Magic Mist (The)
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MAGIC MIST, THE (An Ceó Draoigheachta). Irish, Air (3/4 time). E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Féth fíada in Irish Mythology is a magic mist or veil which the Tuatha Dé Danann uses to enshroud themselves, rendering their presence invisible to human eyesight. The words to this allegorical Jacobite song appear in O'Daly's Poets and Poetry of Munster. Albert Percivel Graves printed the song in his Irish Folk-Songs (1897), with English words that begin:
Dread Bard out of Desmond deep vallied,
Whence comest thou chanting to-night,
From thy brow to they bosom death palid,
Thine eyes like a seer's star-bright?
And whence, o'er thy guest seat allotted,
These strange, sudden eddies of air,
And why is the quickan flower clotted
Like foam in the flow of thy hair.
P.W. Joyce said of his source, Alice Kenny:
I cannot forbear recalling the circumstances under which I obtained this air. I had often heard of old Alice Kenny, who was at this time about 70 years of age, as a noted singer in her time; and I set out one day to visit her. When I arrived at her house, her grandchildren told me she was up somewhere on the neighbouring hill; so I and my companion set out in search of her; and we found her on the very top, pulling heath to cook her supper. We sat down by a turf-rick, and there for two hours, she delighted me and delighted herself, with her inexhaustible store of Irish airs and songs of all kinds,--love songs, keens, lullabies, execution songs &c. I took down several, and left her, determined to renew my visit at the first opportunity. But no opportunity came; and I have never seen poor old Alice from that day to this.
Source for notated version: noted "in the summer of 1853, from the singing of Alice Kenny, an old woman living in the parish of Glenroe, in the county Limerick" [Joyce].
Printed sources: Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 25. Joyce (Ancient Irish Music), 1873/1890; No. 40, pp. 42-43.