Two little boys- my childhood song- the American Civil War connection

February 21, 2012 at 11:56 pm 6 comments

Two Little Boys” is a song written by American composer Theodore Morse and lyricist Edward Madden. It was written in 1902 and became a popular music hall song of the time, made popular by Harry Lauder. It describes the story of two boys who grow up to fight in the American Civil War. In 1969, it became a surprise No. 1 top-selling single for entertainer Rolf Harris in the United Kingdom.

My mother used to sing this song to me along with others such as Sweet Polly Oliver – not your typical lullabye. My father would sing to me as well, Ghost Riders and the Naughty Lady of Shady Lane. My grandmother also very vocal , with her “ditties”, and of course the Highwayman 🙂

But Two Little Boys always made me cry and yet I would ask my mum to sing it over and over again. I used to sing this to my son when he was a baby and colicky . I used to think of the Lorain connection to the Civil war and later the Gilmore connection- and Fanny of the Civil War Letters – who was our neighbor in a different time and age – but whose legacy lingers ……..

My daughter emailed a phone picture to me yesterday, as Gavin had decided Braedyn needed his company and protection ( along with Buzz Lightyear) as Braedyn was trying out the “big crib” – Gavin was showing him how it is done…. I thought of my two little “American Boys” and the American connection to my own very “English” childhood…

Morse – Madden arr. Braden) H. Darewski Music / EMI / Redwood Music (P) 1969
Cond. Alan Braden – Produced by Mickey Clarke

Two little boys had two little toys
Each had a wooden horse
Gaily they played each summer’s day
Warriors both of course
One little chap then had a mishap
Broke off his horse’s head
Wept for his toy then cried with joy
As his young playmate said

Did you think I would leave you crying
When there’s room on my horse for two
Climb up here Jack and don’t be crying
I can go just as fast with two
When we grow up we’ll both be soldiers
And our horses will not be toys
And I wonder if we’ll remember
When we were two little boys

Long years had passed, war came so fast
Bravely they marched away
Cannon roared loud, and in the mad crowd
Wounded and dying lay
Up goes a shout, a horse dashes out
Out from the ranks so blue
Gallops away to where Joe lay
Then came a voice he knew

Did you think I would leave you dying
When there’s room on my horse for two
Climb up here Joe, we’ll soon be flying
I can go just as fast with two
Did you say Joe I’m all a-tremble
Perhaps it’s the battle’s noise
But I think it’s that I remember
When we were two little boys


Entry filed under: Brit take, Love, Mothers. Tags: , , , .

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