“The Soldier's Poor Little Boy”


A poor boy, trapped in a severe storm, comes to a lady's door to ask for shelter. He explains that his mother is dead and his father gone to war. The lady lets him in and tells him to stay as long as he has to, for her own son has fallen (in battle)


Cox reports this in a Philadelphia broadside attributed to Charles Bender, but it is obviously older and more widespread. Both Belden and Laws mention it as having British antecedents, but the only British occurrences are in broadsides.

The Warner tune is described as a variant of "The Star of the County Down." The other versions generally have a different melody. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Laws Q28, "The Soldier's Poor Little Boy"
  2. Greenleaf/Mansfield 100, "The Little Soldier's Boy" (1 text)
  3. Leach-Labrador 43, "The Friendless Soldier Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Belden, pp. 273-275, "A Soldier's Poor Little Boy" (3 texts, 1 tune)
  5. Eddy 134, "A Soldier's Poor Little Boy" (1 text)
  6. Randolph 718, "A Soldier's Poor Little Boy" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  7. Warner 154, "A Poor Little Sailor Boy" (1 text)
  8. JHCox 73, "The Soldier's Poor Little Boy" (2 texts)
  9. JHCoxIIA, #28, p. 104, "The Soldier's Poor Little Boy" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  10. BrownII 151, "The Soldier's Poor Little Boy" (2 texts)
  11. Brewster 67, "The Soldier's Poor Little Boy" (2 texts plus mention of 3 more)
  12. Pankake-PHCFSB, pp. 284-285, "The Soldier's Poor Little Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. cf. Gardner/Chickering, p. 482, "The Soldier's Boy" (source notes only)
  15. Roud #258
  16. BI, LQ28


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1904 (Belden)
Found in: US(Ap,MA,MW,SE,So) Canada(Newf)