The Danish Peace Academy

Songbook

Break the News to Mother

While shot and shell were screaming
Across the battlefield,
The boys in blue were fighting,
Their noble flag to shield.
Then a cry from our brave captain
Said, "Boys, the flag is down.
Who'll volunteer to save it from disgrace?"
"I will," a young boy shouted,
"I'll save the flag or die!"
Then rushed into the thickest of the fray,
Saved the flag, but gave his young life,
All for his country's sake.
We carried him back and heard him softly say,

Cho: "Just break the news to Mother --
      She knows how dear I love 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 afar, a noble general
Had witnessed this brave deed.
"Who saved the flag? Speak up, boys.
'Twas a noble and brave deed."
Then a cry from our own captain said,
"Sir, he's sinking fast,"
Then slowly turned away to hide a tear.
The general in a moment
Knelt down beside the boy,
And gave a cry that touched all hearts that day:
"'Tis my son, my brave young hero.
I thought you safe at home."
"Forgive me, father, for I ran away."

Sources: From the Collected Works of George J. Gaskin, 1899.
Words and Music by Chas. K. Harris. Arr. by Jos. Clauder.
Milwaukee, Wis.: Chas. K. Harris, 1897
Frontpage of the original front cover.
http://www.library.jhu.edu/collections/specialcollections/sheetmusic/musictours/Jew/break.html
Record Source: 4586: Columbia Phonograph Co.
Original recording by Steve Porter released between 1897 and 1900 with same cylinder number.

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