The Soldier's Farewell (MacEdward Leach)

One lovely night in summer,
before he went away,
A soldier took his sweetheart's hand
and this to her did say:
In a pocket in my tunic,
placed right next to my heart,
Is a picture of my darling,
my one and own sweetheart.

I'll wear this picture near me,
and I'll always think on you,
No matter where I may go, dear,
and no matter what I do;
In the thickest of the battle,
in sickness or in pain,
I'll wear this picture near my heart
until we meet again.

It was scarcely six months later
when his comrade to her came,
He told her that her soldier boy
would not be home again:
In the last great charge your true love
went forward with the rest,
Until, badly wounded, he fell
with a bullet in his breast.

I knelt beside your comrade
as his life's blood ebbed away,
Listened to all he had to tell,
heard all he had to say:
In a pocket in my tunic,
placed right next to my side,
Is a picture of my darling,
who was to be my bride.

You'll find upon the inside of it,
her name and her address,
Likewise the hole the bullet made,
when it pierced my noble breast;
He opened wide his dying eyes,
looked up at me and said:
Don't touch this picture, comrade,
please, I want it when I'm dead.

I want it buried with me,
and when you see my love,
Tell my darling I will wait
for her in heaven up above,
Where I will need no uniform,
no bayonet or no gun;
It is there I'll meet my own true love,
my joy, my only one.

She opened up her tear-dimmed eyes,
looked up at me and said:
How can I go on living,
now that my true love is dead?
I never shall forget the night
when last I saw my love,
Sleep on, my darling soldier boy,
I'll meet you up above.

Oh, why do men invent such things
as implements of war,
To kill our love ones, break our hearts,
dear God, what is it for?
Why do so many have to fight,
why don't they all return?
We must leave the answer to our God,
it is for us to learn!

####.... Author unknown. Traditional song of parting for war ....####

Collected in 1951 from Mrs Elizabeth (Betty) Devereaux [1932-?] of Trepassey, 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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