The first two verses of the lyrics below, entitled "My Gentle Harp"—written by Thomas Moore (1770-1852)—are QUOTED here only for contextual reference. The portion written by me, is the additional verse tagged onto the end of the famous lyrics, all of which are sung to the tune of Londonderry Air (better know as the tune to which "Danny Boy" is sung).
"My Gentle Harp" was originally written by Thomas Moore in response to the tragedy befalling several of his close friends, as a result of their participation in the rebellion of the United Irishmen, in 1798. One was hanged, one was wounded, and one died in prison. Moore refused to testify against any of them.
As I studied the original lyrics, I sensed that the story was unfinished, as it ends on the tragical note, without a glimpse into any future resolution of our now tragic existence. It needed a purpose infused into the tragedy, that only "the blessed hope" of the Second Coming of Jesus—and the ultimate end to sin and bloodshed—can instill.
MY GENTLE HARP
By Thomas Moore (1770-1852)
Additional Verse By Dennis Berlin (2002)
To the tune of Londonderry Air (same as “Danny Boy”)
My gentle harp, once more I waken
The sweetness of thy slumbering strain
In tears our last farewell was taken
And nos in tears we meet again.
Yet even then, while peace was singing,
Her halcyon song o’er land and sea,
Though joy and hope to others bringing,
She only brought new tears to thee.
Then who can ask for notes of pleasure,
My drooping harp, from chords like thine?
Alas, the lark’s gay morning measure
As ill would suit the swan’s decline.
Or how shall I, who love, who bless thee,
Invoke thy breath for freedom’s strains,
When e’en the wreaths in which I dress thee,
Are sadly mixed, half flours, half chains.
(Following verse added by Dennis Berlin
—based on theme and language style of the previous verses,
and of the poem “The Minstrel Boy,” also by Thomas Moore.
VERSE COPYRIGHT 2002 DENNIS BERLIN)
A day shall come when canons cease their echo
Nor sons, lov’d daughters, friends form ranks of death.
That spring cold tears, which watered winter’s meadow
Shall cause the minstrel’s harp to wake with flour’s breath.
And in that day I’ll sing of love unending
A strain unsullied by this bitter pain.
When all of earth to heaven’s pleasure bending
My gentle harp I’ll dress thee: flours without chains.
In joy and hope sing notes of freedom [or pleasure] without stain.
Introduction to poem, and final verse, protected by copyright law.
© Copyright 2002 Dennis Berlin (www.dennisberlin.com)
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