SongsByMike

The Soldierís Tear

In June, 2007 I watched a broadcast on BYU-TV honoring the Prophet Joseph Smith.† The first part of the presentation was comprised of musical performances of what were apparently some of his favorite and most requested songs during his lifetime.† One of these was a very simple song performed at the piano by Michael Hicks.† As I listened, I got that familiar feeling.† I was extremely impressed by the message of the song and could tell why the Prophet would have included it among his list of favorites.† Todayís common language just does not seem to match the beauty of the language of that era.† The music itself by Alexander Lee (1802-1852) is beautiful and haunting, but seemed a little too ď19th centuryĒ.

I went to the internet and found that the lyrics were written by Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839).† I printed the lyrics and went to the piano and after a few sessions this song was the result.

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the city of Nauvoo.† Across from the front of the temple sits a life-size statue depicting the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, pausing on horse-back on that day in 1844 as they began their fateful journey to Carthage where they would both shortly suffer a martyrís death.† I stood in that spot at the foot of that statue for a long time, admiring it and feeling the depth of its meaning.† I wondered what might be going through their minds in that moment of reflection as they took one last look over their homes and the land that represented the sacrifice of their lives to that point.† This is the moment I canít help but ponder when I play or hear this song.

 

From Song by same name with lyrics by Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) - (Original Music by George Alexander Lee, 1802-1852)

Lyrics adapted and music written by Michael D. Squires

 

Upon the hill he turned,

To take a last fond look

Of the valley and the village church,

And the cottage by the brook;

 

He listened to the sounds,

So familiar to his ear,

And then he leaned upon his sword,

And wiped away a soldierís tear.

 

Go watch the foremost ranks

In dangerís dark career,

Be sure the most daring hand there

Has wiped away a soldierís tear.

 

Beside that cottage porch

A girl was on her knees,

She held aloft a snowy scarf

Which fluttered in the breeze;

 

She breathed a prayer for him,

A prayer he could not hear,

But he paused as she knelt there,

And wiped away a soldierís tear.

 

He turned and left that spot

But do not deem him weak,

For dauntless was the soldierís heart,

Though there were still tears on his cheek;

 

Go watch the foremost ranks

In dangerís dark career,

Be sure the most daring hand there

Has wiped away a soldierís tear.

 

Go watch the foremost ranks

In dangerís dark career,

Be sure the most daring hand there

Has wiped away a soldierís tear.

 

She breathed a prayer for him,

A prayer he could not hear,

But he paused as she knelt there,

And wiped away a soldierís tear.

The Soldierís Tear

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Words by Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839), Music by Michael D. Squires

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