The Minstrel Boy was an Irish ballad from Earth, written by Thomas Moore. It later became popular during the American Civil War, and endured in Irish, American and Aldebaran culture well into the 24th century.
Chief Miles O'Brien often used the song as his "happy thought" in dire situations. His one-time captain, Benjamin Maxwell, was also fond of it, as was Timothy Sinclair. A Paradan replicant of O'Brien was programmed to know the song. (TNG: "The Wounded"; DS9: "Whispers", Star Trek: Pendragon)
- The minstrel boy to the war is 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" 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 bravery
- Thy songs were made for the pure and free
- They shall never sound in slavery"
During the American Civil War, a third verse, steeped in Christian eschatology, was added.
- The minstrel boy will return one day,
- When we hear the news, we will cheer it.
- The minstrel boy will return we pray,
- Torn, perhaps, in body, not in spirit.
- Then may he play his harp in peace,
- In a world as Heaven intended,
- When all the works of War shall cease,
- And every battle must be ended.
The Minstrel Boy was written by Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) to commemorate friends who had died in the 1798 Irish rebellion against British rule.