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This page holds the (annotated) poetry of Pern, consisting out of songs, teaching songs, ballads etc.
These are only the most important and well known Songs of Pern; feel free to send me any reference mentioning a song in any of the Pern books you did not find mentioned in this section of the Pern Museum and Archives.

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Songs Published in
 
Dragonflight (1968)
and some of them in the earlier publications of the three short stories Weyr Search and Dragonrider, part I and II, published in the magazine Analog (1967, 1968) that later formed the book Dragonflight.
 
 Title  Poem Annotations
 
The Duty Song Drummer, beat, and piper, blow,
Harper, strike, and soldier, go.
Free the flame and sear the grasses
Till the dawning Red Star passes.
This song heads the first section of the first part (Weyr Search) of the book Dragonflight.
This song also heads the tenth section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.
This song is also heading Chapter 1 of Dragonsong.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) this is the first verse of the song titled March of the Wings.

From the Weyr and from the Bowl,
Bronze and brown and blue and green,
Rise the dragonmen on Pern,
Aloft, on wing, seen, then unseen.
This song heads the second section of the first part (Weyr Search) of the book Dragonflight.
This song also heads the fourth section of the second part (Dragonflight) of the book Dragonflight. The second part was not published in series of three short stories published in Analog October 1967-january 1968.
This song also heads the eleventh section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) this is the second verse of the song titled March of the Wings.

Honor those the dragons heed,
In thought and favor, word and deed.
Worlds are lost and worlds are saved,
From those dangers dragon-braved.

Dragonman, avoid excess;
Greed will bring the Weyr distress;
To the ancient Laws adhere,
Prospers thus the Dragonweyr.

This song heads the third section of the first part (Weyr Search) of the book Dragonflight. It does not appear in the same place in the original story Weyr Search, where it appears on page 35. In fact, the whole section third section of the book does not appear in the short story.
The first verse is also heading the second section of the second part (Dragonflight) of the book Dragonflight. The second part was not published in series of three short stories published in Analog October 1967-january 1968.
The first verse is also heading the sixth section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the first part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of December 1967.
The last two sentences of the first verse are used as a second verse of a poem heading the seventh section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight.
This song also heads Chapter 2 of Dragonsong.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) the second verse given here is the first verse of the song titled March of the Wings. The first verse given here is, slightly reworked, their first verse of their Duty Song.

The Hold is barred,
The Hall is bare.
          And men vanish.
The soil is barren,
The rock is bald.
          All hope banish.
  This song heads the fourth section of the first part (Weyr Search) of the book Dragonflight.

The Watchwher song Watch-wher, watch-wher,
In your lair,
Watch well, watch-where!
Who goes there?
This song, heading the fifth section of the first part (Weyr Search) of the book Dragonflight does not appear in the original story Weyr Search.

(Duty Song, verse) Lord of the Hold, your charge is sure.
In thick walls, metal doors, and no verdure.
This song, heading the sixth section of the first part (Weyr Search) of the book Dragonflight does not appear in the original story Weyr Search.
This song also heads Chapter 6 in Dragonsong.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) these lines are incorporated into the fifth verse of their Duty Song.

The Golden Egg of Faranth By the Golden Egg of Faranth
By the Weyrwoman, wise and true,
Breed a flight of bronze and brown wings<
Breed a flight of green and blue.
Breed riders, strong and daring,
Dragon-loving, born as hatched,
Flight of hundreds soaring skyward,
Man and dragon fully matched.
This song heads the seventh section of the first part (Weyr Search) of the book Dragonflight.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) this is the first verse, the following two verses on the CD are created by Mike Freeman.

Red Star Passes Seas boil and mountians move,
Sands heat, dragons prove
Red Star passes,
Stones piles and fires burn,
Green withers, arm Pern.
Guard all passes.
Star Stone watch, scan sky.
Ready the Weyrs, all riders fly;
Red Star Passes.
This song heads the first section of the second part (Dragonflight) of the book Dragonflight. The second part was not published in series of three short stories published in Analog October 1967-january 1968. This is the song that Lessa is copying when being taught to be Weyrwoman by the Wingleaders of Ninth Pass Benden Weyr.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) this song is titled Red Star Passes.

Dragonman, dragonman Dragonman, dragonman,
Between thee and thine,
Share me that glimpse of love
Greater than mine.
This song heads the third section of the second part (Dragonflight) of the book Dragonflight. The second part was not published in series of three short stories published in Analog October 1967-january 1968.
The song also heads Chapter 12 of Dragonsong.

Star Stone Song The Finger points
At an eye blood-red.
Alert the Weyrs
To sear the Thread.
This song heads the first section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the first part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of December 1967.

Mating Song

Rise in glory,
Bronze and gold.
Dive entwined,
Enhance the Hold.

Count three months and more
And five heated weeks,
A day of glory and
In a month who seeks?

A strand of silver
In the sky...
With heat, all quickens
And all times fly.
This song heads the second section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the first part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of December 1967.

Weyrman watch; Weyrman learn
Something new in every Turn.
Oldest may be coldest, too.
Sense the right; find the true!
This song heads the third section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the first part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of December 1967.

Crack dust,
black dust

Possibly part of The Ballad of Moreta's Ride

Crack dust, blackdust,
turn in freezing air.
Waste dust, spacedust,
From Red Star bare.
This song heads the fourth section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the first part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of December 1967.
I
n Dragonflight Lessa remarks that "In the Ballad of Moreta's Ride, the chorus is all about black dust." which makes it possible that this particular verse is an original part of that ballad.

Fighting Thread

Wheel and turn
Or bleed and burn.
Fly between,
Blue and green.
Soar, dive down,
Bronze and brown
Dragonmen must fly
When Threads are in the sky.
This song heads the fifth section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the first part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of December 1967.
In the book this is one verse, as shown here but in Analog the song appears seperated in two verses, the second one starting with "Soar, dive down".
The last two sentences are used as a second verse of a song heading the seventh section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight.
This song also heads Chapter 8 of Dragonsong.

Dragonmen must fly
When Threads are in the sky.

Worlds are lost or worlds are saved
From those dangers dragon-braved.
This song heads the seventh section of the third part (Dust Fall) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the first part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of December 1967.
The first two line verse and the second two line verse were taken from longer poems that were used earlier in this book.
In the first part of the story Dragonrider the first verse is integrated in the end of the preceding section of text: "Old C'gan had had the right of it", and the word "must" in the first line of the first verse is printed in italics to emphasize it. In between the two verses appears the line: "And yet -- how long would there be dragonmen?", a line not appearing in the book Dragonflight.

Weaver, Miner, Harper, Smith,
Tanner, Farmer, Herdsman, Lord,
Gather, wingsped, listen well
To the Weyrman's urgent word.
This song heads the second section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.

The Question Song

by
Creline

Compulsory
Teaching Ballad

Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes away, gone unansweréd.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together?
Leaving Weyrs to wind and weather?
Setting heardbeasts free of tether?
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new Weyr
Where cruel Thread some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh, why, the empty Weyr?
This song appears in the second section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.
It is described as an odd song with a haunting melody with eerie dissonants.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) this song appears under its original title.

Across a waste of lonely tossing sea,
Where no dragonwings had lately spread,
Flew a gold and a sturdy brown in spring,
Searching if a land be dead.
This song heads the third section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.

(Lessa's Ride I) Black, blacker, blackest,
And cold beyond frozen things.
Where is between when there is naught
To Life but fragile dragon wings?
This song heads the fourth section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.
This song also heads Chapter 4 of Dragonsong.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) this song appears as the first verse of a song titled Lessa's Ride.

(Lessa's Ride II) Cold as death, death-bearing,
Stay and die, unguided.
Brave and braving, linger.
This way was twice decided.
This song heads the fifth section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) this song appears as the second verse of a song titled Lessa's Ride.

Who wills,
Can.
Who tries,
Does.
Who loves,
Lives.
This song heads the sixth section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.
This song also heads Chapter 7 of Dragonsong.

The blackest night must end in dawn,
The sun dispel the dreamer's fear:
When shall my soul's bleak, hopeless pain
Find solace in its darkening Weyr?
This song heads the seventh section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.

A fleck of red in a cold night sky,
A drop of blood to guide them by,
Turn away, Turn away, Turn, be gone,
A Red Star beckons the travelers on.
This song heads the eight section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.
On the Tania Opland and Mike Freeman CD Masterharper of Pern (1983) this song appears as the third verse of a song titled Lessa's Ride.

Oh, Tongue, give sound to joy and sing
Of hope and promise on dragonwing.
This song heads the ninth section of the fourth part (The Cold Between) of the book Dragonflight which is the same as the second part of the story Dragonrider, published in Analog of January 1968.

The Ballad of
Moreta's Ride
A (teaching) ballad referred to by Lessa of which unfortunately none of the text is given. Quote: "Were not ballads constructed to inform? To teach those who could not read and write? So that the young Pernese, whether he be dragonman, Lord, or holder, might learn his duty toward Pern and rehearse Pern’s bright history?"
Further on in Dragonflight Lessa remarks that "In the Ballad of Moreta's Ride, the chorus is all about black dust."
Elsewhere in the book it is indicated, in a conversation between F'lar and the Oldtimer Weyrleaders about queens flying Thread, that there is a passage in this ballad on that subject.

Songs Published in
Dragonquest (1971)
  
 Title  Poem Annotations
  
Lessa's Ride?

by
Robinton

An important reference to a piece of Pernese poetry in Dragonquest, is the reference to the ballad for the wedding of Lord Asgenar of Lemos and to lady Famira, the half-sister of Lord Larad of Telgar, that Masterharper Robinton is writing with so much difficulty in the opening chapter of the book. "As the subject of his ballad, he had decided to tell of the fantastic ride, between time itself, of Lessa, Weyrwoman of Benden Weyr on her great golden queen, Ramoth." Unfortunately we never get to hear any part of it.
At the end of Chapter X we also learn that, besides the ballad, the Masterharper had also composed some teaching songs when Lessa says: "He’d composed the most marvelous ballad and teaching songs and now there’s no reason to play them."
Opland and Freeman have incorporated two songs that are appearing in Dragonflight in their Lessa's Ride.

Unknown

by
Robinton

a scolding song

Another reference (in the same Chapter I) is of Masterharper Robinton thinking of writing a scolding song or a satire on the behaviour if the dragonmen of Fort Weyr in general and that of Weyrleader T'ron and Weyrwoman Mardra in particular.

At the actual wedding feast of Lord Asgenar and Lady Famira much songs and ballads were sung and we can read that Brudegan plays a "gay song" while doing undercover Harper work at the same time.

Unknown

a ballad

Robinton avoids meeting the Benden Lord Holder Raid on the wedding feast because he happens "to dislike Lord Raid’s favorite ballad with a passion and, if Raid cornered him, he’d have no choice but to sing it." We don't get to know which ballad is Lord Raid's favourite.

At the hatching where Lord Jaxom accidentally Impresses Ruth Lytol and Robinton were: "singing some utterly reprehensible song that only a Harper could know.  The Lord Warder of Ruatha Hold kept falling out of tune, though the man had a surprisingly pleasant tenor voice."

Songs Published in
Dragonsong (1976)
  
 Title  Poem Annotations
  
Drummer, beat, and piper, blow,
Harper, strike, and soldier, go.
Free the flame and sear the grasses
Till the dawning Red Star passes.
Originally published in Dragonflight. This song is heading Chapter 1 of Dragonsong.

Honor those the dragons heed,
In thought and favor, word and deed.
Worlds are lost and worlds are saved,
From those dangers dragon-braved.

Dragonman, avoid excess;
Greed will bring the Weyr distress;
To the ancient Laws adhere,
Prospers thus the Dragonweyr.

Originally published in Dragonflight. This song is heading Chapter 2 of Dragonsong.

Holder, watch; Holder learn
Something new in every Turn.
Oldest may be coldest, too.
Sense the right; find the true!
Original song to Dragonsong, heading Chapter 3 of the book.

Black, blacker, blackest,
And cold beyond frozen things.
Where is between when there is naught
To Life but fragile dragon wings?
Originally published in Dragonflight. This song is heading Chapter 4 of Dragonsong.

Oh, Tongue, give sound to joy and sing
Of hope and promise on dragonwing.
Original song to Dragonsong, heading Chapters 5 and 9 of the book. Also heading Chapter 11 of Dragonsinger.

Lord of the Hold, your charge is sure.
In thick walls, metal doors, and no verdure.
Originally published in Dragonflight. This song is heading Chapter 6 of Dragonsong.

Who wills,
Can.
Who tries,
Does.
Who loves,
Lives.
Originally published in Dragonflight. This song is heading Chapter 7 of Dragonsong.

Wheel and turn
Or bleed and burn.
Fly between,
Blue and green.
Soar, dive down,
Bronze and brown
Dragonmen must fly
When Threads are in the sky.
Originally published in Dragonflight. This song (in the one verse variation) is heading Chapter 8 of Dragonsong.,

The Running Song
(Menolly's Running Song)

by
Menolly

Then my feet took off and my legs went, too,
So my body was obliged to follow
Me with my hands and my mouth full of cress
And my throat too dry to swallow.
Original song to Dragonsong, heading Chapter 10 of the book. The song also appears in Dragonsinger, heading chapter 10.

Fire Lizard Song

by
Menolly

The little queen, all golden
Flew at the sea.
To keep it back,
To turn it back
She flew forth bravely.
Original song to Dragonsong, heading Chapter 11 of the book. This is the first verse of the song whch appears complete in the sequel to Dragonsong: Dragonsinger.

Dragonman, dragonman,
Between thee and thine,
Share me that glimpse of love
Greater than mine.
Originally published in Dragonflight. This song is heading Chapter 12 of Dragonsong.

Harper, your song has a sorrowful sound,
Though the tune was written gay.
Your voice is sad and your hands are slow
And your eye meeting mine turns away.
Original song to Dragonsong, heading Chapter 13 of the book. Also appearing in Dragonsinger, heading Chapter 4 of that book.

Songs Published in
Dragonsinger (1977)
  
 Title  Poem Annotations
  
Oh, Tongue, give sound to joy and sing
Of hope and promise on dragonwing.

My nightly craft is winged in white;
A dragon of night-dark sea.
Swiftborn, dreambound and rudderless;
Her captian and crew are me.
I sail a hundred sleeping tides
Where no seamen's ever been
And only my white-winged craft and I
Know the marvels we have seen.

Original to the book Dragonsinger except for the first verse of two lines which is original to Dragonsong. The song appears on the very first, unnumbered, page of the book, even before the title page. The song, except for the first verse, also heads Chapter 5 of Dragonsinger.

Fire Lizard Song

by
Menolly

The little queen, all golden
Flew at the sea.
To keep it back,
To turn it back
She flew forth bravely.

As she attacked the sea in rage
A holderman came nigh
Along the sand
Fishnet in hand
And saw the queen midsky.

He stared at her in wonder
For often he'd been told
That such as she
Could never be
Who hovered there, bright gold.

He saw her plight and quickly
He looked up the cliff he faced
And saw a cave
Above the wave
In which her eggs he placed.

The little queen all golden
Upon his shoulder stood
Her eyes all blue
Glowed of her true
Undying gratitude.

Original to the book Dragonsinger except for the first verse which appeared first in Dragonsong. The song is heading Chapter 1.

Harper, tell me of the road
That leads beyond this Hold,
That wends its way beyond the hill...
Does it go further on until
It ends in sunset's gold?
Original to the book Dragonsinger, heading Chapter 2 of the book.

Speak softy to my lizard fair
Nor raise your hand to me.
For they are quick to take offense
And quicker to champion me.
Original to the book Dragonsinger, heading Chapter 3 of the book.

Harper, your song has a sorrowful sound,
Though the tune was written gay.
Your voice is sad and your hands are slow
And your eye meeting mine turns away.
Original to the book Dragonsong. In this book the song is heading Chapter 4.

Song for Petiron

by
Menolly

The tears I feel today
I'll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I'll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight;
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I'll keep my tears till later:
But my grief will never go.
Original to the book Dragonsinger, heading Chapter 6 of the book.

Brekke's Lament

by
Menolly

Don't leave me alone!
A cry in the night,
Of anguish heart-striking,
Of soul-killing fright.
Original to the book Dragonsinger, heading Chapter 7 of the book. This is the first verse of Brekke's Lament.

The Gather Song Gather! Gather! It's a gather day!
No work for us, and Thread's away.
Stalls are building, square's swept clear,
Gather all from far and near.
Bring your marks and bring your wares,
Bring your family for there's
Food and drink and fun and song.
The Hold flag flies; so gather along!
Original to the book Dragonsinger, heading Chapter 8 of the book.

Eastern Sea Hold Song

The fickle wind's my foe,
With tide his keen ally.
They're jealous of my sea's love
And rouse her with their lie.

Oh sweet sea, oh dear sea,
Heed not their stormy wile
But bear me safely to my Hold
And from their watery trial.
Original to the book Dragonsinger, heading Chapter 9 of the book.

The Running Song
(Menolly's Running Song)

by
Menolly

Then my feet took off and my legs went, too,
So my body was obliged to follow
Me with my hands and my mouth full of cress
And my throat too dry to swallow.
Original to the book Dragonsong, and heading Chapter 10 of the book Dragonsinger.

Oh, Tongue, give sound to joy and sing
Of hope and promise on dragonwing.
Original to the book Dragonsong, and heading Chapter 11 of the book Dragonsinger.

Songs Published in
All the Weyrs of Pern (1991)
  
 Title  Poem Annotations
  
Title Unknown

by
Elimona (lyrics) and
Menolly (music)

A heart that's true in harper blue
makes song from heart's own fire,
and though betrayed, is not afraid:
in danger, leaps up higher.

No world is free of minstrelsy,
nor noise, nor rage, nor sorrow.
A harper must discharge his trust
before he asks to borrow.

My Harper Hall is free to all
who serve with song and playing.
But you who'd hide your song inside
are very sadly straying.

Will you withdraw beyond the law,
lie safely in your slumber,
while dangers shake your world awake
and Death makes up his number?

Did harper here betray those dear
he'd feel more than my tongue.
If place you'd earn, you'd better learn
more music than you've sung.

For if you die, while safe you lie
halled in your selfish bone,
no chant will come, no harper drum,
and you'll lie long alone.

Get up, take heart--go, make a start,
sing out the truth you come for.
Then when you die, your heart may fly
to halls we have no name for.
Original to the book All the Weyrs of Pern and probably written or co-written by the author Elizabeth Moon (here represented as Harper Elimona), a friend and co-author of Anne McCaffrey..It appears early in Chapter 15 when Masterharper Robinton peforms it, accompanied by Piemur. Robinton remarks the tune is "unusual for our Masterharper Menolly" but that it is "a lovely haunting melody and words to lift hearts at this point in a Pass."

Songs Published in
The Masterharper of Pern (1991)
  
 Title  Poem Annotations
  
The Founding Song

by
Robinton

Fort was first, South Boll then Ruatha came and Tillek, too.
Benden next and north Telgar
...
Original to this book and composed by the five Turns old Robinton. The song was probably longer and very probably added to the compulsory Teaching Ballads shortly after it became known. It appears in Chapter Four.

Title Unknown

by
Petiron

A duet, performed by Petiron's spouse Mastersinger Merelan and the voice student Halanna during Turnover celebrations described at the end of Chapter Three.

Title Unknown Now is the time ...
A duet of which only these first four words are known. It was taught by Mastersinger Merelan to her class at Benden Hold; it is spoken about in Chapter Six.

Title Unknown
An unknown ballad, "new in the Harper Hall and had such a beat to it that, before long, everyone was stamping or clapping to the rhythm" and performed by Merelan's Benden Hold voice students.

The Question Song

by
Creline

Compulsory
Teaching Ballad

Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the weyrfolk fled?
 
Where have dragons gone together?
Leaving Weyrs to wind and weather?
Setting herd-beasts free of tether?
Gone, our safeguards, gone but whither?
 
Have they flown to some new Weyr
When cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh, why, the empty Weyr?
Original to the book Dragonflight; here appearing in Chapter Six and sung by Mastersinger Merelan at Benden Hold.

Welcome home song We're glad you're home
We're glad you've come
We welcome you
With heart and voice
And hope you'll never leave.
Original to this book. A welcome home song for Merelan and Robinton when they returned to the Harper Hall from Benden. It appears early in Chapter Eight.

Sonata to Sea-Green Eyes
(also known as The Kasia Sonata)

by
Robinton

Not a song but a musical piece written by Robinton for his lover and wife Kasia. Robinton couldn't stand hearing it performed after losing his love.

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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2000, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern ® is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.