Tell me, tell me weary soldier From the rude and stirring wars, Was my brother in the battle Where you gained those noble scars? He was ever brave and valiant, And I knew he never fled, Was his name among the wounded Or numbered with the dead? Was my brother in the battle, When the tide of war ran high? You would know him in a moment By his dark and flashing eye. Tell me, tell me weary soldier, Will he never come again, Did he suffer mid' the wounded Or die among the slain? Was my brother in the battle When the noble Highland host Were so wrongfully outnumbered On the Carolina coast; Did he struggle for the Union 'mid the thunder and the rain, Till he fell among the brave On a bleak Virginia plain? Oh, I'm sure that he was dauntless And his courage ne'er would lag While contending for the honor Of our dear and cherished flag.
Tell me, tell me weary soldier, Will he never come again, Did he suffer mid' the wounded Or die among the slain? Was my brother in the battle When the flag of Erin came To the rescue of our banner And protection of our fame, While the fleet from off the waters Poured out terror and dismay Till the bold and erring foe Fell like leaves on an Autumn day? When the bugle called to the battle And the cannon deeply roared, Oh! I wish I could have seen him Draw his sharp and glittering sword Tell me, tell me weary soldier, Will he never come again, Did he suffer mid' the wounded Or 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.
Was My Brother in the Battle? Steven Foster
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