuaidh ná ‘gcill;Beir uain do chaint, níl suairceas ann, cuinne do chos is do lámh uain’.Trá do chruinnigheadar ‘s ansin ‘bhidh an bhualladh teann, ‘measg na machairidh ‘nunn ‘s anall.Níl duine dár tharlaigh ariamh ón mbinn, nár chaill a chean san ár so.‘Pairlidh! Pairlidh! Fáiltighim dhíobh, sin agaimh a’ namhuid ó Charn Chlann Aoidh,Ó bhinn Ach Chluain na sluaite díobh, is a chaired grádach, bídh páirteach etc’. RIA MS 23 A 1: 13 (See Nicholas Carolan, 2010, p.92)
The Little Fairy Hill and the Great Fairy Hill.A great row occurred between the queens, arising from the two fairy hills; The great fairy hill said that she was the better, twice as good as the little fairy hill. ‘You never were as noble as we were, in status laid down by state or church; Get away from us with your talk, there is nothing to enjoy in it, keep your foot and your hand away from us’. When they gathered at the spot, there was fierce striking amongst the plains, forwards and backwards. There is no one at all who came down from the peak who didn’t lose his head in this slaughter. ‘Parley! Parley! I welcome you, there coming towards you is the enemy from Carn Chlann Aodh, From the peak of Ach Chluain there come crowds of them, and my loving friends, let you stand together etc.’.(Translation from Nicholas Carolan, 2010, p.92)Nicholas Carolan also suggests a song setting for this song of the following:The Bonny CuckooMy bonny cuckoo, I tell thee trueThat through the groves I’ll rove with you;I’ll rove with you until the next spring,And then my cuckoo shall sweetly singCuckoo, cuckoo, until the next spring,And then my cuckoo shall sweetly sing.The ash and the hazel shall mourning sayMy bonny cuckoo, don’t go away;Don’t go away but tarry here,And make the season last all the year.
Bunting 1809: 96 (Nicholas Carolan, 2010, p.92)