The exact original meaning behind the text of Danny Boy is unknown, but one of the most popular interpretations is that it is told from the perspective of a father saying a final goodbye to his son before he is sent off to war or leaves for another country. Throughout the last century, this text resonated particularly powerfully with Irish immigrants to America, many of whom left family and friends in Ireland, not knowing if they would ever see them again.
While the iconic Danny Boy is most commonly associated with Ireland, the text was actually written in 1910 by the English Frederic Weatherly, a lawyer and prolific lyricist. After being set in 1913 to the tune of the Londonderry Air, a melody originating in Northern Ireland, the song became enormously popular and has since become somewhat of an unofficial anthem of the Irish diaspora, particularly in North America.
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
‘Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.
And if you come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.
And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warm and sweeter be.
For you will bend and tell me that you love me
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.
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Danny Boy (SATB) - Casey RuleDigital download:
Danny Boy (ATBB) - Casey RuleDigital download:
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