MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Soldier’s Farewell
Mrs. Betty Devereaux NFLD 2 Tape 4A Track 8
Trepassey Audio:
Ballad

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 own 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 l go on living now that my true love is dead
I never shall forget the night when last l 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 loved ones, break our hearts dear God what is it for?
Why do so many have to fight why don t they all return

[End of tape]


Notes


Sources: Martin, 1945: 14
From the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) Song Index and Song Annotation Collection: Etchegary, Andrew MUNFLA 69-12; Malouin, Larry MUNFLA 78-275
 
History: Ballad.
 
Text: A dying soldier wishes to keep a picture of his true love near his breast.  Upon returning to their homeland, his best friend visits the true love and tells her of the faithful, undying love of her dear soldier.
 
Tune: This melody resembles the tune of the Newfoundland folksong, “Star of Logy Bay.”  A classis arch-shaped ABBA tune with the conventional higher register in the ‘b’ phrases.  The tonality is major and the metre is 6/8.

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