Londonderry Air is an ‘air‘ (music) that originated from County Londonderry in Ireland (now Northern 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, and the song “Danny Boy” set to the tune, is hugely popular.
For some inexplicable reason, this song has always brought up a lot of haunting sadness in me, since I first heard it at the age of around 12. Now that this has come up again today, I think I need to investigate the connection ;)…
But another lovely poem/song that is set to the same melody, Londonderry Air, I learned and memorized during my school years. It is something that moulded me to become the person I am in my life. Here are the words, written in 1906 by Howard A. Walter, learned at around age 12, and never forgotten:
I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who 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 lift.
Here’s the best youtube link I found, although the words are slightly changed in it!
Interesting though, that upon checking this poem out online, I found the original version that I never knew existed… very Christian, but lovely, all the same (I’m not Christian). If I removed the religiously-inclined words, it still makes perfect sense to me :)!
If only more people… but let’s not go there! I can only speak about MY truth 🙂