While I had heard the tune before – usually played during parades and on bagpipes – it wasn’t until about 15 years ago that I ever heard the words to the tune “The Minstrel Boy.” It’s actually one of the very few songs I can sing credibly (and, AHEM!, that’s debatable) and I find myself humming or singing it to myself as I go about my workday. As I caught myself doing it this morning, I realized that while I know there’s more than 1 verse to the song, I only really knew the 1st verse by heart. With the access to the information stores I’ve got, that’s really inexcusable so I performed the .027 seconds worth of search and found this wonderful passage on a blog titled, interestingly enough, Minstrel Boy.
While I recommend reading the blog entry over there – it’s got some interesting historical facts regarding this popular tune – I want to protect against “blogfade” and reproduce the lyrics to the song entirely here.
THE MINSTREL BOY
by Thomas Moore
Hear the Melody
The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
In the ranks of death you will find him;
His father’s sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;”
Land of Song!” said the warrior bard,
“Tho’ all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!”
The Minstrel fell! But the foeman’s chain
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said “No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav’ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slavery!”
The Minstrel Boy will return we pray
When we hear the news we all will cheer it,
The minstrel boy will return one day,
Torn perhaps in body, not in spirit.
Then may he play on his harp in peace,
In a world such as Heaven intended,
For all the bitterness of man must cease,
And ev’ry battle must be ended.
There’s an interesting note about that last verse over at Minstrel Boy. Go have a read.