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05/03/2021     |     Music

Bonny Portmore

“All the birds in the forest they bitterly weep”

This old Irish song mourns the falling of a vast oak tree in a windstorm in 1760. More symbolically it laments the fading of the natural world and ancient ways of living. Here, we see the power of modern technology connect New Yorker Madelyn Monaghan with Irish cellist Patrick Dexter to give this ancient song new life.

O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore.

O bonny Portmore, I am sorry to see
Such a woeful destruction of your ornament tree
For it stood on your shore for many's the long day
Till the long boats from Antrim came to float it away.

All the birds in the forest they bitterly weep
Saying, "Where shall we shelter or where shall we sleep?"
For the Oak and the Ash, they are all cutten down
And the walls of bonny Portmore are all down to the ground.