Sunday, July 31, 2011

Soldier, Ask Not

Hymn of the Friendlies by Gordon R. Dickson, within book of the same title (1923–2001), published 1965

Soldier, ask not - now, or ever,
Where to war your banners go.
Anarch's legions all surround us.
Strike - and do not count the blow!

Glory, honor, praise and profit,
Are but toys of tinsel worth.
Render up your work, unasking,
Leave the human clay to earth.

Blood and sorrow, pain unending,
Are the portion of us all.
Grasp the naked sword, opposing,
Gladly in the battle fall.

So shall we, anointed soldiers,
Stand at last before the Throne,
Baptized in our wounds, red-flowing,
Sealed unto our Lord - alone!

I read the Dorsai books a long time ago. Some of them I read several times. I loved the songs he used in the books. This is a really good one.

There are lots of other songs that have been written about the Dorsai. You can find them on the Dorsai Irregulars Filk Song Collection. I'm going to be posting some of my favorite filk song lyrics because a few of the older sites seem to be disappearing and it would be a shame to lose them.

If you want to know more about Filk Songs...check out Filking 101:The Folk Music of Science Fiction.


The Tame Lion said...

Wonderful! Inspiring!

Unknown said...

I've always thought this was composed to the tune of the Lutheran hymn, Angels from the Realms if Glory. (Chad Gilbert, poster)

David Birr said...

I thought it fit well to the tune (known as Ebenezer) for the hymn, "Once to Every Man and Nation," which is composed of excerpts from a poem James Russell Lowell wrote in 1845. The tone of the lyrics in "Once to Every Man and Nation" isn't all that different from that of "Soldier, Ask Not":

"Then to side with truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and ’tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied." (Second stanza)