Collected by Ruth Jolly
and Don Stone
For Mary C. Parler
Transcribed by Frances Majors
Sung by Otis Williams
December 4, 1958
Reel 263, Item 10
The Last Charge
'Twas just before the last great charge,
Two warriors drew their rein.
With parting word and touch of hand,
They might never meet again.
They rode together on many a raid,
They marched for many a mile.
But ever till now they had met the foe,
With a calm and a cheerful smile.
One had blue eyes and curling hair,
Nineteen six months ago;
He had red on his cheek and down on his chin,
He was only a boy, you know.
The other was tall, dark, stern and proud,
His faith in this world was dim.
But he only trusted the more to those
Who were all the world to him.
The tall dark man was the first to speak,
Saying, Charlie, my hour has come.
We'll ride up the hill together,
But you'll ride back alone.
I have a face upon my breast,
Will wear it in the fight.
Tear dimmed the blue eyes of the boy,
His answer came low with pain.
I'll do your bidding, comrade mine,
If I ride back again.
But if you ride back when I am gone,
You can do as much for me.
I've a mother at home must hear the news;
Write to her tenderly.
One after another she buried them,
Her husband and her son.
And I was the last my country called,
And she cheered and sent me on.
She waits for me like a weeping saint,
Her poor face red with woe.
Her heart will be broken when I am gone,
For to see her boy no more.
The Last Charge (Cont'd)
Reel 263, Item 10 (Cont'd)
Tell her that I will wait for her
In the borderland between,
'Twix heaven and earth, until she comes,
That'll not be long, I ween.
Just then the bugle sounded charge;
For an instant, hand touched hand,
They answered it and on they rode,
This brave, devoted band.
'Twas just upon those awful heights,
Those heights we did not gain;
And those whom fate from death had spared
Rode slowly back again.
But among the dead was the blue-eyed boy
That wore the curling hair.
And the tall dark man that rode by his side
Lay dead beside him there.
And who will tell to the fair-haired maid
The words her lover had said?
The weeping mother has now to learn
That her only son is dead.
But never more will joy or grief
Soften or sadden her pain,
Until she crosses the river of death
And stands at his side again.
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