Savourna Delight

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X:1 T:Savourna Delight M:C L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow" N:”A Favorite Irish Air” B:Gow – Fourth Collection of Niel Gow’s Reels (1800) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D A|d2 d>e (dc) c>d|TB>A(B=c) ~B>AF>d|AGFE D2 FA|B>c Tc2 [F3d3] A| (df)ad (c/d/)e dc|TB>AB=c TB>AF>d|A>B (A/G/).F/.E/ D2 FA|B>c Tc2 [F3d3]:| |:A|d2 ~de f2 ef|Tg2 fe fdB>c|(df)ed (ce)dc|TBAB{d}c TBAF>a| a2 a/g/f/e/ d2 dc|TB>Afd Td>e {d/e/}f2 {e/d/c/B/}|A>B (A/G/)F/E/ D2 FA|B>c Tc2 [F3d3:]||



SAVOURNA DELIGHT ("Savourneen Dheelish" or "Sa Muirnin Dilis"). AKA - "Savourna Delish." AKA – “Exile of Erin (2) (The).” Scottish, Irish (originally); Slow Air (4/4 time). D Major (Gow, Haverty): E Flat Major (Forde): G Major (Clinton). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Forde): AABB (Gow): AB (Roche). Francis O'Neill, in Irish Minstrels and Musicians (1913, Chapt. VIII), relates the story of blind harper Arthur O'Neill (told his Memoirs), who, about the year 1760 played on the harp of Brian Born through the streets of Limerick. O'Neill, an esteemed musician, was shown the harp, kept in a city councillor's town house, and was allowed to string and tune it. "At the suggestion of his host, O'Neill hung the harp from his neck, being then young and strong, and paraded through the streets of that patriotic city, followed by an audience of five or six hundred people—gentle and simple—as he played the melodious strains of "Savourneen Dheelish, Eileen One" and other tunes not named." A note in Gow confirms it is "A favorite Irish air." While the air may be an old Irish one, the song "Savaourna Deelish Elleen ogue" was written by English comic dramatist George Colman the Younger (1762– ) as part of his 1791 musical drama The Surrender of Calais (although it is sometimes—erroneously—attributed to Thomas Campbell). The story goes that Colman, who was manager of the Haymarket Theatre, wrote fairly prolifically albeit unsuccessfully, and none of his works survive. After his play The Iron Chest was panned he added "the Younger" to his name, saying by way of explanation: "Lest my father's memory may be injured by mistakes, and in the confusion of after-time, the translator of Terence, and the author of The Jealous Wife, should be supposed guilty of The Iron Chest, I shall, were I to reach the patriarchal longevity of Methuselah, continue in all my dramatic publications to subscribe myself George Colman the Younger" [1]. Colman's was not the only song set to the air, which was repeated employed for songs: "Thou Blooming Treasure," "Tis gone and for ever" (Moore), "Song of the Last Harper," "Erin Go Braugh," "Oh the moment was sad," "O Twelve was the hour when for frolic I started" (Universal Songster, vol. 3, 1826), "Farewell ye groves" (Poor Soldier) and others.

Samuel Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife, 1981) observes it is essentially the same tune as "Tatter Jack Walsh," "Garden of Daisies (2) (The)," "Palatine's Daughter (The)," "So now my dear Johnny," and "Rough Heathy Little Hill (The)" (An {Garbh } Chnoicin Fraoigh). See also Petrie’s “Derry Brien.”


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 555. William Forde (300 National Melodies of the British Isles), c. 1841; p. 2, No. 4. Gow (Fourth Collection of Niel Gow’s Reels), 2nd ed., originally 1800; p. 10. Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1); 1912; No. 47, p. 24.






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  1. Helen Kendrick Johnson, Our Familiar Songs and Those Who Made Them, 1881, p. 330.