My song for you this evening,
It's not to make you sad,
Nor for adding to the sorrows
Of our troubled northern land.
But lately I've been thinking,
And it just won't leave my mind,
I'll tell you of two friends one time,
Who were both good friends of mine.

Now Isaac he was Protestant
and Sean was Catholic-born,
But it never made a difference,
For the friendship it was strong.
And sometimes in the evening,
When we heard the sound of drums,
We said it won't divide us;
We will always be as one.

There were roses, roses, roses,
And the tears of the people ran together.

It was on a Sunday morning
When the awful news came round;
Another killing had been done,
Just outside Newry town.
We knew that Isaac danced up there,
We knew he liked the band,
But when we heard that he was dead
We just couldn't understand.

Now fear it filled the countryside;
There was fear in every home,
When late at night a car came
Prowling round the Ryan road.
A Catholic would be killed tonight
To even up the score,
Oh Christ, it's young MacDonald
They've taken from the door.

There were roses, roses, roses,
And the tears of a people ran together.

Isaac was my friend he cried,
He begged them with his tears,
But centuries of hatred
Have ears that do not hear.
An eye for an eye,
Was all that filled their minds,
And another eye for another eye,
Til everyone is blind.

Now, I don't know what the moral is,
Or where this song should end,
But I wonder just how many wars
Are fought between good friends.
And those who give the orders
Are not the ones to die;
It's Scott and young MacDonald
And the likes of you and I.

There were roses, roses, roses,
And the tears of the people ran together.

There were roses, roses, roses,
And the tears of the people ran together.

Lyrics submitted by lady_midnight

There were roses song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI have to admit the first time I heard this song I curled up on my kitchen floor and cried profusely for at least 30 minutes straight. This is an extremely emotional and powerful song.

    I know it as recorded by Tommy Sands, and later by Robbie O'Connell. Tommy Sands is the composer.

    Apparently the song is based on a true incident in Ireland in 1974. The two subjects of this song were both friends of Sands.

    For anyone not aware, the killings in this song were part of the "troubles" in Northern Ireland, a Protestant vs. Catholic, Irish vs. British low level war that lasted for decades.

    But it certainly applies to many wars that have been fought over the centuries - in particular, civil wars, in which good friends may indeed end up fighting each other (or even brothers or cousins).

    The roses metaphor ... roses are often laid on a casket at a funeral, so the song at this point is describing the tragic sadness of both Catholics and Protestants as they see more and more of their people laid to rest in the war.

    Their tears running together ... he's suggesting that we're all the same on the inside, wars are caused by artificial walls created by institutions. The sorrow of one side of the war is matched, or shared, by the sorrow of the other side. We're all just people, after all.

    It is tragic there isn't more of this song's sentiment felt throughout the world today (particularly in the Middle East)
    tsreybon March 21, 2007   Link

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