MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Blue-Eyed Boy
Ned Rice NFLD 1 Tape 7 Track 6
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / battle death

It was just before the last great charge,
Two soldiers they drew the ring,
With a parting word and a touch of hands,
That they may not meet again.

One had blue eyes and curly hair,
Nineteen but a month ago,
And the bloom of youth was on his face,
He was only a boy you know.

The other was tall dark stern and proud,
His fate in this world grew dim,
He only trusted the world to those,
Who were all the world to him.

They had ridden together for many's an hour,
As many's a dreary mile,
And always before they had met their foe,
Was a calm and a cheerful smile.

Twas there they paused for a moment of time,
And gaze in each other's eyes.

(speaks) That's wrong ain't it?

But one and the other of those she loved
Had lost both husband and son
(Sings) And I myself got a country coil,
She kissed me and bid me on.

She's praying at home like a weary saint,
And her pale face white with woe.
And her heart will be broken when I am gone,
l'll see her soon I know.

It was then the order came to charge,
And innocent hand touched hand.
With shoulder arms and off they went,
Rode calm and a thoughtless band.

But as soon as they reached the cliff of the hill,
Where the rebels shot and shell.
Four rows of dead into the ranks,
They cheered them as they fell,

They arose with a horrible dying yell,
The heights they could not gain,
And all the dead had kindly spared
Rode slowly back again,

Among the dead that was dying there
Lay the boy with the curly hair.
And the tall dark man that rode by his side,
Lay dead beside him there,

There is no one to write to the mother,
At home to tell her her boy is dead.
There's more to write to the bride girl,
The last word her true lover said,

There's no one to hear his last fond cries,
Or ease his aching pains,
Until she crosses the river of death,
And stands by her side again.


Sources: Henry 482; Roud 60; recorded by the Carter Family (Victor 1930, Bluebird, 1936).


Text notes: The singer tells of the boy's death in battle.

Tune notes: A dorian mode tune, in triple metre, the phrase lengths alternate 8 and 6 syllables in an abcd pattern.

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