Leatherbags O’Donnell waltz

Leatherbags O'Donnell has been added to 1 tunebook.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Leatherbags O'Donnell
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmin
G2 c2 c2|G2 c2 c2|G2 c2 c2|B2 G2 GF|
G2 c2 c2|G2 c2 c2|(GB) F2 GF|E2 C2 C2|
G2 c2 c2|G2 c2 c2|G2 B2 (cd)|e2 d2 c2|d2 B2 c2|
GB F2 (GF)|(E3F) GE|(D2C2) C2|E4 F2|G4 FG|
E3 F GE|(D2C2) C2|E4 F2|G3 B (FG)|E3 F (GE)|
(D2 B,2) B,2|E4 F2|(G3A) GF|G2 B2 (cd)|e2 d2 c2|
d2 B2 c2|(GB) F2 (GF)|E2 (EF) (GE)|(D2C2) C2||

Two comments

Leatherbags O’Donnell

Leatherbags O’Donnell

Source: Songs of Erin: A collection of fifty Irish folk songs by A. P. Graves and C. V. Stanford (London, Boosey & Co., 1901) p. 111

The source is a Victorian “parlor piano” songbook, giving scores for piano and voice aimed at a mass upper-middle-class market in the days when such households very commonly had a home piano which they used to entertain themselves and guests. The melodies, according to the preface, “are almost entirely drawn from the unpublished portion of the great Petrie Collection of the music of Ireland, which is about to be issued by Messrs. Boosey on behalf of the Irish Literary Society of London,” and are arranged for medium soprano voice with fairly straightforward piano accompaniment. So this book may not be a work of folk scholarship, but the airs are presumably authentic.

This particular tune is included in that book as the air used for a song titled The alarm, with lyrics by Stanford based on the poem War Song of O’Driscoll by Gerald Oriffins. The tune is apparently a rare one; at least I have been able to find very few references to it. It is a beautiful air with, I think, a rather ugly name. The lyrics, while not great poetry, are decentish and seem to fit well with the menacing feeling of the tune; I append them below for anyone who may be interested.


Hurry down, hurry down, hurry down ever,
From the wrack-ridden mountain and yellow, rushing river.
Stern horsemen and footmen with spear, axe and quiver,
Oh, hurry down, hurry down, your land to deliver.

Haste, oh haste, for in cruel might clustering
Far and near the fierce Nordman is mustering,
Haste, oh haste, or the daughters ye cherish,
The bride of your bosom shall far more than perish.

Lo! how he toils down that narrow pass yonder,
Ensnared by his spoils and oppressed by his plunder!
Flash on him, crash on him, God’s fire and thunder!
And scatter and shatter his fell ranks asunder.

Oh, smite the wolf, ere he slinks from the slaughter,
Oh, rend the shark, ere he wins to deep water.
Pursue and hew him to pieces by the haven,
And feast with his red flesh the exulting sea raven.

Re: Leatherbags O’Donnell

My brother tells me that the title suggests a person of means who could own leather bags.