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AN ACCOUNT OF THE IRISH HARP, &c, Returning now to the invention and origin of modern instruments, I say, that (on account of the agree. ment of the name, of the form, and of the number, disposition and matter of the strings, although its professors in Italy fay, that they have invented it ;) from the Harp, most probably the Harpsichord had its origin ; which instrument is nothing but a horizontal Harp: and, from it, may be derived the key'd inftru. ments of touch"
We have likewise another proof that the Italians had not the Harp; Dionysius of Halicarnasus, (a writer in the reign of Augustus,) speaking of Evander, and Carmenta, says, among other inventions, they introduced into Italy the use of the Lyre, the Trigon, and the Lydian Pipes, when, before, pastoral Reeds formed the only musical instruments ?.
The most ancient Irish Harp now remaining, is that which is said to have belonged to Brian Boiromb, king of Ireland, who was slain in battle with the Danes at Clontarf, near Dublin, A. D. 1014. His son Donagh, having murdered his brother Teige, in the year 1023, and being deposed by his nephew, retired to Rome, and carried with him the crown, the Harp, and other regalia of his father, which he presented to the Pope, in order to obtain absolution. Adrian the IVth, surnamed
Adrian the IVth, surnamed Breakspear, alledged this circumstance as one of the principal titles he claimed to this kingdom, in his bull transferring it to Henry II. These regalia were deposited in the Vatican, till the Pope fent the Harp to Henry VIII. with the title of Defender of the Faith ; but kept the crown, which was of massive gold. Henry.gave the Harp to the first earl of Clanricard, in whose family it remained till the beginning of this century; when it came by a lady of the De Burgh fainiiy into that of Mac Mahôn, of Clenagh, in the county of Clare, after whose death it passed into the possession of commillioner Mac Namara, of Limerick. In 1782 it was presented to the right honourable William Conyngham, who deposited it in Trinity College Library, Dublin ; where it still remains. This Harp had only one row of strings ; is 32 inches high, and of extraordinary good workmanfhip; the found-board is of oak, the pillar and comb, of red sallow; the extremity of the uppermost bar, or comb, in part is capt with silver, extremely well wrought and chisseled. It contains a large crystal set in silver, and under it was another stone, now lost. The buttons, or ornamental knobs, at the sides of the bar, are of filver. On the front of the pillar, are the arms, chased in silver, of the O'Brien family; i. e. the bloody hand, supported by lions. On the sides of the pillar within two circles, are two Irish wolf-dogs carved in the wood. The string-holes of the sound-board are neatly ornamented with escutcheons of brass, carved and gilt ; the founding-holes have been ornamented, probably with silver, as they have been the object of theft. This Harp has 28 string-screws, and the fame number of Atring-holes to answer them, consequently there were 28 ftrings 3. The bottom, where it rests upon, is a little broken, and the wood very rotten. The whole bears evidence of an expert artist *
Galileo, p. 143, &c. Kircher likewise imagines that the diversity of found was owing to the size of the hammers, sufHarp firit furnished the idea of a Harpsichord.
pended four equal ftrings, sustaining weights of twelve, nine, Dionyfius, Lib. I. p. 26, edit. 1586.-Dion. Hal. Lib. II. eight, and fix pounds; then, striking alternately the strings Carmenta was a prophetess, and mother of Erander · she left which sustained the twelve, and fix pounds, he found that the Arcadia, and came into Italy, with her son, about A.M. 2760. diapason or octave was formed by the proportion of two to one.
Polybiu: s Lib. IV: speaks at large concerning the delight of Thetwelveand eight pound weightstaught him, that the diapente, the Arcadians in Mulic: for he says, " That science is uteful or fifth, was in the proportion of three to two; and the twelve to all men, but even necessary to the Arcadians, who are ac- and pine pounds, that the diatessaron, or fourth, was as four to customed to great hardthips. For, as their country is rough, three. I must refer the curious reader, for further satisfaction, their feasons inclement, and their pastoral way of life hard, to the twenty-fixth chapter of lamblichus, de Vita Pitbagorae.they have this only way of rendering nature mildand tractable; • The Harp of Mr. Jonathan Hehir, of Limerick, which therefore they train up their children, from their very infancy, was made by John Kelly, in the year 1726, contains thirtytill they are joyears of age, in finging hymns in honour of Gods three strings, is five-feet high, and seems to be made of red and Heroes. It is no disgrace among them to be unacquainta fallow. It does not appear that the Irish Harp had any more with other sciences, but to be ignorant of Music is a great re than one row of Atrings, until Robert Nugent, a Jesuit, introa proach. From these manners of the Arcadians arose the duced the Harp with a double row of itrings, in the 15th fiction of the Poet, that Pan, the god of the Arcadians, in. century. Grat. Lucius, p. 37. Though it was more probavented the pipe, and was in love with the nymph Echo. For, ble that the Irish had it from the Welih; because, the Bard, Arcadia, being mountainous and full of woods, abounds with Davydd Benwyn, who flourished about the year 1580, menechoes; whence not only the inhabitants of that country, but tions his Harp having 29 ftrings, or more ; which probably alio the mountains, woods, and trees, are said to sing."" See were in two rows.- Ănd Mersenne's Treatise on Music, publiththe VIlIth Eclogue of Virgil, and the Xth, 25.
ed in the year 1632, describes a Harp with three rows of We learn from lamblichus, that the sound of the smith's strings; and I never heard of any country's having a triple hammers, taught Pythagoras to invent the Monochord, an in- Harp but the Welth. struinent for measuring the quantities and proportions of 4 Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis, Number 13. Encyclopedia founds geometrically. This philosopher, observing that the Britannica; printed at Edinburgh, 4to. Vol. VIII, Part I,
How the Harp originally came to be the armorial enfign of Ireland is a matter which has often been a subject of investigation among the curious. According to Tindal's History', all the ancient pennies that have the head in a triangle were Irish coins, which triangle is supposed to represent the Irish Harp. Others think the triangle alludes to the Trinity. King John, and his two successors, were the earliest monarch's who used the triangle constantly on their money?. From this triangle, perhaps, proceeded the arms of Ireland. There is a groat of king Henry the VIIIth, which has on one side of it the arms of England, on the reverse a Harp crowned, and Franc. Dominus Hiber. which is the first time that the Harp appears distinêtly represented on the coins. It was struck about the year 1530 3.
According to a paper which was delivered to the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, the following account is given of the arms of Leinster 4 “ In the suite of the first Milesian princes were a celebrated Bard, and a Harper, both in great favour ; on the partition of the country, Heber wanted to retain both; this was opposed by his brother Heremon, equal in power : to avoid disputes the choice was to be determined by lot, which fell to Heber, who chose the musician; and, as this contest happened in Leinster, to commemorate the event, as well as their love of music, the Harp was assumed as the provincial arms.” See farther in the preceding page.
There is a coin which seems to have relation to Ireland, where a crowned king is, or David playing on the Harp, over which is the crown of England and Floreat Rex; on the reverse, a mitred Bishop, (or St. Patrick, the Briton, who reformed the Irish ';) holding a double cross, and standing between a church and a serpent, which he seems to drive away. There is another of St. Patrick preaching to the people, with a trefoil in his right-hand '.
It appears by Sir William Segar's MSS. in the Herald's Office, London?, that he was present when it was debated before the privy-council, and the commissioners for executing the office of earl-marshal, on the accession of James the First to the throne of England, what would be the proper mode of quartering the Royal arms; and, it being determined that the Harp for Ireland should be in the third quarter; Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, one of the council, who (as Segar says) shewed no affection to suffering the fame, rose up, and said, “ that the best reason he could observe for the bearing was, that it resembled the country, in being such an instrument, that it required more cost to keep it in tune than it was worth.”
Stanihurst's History of Ireland relates, “that, whilst the Irish were at supper, a Harper usually attended, who was often blind, and by no means skilled in music, so that he sometimes offended the accurate ears of a connoisseur. Yet, by striking the strings, he uniformly delighted the commonalty with his rude harmony." Again he says, <s there lives in our age (viz. about the year 1584) a man of the name of Crusus, who, according to every one's opinion, is very eminent on the Harp. He very much abhors that confused found which is produced from unstretched strings, and are in themselves discordant. On the other hand, he keeps such rules with regard to his measure, and agreement of melody, and observes so much concord in his music, that he wonderfully delights his auditors, insomuch that they do not hesitate to declare, that he is rather the only, than the greatest Harper. Whence it may be deduced, that the Harp has not hitherto been wanting to Musicians, but Musicians to the Harp. The Irish also use the Bagpipes, which appear amongst them an incentive to warlike valour ; for, as other soldiers with the sound of Trumpets, so these, with the found of Pipes, are inspired with ardour for the fight.”. Tindal's History of England, Vol. I. p. 281.
land, which was sent to the president of the Royal Irish Aca. 2 Ibid. p. 387
demy, Dublin, in the year 1786. 3 Simon's Esay on Irish Coins, 4to. And Ware's Antiquities s Giraldus Cambrenfis Topographia Hibernia, Chap. 16: and of Ireland, Vol. II. chap. 32. It seems probable that the Harp the notes in p. 13 of this work. was borne in the arms of the kings of England prior to Henry 6 Evelyn on Medals, p. 133. And Ware's Antig. of Ireland, the VIIIth, because Cole, viscount Enniskellen, traces his de- Vol. II. chap. 32. scent from Henry the 1II. &c, (Sir John Cole was created ? Vol. III. 1132. in Coll. Armor. lord Ranelagh, and the present descendant is Charles Jones, There is a most perfe& Harp on the great-seal of king James viscount Ranelagh:) another reason that favours this opinion is the I. who was the happy uniter of thçee kingdoms under they bore a golden Harp with silver strings in their coats of arms, one head, and called it Great Britain ; and the first of our which I believe is the only family that has it, except the Royal monarchs that. quartered the arms of those three kingdoms in Family, and the motto is, “ Worship God-Serve the King." I one thield, by the addition thereto of the insignia of Scotland have some rëcollection of having seen the Harp in the armo. and Ireland, to which his motto of Tria in Uno Junia seemeth rial bearings of Henry the III, or the IVth, though I cannot to have respect, which is also ftamped on his coins. Sanford's be certain,
and I only mention this, in hopes that some judici- Genealogical History, P: 546. ous person will take the trouble, to investigate farther in ancient • Richard Stanihurfli, Dublinienfis, de Rebus Hibernia Geftis, p. and authentic Books of Heraldry. The city of Dorchester af- 38, &c. See more in Holinsked's Hift. Book II. Chap. 8. And fumes the Harp in its bearings, or arms of England. Likewise, in Spenser's View of the State of Ireland. the archbishop-fee of Derry, in Ireland, has the Harp for its 9 It does not appear that the Irish had the pipes in Giraldus' ensign.
time: see the preceding page 95. * A paper written by Mr. O'Halloran, on the arms of Ire.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE HARP AMONG THE SCOTS, &c.
About the year 1400, the science of music had made fuch progress in Scotland, that one of its princes, James Stuart, the first of that name, (who was educated while a prisoner in England, at the command of Henry the Fourth,) is represented by the Scotch historians as a prodigy of erudition. He civilized he Scotch nation. Among other accomplishments, he was an admirable musician, and particularly skilled in playing on the Harp'. John Major mentions, that this Monarch's Cantilena were commonly sung by the Scotch as the most favourite compositions, and that he played better on the Harp than the most skilful Irish, or Highland Harper .
“ The amusements of the Highlanders by their fire-fides were, the telling of tales, the wildest and most extravagant imaginable : music was another: in former times the Harp was the favourite instrument, covered with leather, and strung with wire ?, but at present, is quite lost there 4."
Buchanan, in his History of Scotland, speaking of the inhabitants of the Hebrides, says, “ Instead of a Trumpet, they use the Bag-pipe. They delight very much in music, especially in Harps of their own sort, some of which are strung with wire, others with intestines of animals; they play on them either with a pleêtrum, or with their long nails. Their only ambition seems to be to ornament their Harps with much silver, and precious stones. The poorer fort deck theirs with chrystal, instead of gems. They fing verses not unskilfully composed, which almost always consist of the praises of their men of valour, nor do their Bards treat of hardly any other fubjects.” Munro's Account of the Natives of the Western Illands of Scotland, says, “ They delight in music, especially in Harps or Clairse'chau decked with filver, after the manner of the Britons 6.". It
appears the Bards were formerly in high estimation in Scotland, as well as in Wales, and Ireland, and were retained in the family of every great lord. I find there is some vestige of it still remaining, that of Tulli-bardin, in the county of Perth, whence the duke of Athol derives the title of marquis of Tulli-bardin. Likewise, the late earl of Eglingtoun, informed me, that he had a portion of land amongst his estate, near Eglingtoun-castle, in Scotland, called the Harper's land, which used to be allotted by his ancestors to the Bard of the family'.
I am informed, that, about the close of the last century, John Glass, and John Macdonald, Bards by profession, who resided, and were respected as such, in the houses of two Highland Chiefs, travelled fifty miles, and met by appointment at Lochaber, to vindicate their own honour, and that of their respective Chiefs, at a public meeting, in a poetic and musical contest.
I shall now quote a foreign author, as it tends to furnish farther information respecting the Harp, and one who, I should imagine, was no bad judge of such matters, both as a theorist and a practitioner. His name is Thom. de Pinedo, who wrote notes upon Stephanus de Urbibus, in the year 1678 ; where he has inserted a short Dissertation on Mufie, in which are these words : “ I was incited to give an account of musical intervals, by the learned dissertation of Joan. Albert. Bannus ; in which he desires fome one will give a new constitution of music, by placing hemitones between all the tones, so that the art of music may be rendered complete, and fit to move the passions. I will gratify his defire, which I am enabled to do by my skill on the Harp with two rows of strings, the queen of all musical instruments; in which, on account of the number of its strings, viz. 39, may be seen, as in a glass, all the musical intervals ; and by whose sweet harmony, arising from the discordant agreement of strings, struck with the fingers, instead of a plectrum, I have long not only amused myself, but have also relieved the misery attending an undeserved banishment from my native country 8
For a considerable length of time has the Harp contributed to keep alive the elegant pleasures of several polished nations, but more particularly the courts of Britain ; and probably this instrument was afterwards acquired byother nations, when the Btitish tribes spread themselves over the neighbouring illes, and countries.
Lefley. de Reb. Geft. Scot. Lib. VII. pp. 257, 266, 267.1 ? Buchanan's History of Scotland, Book I. (Written about the Edit. 1675, 4to.
year 1505.) * Major, Geft, Scot. Lib. VI. cap. 14. fol. 135. Ed. 1521, 4to. • Munro's Hiflory. And Lewis's Ancient History of Great Bri
Strings of gold, or of silver wire in Harps, or Harpfi- tain, p. 234, tol. chords, I think would yield a sound almost twice as strong as ? Also, Gilbert le Harpour held lands in Chesterton, Warthose of brass, and those of steel; the latter produces a feebler wickshire, of the king, by grand sergeantry,-Blount's Tenures, found than those of brass, as being both less heavy and less by Beckwith, p. 152. dulile chan gold.
The surname of Harper, without doubt, first originated from * Major. "And Pennant's Tour in Scotland, p. 167; 8vo.edit. that profeflion. A Harp was formerly borne by the name of It will be necesary to observe here, that the Scotch have no Harpham, and was confirmed to Robert Harpham, of Marfleet, such a thing as an Ancient and Autheutic Manuscript, like what in the county of York, by William Ryley, Esq. Norroy at Arms, the Iris, or the Welth are possessed of. Those who wish for about A. D. 1657. Guilim's Heraldry, fixth edition, p. 295. a further proof, I refer to Dr. Johnson, Mr. Pinkerton, and . Stephanus de Urbibus ; Artic. Timoth. And Benjamin
Stillingfleet's Principles and Power of Harmony, Chap. v.
To confirm what I have faid before, that the Harp was the most noble and favourite instrument of the Cymry, or Ancient Britons and Gauls, I will cite some documents, which tend to elucidate its progressive improvements, from the works of the old Bards, and from the best English and other writers ; nor could authors express their opinions of it strongly enough, but by inculcating that it was used in Heaven. In the book of Revelation of St. John, it is called “the Harp of God!."" And I heard the voice of Harpers harping with their Harps: And they sang as it were a new song before the throne.”.
“ With faintly shout, and folemn jubilee,
" And the sound,
-Milton. “ Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving, sing praise upon the Harp unto our God.”—Psalm 147, v. 7. “ Take the Pfalm, bring hither the Tabret, the merry Harp, with the Lute."-Psalm 81, v. 2. Mi vumy ngwynvryn, yn llys Cynvelyn ;
I have been at the court of Cynvelyn, on Tower-hill; Mi vum vardd Telyn i Léon Llychlyn.'
I havebeen chief Bard of the Harpto Léonof Lochlin. Divregawd Taliesin.
The Serious Mufe, by Taliesin, A.D. 540. • Dimmai ni thalai'r Telynorion,
The Harpers were not worth a halfpenny;
But never the worse were the Poet's lays.
Criticism on the contest of the Bards, by Taleisin.
See note 5, in page 26. Telynior tal ei awenydd,
This Harper, blest with lofty Muse, Trwythaw beirdd mewn traethau bydd.” G, Glyn, 1450 The Bards in briny floods imbrues.—Owen's Didionary. Englyn i'r gywair Vách.
Stanza on the gywer, or small Harp*. « Per! per! Igywair oes cainc, mawr voliant How sweet, Isgywer, is thy charming found, " Mor velus gan ievainc ;
Which makes the youthful heart with transport bound ! “ Aml o osgedd mélus-gainc,
Thy various notes, mellifluous and strong, " Aur bibau cerdd ar bob cainc.
Flow tuneful as the golden pipes of fong! * So called from the key which it was tuned in; or, perhaps, a little Harp, such as was formerly used to play on horseback, the bottom of which had two cross feet, something like a camp stool, to keep it steady on the horse's shoulders.
My countryman, Sir John Gower, the father of English poetry, and preceptor to Chaucer, has the following passage ;
He taught her till she was certayne
An elegant Couplet which was written on a Harp : " Mae o leisiau melyhion,
Within the concave of its womb is found " Mil o hyd ym mola hon."
The magic scale of soul-enchanting sound. “ His word is more than the miraculous Harp.” Shakespeare's Tempeft, Aa II. scene 1. • The office of a physician is to put the curious Harp of a man's body in tune.” — Bacon, * Revelation, Chap. XV. verfe 2.
3 D. Şamwell. * Revelation, Chap. XIV. verses 2 and 3 ; and Chap. V. Query, Whether Citole is the same with Cittern, or Guitverses 8 and 9.
tar; or derived from Ciftella, a little chest, meaning the duiWe know not what they do above,
cimer; a performer upon it was called Cyteller, or Cysteller. Save, that they fing, and that they love.
See more in page go, and 92.
" For now to sorrow mult I tune my song,
Poetical Blossoms in praise of the Harp. Telyn i bôb Dyn doniawl-divafwedd
Ni ddaw diawl i annedd din, rdoedd Viwsig nevawl ;
At bael, lle byddo Telyn ; Telyn vwyn-gân ddiddanawl!
Velly Davydd i' herwydd byn, a ganodd . Llais Telyn a ddychryn Ddiawl!
E giliodd y gelyn.
Nid oes hawl i Ddiawl ar Ddin-mwyn cywraint, Pan vo meddwl dwl mewn dyn-ac ysbryd -
Drwg afbri’n ei ddilyn ;
Dwylaw ar dannau'r Delyn,
A dola van gwaethav gwŷn.
W. Jones. Llangadvan, 1770. For expression, and variety, the Harp has no rival, which will be acknowledged by all who know how the heart is foothed by its delicate and softer sounds, as well as animated by its more powerful, and sprightly tones. This is elegantly expressed by a Welsh Bard in the following stanza: Divyrwch, didrwch, didrais, tawelaidd,
O Harp! within thy magic cells Yw Telyn byvrydlais ;
Light, airy glee, and pleasure dwells Cry' odlau, cywir adlais,
And gentle rapture rings ; Nevolaidd wiw lwyfaidd lais.
While clear-voic'd echo sends around See more on the same subje& in pp. 62, 72, and 77; and The heavenly gale of tuneful sound, in the note below'.
From all th' accordant ftrings.
· The following is a list of poems which were written by Cyffelybiad rhwyng Morvudd a'r Delyn, o waith Davydd different Bards to folicit a Harp, or in its commendation, &c. ab Gwilym. See page 206 of his works. Cowydd i ovyn Telyn, a chyweirgorn Arian dros Mr. Sion
Cowydd yn dangos pa gyvarwyddyd a ddylu vôd mewn Trevor, o Drev-alun, gan Mr. Siêncyn Gwyn, o Lanidlos; o Bardd, o waith levan al Lin. Vychan, 1470. waith Wiliam Llêyn ; written about A. D. 1550.
Cowyddau Edmund Prys, where he mentions the primitive Cowydd a barodd Davydd ab Gwilym, bencerdd Telyn, (nid Bards, &c. ; No. 26, the 7th and 8th poems of this Bard's у Bardd o'r Deheudir,) ei wneuthur i ovyn Telyn gan Edward works, in the Welsh school : 1600. Sirk, pencerdd, o Delynior, o waith Hywel Reinallt; about 1480. A Deuddeg o Brydyddion, yn dalais dég dilys Dòn.”
Cowydd i Delynior, o waith Tudur Aled; about 1490. Awdl Glera, o waith Rhobin Clidro.
Awdl i Esgob Bangor ani esgeuluso Prydydd, a mawrhau Marwnad Rydderch Dauwaedd, Delynior, o waith Lewis Crwth trithant; o waith Iorwerth Beli : about 1340. Morganwg ; about A. D. 1520.-
Cowydd i ovyn Telyn i Siôn Rhiliart o gevn Caer, dros Humphrey Wynn o Ynys y Maengwyn, a ganodd Sión Phylip;
Mi glywais lawer iawn o son, 3580
Am Robert Sión, o Namffach * : Cowydd i ovyn Telyn Rawn gan Ivan ab Davydd, a ga Mi adwen hwn pe'dai ym Món, nodd Gwervyl, verch Guttyn,Tavarnwraig Tal-y-farn, 1560.
Wrth lais ei ebillion bellach.
* Namffach is near Cerrig y Drudion, in Denbighfaire.
An Epitaph intended for the late Mr. Parry, the Harper, who died Thomas Prys, o Blâs lolyn, Esq; 1580.Cowydd Rifiart Cynwal, i erchi Telyn. 1680.
Gwel vedd, a diwedd ar dôn, fain peraidd Cerdd Volawd i'r Delyn, o waith Davydd Jones.
Sión Parry, Rhiwabon; Cerdd i ovyn Telyn i Siôn Prys, gan un ai enw Wiliam Blaenor y Telynorion, Llwyd, Llangedwyn, o waith Cadwaladyr Roberts,
Carai'r iaith, a geiriau'r lôn