On the battlefield in sunny France a hero he did stand
And he thought of his lovely friends at home in dear old Newfoundland
In fancy too in dreams did view the dear old riverside
And the home he loved in boyhood days near the valley of Kilbride
His comrade too was wounded and lay dying on the field
But those plucky Newfoundlanders would die before they'd yield
In the July Drive they proved their worth where shot and shell did fly
'Twas no man's land they rushed across, you could hear their charging cry
It was no man's land they rushed across, you could hear their charging cry
No coward blood ran through their veins they would conquer there or die
The fight at Balaclavla was equalled there that day
When on their right and on their left machine guns there did play
"Out of the drive few came alive I'm sorry for to say
There are only a few survivors," our general he did say
And to those few survivors he bravely raised his hand
And he said, "My boys I'm proud of you and dear old Newfoundland."
His dying comrade raised his hand a signal to draw near
He said, "Dear Jack my parting words I want for you to hear,
He said, "Dear Jack my parting words I want for you to tell
To father dear and mother dear and likewise sister Nell
"Tell mother not to weep for me but pray for me instead
And whisper words of comfort to her that's far away
And whisper words of comfort and take her by the hand
And tell her in the July Drive I bravely did stand
"And tell her in the July Drive as bullets pierced my side
My home I never more shall see near the valley of Kilbride
There's another who'll remember me and wishing I'll come home
But tell her no more to Bowring Park we never more shall roam
"She never more will see my face for now I have to part
But her memory still lingers within my bleeding heart
There's a photo that she gave to me it lies close by my side
You'll hardly recognize it now for with my blood it's dyed
"You'd hardly recognize it now but she will surely know
It's the photo that she gave to me not many months ago."
His voice grew weak he scarce could speak he feebly grasped my hand
He said, "Please bring those tidings back to dear old Newfoundland
His comrades tried to cheer him up but his lease in life was run
There's a mother now in Newfoundland that's weeping for her son
And that light-haired girl will think of him when she is all alone
But his grave now lies in sunny France far from his native home
Sources: Mercer 342; Ryan 14.
History: Possibly written by Johnny Burke (Lehr 194). The text of this song dates to World War I but the tune may be older.
Text notes:The song describes the death of a solider on July 1, 1916, in France. His comrade agrees to take the dying man's parting words to his family in Newfoundland. (cf., "Dying Solider")
Tune notes: An abba form, in which the "a" phrase has modal qualities. 4/4 metre.
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