MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Dying Soldier
Monica Rossiter NFLD 1 Tape 7 Track 4
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / dying soldier

A youth lay on the battlefied of France's blood stained soil,
The seal of death was on his face he wore a happy smile,
The red cross nurse beside him stood to wipe the dying dew,
From off his brow with gentle hand for his heart was kind and true,
He said send this when I am dead this letter in my hand,
Which bears my dying love for all l love old Newfoundland.

Then should you meet my mother you break gently in her ear,
About how I fell in battle fighting with no thought of fear.
You'll give to her this little book and the bible she gave me,
The day she kissed me when I left St. John's to cross the sea,
Tell her how bravely we had fought though small was our brave band,
And all our thoughts that day went out to dear old Newfoundland.

Tell her I never had forgot her sweet face day and night,
And in my dreams she used to come just like an angel brought,
She hovers o'er me in the trench and when her voice would storm,
The rocky heights against German horns I often saw her form.
l clasped her photo to my heart when first I took the strand,
And I know that she will weep for me in dear old Newfoundland,

The red cross nurse attended as the soldier's voice grew weak,
And the rosy hue of manhood was fast fading from his cheeks,
His eyes had lost their brightness and more closer grew his tips,
She gently took the water glass and tended him some sips,
Once more he opened his eyes and knew and clasped her snow white hand,
A sister dear send her my love to dear old Newfoundland.

She promised him to send it to that dear land of his birth,
The place she knew in childhood which she loved the best on earth,
And as he gazed upon her then he whispered very low,
There's another thing that I would like to say before I go.
My thoughts on her have ever been since last I left the strains,
For to face the foe at Rimy's Ridge and to bless old Newfoundland.

She was my little sweetheart and my death will cause her pain,
A sister dear send her my love for we'll never meet again.
It was often that we rambled down by Rennies River Side,
On O'Brien's Ridge one day she said that she would be my bride,
But the father had willed it not to be and I had to fight the foe,
And now my bones on France's soil forever must lie low.


Sources: Leach 146


Text notes: See also "The Dying Ranger." The comrade of the dying solider promises to take his last letters home.

Tune notes: Sung freely in 4/4 metre; an "abba" form with a pause in the final "a" of each strophe; major key.

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