Подзаголовок: O! tell me, harper, wherefore flow
The more familiar version of this song was actually the first version; this second version was written several years later but never published by Thomson. Thomson has complained about the original setting and its disjointed melodic line in the introduction, which he asked to be corrected. In particular, he stated that he was unable to hear the top notes of the right-hand part as a proper melody, and asked for a new introduction "in a cantabile style, with more melody in the piano part." Beethoven's revised version reached Thomson too late; he had already published the "unsatisfactory" version.
After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the protestant Stadtholder Willem III of the Netherlands became King William III of England and Scotland. Through no fault of his own, the leader of the Scottish clan of the MacDonalds was too late pledging allegiance to the new king.
In the night of 12 on 13 February, 1692, the MacDonalds were treacherously assaulted by Archibald Campbell and his soldiers in the valley of Glencoe, just a few miles east of Ballachulish. About 40 members of the MacDonald clan, men and women, were brutally butchered. Although Campbell was under orders of the government, probably a feud between the MacDonalds and Campbells was the prime reason for this bloodbath. For more details, see http://www.laughingowl.com/Glencoe.htm .
The Catholics in Ireland, sworn enemies of William III, nursed the rememberance of the Glencoe Massacre as proof of the unreliability of Protestants in general, and of William III in particular. Thus the present song became part of Irish folklore.
The text of the poem as published by Thomson is by Sir Walter Scott, and begins as follows:
O tell me Harper
they waywards notes
of wail and woe
for down the desert
where none may list
Say, harp'st thou to the
mists that fly,
or to the dundeer
or to the eagle,
that from high
screams chorus to thy
(There are 16 more stanzas, all of which were written after Beethoven had submitted the first version of the song.)