O the sight entrancing

by Benjamin Britten From Irish Folk Song Arrangements (1960)

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O the sight entrancing
English source: Thomas Moore

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!


Benjamin Britten

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,…


Thomas Moore

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…


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