Eileen Arun
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Barry Taylor

A tune with the title Ellen a Roon first appears in a ballad opera by Charles Coffey (1729), however, it is not this melody. Aileen Aroon appears in Burke Thumoth's Twelve Scotch and Twelve Irish Airs With Variations (circa 1740). It's original Gaelic title was Eilionóir a Rúin.

This appears in Edward Bunting's collection. Bunting began to transcribe tunes after attending the Belfast Harp Festival in 1792. In short, there have been many variations of tunes with similar names. The tune we are familiar with today possibly dates to the late 1700s.

The English words were written by Gerald Griffin (1803-1840) who according to one legend translated the Irish of Carrol O'Daly (14th Century).

When, like the dawning day
Eileen Aroon
Love sends his early ray
Eileen Aroon
What makes his dawning glow
Changeless through joy and woe
Only the constant know
Eileen Aroon

Were she no longer true
Eileen Aroon
What would her lover do
Eileen Aroon
Fly with a broken chain
Far o'er the bounding main
Never to love again
Eileen Aroon
Youth must in time decay
Eileen Aroon
Beauty must fade away
Eileen Aroon
Castles are sacked in war
Chieftains are scattered far
Truth is a fixed star
Eileen Aroon
Information from various sources,
Including The Mudcat Cafe.