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Somebody's Darling

Marie Ravenel de LaCoste
Language: English

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[1864]
Lyrics by Marie Ravenel de LaCoste
Music by John Hill Hewitt.

Somebody’s Darling, was originally a poem written by Marie Ravenel de LaCoste, a nurse (and a poet) of Savannah, Georgia. The poem first appeared in print in 1864. Miss de LaCoste took her poem to Hermann L Schreiner of J. C. Schreiner & Son music firm of Savannah requesting that it be turned into a song. Schreiner forwarded the piece and the request to John Hill Hewitt.

The southern sheet music edition was published in 1864 by J. C. Schreiner & Son of Macon and Savannah, Georgia, and Schreiner & Hewitt of Augusta, Georgia. It was also popular in the North. The number of northerners who provided music for this song included Mrs E K Crawford, Leon C Weld, A J Abbott, William Cumming and C. Everest.

The moving scene: Women around a dying young soldier (no matter if he's a Federal or Confederate). They maybe are just nurses, but is their patient able to understand? Was a mother's hand that touched him so lightly? Was a sister's? Is he still conscious? And how much?
Definitely the saddest of the Civil War songs. The true face of war..
Into the ward of the clean white-washed halls,
Where the dead slept and the dying lay;
Wounded by bayonets, sabres and balls,
Somebody's darling was borne one day.
Somebody's darling so young and so brave,
Wearing still on his sweet yet pale face
Soon to be hid in the dust of the grave,
The lingering light of his boyhood's grace.

Somebody's darling, somebody's pride,
Who'll tell his Mother where her boy died?

Matted and damp are his tresses of gold,
Kissing the snow of that fair young brow;
Pale are the lips of most delicate mould,
Somebody's darling is dying now.
Back from his beautiful purple-veined brow,
Brush off the wandering waves of gold;
Cross his white hands on his broad bosom now,
Somebody's darling is still and cold.

Somebody's darling, somebody's pride,
Who'll tell his Mother where her boy died?

Give him a kiss, but for somebody's sake,
Murmur a prayer for him, soft and low,
One little curl from his golden mates take,
Somebody's they were once, you know,
Somebody's warm hand has oft rested there,
Was it a Mother's so soft and white?
Or have the lips of a sister, so fair,
Ever been bathed in their waves of light?

Somebody's darling, somebody's pride,
Who'll tell his Mother where her boy died?


Somebody's watching and waiting for him,
Yearning to hold him again to her breast;
Yet there he lies with his blue eyes so dim,
And purple, child-like lips half apart.
Tenderly bury the fair, unknown dead,
Pausing to drop on this grave a tear;
Carve on the wooden slab over his head,
"Somebody's darling is slumbering here."

Contributed by giorgio - 2010/12/3 - 08:32


"Somebody's Darling" may be my favorite of all Civil War Era songs. I know it's really sentimental, but it makes an important point. Everyone (or, sadly, very nearly everyone) in the Civil War had people at home who were "watching and waiting" for them, hoping desperately their darling would come home again.

Paul Watkins - 2019/2/7 - 14:00



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