“I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier”

No study questions

No related resources

Source: Alfred Bryan, “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” (New York: Leo Feist, 1915). Available at Library of Congress, Music Division, https:// www.loc.gov/item/ihas .100008457/.

Respectfully Dedicated to Every Mother—Everywhere

I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier

Ten million soldiers to the war have gone,
Who may never return again.
Ten million mothers’ hearts must break,
For the ones who died in vain.
Head bowed down in sorrow
In her lonely years,
I heard a mother murmur thro’ her tears:


I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier,
I brought him up to be my pride and joy,
Who dares to put a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away,
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.


What victory can cheer a mother’s heart,
When she looks at her blighted home?
What victory can bring her back
All she cared to call her own?
Let each mother answer
In the year to be,
Remember that my boy belongs to me!

(Chorus, sung twice)

Teacher Programs

Conversation-based seminars for collegial PD, one-day and multi-day seminars, graduate credit seminars (MA degree), online and in-person.

Our Core Document Collection allows students to read history in the words of those who made it. Available in hard copy and for download.