Sunday, March 13, 2005

Lyrics To The Minstrel Boy

THE MINSTREL BOY
by Thomas Moore

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!"

An emotionally stirring and inspirational song, The Minstrel Boy was written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) who set it to the melody of The Moreen, and old Irish aire. It is believed by many that Moore composed the song as a memorial to several of his friends he had met while a student at Trinity College and who had participated in the 1798 rebellion of the United Irishmen. One died in prison, another was wounded, and a third captured and hung. The song originally consisted of two verses. Due to its popularity, the song was a favorite of the many Irishmen who fought during the U.S. Civil War, primarily on the Union side. It was at this time that a third verse was added by unknown authors:

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.

94 comments:

hestiahomeschool said...

I love this song, and was delighted to find this one your blog...

Anonymous said...

WOW MY FAVORITE CELTIC SONG!!!
I HAVE A VERSION FOR FLUTE AND IT MAKES EVENMORE SENSE WITH LYRICS THE SONG SPEAKS TO ME AND EVERYONE I KNOW!!

Adam Fakes said...

another fact for you: this was also sung by / a favourite of Miles O'Brien in star trek next generation

Crosis101 said...

"The Wounded" My favorite Episode of ST:TNG He sang a Duet with Capt. Ben Maxwell of the U.S.S. Phoenix. A version of this song can also be found on the Black Hawk Down soundtrack as it is over the end credits of that movie.

Minstrel Boy said...

The WOunded was a great episode. Also the version of this song on Black Hawk Down soundtrack is the best. It was on a cd returned with my songs belongings from Iraq. I felt it appropriate to name the blog the MinstrelBoy. It said so much to those that understand.

cjez said...

I love this celtic song. In "Black Hawk Down" movie I heard it for the first time n It was awesome...

Minstrel Boy said...

Black Hawk Down version is the best in my opinion. In fact the entire soundtrack from BHD is fantastic, esp. while drinking a glass of Scotch.

Wesley said...

Sean Connery and Michael Caine sing this song in the end of "The Man Who Would Be King" while standing on a rope bridge above a chasm while the Afgans chopped the ropes to send them to their deaths.

Anonymous said...

I first heard and fell in love with this song back in the 60's or early 70's, from an LP - Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers - a group that specialized in all kinds of Gaelic folk songs. In my early exposure to music there was a kind of musical duel,(good-natured, of course), between my parents and us kids - the Clancy brothers vs. the Beatles.

Susan

Anonymous said...

Paul Robeson sings TMB on one of his albums.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

Knowing the meaning of the song to you and your family makes the pulls on the heartstrings so much stronger.

Leanderthal
Lighthouse Keeper

Mauro Tongco II said...

Apart from the great movie Black Hawk Down, the Minstrel Boy was a fitting final song. I mean the lyrics just leave a lasting impression of everything we fight for. It reminds us that war is fought for a reason and at a cost. A cost that is at times too high and a reason too low.

Anonymous said...

I learned this song in the mid sixties when I was in school in Ireland --

still makes me cry

Anonymous said...

i'm italian,but I admire Erin's pride...I love irish ballads and this one is my favorite

Vinnie Maloney H 2/9 said...

abjwcI just discovered this song, about six moths ago, on the FDNY pipes and drums CD. It's the last selection, "a capella". I googled for the lyrics and found this site. Then found the music on the Blackhawk Down soundtrack. I'm listening to the long version on my headphones as I write. First time I saw the movie,I was so emotionally involved with the action that I couldn't separate the soundtrack. I think that's a good indication of an effective, and affecting, soundtrack. Now when I listen to the soundtrack, images and emotions from the movie overcome me. Images and emotions from my Vietnam experience overcome me as well. I'm crying over the guys that died both times I was wounded, and the other buddies that died around me. I'm crying for the two nicest guys in my high school class (1961) who died in N. Vietnam and Cambodia. They were all good "Minstrel Boys" I'm weeping for the men and women dying in Iraq and Afganistan, and ashamed that my govt. has sent the lambs to a slaughter. Bless them

Anonymous said...

beautiful song sounds like boolavogue i love celtic songs like men of harlech and fields of athenry

Anonymous said...

Black Hawk Down version is gorgeous and performed/arranged by Joe Strummer of Clash fame when he was Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros.

Just FYI-ing.

Anonymous said...

Movie version (Black Hawk Down) is my personal favorite

Scott said...

This was my daughter's favorite song. We played it at her funeral last month when we laid her to rest. She was just 28-years old and there wasn't a dry eye in the chapel. VR, Maj. Scott Price, USAR (Ret.)

Draega1976 said...

A song that every generation of any nationality or faith will find emotionally and mentally stirring. It embodies the spirit of fighting for a cause, for home, for those you love, and brings the reality of the cost of such fights home. We will never forget. May Gaia bless and watch over you.

Anonymous said...

This song was required learning in Holy Family School (first grade) in the early 50s

Frank said...

Thanks for the background - I remember that tune sticking with me when I heard it on TNG, and it came back today (March 27, 2009) when pipes and drums played it at the memorial ceremony for the 4 Oakland Policemen killed this week.

Very moving.

Anonymous said...

Gone are the days!! I'm only 55 but we used to sing this song in 'Music lessons' at Ulverston Lightbowne School. it was a regular amongst a lot of other traditional songs that faded out because of our reluctance to embrace our heritage. Then people begin to realise what we've 'lost'.

Anonymous said...

In the synopsis it is stated; "One died in prison, another was wounded, and a third captured and hung."

Paintings are 'hung' people are 'hanged'.

Anonymous said...

They also broke into a rendition of this in Brotherhood.

Anonymous said...

This song is great but it's nearly the exam and i haven't finished learing it it' sooo hard!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love this song it's so romantic as myself I love the minstrel boy!!!!!!11

Anonymous said...

Do you like the minstrel boy???????? if you don't your really dumb!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

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mkaronis said...

Very thorough blog, beautiful!
At the end credits of the movie "Black Hawk Down" you'll hear this song impressively arranged by Hans Zimmer.

milton said...

Excuse my ignorance, but isnt Hans Zimmer the one who sings??

Claude said...

No. The track at the end of Black Hawk Down, as stated above, was arranged and performed by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, another version of which can be found on their previously released album, Global A Go-Go. Both are beautiful versions performed by one of the greatest musicians of our time.

jimmy said...

i love old war songs, and love this one especially.

Soldier82 said...

This song makes me sad and angry. My uncle was killed in the battle of Mogadishu of October 3 1993 other wise known as Black Hawk Down. RIP Srg. Lorenzo Ruiz KIA October 3 1993. Lost Convoy I will never forget those men who sacrafised everthing that day.

David Mabry said...

This is a favorite song for some Civil War re-enactment units as well. I am a social studies teacher and I sing it to my students when we get to the U.S. -Mexican war.

perth70 said...

The Minstrel Boy is one of my favorites. Someone posted that Sean Connery sings this song near the end of "The Man Who Would Be King." This is incorrect. While the melody is the Moreen (The Minstrel Boy) the words he sings are from the great Lutheran hymnn "The Son of God Goes Forth To War."

perth70 said...

The Minstrel Boy is one of those beautiful sentimental songs that only the Irish can write.

Someone posted that Sean Connery sings this song at the end of "The Man Who Would Be King." This is incorrect. While the melody his sings is the Moreen (The Minstrel Boy), the lyrics that Connery recites is from the great Lutheran hymn "The Son of God Goes Forth To War."

Lora D. said...

Hi! You can find more free lyrics at www.lyricspy.com

MikeyP said...

Shane Magowan and the Popes did an excellent version of the Minstrel Boy.

First Sgt. Risley IL Vol Infentry said...

I first Heard the song walking on to the battel field at my first Gettysburg national event.I am a civil war reenactor and I had joind a group of Irish bragade reenactors, who started singing as we marched. I can't discribe how it affected me in that setting as we marched out to our (albeit fake)deaths. It made me appreciate the effect music can have to inspier people.

prb99 said...

Just heard the song again, I first learned this at primary school in the 1950's. Great lyrics and a really haunting melody.

Pamela said...

I learned this song from the Clancy Brothers. The tune is also in the soundtrack of Ken Burns Baseball.

Milton said...

Was there...Hate the movie Blackhawk Down

Cry every time I hear the song

Techmate said...

fdsfsd

Sue's News said...

In a Parade today I was ahead of the bagpipers and when I began singing this at the top of my lungs, one piper, dressed in a Campbell tartan said he was surprised to hear the lyrics!

Sayre said...

This song, with all verses, are in the beginning of the Sarah Palin movie "The Undefeated", appropriately, I may add.

Brian T. Hart said...

Sayre that is a horribly disturbing thought.

NH4Palin.com said...

The Documentary movie "The Undefeated" from Hollywood producer Steve Bannon about the life and many accomplishments of Sarah Palin and the inane baseless vitriol that has been directed her way includes this song in the beginning of the movie. It is my favorite rendition of this song as it is very simple, only a mountain dulcimer or guitar and a child or soft female voice singing it. The song is played again at the end of the movie but in a much more modern style which for me is no where near as nice as the beginning version. It is a very appropriate accompianment for the movie which sets the record straight about Sarah. A very compelling story showing how she is head and shoulders above any other politician today on either side of the aisle. 2012, the end of an error.

Amy said...

I LOVE THIS SONG SONG SO MUCH!

Maximilian Mary said...

thank you for that third verse. i love this song! God bless you.

Brian E O'Shaughnessy said...

My Father taught me this song and many other Irish rebel songs when I was a child in 50s Liverpool. My Father was a Wexford man and his Grandfather is buried next to a 98 man in Ardcavan cemetry Wexford Town. I still find it ironic that my grandfather, father, myself and my son all served in the British armed forces in 2 world wars and other more recent conflicts. Espescially as the minstrel boy was written as a result of the Irish rebellion against the British of 1798.I confess I did not know the 3rd verse which was an add on by The Irish who fought in the American Civil war. God bless all who serve in the armed forces and my respects to brian T Hart. Brian E O'Shaughnessy Liverpool

Brian T. Hart said...

Mr. O'Shaughnesey you are so right. The song,its context and its singers seem to span conflicts and causes. It hits a resonate cord that is deeper than any single conflict.

Warhorse said...

Dear Maj. Scott Price, USAR (Ret.),

I cannot imagine your pain. I grieve with you brother. This song is so special I included it in the music played before my retirment ceremony. Bless your daughter. I see her sitting on a bench with my mother and grandmother chatting about their soldier fathers and sons. My God Bless you my brother.
MAJ Bill Cussins

Brendan O'Reilly said...

Hello everybody
I would like to open on how this song is something I love, and also how I do feel for those who have lost.

Though I do find it hard sometimes to see a song like this, about a group of people defending their home to the last against an invader, being hijacked by those who have now become the invader.
The soldier on the ground, though i do not blame him for what he does, is more times than not, not there for what they believe themselves, but what those with more power than them think will bring them more power.

This song is about those that stand opposed to the "lords" and the imperialists. It is for those mean and women around the world who have fought for freedom, who have defended their homelands against those who would despoil it.
( and for those poor fools who have been hoodwinked into trying to kill them)

Gods Blessing on those that die.
Gods forgiveness to those bastards that send them there( i ask no apologies for my language there)


Brendan O'Reilly

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Wesley said...
Sean Connery and Michael Caine sing this song in the end of "The Man Who Would Be King" while standing on a rope bridge above a chasm while the Afgans chopped the ropes to send them to their deaths.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

They don't sing this in The Man Who would be King. It's the same tune but the words are from a hymn. Also only Danny (Sean Connery) is on the bridge and falls to his death. Peachy (Micheal Caine) lives to tell the tail.

Here are the words to the hymn:

The Son of God goes forth to war,
A kingly crown to gain;
His blood red banner streams afar:
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears his cross below,
He follows in His train.

That martyr first, whose eagle eye
Could pierce beyond the grave;
Who saw his Master in the sky,
And called on Him to save.
Like Him, with pardon on His tongue,
In midst of mortal pain,
He prayed for them that did the wrong:
Who follows in His train?

A glorious band, the chosen few
On whom the Spirit came;
Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,
And mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant’s brandished steel,
The lion’s gory mane;
They bowed their heads the death to feel:
Who follows in their train?

A noble army, men and boys,
The matron and the maid,
Around the Savior’s throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of Heav’n,
Through peril, toil and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given,
To follow in their train.

A said...

I'm using this song in a class I'm teaching on combat. Thank you for the history.

In addition, as the daughter of an Iraq war vet/EOD technician, thank you for your work with iRobot. BZ!

Clayton Thompson said...

Just googled the lyrics for the song and your blog came up. Also, just wanted to thank you for your son's service. Unlike our government officials, he is a true American hero. It's people like him who make this country free. I hope he will not have died for nothing. God bless you!

Knowingly said...

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

Knowingly said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure,

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

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asa said...

I first heard and fell in love with this song back in the 60's or early 70's, from an LP - Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers - a group that specialized in all kinds of Gaelic folk songs. In my early exposure to music there was a kind of musical duel,(good-natured, of course), between my parents and us kids - the Clancy brothers vs. the Beatles. China Sourcing

Ever Ballardo Martínez said...

This is one of the most beuatiful sonds I have heard ever. First time I listed to it was on that movie "Black Hawk Down" while the credings were displayed.

Greetings from Honduras.

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Unknown said...

I remember my great-grandmother O'Neil singing this song on St. Patrick's day "In memory of those that died in the 'TROUBLES'". Her first verse went like this: THE MINSTREL BOY TO THE WAR HAS GONE, IN THE RANK OF DEATH YOU WILL NOW FIND HIM, HIS FATHER'S ARMOR HE HAS GIRDED ON, AND HIS ONE TRUE LOVE HE'S LEFT BEHIND HIM. DAY IS DONE AND THE WAR'S BEGUN, WE ALL SING TUNES OF GLORY, FOR THOSE OF US WHO MUST SOLDIER ON WITH BUT ONE PURE HARP TO TELL THE STORY" (She called Ireland a land of tragic live and happy warriors)--- In the 50's there was a TV show called "Captain Video" that used an fife and drum version as it's theme song. In the movie Gettysburg there a great version as the Union troops pray before battle



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fa-direct-download said...

MAKES EVENMORE SENSE WITH LYRICS THE SONG SPEAKS TO ME AND EVERYONE I KNOW!!

hnajans said...

Thanks for the background - I remember that tune sticking with me when I heard it on TNG, and it came back today (March 27, 2009) when pipes and drums played it at the memorial ceremony for the 4 Oakland Policemen killed this week.

hnajans said...

The Vets returning from combat must be welcomed as servants of peace and freedom. All people everywhere need someone to fight for their humanity against tyranny. Viet Nam vets who enlisted and hoped for people to be free were killed, betrayed by weak people with destructive philosophies at home. SF !

'Tis terrible loyalty to faith and hope that always shows someone young and hopeful in the following,

Down the crimson road of giving of all himself for the freedoms of his own others,

Is always made loss by the warm salted wine of lying lords and princes.

'Tis but boys who see the truth of hope and life in freedom thru eyes and hearts so pure, techno

Who are owed debts to deep to grand yet in the still are soon forgotten.

hnajans said...

Black Hawk Down version is the best in my opinion. In fact the entire soundtrack from BHD is fantastic, esp. lipitabs while drinking a glass of Scotch.

Scot Hoosier said...

This song also is used in "Rough Riders" In the movie it is the song of "G" Company, U.S. Volunteers, Led by Teddy Roosevelt in the Battle of San Juan hill. Also used very poigniantly.

bassem samuel said...

I first heard and fell in love with this song back in the 60's or early 70's, from an LP - Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers - a group that specialized in all kinds of Gaelic folk songs. In my early exposure to music there was a kind of musical duel,(good-natured, of course), between my parents and us kids - the Clancy brothers vs. the Beatles. تحميل هوت سبوت
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Lover of great melodies said...

There is a splendid rendition of this lovely song that has been posted on You Tube, under the reference of "Gounod Serenade Version 2". It is played on a large Polyphon Mikado music box. I think that most people will enjoy it!

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Sreve said...

This song is hauntingly played by John McCutcheon in his song "Christmas in the Trenches." I heard it again in a special about troops from Bedford County Virginia killed at D-Day and later. Absolutely one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.