Squire Woods Lamentation on Refusal of His Halfpence
A very long and unusual name for a very wonderful tune. Another tune of Carolan’s that has unworldly qualities. The melody is stunningly beautiful whilst portraying great sadness. Carolan lived in the times when the old Irish Gaelic ways were diminishing, I feel this tune is his way of expressing his sadness for the loss of the Irish culture.
X: 2 “Squire Wood’s Lamentation on the Refusal of His Halfpence”
B: "Carolan: The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper, Volume I" by Donal O’Sullivan, 1958, page 285, tune #213
X: 3 & 4 “Wood’s Lamentation” ~ O’Neill, 1903
B: O’Neill’s Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies", 1903, page 334, tune #1786,
N: category: Long Dances
I’ve given that transcription first, X: 3, as M: 4/4, to make comparison easier, and then exactly as given in the O’Neill collection, M: 2/4, X: 4. M: 2/4 may be supporting the same guidance as O’Sullivan’s note ~ ‘Andante’. But, this goes nicely slow too. I quite like the O’Neill transcription. I may give another one later, transcribed from a recording…
Apparently, the earliest claim that this was composed by Carolan is by Petrie. O’Sullivan regards it as "not improbable".
As for the subject matter, it is satire, and an imagined "lamentation" by William Wood, who was issued letters patent to mint copper coinage (with suspicion of corruption). Jonathan Swift (Drapier’s Letters) assisted in bringing opposition to the project.
All explained by the wonderful Wiki: