McFarlane's Lament

Find traditional instrumental music
Jump to: navigation, search

Back to McFarlane's Lament[edit]


McFARLANE'S LAMENT (Caoine Mic Farlain). AKA and see "Cumha mhac Pharlain," "Mac Farlane's Lamentation." Irish, Air (3/4 time, "mournful"). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The tune was first printed by Irish collector Edward Bunting (as "Mac Farlane's Lamentation"), but may originally have been Scottish in origin (c.f. Scots Gaelic text by Rob MacPharuig). MacPharuig's lyric, called "MacFarlan's Lament", in translation in MacGregor's Alybn's Tale (1824, p. 62), begins:

My eyes they are dim, any my bosom is cold,
Nor circles the fountain of life as of old;
While a deeper regret than dull Nature's decay,
Wastes wan on my cheek--undermines me away.

The pride of Clan-Farlan o'erclouded and gone,
And the land of our fathers no longer our own;
The hamlet in ruins, all rusted the sword;
The sheep-boy our master, the stranger our lord!

Sir Thomas Moore wrote a lyric to the air called "Shall the harp then be silent", published in his 8th Selection of Irish Melodies. However, the Philadelphia Saturday Magazine (July, 1821), while praising some of his poetry, decided that his text "...may be viewed as neither bringing reputation to Mr. Moore, nor being congenial to this collection of melodies. The triteness of the sentiments and sameness of the versification, are alike wearisome."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Bunting (The Ancient Music of Ireland), 1809. Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 60, p. 30. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3), 1859; No. 238, p. 116. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 521, p. 91. Walker (Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards), 1818; No. 24.

Recorded sources:




Back to McFarlane's Lament[edit]