Following the afternoon post about Robin Adair in Emma, I thank Jane Odiwe for providing us a very interesting historical perspective of Robin Adair, taken from the scanned pages of an old book titled ‘Stories of Famous Songs Vol. 1’ by S. J. Adair Fitz Gerald (circa 1901). Those who are interested in this book might be able to explore it in the Traditional Music UK or the Google Book (Michelle? Wink, wink!).
There were debates whether Robin Adair was originally an Irish song or a Scottish song. The six-pages article, however, suggested that Robin Adair was indeed an Irish song about a young Irish medical doctor named Robin Adair, and that he song was written by a Lady Caroline Keppel circa 1750. But beforehand, the song was preceded by another song called ‘Eileen Aroon’ (Ellen, the treasure of my heart), from where Robin Adair borrowed the melody. Eileen may be based on a real person as well, and this is the story of Eileen Aroon from Fitz Gerald’s book.
Carol O'Daly, commonly called " Mac Caomh Insi Cneamha," brother to Donogh More O'Daly, a man of much consequence in
" Then wilt thou come away? Eileen a Roon ! O wilt thou come or stay ? Eileen a Roon."
She soon felt the power of his eloquent plead-and answered, by signs, in the affirmative, having long recognized him. Then he bursts out rapturously;
" Cead mille failte ! Eileen a Roon! Cead mille failte ! Eileen a Roon."
And still with more welcomes and ecstasies he greets her, and to reward his fidelity, she contrives to elope with him that same night—the night before the intended marriage with his rival, and of course they lived happily ever after.
Aawww…. That’s sweet… Now, we go to the lad named Robin Adair. This is an excerpt from Fitz Gerald’s book:
About a century and a half ago, an impulsive young Irishman named Robert Adair, who was studying in
Robin Adair was a wise and energetic young man, and took full advantage of the lucky turn in his fortunes to study assiduously, and soon, with the assistance of his patroness, acquired a good connection in the best end of the town. He was frequently at the dances given by this lady and others, he being a graceful dancer, a good conversationalist, and a man of considerable natural ability. One night, at a party, he found that his partner was Lady Caroline Keppel, the second daughter of the Earl of Albemarle. It was a case of love at first sight —mutual love; and Lady Caroline's attachment was as sincere as it was sudden; they were the observed of all the guests; and after a few meetings the relations were in despair. The young couple, however, continued to meet again and again, and their affection ripened into an intense passion. Her kinsfolk were stupefied with amazement. Were they to allow an unknown Irishman to carry off the flower of their flock, the beautiful Caroline? They set their wits to work to try and persuade her to give him up. But all in vain. Handsome heirs of the oldest and stiffest families were prevailed upon to woo her, but she would not listen to them. She was sent abroad to see if travel would alter her determination and cure her "folly," but without avail, and gradually she fell ill.
When she was at
The event was duly notified in the "Grand Magazine of Universal Intelligence" thus: "
Lovely story, eh? Hmm…Adair helping the gentleman in the carriage reminds me of Jane Austen’s Sanditon. Or
Pic 1: The Lovers, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pic 2: Romeo and Juliet, 1884, by Frank Dicksee
Pic 3: The Brahms Waltz, 1923, by Robert McGill Mackall