Annotation:Spalpeen’s Complaint of the Cranbally Farmer

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X:1 T:Spalpeen’s Complaint of the Cranbally Farmer M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air B:Joyce – Old Irish Folk Music & Songs (1909, No. p, ) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D D|D>E D D C D |F G A B2 d/d/|c A F G F G |A>F D =C2D| DE DD =C D |F G A B2 d|c A F G F D|D3 D2|| A|d>e d =c d c |B =c B A2 G|F G A =c A F|G F D =C2 D| D E D D C D |F G A B2 d|c A F G F D |D3 D2||

SPALPEEN'S COMPLAINT OF THE CRANBALLY FARMER, THE (Fagamoid sud mar a ta se). Irish, Air (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "I have endeavoured to give representations of all classes of Irish Folk Songs in this collection; and the two following ballads (see also 'Ye Sons of Old Ireland') represent well and vigorously the satirical class. Both have remained in my memory since my boyhood; and I have a copy of 'The Cranbally Farmer' on a roughly printed sheet. This same 'Cranbally Farmer' the man himself was well known in the district sixty years ago as a great old skinflint; and the song drew down on him universal ridicule. The air is 'Fagamaoid sud mar ata se,' which was published by me for the first time in my Ancient Irish Music, p. 14. Spalpeens were labouring men reapers, mowers, potato diggers, etc. who travelled about in the autumn seeking employment fron the farmers, each with his spade, or his scythe, or his reaping hook. They congregated in the towns on market and fair days, where the farmers of the surrounding districts came to hire them. Each farmer brought home his own men, fed them on good potatoes and milk, and put them to sleep in the barn on dry straw a bed as one of them said to me 'a bed fit for a lord, let alone a spalpeen.' "The word spalpeen is now used in the sense of a low rascal. Irish spailpin, same sound and meaning (P.W. Joyce). The Ulster term for such laborers was ‘Rabble’.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 406, pp. 216 217.

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