While the shot and shell were screaming upon the battle field
The boys in blue were fighting their noble flag to shield;
Came a cry from their brave captain, “Look boys! Our flag is down;
Who’ll volunteer to save it from disgrace?”
“I will,” a young voice shouted, “I’ll bring it back or die”;
Then sprang into the thickest of the fray;
Saved the flag but gave his young life; all for his country’s sake;
They brought him back and softly heard him say:
“Just break the news to mother,
She knows how dear I lover her,
And tell her not to wait for me,
For I’m not coming home;
Just say there is no other
Can take the place of mother;
Then kiss her dear, sweet lips for me,
And break the news to her.”
From a far a noted general had witnessed this brave deed.
“Who saved our flag? Speak up lads, ‘twas noble, brave, indeed!”
There he lies, sir,” said the captain, “he’s sinking very fast;”
When slowly turned away to hide a tear.
The general in a moment, knelt down beside the boy;
Then gave a cry that touch’d all hearts that day.
It’s my son, my brave young hero; I thought you safe at home.”
“Forgive me, father, for I ran away.”
Harris, Charles Kassell, "Break the News to Mother" (1897). Historic Sheet Music Collection. 163.
The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.