MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Dying Ranger
Will O'Brien NFLD 1 Tape 9A Track 2
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / dying soldier Laws A14 ("The Dying Soldier")

Female Voice: (speaks) Okay

The sun was setting in the west mixed with twinkling showers of hail,
Beneath the shadows of a forest where a wounded ranger lay,
Beneath the shade of papa's meadow where the sun sets in the sky,
Far from his home in Texas we laid him down to die.

A group had gathered round him his comrades in the fight,
The tears rolled down his manly cheek as he bid his friends goodnight,
One tired and true comrade a-kneeling by his side,
To stop his life blood flowing .

To stop his life blood flowing alas twas all in vain.
The tears rolled down his manly cheeks like little showers of hail,
Up speaks the noble ranger, "Boys weep no more for me,
I'm crossing the deep waters to a country that is free.''

"Oh, comrades draw nearer and listen to what I say,
I'll tell to you a story while my spirit hastes away,
Now way back in Northwest Texas that good old Lone-Star State,
There's one waiting for my a-coming with a weary heart to wait.''

"That fair young girl my sister my joy my only pride,
She was my friend since childhood there was no one left beside,
Now I love her as a brother and with a father's care,
I've strove from grief and sorrow her gentle heart to spare.''

"My mother she lies sleeping beneath the churchyard sod,
And many a day have passed away since her spirit fled to God,
My father he lies sleeping beneath the deep blue sea,
I've got no other kindred there's none but Nell and me.''

Our country were invaded and called for volunteers,
She threw her arms around me and bursted into tears,
Crying, ''Go my loving brother drive dose traitors from our shores,
My heart at present needs you but your country needs you more.''

"Tis true I love my country for her I give up all,
If it hadn't been for my sister I would be content to fall,
I'm dying comrades dying she will never see me more,
At last she'll wait my a-coming at our little cabin door.''

"Now comrades draw nearer listen to my dying prayer,
Tis to be to her a brother and shield her with a brother's care."
Up speaks the noble rangers they answered one and all,
"We'll be to her as brothers till the last one of us falls."

Now one glad joy of pleasure o'er the ranger's face had spread,
One darkened [.] shadow and the ranger boy lay dead,
Far from his loving sister we laid him down to rest,
With his knapsack for his pillow and his gun across his breast.


Sources: Mercer 115; Laws A14; ("Dying Soldier") ; Ives 1989: 17; For recordings, see list in; Roud 628. Variants include dying cowboys, soldiers, and sailors.


Text notes: The friend of a dying soldier promises to look after his beloved sister (or mother in some versions).

Tune notes: An "abba" form with an ascending 7 th in the "b" phrase. Sung freely. In minor or Aeolian mode. The website plays the last two lines of one strophe and the first two of another. Resample.

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