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 harp slung behind him; "Land of Song!" said the warrior bard, "Though 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 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!" A concentrated, single verse version exists: The minstrel boy to the war is gone, In the ranks of death ye may find him; His father's sword he hath girded on, With his wild harp slung along behind him; Land of Song, the lays of the warrior bard, May some day sound for thee, But his harp belongs to the brave and free And shall never sound in slavery!"
During the American Civil War a third verse was written by an unknown author, and is sometimes included in renditions of the song:
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.
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