MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Irish Soldier Boy
Mrs. Boulger NFLD 2 Tape 3 Track 4
Trepassey Audio:

Leach: All right.

Mrs. Boulger: (sings)

In a cottage bright one wintery night as the snow lay on the ground
Stood a youthful Irish soldier boy to the mountain he was bound
His mother stood beside him saying you’ll win my boy don’t fear
And with loving arms around his waist she tied his bandolier

Good-bye God bless you mother dear I hope your heart don’t pain
Pray to God your soldier boy you soon will see again
When I’m on the fighting line it will be a sort of joy
To know that you remember still your Irish soldier boy

Here’s a health to Donegal, Killkenny and Mattloam
Tippereary is my native place the home that I adore
When I kneel at night to pray it will be a sort of joy
To know that you’re a mother proud of an Irish soldier boy

When the fighting is over and the flag of truce is raised
The leaders ordered the fight to cease all Ireland stood amazed
His comrades stood by the cottage door with a note from her pride and joy
And with aching heart cried God be good to my Irish soldier boy

Good-bye god bless you mother dear I’m dying a death so grand
From wounds received in action trying to free my native land
I hope we’ll meet in heaven above in the land beyond the sky
We’ll always be in company with your Irish soldier boy

Male voice (speaks): Good


Sources: Brown II 228, ("The Dying Soldier to His Mother"); Fuson, pp. 108-109, ("The Dying Soldier"); Roud #6568; Laws J7

From the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) Song Index and Song Annotation Collection: (also known as "The Dying Ranger," "The Valley of Killbride" and "Battle fields of Sunny France") Firestone, Melvin MUNFLA 64-17; Lear, William Henry MUNFLA 66-10; Casey, George MUNFLA 68-40; Wareham, Wilfred MUNFLA 70-8; Power, Mary Cornelia MUNFLA 71-26; Halpert, Herbert MUNFLA 71-50; Slaney, Madona MUNFLA 71-121; Halpert, Herbert MUNFLA 72-4; Rosenberg, Neil V. MUNFLA 72-11; Broderick, Martina Mary MUNFLA 72-238; Dawe, Audrey L. MUNFLA 73-89; Reid, William Jo. MUNFLA 73-93; Merrigan, Francis Patrick MUNFLA 74-83; Power, Neil Patrick MUNFLA 74-178; West, Eric MUNFLA 78-236; Goldstein, Kenneth S. and A. O'Hara and Gerald Thomas and H. Rowlings MUNFLA 78-239; MacEachen, Ronald MUNFLA 78-264

History: Irish ballad found in Newfoundland, Canada and the United States.

Text: A youthful Irish boy bids farewell to his loving mother as he heads off to war.   He dies fighting to "free his native land" and his friends are burdened with bringing the sad news home to his grieving mother.

Tune: A classic arch-shaped ABBA tune with the 'b' section in a higher register. The performance of the lilting 6/8 metre is characterized by its melismatic nature.   The scale is major.

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