“The Minstrel Boy” is 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 song, Minstrel Boy, gained widespread popularity and became a favorite of many Irishmen who fought during the American Civil War and gained even more popularity after World War I.
In Black Hawk Down the song is heard during the end credits of the film. The song was performed by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros.
Black Hawk Down tells the true story of an operation executed by U.S. Army Rangers in Somalia on 3 October 1993. They were dropped into the capital Mogadishu with the objective to capture two lieutenants of a Somali Warlord, but the mission went sideways and two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down. The movie shows the heroic efforts of the Rangers to get to the downed helicopters in order to take their brothers in arms back home.
I want to dedicate this song to all serving and ex-soldiers all over the world. As I am soldier myself, I know what all military personnel may go through. Especially during these dark times, as coward terrorist are claiming innocent lives.. daily. Whilst politicians start wars, the younger ones need to fight it.. Not asking “why?” but “when?!”.. Some will never see their family, friends or other guardians again.. Yet, it is for them that we want to dedicate our lives to our country, so they and others may live freely.
Lyrics of The Minstrel Boy by Joe Strummer
The minstrel boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death you’ll find him;
His father’s sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;
“Land of Song!” cried 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!
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.