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!”
Bard of Erin : the life of Thomas Moore Ronan Kelly Dublin : Penguin Ireland, 2008 Hardcover. 1st ed. viii, 624 p.,  p. of plates : ill. (some col.), ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone:
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.
Few people have had greater influence on what it means to be Irish than Thomas Moore. Through his Irish Melodies, Moore created an iconography of silenced harps, misty landscapes and round towers that lives on today, more than a century and a half after his death.
I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.
In Bard of Erin, Kelly tells the story of Moore’s extraordinary life. From humble beginnings in Dublin (the son of a Catholic grocer) to glittering success in London (at one point his popularity was eclipsed only by that of Sir Walter Scott and his close friend Lord Byron), Moore lived in the glow of fame and under the burden of national expectation.
So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie wither’d,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?
Ronan Kelly’s biography is a gripping and definitive account of a great romantic figure.
The Minstrel fell! — but the foeman’s chain
Could not bring his 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.”