The Girl I Left Behind Me
Words adopted from Samuel Lover
Music is a traditional Irish melody

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This leave-taking song was popular with both sides during the American Revolution and the American Civil War.  The original lyrics (not shown) are believed to have been written by an Irish soldier in the British army in the late 1750's.  The words shown below are of a version known to have been sung during the American Civil War.  The melody, which pre-dates the original lyrics, was also the basis of two other popular American Civil War-era songs: "I Goes to Fight mit Sigel" and "The American Volunteer."   

In the third stanza the word "Seventy-Six" refers to 1776 and the American Revolution.  Soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War saw themselves as following in the footsteps of their great grandfathers who served in the American Revolution.  Many in the North saw themselves as fighting to preserve the country their ancestors had fought to create.  Their Southern counterparts viewed themselves as fighting to create a new nation to guarantee freedoms they felt the American Federal government was attempting to take away, similar to why their ancestors had fought the British government of King George.    

"The hour was sad I left the maid,
A ling'ring farewell taking;
Her sighs and tears my steps delayed,
I thought her heart was breaking;
In hurried words her name I blessed,
I breath'd the vows that bind me,
And to my heart in anguish pressed
The girl I left behind me.

Then to the South we bore away,
To win a name in story,
And there where dawns the sun of day,
There dawned our sun of glory;
Both blazed in noon on Freedom's height,
Where in the post assigned me,
I shared the glory of that fight,
Sweet girl I left behind me.

Full many a name our banners bore,
Of former deeds of daring,
But they were days of Seventy-Six,
In which we had no sharing;
But now our laurels freshly won,
With the old ones shall entwined be,
Still worthy of our sires each son,
Sweet girl I left behind me.

The hope of final victory,
Within my bosom burning,
Is mingling with sweet thoughts of thee,
And of my fond returning;
But should I ne'er return again,
Still worth thy love thou'lt find me,
Dishonor's breath shall never stain
The name I'll leave behind me."

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This page Copyright by Scott Cantwell Meeker of Deep Vee Productions.
All Rights Reserved. Created July 7, 2001. Last updated July 7, 2001.