Song of the Vanguard

Words and Music: Conn MacNeill
Source: Visitation de la Muse Polyhymnia; Chansons et Poemes Compose de Conn MacNiell

Our Valour is tested, we'll gain glory here, glory here!

My liege lord has called me to fight at his side,
Full burdened with armour and weapons I ride,
My blood and my body, my sword they are sworn,
His foemen my foemen, his causes my own,
Are my own!

On the banks of the river our camp is well made,
At eventide shriven we sharpen our blades,
'Atween the deep draughts the old stories are told,
Of valour and vengeance, the glories of old,
Of old!

Wordlessly arming in the gray light of dawn,
The horse it is saddled the weapon is drawn
Many among us this day will lie slain,
For the host of the foemen full covers the plain,
The plain!

As my King has ordered the army's arrayed,
A place in the vanguard the honour I'm paid,
Our mounts now fly forward to the spurs at our heels,
Our courage this day must be strong as our steel,
Our steel!

For the wind's in the banners, they flutter on high,
My steed thunders forward to fierce battle cry,
The bright sun is gleaming from helmet and spear,
Our valour is tested, we'll gain glory here,
Glory here!

Their bowstrings are loosened, their shafts they let fly,
So many their number they darken the sky,
The horses are stung, they are maddened and slain,
Our shields are sore pierced by the cruel iron rain,
Iron rain!

We crash in among them, they feel full our wrath,
The buckler is sundered the helmet is cracked,
I'm wounded, yet I dare not tarry this day,
It's out with the broadsword and back to the fray,
To the fray!

Strong was the charge we are deep in their ranks,
Their horsemen surprise us, we're taken in flank,
Our plight it is desperate, we strike and we shout,
And shoulder to shoulder we hew our way out,
Our way out!

Winded and wounded our numbers are few,
No rest, though we're weary, there's much work to do,
The King is surrounded, he's pressed on all sides,
Make haste my companions, to rescue we ride,
We must ride!


In our pains-taking we are not alone,
For the right wing has turned and to King's aid has flown,
We crush them between us, they're trampled and fled,
The plowed field of battle is sown with their dead,
With their dead!

Grim-visaged we gather and wheel on the foe,
To defeat or to victory in one final blow,
We cut through their lines like a well-whetted knife,
The foemen lose stomach, we put them to flight,
To flight!

Laden with treasure from their wagons and tents,
Our army rides homeward, our strength it is spent,
Our limbs they are wooden, we're covered in mud,
And in the true bath of honour, in sweat and in blood,
In blood!

The feast will not sate me in the hall of my King,
With the songs of the battle the roof timbers ring,
I harken to the poet and recall battle's din,
And I hunger for the day when I'll hear it again,

For the wind was in the banners, they fluttered on high,
My steed thundered forward to fierce battle cry,
The bright sun was gleaming from helmet and spear,
Our valour was tested, we gained glory there,
Glory there!

The wind shall be in the banners,
They shall flutter on high!

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