Copyright © 2018 by Jeremy Bell

Fill, Fill a Rún

Fill, Fill a Rún

Jeremy Bell

Description

 

Fill, Fill a Rún is a traditional Irish melody describing a mother’s desire for her son to return to the Catholic faith during a time of religious persecution in Ireland.  After hearing ANÚNA’s arrangement of this song, which is posted below, I thought this would be a fantastic piece to arrange for young band that also has an interesting history behind its composition. The hauntingly beautiful melody is the same for the verse and refrain but is often highly ornamented in different ways by the singer, and only slight alterations to the harmony, which moves mostly in parallel motion by step.  This arrangement simplifies the melody but gives it to different instruments to create changes in color while the rest of the ensemble provides the harmonic texture.

History

Fill, Fill a Rún is a lament that is said to of had been composed in 1739 by the mother of one Father O’Donnell when her son left the Catholic Church to become a Protestant clergyman. During the “Penal Times” in Ireland, multiple laws were passed to force Irish Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters to accept the reformed denomination of the Irish state established Church of Ireland. Many of the priests were banished and threatened with execution for high treason if they returned. This song, sung from the mother’s point of view, tells of her desire for her son to return to the Catholic faith.

Lyrics

Fill fill a rún ó
Fill a rún ó is ná h’imigh uaim
Fill orm a chuisle ‘s a stóir
agus chifidh tú ‘n glór má fhillean tú

Shiuil mise thal is a bhus
i mólta ghrainn óige a rugadh mé
‘sni fhaca mé niontas go fóill
mar an sagart ó Dónaill ‘na mhinistir

Fill fill a rún ó
Fill a rún ó is ná h’imigh uaim
Fill orm a chuisle ‘s a stóir
agus chifidh tú ‘n glór má fhillean tú

Dhiultigh tú Peadar is Pól
már gheall ar an ór ‘s as an airgid
Dhiultigh tú banrion ná glóir
agus d’iompaig tú go cóta an mhinistir

Fill fill a rún ó
Fill a rún ó is ná h’imigh uaim
Fill orm a chuisle ‘s a stóir
agus chifidh tú ‘n glór má fhillean tú

Translation

Return, return, my dear.
Return my dear, and don’t leave me
Return to me, my darling and my dear
And you will see the glory if you return

I walked near and far
I was born in Mota Ghrainn Oige
And I have seen no wonder yet to
compare with Father O’Donnell becoming a minister

Return, return, my dear,
Return my dear, and don’t leave me
Return to me, my darling and my dear
And you will see the glory if you return

You renounced Peter and Paul
For the sake of gold and silver;
You renounced the Queen of Glory
And you began wearing the coat of the minister

Return, return, my dear,
Return my dear, and don’t leave me
If you return today or ever
Return in the order that you were trained in

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