The air of this song is a variant of An Caiptín Ó Catháin and the words are by the great Thomas Campbell. It seemed to me that a great lament like this was almost a keen of old. Keening is a form of singing from Ireland that is totally set aside from sean nós, and is used to lament the dead. For those who wish to know more about keening, there’s a fabulous book by Breandán Ó Madagáin kicking around.
Alone on the banks of the dark rolling Danube,
Fair Adelaide roamed when the battle was o’er.
“Oh where then” she cried, “have you wandered my true love?
Or where do you wither and bleed on the shore?”
She travelled a while the tears her eyes flooding,
Through the dead and the dying she walked near and far,
Till she found by the river all bleeding and dying,
By the light of the moon her poor wounded hussar.
From his bosom that heaved, one last torrent was streaming,
And pale was his face deep marked by a scar,
And pale were those eyes once expressively beaming,
Eyes that had melted in love and had kindled in war.
How sad was poor Adelaide’s heart at the sight,
And how bitter she wept for her victim of war.
“Have you come then” he cried, “this last sorrowful night for,
To cheer the lone heart of your wounded hussar?”
“You live then” she cried, “heaven’s mercy relieving,
Each anguishing wound shall forbid me to mourn.”
“Oh no my last fancy in my bosom is heaving,
No light of the morn shall to Henry return.”
“You charmer of life so tender and true,
Take my love to the babe that awaits me afar.”
Then his faltering tongue could scarce murmur adieu,
When he died in her arms, her poor wounded hussar...
released January 14, 2018
Rowan Piggott – Voice / Shruti Box / Fiddle
Charlie Piggott – Button Accordion
Rowan is a fiddle-singer, writer and tunesmith who grew up in the foothills of the Burren on the west coast of Ireland,
surrounded by traditional music. The author of two successful tunebooks, he has also written articles for The Living Tradition magazine and led fiddle workshops at festivals all over the country. In 2016, he won the Future of Young Folk Award at Bromyard Folk Festival....more