The Minstrel Boy

Atholl Highlanders USA march in St. Patrick's Day Parade, downtown Atlanta

“The Minstrel Boy” was written by Irish poet and artiste Thomas Moore. He wrote the lyrics in commemoration of friends who had died in the 1798 Irish Rebellion, and set it to the tune of an old Irish air called “The Moreen.” The song quickly became a popular patriotic song, both in Ireland and among Irishmen abroad, including Irish-American Civil War Regiments.


The Minstrel Boy to the war has gone
In the ranks of death you will find him
His father’s sword he has girded on
And his wild harp slung behind him
“Land of song,” said 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 his proud soul under
The harp he loved 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!”


Performance Notes

The AHPD plays this tune as a set with The Blue Bells of Scotland.

Download the sheet music for The Minstrel Boy.


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