by Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852)
Translation © by Pierre Mathé

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
In the ranks of death you'll find him;
His father's sword he [has]1 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 slav'ry".

V. Herbert sets stanza 1

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Note: some settings of this text use a third verse written by an unknown author during the American Civil War, found here.

1 Herbert: "hath"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , title 1: "Le jeune ménestrel", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2017-10-11 12:39:24
Line count: 16
Word count: 112

Le jeune ménestrel
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Le jeune ménestrel est parti à la guerre,
Vous le trouverez dans les rangs de la mort ;
Il a ceint l'épée de son père
Et sa harpe indomptable est jetée sur son dos.
« Pays des chants — a dit le barde guerrier —
Bien que le monde entier te trahisse,
Une épée au moins défendra tes droits,
Une harpe fidèle te célébrera ».

Le ménestrel tomba ! Mais la chaîne de l'ennemi
Ne put soumettre cette âme fière,
La harpe qu'il aimait ne parlera plus jamais
Car il en arracha les cordes
Et dit : « Aucune chaîne ne souillera
Ton âme d'amour et de bravoure !
Tes chants étaient faits pour le pur et le libre,
Ils ne s'élèveront jamais dans l'esclavage ».


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2014 by Pierre Mathé, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Text added to the website: 2014-04-16 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:32
Line count: 16
Word count: 126