Death and the Sinner (1)

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DEATH AND THE SINNER [1] (Peacac agus an bas, An). AKA and see "Night of My Wake (The)", "Cold in My Coffin." Irish, Air (3/4 time). F Major/G Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. O'Neill says he often heard his father sing this song which is a dialogue between "Death and the Sinner," of which he remembered the following quatrain (from the Sinner):

The night of my wake there will be pipes and tobacco,
With snuff on a plate on a table for fashion's sake;
Mold candles in rows like torches watching me,
And I cold in my coffin by the dawn of day. (quoted in Irish Folk Music, A Fascinating Hobby, pp. 78-79).

Compare this air with that used by Cecil Sharpe for the song "Death of Napoleon (The)."

Chicago fiddler Edward Cronin

Source for notated version: "Cronin" [O'Neill]. Edward Cronin was elderly Chicago fiddler," a Tipperary man from Limerick Junction," born in the 1840's. O'Neill thought highly of his playing and his traditional skills and noted a large number of tunes from his playing. In a 1906 letter to Alfred Percival Graves in 1906 (printed in "A Few Gossipy Notes" in the Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, London), O'Neill wrote:

Edward Cronin, a Tipperary man from Limerick Junction, is an exceptionally fine traditional violinist, 65 years of age. No. 469 ("Death and the Sinner") had almost escaped his memory, when I reminded him of an old song I heard my father sing. Aided by his wife, he managed to dig it out of his brain. The song was a colloquy between Death and a sinner in alternate verses.

Printed sources: O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 469, p. 82.

Recorded sources:




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