Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
rail, p           +--------------^ --------------^ ^
The author of the words of " Eileen Aroon," Gerald Griffin, was born in Limerick, Ireland, December 12, 1803. When he was seventeen years old, his family came to the United States without him. Having determined to become an author, young Griffin went to London with some plays, which failed then, but one of which, " Gisippus," was pro­duced most successfully after his death. He became a brilliant and distinguished writer for papers and magazines; but he won no wide reputation until the appearance of his fine novel " The Colleen Bawn, or the Collegians." He died in Cork, June 12, 1840.
The air to which his song was set is old, and a great favorite—" Eobin Adair;" but it is claimed by Ireland as well as Scotland, where it is traced far back under the title of "Eileen Aroon." In the Irish form, the air is simplicity itself, but the Scottish form has an added "lilt." Burns once wrote to Thomson: "I have tried my hand on 'Eobin Adair,' and you will probably think with little success; but it is such a cursed, cramp, out-of-the-way measure, that I despair of doing anything better to it."
Samuel Lover, quoting this remark of Burns', adds: " Now, the Irish air in its original purity, is as smooth as an unbroken ascending and descending scale can make it; it is any­thing but the ' cursed, cramp, out-of-the-way measure' of which Burns' sensitive ear was so conscious in the Scotch form." The famous French opera, "La Dame Blanche," by Francois Adrien Boieldieu, is founded on this air.