Unknown Artist (Irish) - The Soldier's Song

English

The Soldier's Song

We'll sing a song, a soldier's song
With cheering, rousing chorus
As round our blazing fires we throng,
The starry heavens o'er us;
Impatient for the coming fight,
And as we wait the mornings light
here in the silence of the night
We'll sing a soldier's song
 
CHORUS:
Soldiers are we,
whose lives are pledged to Ireland
Some have come from a land beyond the wave,
Sworn to be free,
no more our ancient sireland
Shall shelter the despot or the slave;
tonight we man the gap of danger
In Erin's cause.
come woe or weal;
'Mid cannon's roar and rifle's peal
We'll chant a soldier's song.
 
In valley green or towering crag
Our fathers fought before us,
And conquered 'neath the same old flag
That's proudly floating o'er us,
We're children of a fighting race
That never yet has known disgrace,
And as we march the foe to face,
We'll sing a soldier's song
 
CHORUS:
Soldiers are we,
whose lives are pledged to Ireland
Some have come from a land beyond the wave,
Sworn to be free,
no more our ancient sireland
Shall shelter the despot or the slave;
tonight we man the gap of danger
In Erin's cause.
come woe or weal;
'Mid cannon's roar and rifle's peal
We'll chant a soldier's song.
 
Sons of the Gael! Men of the Pale!
The long watched day is breaking;
The serried ranks of Innisfail1
Shall set the tyrant quaking.
Our camp fires now are burning low;
See in the east a silvery glow,
Out yonder waits the saxon foe,
So chant a soldier's song.
 
CHORUS:
Soldiers are we,
whose lives are pledged to Ireland
Some have come from a land beyond the wave,
Sworn to be free,
no more our ancient sireland
Shall shelter the despot or the slave;
tonight we man the gap of danger
In Erin's cause.
come woe or weal;
'Mid cannon's roar and rifle's peal
We'll chant a soldier's song.
 
  • 1. "Innisfail" comes from gaeilge "Innis Fàil" which means "the island of Ireland"
Submitted by michealt on Sat, 29/11/2014 - 15:33
Submitter's comments:

These are the original words, written in 1907 by Peadar Kearney and set to music by Kearney and Patrick Heeny. It became famous when sung by the rebels at the Dublin GPO during the 1916 Easter uprising. Some time between 1917 and 1922 an Irish translation was made by Liam Ó Rinn and printed first in The Freeman's journal in April 1923, with a very slightly different version following in An tÓglach in Novemebr of the same year.
this wsn't the first Irish version of the song; several people had translated it to classical literary Irish, a language which no-one except academics spoke and very few non-academics could read or write; but it was the first translated into the Irish actually spoken in the Gaeltachta (the parts if Ireland in which Irish was the main language), and as a result it this is the Irish version that survived.

Thanks!thanked 1 time

 

Comments
michealt    Sat, 24/03/2018 - 01:44

The Irish language chorus of this song is the Unofficial Irish National anthem, not the official one. And the Irish text is a translation of the English, not the other way round. But for all practical purposes, it's the Irish text that gets sung at the end of musical evenings and so on, at least by Irish in the UK and in Spain.

The Official Irish National Anthem is the chorus (of which this is a rather inaccurate Irish translation written in about 1920 by Liam Ó Rinn and published in 1923) of "The Soldiers Song" written in English in about 1907 by Peadar Kearney and set to music by him and Patrick Heeney; the English song was made famous by its use at the Dublin GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising. The Irish Army adopted the chorus of the English song as a national song. In 1926 the the president was asked in parliament what the national anthem was, and the parliament's speaker ruled the question unacceptable; the parliament then asked what was the army using as its national anthem and got the answer "The soldiers song". That has been interpreted as an adoption by the parliament of the soldiers song, as used by the army, as the national anthem; the army used only the English version, as most of its troops had little or no Irish; and the army wanted only the chorus (in 1926 that was their normal practice; in 1928 they made that official policy). Parliament has several times declined to adopt the Irish version, and has several times looked at commissioning a decent Irish version of the original chorus to adopt as the official national anthem but last time I checked (years ago, so things may since have changed) there was still nothing done.

The original song plus O'Rinn's Irish translation (of the whole song, not just the chorus) can be found at https://lyricstranslate.com/en/soldiers-song-amhrán-na-bhfiann.html, or on the official site of the Irish Prime Minstry at https://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/irish/Eolas_stairiúil/An_tAmhrán_Náisiúnta/...
(I think the introduction has been given some different dates since the first time I read it, but the song and translation haven't changed).

SilentRebel83    Fri, 23/03/2018 - 03:31

Thank you for the enlightening information.

michealt    Fri, 23/03/2018 - 04:10

I'm not sure what's happened here. I posted that comment against the short (single chorus) text in Irish, not against the full song. So I'm a bit confused by it turning up here. Maybe it was finger trouble on my part. Or maybe some moderators have decided to shufle tings a bit. I don't know.

SilentRebel83    Fri, 23/03/2018 - 04:14

I had the entry merged with this one since it wasn't the official Irish anthem as I initially thought when I added the entry several years ago. There was only one translation which was also merged here as well.

michealt    Sat, 24/03/2018 - 01:46

That accounts for it. So I've edited my long comment to make it a better fit here (as opposed to on a page with the Irish on it).