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The Minstrel Boy

Flag Harp

This tune originated as an Irish patriotic song written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) who set it to the melody of The Moreen, an old Irish air. It is widely believed that Moore composed the song in remembrance of a number of his friends, whom he met while studying at Trinity College, Dublin and who had participated in (and were killed during) the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The melody, which lends itself to a powerful march cadence, was introduced to armies, North and South, by the large number of Irish born recruits that served both sides. As is so common with traditional tunes that last through the centuries, new verses have been written by composers both known and unknown. The third verse here presented was composed by the Band's director, Ken Janson who holds the copyright thereto.

3. The Minstrel Boy

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
"Oh, land of song," cried the warrior bard,
"Though all the world betray 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 bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slavery!"

His lilting song shall be heard no more.
Never more his music will caress us.
That smiling greeting from the cabin door
Never more his tenderness will bless us.
Yet stand we strong as strong he stood,
That every man breathe liberty.
His songs were made for all men's good.
They shall never sound in slav'ry.

3rd verse: © Ken Janson 2008