Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Minstrel Boy

I grew up on the Limeliters version of this. No surprise that Pete Seeger never sang it, so far as I know. In my hippie liberal years between 13 and reading Tolkien (19), it may be this song alone that held me back from complete pacifism. It is an exceptional marriage of tune and lyric.

YouTube has several versions that are okay, but none that were excellent. I had not heard of Danny Quinn, but I like his energy on this. It is very much in the style I sang and played thirty and forty years ago. Unfortunately, there's some shtick and another song on this video. Just stop it at 2.00 - you'll thank me.

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!"
Thomas Moore, early 19th

1 comment:

karrde said...

So that's the Minstrel Boy song on my copy of the Black Hawk Down soundtrack.

It's a haunting piece of music.