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Sheet Music Lyrics

Break It Gently to My Mother
Words by Mary A. Griffith
Music by Fredk. Buckley
Boston: Henry Tolman, c1863.

At the head of the title:

     This ballad was suggested by the following 
incident.  On the battle-field of Gettysburg, among 
many of our wounded soldiers was a young man the 
only son of an aged mother.  Hearing the surgeon 
tell his companions that he could not survive the 
ensuing night, he placed his hand upon his forehead, 
talking continually of his mother and sister, and said 
to his comrades assembled around him, "Break it gently 
to my mother." 

1.
See! ere the sun sinks behind those hills,
Ere darkness the earth doth cover,
You will lay me low, in the cold, damp ground,
Break it gently to my mother!
I see her sweet sad face on me now,
And a smile doth o'er it hover;
Oh God! I would spare the tears that will flow;
Break it gently to my mother.

2.
Oh, say that in battle I've nobly died,
For Right and our Country's honor;
Like the reaper's grain fell the deaden rain,
Yet God saved our starry banner!
My sister, playmate of boyhood's years,
Will lament her fallen brother;
She must try to soothe our parent's woe;
Break it gently to my mother.

Chorus:
Good bye, my mother ever dear;
sister, you loved your brother;
Comrades, I take a last farewell;
Break it gently to my mother.


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