MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
"As shot and shell were streaming…"
Performed by Mr. Walsh Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 1A Track 4
Community: Calvert Audio:
Genre: Ballad / dying soldier  


As shot and shell were streaming upon a battlefield
The boys in blue were fighting their noble flag to shield
When a cry came from our Captain, "Look boys our flag it's down.
Who'll volunteer and save it from disgrace?"
"I will!" a young lad shouted as he rushed into the thick of the fray
And he gave his young life just for his country's sake
They brought him back and softly heard him say:

"Just break the news to mother, she knows how dear I love her
Kiss her dear sweet lips for me for I'm not coming home
Just say there is no other can take the place of mother
Kiss her dear sweet lips for me for I'm not coming home"

(speaks) No I'm gone.all gone boy.finished.

(resumes song) … the general who witnessed this brave deed
"Who saved our flag? Speak up, boys, it's noble done indeed!"
"There he lies!" cried our brave captain, "he's sinking very fast
Forgive me for I have run away

"Just break the news to mother, she knows how much I love her
Kiss her dear sweet lips for me and-"

(speaks) Gee whiz, I'm gone, gone, gone, gone.finished.

Male voice: (speaks) Ye done the best ye could, sir.



History: We would like to acknowledge Bennett Schwartz for the following information: This composer of this song was Charles K. Harris. He wrote it in 1897 with the title "Break the News to Mother." Elizabeth Bristol Greenlead and Grace Yarrow Mansfield included it as song 179 in their 1933 "Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland. The Traditional Ballad Index at has additional information about the song's composition.

Text notes: A heroic solider is shot saving the flag and he asks his companion to give his love to his mother. (Compare "Dying Soldier" and "Dying Ranger in this collection).

Tune notes: Stanzas have variable numbers of lines. The singer's delivery is characterised by short-long patterns, sometimes called "Scotch snaps."


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