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« Tony Blair 3 years later: I’d liberate Iraq again | Main | Saddam financed Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaida-aligned terrorist group »

March 17, 2006


Frank Warner

Hi Alan, great to hear from Scotland.

It's interesting you remember Maureen O'Hara in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." O'Hara played in several movie classics over several decades. "Miracle on 34th Street" is another top film she was part of. And I like her a lot in "Rio Grande."

Leslie Jones

I lost my dad in January this year and apart from being a big John Wayne fan The Quiet Man was his most favoured film your site has given me a chance to hear him sing again as no matter who sings the lyrics from this wonderful film i hear my dad Thank You

Kind regards

Frank Warner

Wow. Sorry for your father's loss. What a nice way to remember him.

Pat Higgins

The Irish song "Saint Patrick's Day" is also known as "Our Prince's Day". The lyrics begin "Though dark are our sorrows, today we'll forget them...". This is the music that plays at the end of the film "The Quiet Man" as Mary Kate and Sean wave good bye at the foot of the path that leads to their cottage.

Thank you for the in-depth discussion of the soundtrack! I had some questions that you answered for me. It's good to know how much the film and its score are still being enjoyed.

Pat Higgins

Thomas Moore, an Irishman during the Regency period in England, wrote lyrics to commemorate the visit of the Prince Regent to Ireland. Those lyrics were set to a traditional Irish melody "Saint Patrick's Day" and the song was called "The Prince's Day" in honor of the Prince Regent, later George IV.

The lyrics were tweaked later to take out the specific praise for the Prince Regent and to make them more general, so you may find several variations in words: Royal becomes Loyal, etc.

The music is very similar to Beethoven's Pulse of an Irishman, probably because they were both derived from the same traditional song. But if you compare the two melodies, there are differences in what I think are the 7th and 8th bars of the song (I'm not a musician, so please forgive my impertinence!) (And sorry about the formatting!)

Lyrics by Moore:

Though dark are our sorrows, today we'll forget them,
And smile through our tears, like a sunbeam in showers.
There never were hearts, if our rulers would let them,
More formed to be grateful and blessed than ours.
But just when the chain,
Has ceased to pain,
And hope has enwreathed it round with flowers,
There comes a new link,
Our spirits to sink
Oh! the joy that we taste, like the light of the poles,
Is a flash amid darkness, too brilliant to stay;
But, though 'twere the last little spark in our souls,
We must light it up now, on our Prince's Day.

Contempt on the minion who calls you disloyal!
Though fierce to your foe, to your friends you are true;
And the tribute most high to a heart that is loyal,
Is love from a heart that loves liberty too.
While cowards, who blight
Your fame, your right,
Would shrink from the blaze of the battle array,
The Standard of Green
In front would be seen
Oh, my life on your faith! were you summoned this minute,
You'd cast every bitter remembrance away,
And show what the arm of old Erin has in it,
When roused by the foe, on her Prince's Day.

He loves the Green Isle, and his love is recorded
In hearts which have suffered too much to forget;
And hope shall be crowned, and attachment rewarded,
And Erin's gay jubilee shine out yet.
The gem may be broke
By many a stroke,
But nothing can dull its native ray;
Each fragment will cast
A light to the last
And thus, Erin, my country, though broken thou art,
There's luster within thee, that ne'er will decay;
A spirit which beams through each suffering part,
And now smiles at all pain on the Prince's Day.

I hope this helps clear up my earlier post about the melody that plays at the end of the movie as the camera acknowledges the main characters in the film.

Frank Warner

Thanks, Pat!

That does help clear up what the tune "St. Patrick's Day" is, except I'm still not sure who wrote that tune originally. Did Thomas Moore come up with the tune as well as the words? This Thomas Moore wrote other Irish traditional songs, didn't he?

Just to be clear: Are you saying Beethoven didn't write the basic tune for "The Pulse of an Irishman"; he just modified the tune from someone else's "St. Patrick's Day"?

One more question: Do you know which tune is played, near the beginning of "The Quiet Man," as Flynn takes Sean Thornton from Castletown to Inisfree?

Pat Higgins

Beethoven was hired by a man named Thomson to arrange folk songs from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Thomson told Beethoven that he was free to make changes to the original melodies if the composer found any places that were musically unsound. And it turns out that some of the raw melodies sent to Beethoven contained transcription errors, too. This might explain why the two songs are slightly different.

Moore was a famous poet and composer. Much of Moore's work was based on traditional Irish melodies that he helped to popularize. He wrote many lyrics and set them to traditional Irish melodies that he arranged. For example, "Believe me, if all those enduring young charms" is his poem but the melody was published as early as 1737 with other words, and it is certainly much older than that.

So my belief is that the music for "Saint Patrick's Day" is a folk melody that one would have to call "Traditional" where no composer's name can be determined. Beethoven arranged it for "The pulse of an Irishman" and Moore adapted it for his own work. I think both men worked on this material around 1810.

I'm sorry that I can't help you with the melody that is played when Flynn takes Thornton to Innisfree. I don't know if it is Victor Young's own composition or an Irish folk melody. Sorry.

Frank Warner

Thanks again, Pat.

By the way, I spell the movie's Inisfree with one "n" because that's the way it's spelled at the race in the movie. The other Innisfree of Yeats and, later, Farrelly, has the two "n's."

jj mollo

Here's a nice song by Thomas Moore and the lyrics. There's some sad and beautiful stories to get with them, but I don't know if any are true.

Frank Warner

Stan McLarsen sings it well there. "Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms," the tune, is played twice in the movie "The Quiet Man."

And by the lyrics, it's more obvious why the song was played at the wedding reception:

"Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly today,
Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still."

Gerard Farrelly

You may be interested in the following Wikipedia links regarding The Isle of Innisfree and it's composer, Irish songwriter Dick Farrellly.

Frank Warner

Gerard, are you related to Dick Farrelly? Well, if you are, your family has a beautiful song to be proud of.


Thank you for this very nice writeup. By the way, Rakes of Mallow is a reel. A reel has 4 beats per measure and you can count them out when listening (1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 or umpah umpah umpah umpah) but a jig would count out 3 beats per measure instead and it would go 1-2-3 1-2-3 or fidd-le-dy fidd-le-dy.

Just a little nit that doesn't take away from the fabulous job you did in this writeup! Thanks again for posting all the music info.

Frank Warner

MK, thanks! I'll make note of that. "Rakes of Mallow" is a reel.

I just got back today from Connemara country, where I finally saw Cong.


Does anyone know what kind of horse it is that Michaleen Oge is driving in the film? From the feathers on the hooves it looks to be a draft but it's not a large bodied horse. At first I thought it might be an Irish Draft Horse but the belly isn't rounded enough.


Can anyone provide more direct help regarding these passages that Fr. Paul is reading at the old man's death bed?

“... hands of a hundred battles, eye on a thousand besides...”

“... stood alone on the victorious field, his buckler bent...”

“... his broken sword clutched in his mighty hand...”

“... the blood of a thousand wounds oozing from his open veins...”

I can't find any reference to them being related to Conn of the Hundred Battles.

Gerard Farrelly

Hello Frank,

Yes I'm a son of Dick Farrelly (songwriter). All the best, Gerard

Frank Warner

Great to hear from you, Gerard. I just got back from Cong two weeks ago.

Frank Warner

Terry, I forgot to ask about that "blood of a thousand wounds" when I was in Connemara last month. Let's hope someone writes in with the answer.

And Michaleen's horse? We need horse experts!


I have a question, by the way: How much did Sean Thornton (John Wayne) know about the slightly dishonest "conspiracy" to persuade Will Danaher to let him marry Mary Kate? At the horse race, Sean knows he has to grab the Widow Tillane's bonnet. But at the wedding, Sean acts as if he knew nothing.

Was he only partly aware of the scheme to trick Will? Why did he take the widow's bonnet if he didn't know of the plan to trick Danaher?

Mando Mark

Here is what is being read in that scene:

“... hands of a hundred battles, eye on a thousand besides...”

Listen again - he's reading "Conn of a Hundred Battles, Aye and a thousand besides..." It makes more sense if you repeat it with an Irish accent (Faith and Begora!)

Frank Warner

So it's not "hands of a hundred battles."

Let me check ....

Frank Warner

Mando Mark, you are absolutely right!

The priest is reading "Conn of a Hundred Battles -- aye, and a thousand besides," not "hands of a hundred battles...."

We've been relying on that unauthorized online script for far too long. It is helpful, but we should listen for ourselves.

So the reading to the dying man is definitely about Conn of a Hundred Battles. The remaining mystery is, is that a real published book the priest is reading, or are the words just made up for the movie?


Maureen O'Hara's secret of not telling is like J. Edgar Hoover's secret of not wanting anybody to know he is part black. He can destroy all of his files connected to his family and believe he is already done it. At the time before the 1970's, if anyone tell J. Edgar Hoover is part black, you are gone for good.

jj mollo

What's that mean?

Frank Warner

That means V.E.G. is not of this world.

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