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lirik lagu john kander – a letter from sullivan ballou

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my very dear sarah:

the indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. lest i should not be able to write again, i feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall upon your eye when i am no more

i have no misgivings about or lack of confidence in the cause in which i am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. i know how strongly american civilization now leans on the triumph of the government and how great a debt we owe to thosе who went before us through thе blood and suffering of the revolution. and i am willing, perfectly willing to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this government and to pay that debt . .

sarah, my love for you is deathless. it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but omnipotence could break; and yet my love of country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistably on with all these chains to the battlefield. the mem’ries of the blissful moments i have spent with you come creeping over me, and i feel most gratified to god and to you that i have enjoyed them so long

and hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years when, god willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood around us

i have, i know, but a few and small claims upon divine providence
but something whispers to me, perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little edgar, that i shall return to my loved ones unharmed
if i do not, my dear sarah, never forget how much i love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name

forgive my faults and the many pains i have caused you. how thoughtless and foolish i have oftentimes been! how gladly would i wash out with my tears ev’ry little spot upon your happiness . .

but, oh, sarah! if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, i shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights, always, always. and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by

sarah, do not mourn me dead; think i am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again