Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Londonderry Air

I was listening to a CD this morning on my way to work. As any collection of Irish, or Irish-inspired, music goes, there is almost always some arrangement of the Londonderry Air. As it was playing, the most common lyrics to the tune rolled through my mind. While singing to myself in the car, I realized that I was not remembering a few lines in the second and third verses of Danny Boy. I can't have that, this was one of my grandfather's favorite songs, so I stole a moment from work to look them up. In my little world of research, one thing always leads to another.

From the lyrics of Danny Boy, I looked at the history of the tune. I found that it was originally just a tune, originally heard on a fiddle in County Derry (Londonderry, depending on who you ask). A great variety of lyrics have been set to it, more than I had ever known.

I read through those lists of songs, playing the tune to the words in my mind. There was one poem, that was set to the tune for a special lament, that struck me by the beauty of it.

My Creed (I Will Be True) by Howard Arnold Walter

I would be true, for there are those that trust me.
I would be pure, for there are those that care.
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer.
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
I would be friend of all, the foe, the friendless.
I would be giving, and forget the gift,
I would be humble, for I know my weakness,
I would look up, and laugh, and love and live.

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