Minstrel Boy, The
DESCRIPTION: "The minstrel boy to the war is gone, In the ranks of death you'll find him. His father's sword he has girded on And his wild hard slung behind him." The minstrel falls in battle, destroying his harp so that "no chains shall sully thee."
AUTHOR: Words: Thomas Moore (1779-1852)
EARLIEST DATE: 1813 ("A Selection of Irish Melodies")
KEYWORDS: soldier harp music death
REFERENCES (6 citations):
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #1440, p. 97, "The Minstrel Boy" (1 reference)
Fireside, p. 226, "The Minstrel Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 279, "The Minstrel Boy" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, p. 369, "The Minstrel-Boy"
ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 375, "The Minstrel Boy" (1 text)
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, "The Minstrel Boy" (on IRClancyMakem03)
Vernon Stiles, "The Minstrel Boy" (Columbia A-2435, 1917)
Bodleian, Harding B 25(1037), "The Minstrel Boy", T. Birt (London), 1828-1829; also 2806 b.9(243), 2806 c.15(207), Harding B 11(1471), Harding B 16(49c), Firth b.26(434)[some words illegible], Firth b.25(385), Harding B 11(2293), 2806 c.16(197), Firth b.27(457/458) View 1 of 4, Johnson Ballads fol. 26, Harding B 40(2) View 3 of 4[some words cut out], Harding B 19(48), Firth b.26(87)[some words illegible], "The Minstrel Boy"
LOCSheet, sm1879 02687, "The Minstrel Boy", Edw Schuberth (New York), 1879; also sm1882 21694, sm1882 22258, sm1884 25744, sm1885 05300, "The Minstrel Boy" (tune)
LOCSinging, sb30345a, "The Minstrel Boy", H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878
cf. "The Fisherman's Son to the Ice Has Gone" (form)
My Northern Boy to the Way Has Gone! (by John Ross Dix) (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 104)
The Soldier's Funeral ("He mingled not with the glorious slain," by John Ross Dix) (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 145)
NOTES: Usually sung, in these days, as an anti-war song, but originally composed as an Irish freedom piece. The music is said to be "The Moreen," though that song is obscure. Songs That Never Grow Old (1909, 1913) credits the music to the popular composer Michael W. Balfe (who wrote the music to "Killarney") -- but doesn't mention Thomas Moore!
This is another of Moore's "big works"; Granger's Index to Poetry cites it from 13 different anthologies. Ironically, I'm not sure it has ever been found strictly in tradition. - RBW
Broadside LOCSinging sb30345a: H. De Marsan dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
Last updated in version 4.0
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.