American Old Time Song Lyrics: 36 The Deserter
Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 36
Copyright, 1892, by Francis, Day & Hunter.
Written and Composed by Charles Osborne.
In old Dover Castle one night rather late
A solemn court-martial was sitting in state.
Trying a soldier who stood in suspense.
Charged with "deserting," a serious offence.
Out in the ante-room, gloomy and wide,
There sat the sire of the prisoner inside,
Many a mile he had journeyed that day.
He must be near him if only to say:
He's not guilty, whate'er his accusers say;
Surely there must be some mistake, or some one has led him astray;
He's not guilty, remember "the cross" he's won;
I am the father who nursed him, and he is a soldier's son.
The witnesses called in the room one by one,
Established the guilt of the old soldier's son;
Their favorite sergeant, it pained them to tell,
Had deserted the flag he had fought for so well.
When called on to plead, he admitted, with shame.
The crime he'd committed had tarnished his name;
His guilt he acknowledged, whilst, broken with tears,
The echoes were wafting these words to their ears;-Chorus.
At last the old colonel arose from his chair
The sentence to pass on the prisoner there,
But ere he could seal the deserter's just doom,
A travel-stained soldier dashed into the room"A royal proclamation "-the Queen's Jubilee! "
Deserters are pardoned-the prisoner is free!
A shout from the culprit! a cheer from the throng!
And then the refrain of the old soldier's song.-Chorus.