Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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" 'Twas on that dread, immortal day,
I dared the Briton's band, A captain raised this blade on me —
I tore it from his hand; And while the glorious battle raged,
It lightened freedom's will — For, boy, the God of freedom blessed
The sword of Bunker Hill.
" Oh, keep the sword !" — his accents broke -
A smile — and he was dead — But his wrinkled hand still grasped the blade
Upon that dying bed. The son remains; the sword remains —
Its glory growing still — And twenty millions bless the sire,
And sword of Bunker HilL
The words of this song were written by Mr. S. J. Arnold, who was proprietor of the Enghsh opera, in London, and manager of Drury Lane Theatre, where he first brought out Edmund Kean.
The music was composed by John Braham, who was born in London, of Jewish parents, in 1774. He was early left an orphan, but found friends who helped him to culti­vate his musical talent until he became a teacher of the pianoforte. His taste was especially for vocal music, and in 1794 he made his first appearance in Bath as a tenor-singer. In the same year he first exhibited his wonderful powers to London audiences. Anxious to perfect his singing, he started for Italy, giving successful concerts by the way. He returned to London and appeared in Covent Garden Theatre in 1801, and from that time held the first rank among English singers. He also stood high among composers of opera and song music. Braham possessed a fine character. Henry Phillips says of him: " He was, take him altogether, a most extraordinary personage, highly gifted, and better educated than musicians generally; he had an expansive and creative mind, was gifted with a glorious voice, full, round, and flexible, master of many languages, whilst as a musi­cal declaimer he was perfect."
When sixty-three years old, he visited America, and gave entertainments in Boston, of which the papers of the time speak With the utmost enthusiasm. Returning to Englaud, he still made the concert-rooms ring with his clarion tones when he was nearly eighty years of age, and he filled Exeter Hall with admiring throngs even after that period. " Scots, wha hae," "Blue Bonnets over the border," '-'Bay of Biscay," the " Marsellaise," "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep," "The Soldier's Dream," and "Robin Adair," besides this song of his own composition, were among his favorites. Braham died February 17, 1856.