“The Minstrel Boy” is one of the most popular melodies in Moore’s collection. It tells the story of the death of a young and brave Irish bard warrior adapted from The Moreen, an old Irish air

Central Idea

This poem is written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) an Irish poet. He was born in Dublin where he studied at the best school. He was admitted to Trinity College at the age of 15 years. He became an enthusiastic Irish Poet. In imitation of Lord Byron, who was his friend, he wrote a poem on an oriental theme called “Lalla Rookh”. His patriotic feelings are well expressed in this poem.


“Patriotism is not a short outburst of emotions but the tranquil and steady dedication of lifetime.”


“Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul into great things.”‘


The poem “The Minstrel Boy” was written by the famous Irish poet Thomas Moore. In this poem, he shared his patriotic feelings. The poem is in the praise of the boy of the Minstrel. He was a wonderful singer who used to sing songs in peacetime at the time of his harp. But when the time of war had come to his country, he joined the army of flight to his country. He was actually continuing the tradition of his forefathers, i.e. fighting for their country.

He fought bravely, with his sword, and gave his life to defend his motherland. When he was near death, he ripped off all his possessions because he wanted the enemy to know that people like him would never allow him to touch their beloved homeland.

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In the end, the poet has shown his patriotic feelings in a compelling way. He says that the enemy could physically defeat the boy, but they couldn’t conquer his spirits. The Minstrel boy’s harp had been broken by the Minstrel boy himself because it was intended to sing in harmony, not in slavery. The extreme limit of patriotism is shown by their behaviour.


“The Minstrel Boy ” is one of the most popular melodies in Moore’s collection is Adapted from the air The Moreen, it tells the tale of the death of a young and brave Irish bard warrior. The character of the Minstrel Boy and the other allusions used in the poem have double entenders. Some may view the Minstrel Boy as symbolising Ireland itself, while others claim that Moore praised his lost friends who had fought loyally and idealistically for the cause. Other symbols evoked include the sword and the harp of the bard, and the shackles of slavery. The character’s defiance is striking, as the Minstrel Boy rips the strings of his harp on his deathbed, rather than letting it be violated by the enemy (in this case, the British). Maybe Moore, a survivor of the patriotic war, was commemorating his beloved friends who fell for the cause of independence.

By comparing Moore’s and Britten’s settings of the song, it soon becomes evident that the two men were thinking differently about war. Moore’s setting is victorious, full of snappy rhythms and dramatic fermata to demonstrate the pride of the martyred warrior. Britten prefers to change the metre and the accompaniment to highlight his pacifist values. The text that exemplifies the zeal of war is set in a jaunty, almost teasing fashion, with violent arpeggios strumming on the beats. Unsteadiness conveys the hotness of the youthful Minstrel Boy, who serves as a satire on the glorification of war.

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However, in the second section of each verse, where the text moves to more noble and idealistic tones, the arp-like accompaniment switches from the brisk strumming to the lush arpeggiating of the lengthened notes. This change of accompaniment can act to embellish and justify the bard’s justifications for abuse. Britten has also indulged in Moore’s optional anacruses, which are taken up by the octave. Likewise, at measure 13, the pick-up note was changed to a full octave, as opposed to the fourth that Moore had written.

These huge leaps allow the singer to root the phrase in a richer register of voices, and to infuse the performance with more dramatic emotions. Britten is also using complexities to enhance the emotional impact of the text. While the first verse is marked with a declamatory fort, the second verse retreats to a mourning piano. The postlude finishes at the pianissimo, with no hint of the bravado left by The Minstrel Boy. The loss of the title character at the end of the piece is a tragic reminder of the cost of war from the composer who would soon write his famous War Requiem in remembrance of the souls lost in the Second World War.

Question and Answers

Q.1 What do you know about Thomas Moore?
Ans. Thomas Moore was an enthusiastic Irish poet. In the imitation of his friend Lord Byron, he wrote a poem on an oriental theme called “Lalla Rookh”. He has expressed his patriotic feelings in this poem.

Q.2 What does Thomas Moore mean when he says as “thought all the world betray thee”?
Ans. Thomas Moore has tried to convey a message by these words to his nation that if you’ve got three things, no matter the whole world turns against you, you are not too afraid of it. Loyal and faithful companions, a beloved motherland and power to protect the privilege.

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Q.3 Why did he destroy his harp?
Ans. Before the minstrel boy was dead he destroyed his harp because he wanted the enemy to realize that every single child of his nation would not allow them to touch their homeland with impure hands. Moreover, his harp was meant to play in peace and if the harp had survived it would have chained into the atmosphere of slavery. The extreme limit of patriotism is exhibited by the action of minstrel boy.

Q.4 For whom the poet was the words warrior bard and proud soul?
Ans. Thomas Moore has paid a homage to the minstrel boy by alloting him the bites of “warrior bard” and the “proud soul”. Thomas Moore has used these words to exhibit the spirit of chamisism in the minstrel boy. He was a great and brave fighter and was proud of fighting for his homeland.

Q.5 For whom were the songs of harp made?
Ans. The songs sung on the tune of the harp were the marks of peace and carried out detention against slavery. these songs were made to please the patriots of minstrel boy’s nation. Only faithfully and Loyal companions and the men who were got freedom of their homeland could hear these songs.

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