Tell me, tell me weary soldierFrom the rude and stirring wars,Was my brother in the battleWhere you gained those noble scars?He was ever brave and valiant,And I knew he never fled,Was his name among the woundedOr numbered with the dead?Was my brother in the battle,When the tide of war ran high?You would know him in a momentBy his dark and flashing eye.Tell me, tell me weary soldier,Will he never come again,Did he suffer mid' the woundedOr die among the slain?Was my brother in the battleWhen the noble Highland hostWere so wrongfully outnumberedOn the Carolina coast;Did he struggle for the Union'mid the thunder and the rain,Till he fell among the braveOn a bleak Virginia plain?Oh, I'm sure that he was dauntlessAnd his courage ne'er would lagWhile contending for the honorOf our dear and cherished flag.
Tell me, tell me weary soldier,Will he never come again,Did he suffer mid' the woundedOr die among the slain?Was my brother in the battleWhen the flag of Erin cameTo the rescue of our bannerAnd protection of our fame,While the fleet from off the watersPoured out terror and dismayTill the bold and erring foeFell like leaves on an Autumn day?When the bugle called to the battleAnd the cannon deeply roared,Oh! I wish I could have seen himDraw his sharp and glittering swordTell me, tell me weary soldier,Will he never come again,Did he suffer mid' the woundedOr die among the slain?
Known as the "father of American music," Stephen Foster made his living by selling his sheet music in the days before records and radio. During his career, Foster penned over 200 tunes, including the lyrics for "Oh! Susanna," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," "Camptown Races" and "My Old Kentucky Home."But many of Foster's musical lyrics often contained hateful racial ideas. Some of Foster's songs, like the ones written in black dialect to be performed in black face, are "a source of racial embarrassment and infuriation," says Ken Emerson.Emerson, a music historian, is the author of a Foster biography, Doo-dah!: Stephen Foster And The Rise Of American Popular Culture. He also edited a new compilation of lyrics penned by Foster and his contemporaries, entitled Stephen Foster & Co.