The Bard of Armagh lyrics

by Northwind

Oh list' to the strings of a poor Irish harper,
And scorn not the strings from his poor withered hand,
And remember his fingers, could once move so sharply,
And raise up the memory of his dear native land.

It was long before the shamrock, dear Isle's lovely emblem,
Was crushed in its beauty by the Saxon's lion paw,
And all the pretty colleens around me would gather,
Called me their bold Phelim Brady, the Bard of Armagh.

How I love to muse on the days of my boyhood,
Though four score and three years have fled by since then.
Still it gives sweet reflection, as every young joys should,
For the merry-hearted boys make the best of old men.

At fair or at wake I would twist my shillelagh,
And dance through the jigs with my brogues bound with straw.
And all the pretty colleens in village and valley,
Loved the bold Phelim Brady, the Bard of Armagh.

In truth I have wandered this wide world over,
Yet Ireland's my home and a dwelling for me.
And, oh, let the turf that my old bones shall cover
Be cut from the land that is trod by the free.

And when Sergeant Death in his cold arms embrace me,
To lull me to sleep with sweet 'Erin-go-Bragh',
By the side of my Kathleen, my young wife who lay me,
Then forget Phelim Brady, the Bard of Armagh.

Oh list' to the strings of a poor Irish harper,
And scorn not the strings from his poor withered hand,
And remember his fingers, could once move so sharply,
And raise up the memory of his dear native land.

Song Details

Irish Harp
Irish Harp

Please Note: This version by Northwind omits 3 verses which have been included in a lighter colour.

Author: Unknown - also known as Brady's Lament

Tunes that share the same melody: The Unfortunate Rake & The Streets of Laredo

Brief: The song is about an Irish bard and harpist from Armagh by the name of Phelim Brady. Now an old man, he recalls the days of his vibrant youth lamenting days gone by. He reminisces about his younger years as a popular bard, and now he is left to ponder as he plans for his death and burial.

References:
colleens - Irish girls
Erin Go Bragh - Irish for 'Ireland Forever'.
Bard - poet - author/singer/narrator/musician
shillelagh - hand weapon
brogue - a coarse, usually untanned leather shoe formerly worn in Ireland and Scotland.

Category: Irish Folk Song

Recording Artists: Tommy Makem, The Clancy Brothers, Phil Coulter, John McDermott, Leo McCaffrey, John McCormack, Johnny McEvoy...

Logo The Bard of Armagh by Northwind is featured on the album Keltisches Millennium (March 3, 2014).

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