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The Veteran

[ Roud 24926 ; Ballad Index CoSe234 ; Bodleian Roud 24926 ; trad.]

The Veteran is a song from the repertoire of the Copper Family. It is printed in The Copper Family Song Book and in Bob Copper's book A Song for Every Season, but not on the same-named album.

Andy Turner learned The Veteran from the words Charlie Bridger wrote out for him in 1983, and sang it as the January 30, 2016 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week. This version has a different melody from the one of the Coppers.

Lyrics

The Veteran

Twas on one Sabbath morn, the bells did chime for Church,
The young and gay were gathering there around that rustic porch.
There came an ag-ed man in soldier's garb was he,
And gazing on that group he cried, “You all remember me.”

The Veteran forgot, his friends were past and gone
The manly forms around him there as children he had known.
He pointed to a spot where his dwelling used to be,
And turning round and smiling said, “You now remember me.”

Alas none knew him there. He pointed to a stone
On which a name he breathed was traced, a name to them unknown.
And then the old man wept, “I'm friendless now,” said he,
“Where I had many a friend in youth not one remembers me.”

The old man's heart seemed broke, said he, “This is my own.
I hoped with friends to end my days. Alas, that hope has gone.”
He clutched the moss-grown tomb, “Without welcome, death,” said he,
“Forgotten now by all on earth, Oh, God, remember me.”