THE MINSTREL - Graham & Eileen Pratt. SheetMusic
Recorded by Graham & Eileen Pratt on the album To Friend & Foe (also on their CD Early Birds).
Sung by Wendy Grossman on Roseville Fair CD

I sang my song at Hastings' battle
To praise the deeds of Charlemagne.
I sang of Arthur and of Roland
That men remember their great fame
I sang to rouse a sinking nation
That king and men might never yield
But when the battle cry was over
We all lay dead on Hastings’ field

I sang my song to conquer loved ones
I sold my voice to him who paid
To sing his lady gentle love songs
And lend his passions subtler shade
But when my silver-throated praises
At last did melt her heart of stone
He paid me and they both departed
And left me there to sing alone

I sang my song at fair and market
A song much bawdier than before
Amid the pigs and geese and cattle
I sought to please the crowd once more
I sang to win applause and favor
Songs of the cuckold and the whore
But though I gladly took their money
I missed the songs I’d sung before

I sang my song in time of anger
And found new purpose in the rhyme
At kings and queens did point the finger
And bid them see the nation’s crime
How bitterly did I condemn them?
All those who left the poor oppressed
But the time was not yet ripe for changes
I hung at Tyburn with the rest

I sang my song in mill and coal pit
A voice all cracked with dust and fumes
I took my tune from the factory sirens
I took my rhythm from the looms
But whether anybody listened
Or paid attention, I can’t say
I couldn’t stand the smoke and chimneys
So I packed my bags and I moved away

My voice grows tired, my eyes are weary
The aging memory nearly gone
I’ve sung my song for lord and lady
I’ve sung it too for common man
But ‘til there’s no more time for singing
Until we’ve reached the story’s end
I’ll always find the strength within me
To rise and sing my song again