The Young Warrior

Henry Burleigh's 1915 "The Young Warrior," with text by James Weldon Johnson, became the "marching song of Italy" in World War II when it was translated into Italian ("Il Giovane Guerriero"). You can view sheet music of this song on the website of the Library of Congress.

Date: 1915Composer: Henry T. BurleighText: James Weldon Johnson

Print vitals & song text


The Young Warrior
by James Weldon Johnson

Mother, shed no mournful tears,
But gird me on my sword;
And give no utterance to thy fears,
But bless me with thy word.

The lines are drawn! The fight is on!
A cause is to be won!
Mother, look not so white and wan;
Give Godspeed to thy son.

Now let thine eyes my way pursue
Where’er my footsteps fare;
And when they lead beyond thy view,
Send after me a prayer.

But pray not to defend from harm,
Nor danger to dispel;
Pray, rather, that with steadfast arm
I fight the battle well.

Pray, mother of mine, that I always keep
My heart and purpose strong,
My sword unsullied and ready to leap
Unsheathed against the wrong.

Sheet Music

'The Young Warrior'

Composer(s): H. T. Burleigh

View via Library of Congress

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