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O the sight entrancing (1960)


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Irish Folk Song Arrangements


O the sight entrancing

O the sight entrancing,
When morning’s beam is glancing
O’er files array’d
With helm and blade,
And plumes in the gay wind dancing.
When hearts are all high beating,
And the trumpet’s voice repeating
That song whose breath
May lead to death,
But never to retreating.
Then if a cloud comes over
The brow of sire or lover,
Think ’tis the shade
By vict’ry made,
Whose wings right o’er us hover.
Yet ’tis not helm or feather
For ask yon despot whether
His plumèd bands
Could bring such hands
And hearts as ours together.
Leave pomps to those who need ’em,
Adorn but man with freedom,
And proud he braves
The gaudiest slaves
That crawl where monarchs lead ’em.
The sword may pierce the beaver,
Stone walls in time my sever,
’Tis mind alone,
Worth steel and stone,
That keeps men free for ever!

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Composer

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

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Poet

Thomas Moore was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of "The Minstrel Boy" and "The Last Rose of Summer". He was responsible, with John Murray, for burning Lord Byron's memoirs after his death. In his lifetime he was often referred to as Anacreon Moore.

Thomas Moore was born at 12 Aungier Street in Dublin, Ireland over his father's grocery shop, his father being from the Kerry Gaeltacht and his mother, Anastasia Codd, from Wexford. He had two younger sisters, Kate and Ellen.

From a relatively early age Moore showed an interest in music and other performing arts. He sometimes appeared in musical plays with his friends, such as The Poor Soldier by John O'Keeffe (music by William Shield), and at one point had ambitions to become an actor. Moore attended several Dublin schools including Samuel Whyte's English Grammar School in Grafton Street where he learned the English accent with which he spoke for the rest of his life. In 1795 he graduated from Trinity College, which had recently allowed entry to Catholic students, in an effort to fulfill his mother's dream of him becoming a lawyer. Moore was initially a good student, but he later put less effort into his studies. His time at Trinity came amidst the ongoing turmoil following the French Revolution, and a number of his fellow students such as Robert Emmet were supporters of the United Irishmen movement, although Moore himself never was a member. This movement sought support from the French government to launch a revolution in Ireland. In 1798 a rebellion broke out followed by a French invasion, neither of which succeeded.

Besides Emmet, another formative influence was Edward Hudson, also a fellow student at Trinity College, who played a crucial role in introducing Moore to Edward Bunting's A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music (1797), later one the main sources of his own collection of Irish Melodies.

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