An Beirt Uilliam Dáibhis - The Two William Davises

Davis Family Crest
Davis Family Crest

<bgsound src="davises.mid" loop="1"> This air contrasts the characters of the two Davises, father and son: the one, Old William, a miserly skinflint, and the other, young William, a generous open-handed fellow, They seemed to have lived in Sligo; for the poet mentions, as an example of the old man's avarice, that he sent his gander and two turkeys for sale to Templehouse Fair in that county and set a price on them of one shilling and sixpence.

Put your mouse arrow on an the Irish word
to pop-up its translation and phonetics.

Táid dhá Uilliam Dáibhis ins an áit - se
Uilliam atá ró-chríonna,
Uilliam atá cliste ar dhéanamh cisde,
Uilliam nach gcuirfeadh subhacas ar dhaoinibh.

Mar dtugadh sé dhuit ach gas beag sgailliún
Bheadh sé dhá ghealladh mí dhuit,
Dá dtéigheadh i n-a chóisde leat 'un na Róimhe
Ní thiubhradh sé bóicín díghe dhuit.

There are two William Davises in this very place.
Old William is very shrewd
Old William is clever in making money
Old William won't be cheerful with you.

If he were only to give you a little stalk of a scallion,*
He would have been promisin' it for a month
As if he was takin' you to Rome in his carriage
And you wouldn't get so much as a sup of a drink out of him.

The air is a close variant of the well-known Scottish tune 'Killiecrankie' or it may have been composed before Killikrankie. This is a seventeenth century melody composed not much later than the battle of Killiecrankie. The battle was fought on the 27th of July, 1689 above Blair Athole where Graham of Claverhouse ('Bonnie Dundee') was killed. The air was once called the 'Irish Killiecrankie'. There are four stanzas, the first of which is given above in two parts. The air was one of nine printed by Joyce about 1873.

Song Notations
Notations are courtesy of Carolan, the Life and Times of an Irish Harper by Dónal O'Sullivan vol 1 Celtic Music Edition 1983.
Phonetics ae by a student of Irish. For official phonetics consulot the dictionairy Foclóir Póca.

* scallion = a thin, onion-like plant...usually sold in bunches and cut up to flavour scallion would be a contemptible thing...
Replay background music: The Two Wm. Davises
Courtesy of Vivian and Jack Hennessey,, August 2007.

Filleadh go liosta
Back to Carolan Tunes List