Forgotten Realms Songs

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The following are a small selection of songs played and sung throughout the Realms. The categories of music include:

  • Ballads: Ballads are long stories, essentially, told in the course of a song's singing.
  • Bawdy: Bawdy songs are often considered rude in genteel company, the sort of thing sung with fellows in a tavern or while drinking with a lover than for public performances in any but certain festhalls.
  • Drinking: Drinking songs are almost always repetitive in their form, and simple in their lyrics, to allow those who've had enough strong drink to lower inhibitions to join in. They're usually loud, meant to be shouted by folk in a taproom, whilst beating out a rhythm with tankards on tabletops.
  • Lament: Laments are melancholy songs, intended to be a form of mourning in song form.
  • Oathsong: An element of elven musicianship that has found its way into Faerûnian musical lore, oathsongs are sung by someone as a form of swearing an oath. Some believe that such oaths are more magically binding than others.
  • Prophetic: Another elven art form, prophetic songs are prophecies and foretellings expressed as song. It is believed by some that singing them as a form of meditative effort can unlock insights into their truths.
  • Satire: Satire songs are intended deliberately to mock someone: they are often insulting, although in clever ways (ideally), and it is generally agreed that if the target of the song flies into a rage when the song is sung around them, it has done its work.
  • Worksong: Worksongs were dwarven originally, as far as anyone knows, and Moradin's Folk certainly have the largest body of them. They are rhythmic and near-chanted, intended to set a pace while working at any repetitive industriousness.

[edit] The Bold Knight and the Terrible Wyrm

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"The dragon was old and its scales were gray
It snored and ached, and was heard to say, “
Where’s my might, that now is gone?
What’s the point in carrying on?”

The knight was young, his blade so bright
But at first dragonroar he shook in fright
And screamed, “So large! I never knew!
Hide me, spare me! My challenge I rue!”

The dragon yawned and said, “Down blade!
Toss away daggers and sit in the shade.
Did you bring cold and foaming beer?
Haven’t had a good chat in many a year.”

The knight’s mouth fell open, and down went he
Gabbling, “As it happens, I’ve a keg with me!”
So the sun went down behind the hill
And if they’re not snoring, they’re talking still.
(Repeat)"

[edit] Cherlrigo's Darkness

Lament • Prophetic
Cherlrigo's Darkness was supposedly the translation (by Cherlrigo) of a sonnet that could be found within The Leaves of One Grass, a work of prophetic yet cryptic messages penned by the Dark Diviners of Windsong Tower in Myth Drannor. This particular passage was thought to have originally been written two thousand years before the mid-fifteenth century Dale Reckoning and was heralded by many Shadovar nobles and sages, including Draygo Quick, Parise Ulfbinder and Rolan of Gloomwrought to directly relate to the power of the Shadowfell and have something to do with the Chosen.

“Enjoy the play when shadows steal the day...
All the world is half the world for those who learn to walk.
To feast on fungus soft and peel the sunlit stalk;
Tarry not in place, for in their sleep the gods do stay.
But care be known, be light of foot and soft of voice.
Dare not stir divine to hasten Sunder's day!
A loss profound but a short ways away;
The inevitable tear shall't be of, or not of, choice.
Oh, aye, again the time wandering of lonely world!
With kingdoms lost and treasures past the finger's tip,
And enemies that stink of their god's particular flavor.
Sundered and whole, across the celestial spheres are hurled,
Beyond the reach of dweomer and the wind-walker's ship;
With baubles left for the ones the gods do favor."

This passage referred to the Second Sundering but it was not clear what it meant.

[edit] The Cormyte's Boast

Oathsong
The Cormyte's Boast was an oath written by Master Bard Chanthalas of Cormyr.

"And in this land I'll proudly stand
Until my dying day, sir;
For whate'er king o'er all command,
I'll still be a Cormyte brave, sir."

[edit] Crying to My Harp

Ballads • Satire
Crying To My Harp was a collection of satirical ballads by the traveling minstrel Nymbrar Shatterslee. It began by making fun of the stereotypes of people in general but then transformed into a scathing attack on certain Waterdhavian nobility. This had generated many complaints from the nobility in question and demands that the composer be arrested and punished, but these died down after Mirt the Moneylender suggested that such requests were effectively an admission of guilt.

[edit] Dirge of Delzoun

Ballad • Dwarven • Lament
The Dirge of Delzoun was an epic dwarven ballad that told the grim tale of the shield dwarves of the North. It has never been translated from any language other than dwarvish and was only known by a handful of dwarven bards. Over the years, only a select few elves and humans had ever heard the song performed in its entirety, a feat that would would take almost thirty hours.

The Dirge of Delzoun recounted the rise of the Citadels in the Northdark, to the shield dwarves' settling of the Silver Marches. Throughout the ballad, listeners were regaled with legendary tales of Delzoun's most famous heroes, fiercest foes, and most glorious fortunes.

In the late 14th century DR, King Emerus Warcrown designated Ollyn Grimtongue as Citadel Felbarr's "dirgekeeper", the sole dwarf who was granted permission to contribute to the dirge.

[edit] The Fireside Song of Old Adventurers

Drinking • Lament
An odd song, the Fireside is half-sad and half-witty, the sort of song sung by those who miss glory days but not the blood and death that came with them.

"Swords once sharp now gather dust
Much oil and work fight creeping rust
Where once we had no time to care
Reaching for battle brave hands bare

Our lances shone back brighter sun
Our coffers groaned with treasure won
Proud names we held o’er many lands
Proud lords bowed to our commands

Then dragons raged and died fierce
As keener, sharper blades did pierce
Swung by bolder, stronger men
Wine and laughter both sweeter then

So long ago, in fading dreams
Sometimes fancy it all seems
But by this sword, ‘tis all true!
Laugh? This old blade will answer you!

My old tired eyes no longer shine
My hands are weak; far too much wine
And little weaponwork—yet I’ll fight
Old wolves can still, defiant, bite

And talk your talk not so loud
Foolish, blind, young and proud
Or I’ll rise yet, and we shall see
If you’ll ever live as long as me."

[edit] Ga Nomes

Drinking • Gnomish
Ga Nomes is a gnomish drinking song apparently written by Mintiper Moonsilver as a 'thank you' to the gnomes of the High Forest who helped him to speed through the area via the Trail of Mists. The song has inspired many bar brawls since its first reported performance in 1344 DR and other gnomes have added their own verses in order to insult every audience. The original goes as follows:

"Ga ‘nomes went in, ga ‘nomes went out,
Now look at ga fields all about.
Ga men of course get all ga ‘lory,
Forgotten again, same old story!

(CHORUS)
We may be here, we may be there,
Like men of course we’re everywhere!
We may be fair, but so are elves,
Ga People, see, are just themselves!
We may be stout, but so are dwarves,
At least we’re not afraid of wharves!
We may be small, but so are hin,
At least we have hair on our chin!
We may be fierce, but so are orcs,
At least we do not taste like pork!
We may be here, we may be there,
Ga misty trail runs everywhere!

Ga ‘nomes went in, ga ‘nomes went out,
Now look at ga trees all about.
Ga elves of course get all ga ‘lory,
Forgotten again, same old story!
(CHORUS)
Ga ‘nomes went in, ga ‘nomes went out,
Now look at ga gems all about.
Ga dwarves of course get all ga ‘lory,
Forgotten again, same old story!
(CHORUS)
Ga ‘nomes went in, ga ‘nomes went out,
Now look at ga pipes all about.
Ga hin of course get half ga ‘lory,
Forgotten again, same old story!
(CHORUS)
Ga ‘nomes went in, ga ‘nomes went out,
Now look at nothing all about.
Ga orcs of course get all ga ‘ory,
Oops, not our fault, and not our story!"

[edit] I'm Quite the Red-Roof Girl

Bawdy • Drinking
"I'm Quite the Red-Roof Girl" was a bawdy song favored in the more disreputable parts of the city of Procampur in the Vast and sung by the mid–13th century DR. It described the "red-roof girls" of the city's Adventurers' District. The song began with "I'm quite the red-roof girl, in fact, all the warriors declare…". The second verse contained "Once the men lived for my sighs, but now they want a peek of…".

[edit] In a Dark, Dark Wood

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"In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Something lurked and pounced and stank
As it prowled to and fro

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Under the hanging tree
A lost man one morn did go

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Dropped the beast fangs agape
Upon the poor lost one below

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Teeth clashed and teeth slashed
One more skull a grave to show

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Came a young wizard lass
Spells to cast, Art to grow

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Sorceress and something darker met
And o'’er both fear settled low

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Fangs sought the maiden’s blood
She gasped out a spell none still know

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Crawled something dark and fanged
With a lady’s face and a smile just so

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
It hunted with claws and jaws
Or spoke spells fast and low

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
The old sorceress built a tower
Beside the way the road did go

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Those who found her castle empty
Missed her, lurking in bones below

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Those who found the lady home
All her charms and graces did know

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Those who stayed with her too long
Saw her shape slip, and knew their foe

In a dark, dark wood
Oh so long ago
Many a traveler lost his way
And cried out in fear and woe

In a dark; dark wood
Oh so long ago
Would he meet smile or fang?
Beforehand, none of us e’er know."

[edit] Jonstan the Rover

Ballad
Jonstan the Rover was a song written by Jaladha Tshamryl, a minstrel of Battledale.

“Clippety-cloppety, bold Jonstan the Rover
Rides misty-eyed down to the Dales again
Into forests and field, rare beauty all over,
Land of his true loves - Aldee, Imthra, and Luthane,
Elda and Myrta, Chalantha and Araine.

Will he find yet another? Or will be welcomed back?
Long lasses aplenty catch his winking eye.
Is it kisses he'll taste soon? Or scorn everlasting?
Love and laughter and soon away Jonstan will fly -
Gone again over threshold and under dawn sky.

Far accross Faerûn, a rover adventures free
'Til the Dales call his heart home again
To Jhaele, Sharune, Aleese and Rythree -
Warm arms and hearth and a roof 'gainst rain
'Til his wandering feet bear him away again.

Climbing far mountains, riding in high clover
To Waterdeep and the shores of the Shining Sea -
"Hark! Comes now bold Jonstan the Rover?
Will he, oh will he ever come back to me?"
The Dales call back the man wedded but free.

Clippety-cloppety, bold Jonstan the Rover
Comes riding down into the Dales again.
Their forests and fields, rare beauty all over,
His true love more than all the maidens in pain.
My man is riding mist-eyed to the Dales again.

[edit] The Knights of Dragon Down

Ballad
"The Knights of Dragon Down" was a ballad telling of the fate of seven knights. It was a standard of bards of Faerûn. "The Knights of Dragon Down" was normally chanted to the accompaniment of a dark and intricate melody played on a harp. However, Elminster noted it could be sung to the tune of a traditional Celtic song of Earth called "Down by the Sally Gardens".

The final verse was not often sung, except late at night and whispered around a dwindling campfire, for fear it would draw the seven skeleton knights or other undead to them. This verse was even outlawed in Elturel by 1366 DR because an evil archmage of the city made it the words of a summoning spell that brought undead to those that sang it. However, it became the favorite drinking song of the patrons of A Pair of Black Antlers tavern in Elturel. It was sung every night, but minstrels had to show the appropriate skill and treatment, playing it with a mournful and macabre tone, lest they earn the patron's ire. The patrons revered the ballad as an anthem to fallen friends, to adventurers still alive, and to the dark whims of gods who demanded to be appeased.

"Riding, riding across the plain,
See them riding home again.
Bright their shields, bright their chain—
The Knights of Dragon Down.

They have gone where shadows creep.
Their blades a bloody harvest reap.
Another dragon put fore'er asleep
By the Knights of Dragon Down.

On their fingers gem rings gleam.
Of such baubles, the very cream
Falls into the hands, in a steady stream,
Of the Knights of Dragon Down.

In a dark hall a lady sits alone,
Her bright eyes gleam as white as bone.
Her dark spells a-hunting roam
For the Knights of Dragon Down.

With cruel smile, a web she weaves.
From each might, his soul she cleaves.
Armored bones are all she leaves
Of the Knights of Dragon Down.

Riding, riding, their skulls a-grin—
Past the gates, the Knights ride in.
Sorcery now their souls doth spin
Of the Knights of Dragon Down.

Ladies scream at the touch of bone,
As skeletal Knights come riding home.
Undead now, fore'er to roam,
Are the Knights of Dragon Down.

Hear them riding, nearer outside.
Never sleeping, doomed to ride.
There's no place where you can hide
From the Knights of Dragon Down.

[edit] Last Lament

Lament
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"My life goes on, down endless days
It’s been too long since I’ve seen your smile

And now darkness around me doth close
Far off I can hear you singing

Death comes for me, with thirsty swords
It’s been too long since I’ve seen your smile

No way out, doom comes to me
Far off I can hear you singing

If the gods would hear me, I’'d cry out
It’s been too long since I’ve seen your smile

I never meant to fall by you unseen
Far off I can hear you singing

It comes swiftly now, sweeping me away
It’s been too long since I’ve seen your smile

Everything fades, and I am gone
Far off I can hear you singing

Mourn me not, my dear love, though
It’s been too long since I’ve seen your smile

Far off I can hear you singing
Sing high, sing clear—and then listen, dear
You’'ll be hearing me, long after
I’m gone In your dreams, my voice will live on.

(Softly)
Far off I can hear you singing
Through my tunes, my voice lives on."

[edit] Lay of the Purple Dragons

Ballad
The Lay of the Purple Dragons was a ballad about King Azoun IV's crusade against the Tuigan Horde in the Year of the Turret, 1360 DR. The Lay embellished the historical account for added heroism, adding extra dragons, knights, and magic. At one point, even the gods appear before King Azoun to bless his crusade.

The bard Talamic sang the Lay of the Purple Dragons at the Griffin's Claw in the city of Procampur in the Vast in the Year of the Helm, 1362 DR. A young scribe at the temple of Deneir preferred it to the more accurate A History of the Tuigan he was working on, prompting its author, Koja, to attempt to have his own work mass-published to counter the Lay and other populist versions of the war.

[edit] The Lonely Hunt

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"Don’t look back
Just draw your blade
Down dark track
The kill is made

Don’t shout out yet
Just follow the cries
Time enow to laugh and bet
After the foe snarls and dies

Run and wave blade blood-wet
Down the trail of dancing bone
To the place where death is met
We all rush-and come there alone

Don’t, no don’t look back
There’s never time for that
Just add more meat to the sack
And grow old and wise and fat

Until the day the death is thine
And you face the gods alone
Few folk find enough time
To take their wanted throne

So raise now the sparkling wine
Drink it deep, while you can
Gods grant you smile at its shine
Remembering the hunt you ran"

[edit] Raise Another Glass of Cheer

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"Chorus:
The night draws on and sleep is near
I draw another glass of wet cheer

If I close my eyes I dream of you
And see again the high hall
The kneeling knights, my proud throne
The vaults of gold, the bowls of gems

(Chorus)

The banners proud, the armies vast
Chambers of riches too many to count
All this my own, under my proud feet
Until the day we chanced to meet

(Chorus)

I gave it all up, I threw it all away
To win your love, your smile, your hand
But you left me in cold disarray
To wander hard roads until today

(Chorus)

If I close my eyes I dream of you
And betimes, when I’ve been good
I dream you love me as I do you
Your smile lights the dark night into day

(Chorus)

And then I fear I always wake
And find myself alone
If you are lost, forever gone
I’ll sleep and know your love again

(Chorus twice, second time slow and grandly sad)"

[edit] Saga of the Dragon Queller

Ballad • Giantish
The Saga of the Dragon Queller (Sal Hotun Wyrmrever in its original language) was an ancient giant ballad about the hero Hjurnur Wyrmrever. This epic poem was composed by Hrotun, the first skald, and told the tale of his nephew, the hero Hjurnur, during the great war between the giants and the dragons. Like all classically written giant sagas, the poem's first stanza introduces the main character, provides a genealogy, and summarizes the entire tale to follow. Amongst other feats, the story tells how Hjurnur snapped a dragon's backbone over his knee, ended up allowing the Queen of Dragons to eat his child after losing a riddle contest, and killed a dragon king. At the end of the tale, Hjurnur ends up drowning in the dragon king's blood. This saga was sung in mead halls within giant steadings all over Faerûn.

Excerpt:

"I pour mead to the All-Father for
Hjurnur, son of Hjurgen,
leveler of Ranauroch,
son of Ottar,
Jarl of the northern wind-teeth,
son of grand Annam,
All Seeing, All Knowing, All Quelling,
All Father —
Fireheart,
Mighty reaver of the wyrm's core,
He who howled at the sun,
He of the quenched heart,
He who drowned in the river of swords,…"

[edit] Seven Satraps

Ballad
"Seven Satraps" was a ballad known in Faerûn in the 14th century DR. It sung of the original seven masked and reclusive satraps of the council that governed the city of Lushpool in Lapaliiya. However, the number of satraps on the council had risen to sixteen by 1372 DR.

[edit] The Seven Sisters

Rune
A bit of nursery rhyme by way of folk lore and fairy tale, there are dozens of different stories about the "Seven Sisters." There are also nearly a dozen different songs about them, with nearly all of them including the following "rune" as part of them.

"Seven bright stars in the sky I see.
Seven for those who watch over me.
Seven be the smiles down they send.
Seven be the troubles swift they mend."

[edit] The Shining Crown

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"A wise old man to me did frown
Asking: where is thy shining crown?
I see its rightful place upon thy hair
Where right now rests but empty air

Chorus:
Over the next hill
Over the ridge
Through deep forests
Across lonely bridge

Far afield waits a shining crown
Gleaming riches, great renown
There but to reach and take
If ye’ll only stir and wake

(Chorus)

To horse! Mount and ride
With good shield and high pride
A little courage, a little luck
Grim slogging and pluck

(Chorus)

Better to have reached and lost
Hopes withered as by winter frost
To leap up again, high and far
Than to sit alone in a quiet bar

(Chorus)

So why not try? Strive and die
No disgrace the bards will cry
Ye just might win a shining crown
Bring the mighty crashing down

(Chorus)

It lies yonder, o’er far-off hill
It waits for those who boldly will
Come a-seeking with ready blade
A shining crown for heroes made."

[edit] Starfall Pool

Ballad
"Starfall Pool" was a ballad by an unknown composer about the glade and pond of the same name located north of Silverymoon just past the edge of the Moonwood. It described a place of restful healing, a dancing dryad, and strange dreams. This song was famous throughout Luruar by the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR.

The ballad was long and there were many versions, but each verse was followed by the well-known refrain (below). The ballad usually went on to describe healing of mind and body, or meeting fair folk, humans and half-elves, in deep dreams of joyous recreation, courtship, or humorous exploits; but other versions hinted of dark magic with a siren's lure, or an evil wizard that threatened the glade or the dryad.

"There is a place in the deep green wood
Where the dryad Olsheirie dwells
Dancing where a keep once stood
Girt with magic of chiming bells.

(Refrain)
Though to stray so deep is the act of a fool
I regret no stride toward Starfall Pool.

Came I there by happy chance
And there I'll thither go again
To dream more dreams of fair romance
For by the pool I know no pain.

(Refrain)

Trees old and green, dark and still
Ring 'round an oak as old as time
Fall down keep and rise up hill
Rest and hear the dryad rhyme.

(Refrain)

Kindled by the dying embers
Of a fire that must not stay
Magic soars and then remembers
Warding me again away.

(Refrain)

Back I'll go when I am able
Though long rides may lie between
Peace again upon my table
Lying on the moss so green."

[edit] Upsen Downs

Ballad • Dwarven
Upsen Downs was a dwarven song and the name of the subject of the song: a mythical dwarven utopian town in a deep mine. Once the many formal verses had been sung, it was customary to improvise further verses, where each singer would take a turn to state their own wants from the imaginary town.

"Climb that trail
Break down that door
Find that tunnel
and run some more
Cross that bridge of fiery glow
Running deeper down below
Make some smiles from those frowns
Ye've found the town of Upsen Downs!

Upsen Downs! Upsen Downs!
Ye've found the town of Upsen Downs!
Upsen Downs! Upsen Downs!
Make some smiles from those frowns.

Ye've found the place o' the finest ale
With arm-sized pretzels that're never stale!
With big Chef Muglump and his coney stew
And Master Bumble with his forty brews!

And in the holes ye can break the rock
and haul it up with yer tackle and block
Smelt it down and ye'll get it sold
Upsen Downs's got the finest gold!

Upsen Downs! Upsen Downs!
Ye've found the town of Upsen Downs!
Upsen Downs! Upsen Downs!
Make some smiles from those frowns."

[edit] The Warlock King

Ballad
"The Warlock King" was a ballad known in Faerûn by the 1360s DR, about a warlock king. A few minstrels mistakenly called the ancient lich wizard Larloch "the Warlock" or "the Warlock King", after the Warlock's Crypt where he dwelled, but Larloch apparently took umbrage at being called a warlock. Composers of ballads naming him as such were supposedly kidnapped by creatures in the night and carried away to be tortured and turned into some undead thing by Larloch. Thus, singing the ballad "The Warlock King" anywhere in three days' ride of the Troll Hills was not advised, lest Larloch overhear and be displeased.

[edit] The Wizard's Tune

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"Build a fire to harp at twilight
In a circle of old standing stones
Dance by the fire under watching moon
Call up the old and waiting bones

Draw a circle in a dusty old tomb
A circle of flame on cold grey stone
Talk to wizards dead and kings long gone
Lore to learn and spells to hone

Walk in shadows, in worlds so strange
The senses reel, the blood crawls
Hurl spells at twisted things of claws
Until the last one flees or falls

Raise a tower proud and high
Rule lands as hair goes gray
Write tomes of awesome might
Is it all worth it? Who can say?

Walk doddering into the last days
Weave the air into flowers or light
Try to remember more, fading spells
To make children laugh in delight

Hear them gasp, see them smile
Look into their dazzled eyes
Which will grow to wizardly might?
Smile, and never tell them it’s all lies."
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