Lord Mayo (1)
X:2 T:Lord Mayo  M:C L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow" S:O'Farrell - Pocket Companion, vol. III (c. 1808) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Amin E | A>GA>B e2 dB | e>dB>A GA/G/ E2 | A>GA>B Te2 d>B | e>dB>A A3 :| g>eg>a b2 ag | egd(B/A/) GA/G/ E2 | g>eg>a b2 ag | e>d e2 (ab) a2 | gega b2 ag | egd(B/A/) GA/G/ E2 | A>GA>B Te2 dB | e>dBA A3 ||
LORD MAYO  (Tiarna Mhaigh Eo). AKA and see "Mrs. Gordon’s Favorite." Irish, Air or March (4/4 time). A Dorian (most versons): G Dorian (Heymann, O'Farrell). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Heymann): AAB (Johnson): AA'B (Carlin): AABB (O'Farrell): AABB' (Brody, Tubridy). O'Farrell (c. 1806) directs "Slow". The composition of words (and perhaps music, also) to this march is credited to David Murphy (Dáithi Ó Murchadha), a harper whose patron was Lord Mayo (Theobald Bourke, 1681–1741, of Castlebar, County Mayo), but who in the course of his career incurred the wrath of the greatest harper of the time, Turlough O'Carolan, who complained of his "lofty impudence." Murphy had the temerity to publicly disparage O'Carolan's music as "bones without beef," and when the blind harper found Murphy in an ale house in Castleblaney he soundly thrashed him, shouting "Put beef to that air, you puppy!" "Murphy had a great opinion of himself, because he once played before King Louis XIV of France. This made him conceited, and his behaviour to his colleagues was such that they heartily disliked him. One day, Murphy came into the inn where Carolan was, and said that Carolan's tunes were like bones without beef. 'Damn me' says Carolan, 'But I'll compose a tune before I quit you, and you may put what beef you please on the bones ot it'. With that he seized Murphy by the hair of the head, dragged and kicked him through the room unmercifully, during which time Murphy's screeches could be heard at a great distance: Carolan saying to him while he was roaring 'put beef to that air, you puppy'. And it's likely according to the account, that if it were not through some interference he would not leave a drop (of blood) in Murphy'" (Grainne Yeats, Complete Collection..., p. 5). "Lord Mayo" is found in both air and march versions, derived from Murphy's song.
Francis O'Neill (Irish Minstrels and Musicians, 1913) relates this story concerning the origins of "Lord Mayo":
David Murphy undoubtedly a man of genius, who had been taken under the protection of Lord Mayo through benevolent motives, incurred his patron's displeasure by some misconduct. Anxious to propitiate his Lordship, Murphy consulted a friend, Capt. Finn, of Boyle, Roscommon. The latter suggested that an ode expressive of his patron's praise, and his own penitence, would be the most likely to bring about the desired reconciliation. The result was in the words of the learned Charles O'Conor, "the birth of one of the finest productions for sentiment and harmony, that ever did honor to any county.
Apprehensive that the most humble advances would not soften his Lordship's resentment, Murphy concealed himself after nightfall in Lord Mayo's hall on Christmas Eve, and at an auspicious moment poured forth his very soul in words and music, conjuring him by the birth of the Prince of Peace, to grant him forgiveness in a strain of the finest and most natural pathos that ever distilled from the pen of man.
Versions of the melody appear in print by John and William Neal (Dublin, 1726), O'Farrell (1808), and Edward Bunting (1809). Bunting and a few others attribute the air itself to harper Thady Keenan, though by what authority is unknown. The great Irish collector included the tune twice in his manuscripts, taken down from the blind harper Arthur O'Neill; his first published version of the tune was in his second collection of 1809 where it appears as the song "Inspiring fount of cheering wine." The first appearance of "Lord Mayo" in print, however, appears to be in Walker's Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards, published in 1786, republished in 1818. It is similar to the Bunting version. County Cork Church of Ireland cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman also entered it into vol. 4 (p. 23) of his mid-19th century music manuscript collections.
Philippe Varlet finds the earliest recorded version to be on an Edison cylinder from c. 1901–4 by James Early and John McFadden (reissued mistakenly as by Patsy Tuohey on a Skylark cassette). Early and McFadden were members of the Chicago Irish Club and important contributors to Francis O'Neill's Music of Ireland.
See also the Scottish variant printed by the Gows (1817) called "Mrs. Gordon’s Favorite." There is an interesting musical connection with the line of Bourke. Theobald, 6th Viscount Mayo, had a daughter, the Hon. Bridget Bourke who married an impecunious country squire named John Barnaby Gunning. Two of their children, Maria and Elizabeth, were great beauties who advanced to the London stage and married English noblemen-see notes for the tune "Miss Gunning's Fancy (Reel)" for more.