Some years ago I got to sing an arrangement of a traditional American song which was translated to Catalan; the song should be called something like "The Eagle".

I've been looking for the original lyrics in English, but I cannot find the original song anywhere; I've seen that there are quite a bunch of songs called something related to the word "eagle", but none of them matched the one I'm looking for. I've even contacted the arranger, but he told me that he got the song theme already translated into Catalan, and didn't remember where from.

Here's the main theme of the song: lyrics are in Catalan, but I hope that someone will recognise the tune and point me to the right direction:

Main theme from the song:

Main theme from the song

Lyrics in Catalan are:

Quan l'alba encén el blau del cel, el vol de l'àliga reial que sobrepassa el cim més alt contemplo amb un se-...

Which would translate as:

When the dawn turns the sky blue, I watch with a secret wish the flight of the royal eagle as it flies over the highest peaks

Anyone knows about the original song, and can point me to the original lyrics?

  • 1
    Could you please add an English translation of the Catalan lyrics? Maybe they are close enough to the original that it rings a bell for some users here.
    – Arsak
    Aug 16, 2018 at 17:14
  • I feel sure the tune is an English (or Scottish?) folk tune, but I can't think what the words are. Of course many "traditional American" songs arrived with the immigrants who sang them before they immigrated!
    – alephzero
    Aug 17, 2018 at 9:27
  • Sure! The lyrics, roughly translated to English, would be: "When the dawn turns the sky blue, I watch with a secret wish the flight of the royal eagle as it flies over the highest peaks". The order of the sentences are changed in Catalan, but I translated the lyrics so they kinda make sense in English (romanic languages do weird things, sometimes :P)
    – Johanovski
    Aug 19, 2018 at 10:06
  • I feel I've heard this --something closer to this melody than the accepted answer. I'll keep on mulling over it... Sep 13, 2018 at 19:36
  • Thanks, Chris! If you come up with anything, I'd be great if you could share it! :)
    – Johanovski
    Sep 18, 2018 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


That tune isn't familiar to me as an American, although I'm no folk music expert.

So off to Musipedia I go. I used their "keyboard search" feature to do a search on your tune; as usual, none of the search results seem to match exactly, but the "Princess Royal / Mrs [sic] MacDermott (Turlough O'Carolan)" match is tantalizingly similar:

Turlough O'Carolan was a Celtic harper and composer from the early 18th century.

I don't see any obvious lyrics for the "The Princess Royal" as a song in its own right, but the same tune was apparently also used for "The Saucy Arethusa", which apparently often (always?) is played on the last night of the BBC Proms as part of Henry Wood's "Fantasia on British Sea Songs". In case this really is the song you're looking for, you'll find full lyrics at http://www.sailorsongs.com/the_saucy_arethusa.html. In addition to The Saucy Arethusa, the tune was also used for two other sea chanties: Rodney's Glory, and (Bold) Nelson's Praise.

Actually, the tune is Miss McDermott (not Mrs.), the Gaelic being níc Dhiarmada [ní mac Dhiarmada ‘daughter of McDermott’]. O'Carolan's patron, the McDermott of Roe, was hereditary king of Moylurg, and therefore, his daughter, for whom the tune was written ca. 1725, could be referred to as ‘the Princess Royal’. That is the connection between the two names for the tune.

The score for the Catalan tune above actually bears less similarity to the Princess Royal than it does to the Morris Dance tune used in the Lichfield Tradition for a dance called the Sheriff's Ride. A recorded version of that tune can be found at: https://themorrisring.org/sites/default/files/music/lichfieldSheriffsRide1.mp3?uuid=625f852c6d80e the score for which (for comparison) is at: https://themorrisring.org/sites/default/files/sheetmusic/lichfieldSheriffsRide.pdf.


It's a different rhythm but this may be what you're looking for. It's a traditional Native American song.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.