Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling From glen to glen, and down the mountain side The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying 'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide. But come ye back when summer's in the meadow Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow 'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so. And if you come, when all the flowers are dying And I am dead, as dead I well may be You'll come and find the place where I am lying And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me. And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me. I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
"Danny Boy" is a ballad written by Frederic Weatherly and usually set to the tune of the "Derry Air". It is most closely associated with Irish communities.
A Londonderry Air is an air that originated from County Londonderry in Ireland. It is popular among the Irish diaspora and is very well known throughout the world. The tune is played as the victory anthem of Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games. "Danny Boy" is a popular set of lyrics to the tune.
The lyrics to "Danny Boy" were written by English lawyer and lyricist Frederic Weatherly in 1910. Although the lyrics were originally written for a different tune, Weatherly modified them to fit the "Derry Air" in 1913, when his sister-in-law in America sent him a copy.Ernestine Schumann-Heink made the first recording in 1915. Weatherly gave the song to the vocalist Elsie Griffin, who in turn made it one of the most popular songs in the new century.
Jane Ross of Limavady is credited with collecting the melody, the "Londonderry Air", in the mid-19th century from a local fiddle player.
Although penned by Englishman Weatherly, "Danny Boy" is considered to be an unofficial signature song and anthem, particularly by Irish Americans and Irish Canadians.
"Danny Boy" enjoys popularity as a funeral song but, as it is not liturgical, its suitability for funerals is sometimes contested.In 1928, Weatherly suggested that the second verse would provide a fitting requiem for the actress Ellen Terry.
There are various theories as to the true meaning of "Danny Boy".Some listeners have interpreted the song to be a message from a parent to a son going off to war or leaving as part of the Irish diaspora. The 1918 version of the sheet music included alternative lyrics ("Eily Dear"), with the instructions that "when sung by a man, the words in italic should be used; the song then becomes "Eily Dear", so that "Danny Boy" is only to be sung by a lady".
In spite of this, it is unclear whether this was Weatherly's intent, or simply a publisher's note; Weatherly did, however, acknowledge that "Danny Boy" was sung "all over the world by Sinn Feiners and Ulstermen alike", and noted that the song had "nothing of the rebel song in it, and no note of bloodshed".