The Dying Ranger (MacEdward Leach)

See also: Dying Cowboy (MacEdward Leach)

And also: Newfie Soldier (Brian Finn)

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,
alas, in vain he tried.

To stop his life blood flowing,
alas 'twas all in vain,
The tears rolled down his manly cheeks
like little showers of rain;
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 was invaded
and called for volunteers,
She threw her arms around me
and bursted into tears;
Crying, Go, my loving brother,
drive those 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 dark, convulsive 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.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a native American ballad, The Dying Ranger [Laws A14] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1950/1964). ....####
Sung in 1950 by William (Will) O'Brien [b.1874-1956] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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