H. D. Webster / J. P. Webster
The years creep slowly by, Lorena;
The snow is on the grass again,
The Sun's low down the sky, Lorena,
The frost gleams where the flowers have been.
But the heart throbs on as wildly now
As when the Summer days were nigh:
Oh! the Sun can never dip so low
Adown affection's cloudless sky!
A hundred months have passed, Lorena,
Since last I held that hand in mine,
And felt the pulse beat fast, Lorena,
Though mine beat faster far than thine.
A hundred months--'twas flowery May,
When up the hilly slope we climbed,
To watch the dying of the day,
And hear the distant church-bells chimed.
We loved each other then, Lorena,
More than we ever dared to tell;
And what we might have been, Lorena,
Had but our lovings prospered well!
But then, 'tis past; the years are gone;
I'll not call up their shadowy forms;
I'll say to them: Lost years, sleep on!
Sleep on! nor heed life's pelting storms.
The story of that past, Lorena,
Alas! I care not to repeat;
The hopes that could not last, Lorena,
They lived, but only lived to cheat!
I would not cause e'en one regret
To rankle in your bosom now;
For, "if we TRY, we may forget,"
Were words of thine, long years ago.
Yes, these were words of thine, Lorena;
They burn within my memory yet;
They touched some tender chords, Lorena,
Which thrill and tremble with regret;
'Twas not thy woman's heart that spoke:
Thy heart was always true to me;
A duty, stern and pressing, broke
The tie which linked my soul to thee.
It matters little now, Lorena;
The past -- is in the eternal past;
Our heads will soon lie low, Lorena,
Life's tide is ebbing out so fast..
There is a future! Oh! thank God!
Of life this is so small a part!
'Tis dust to dust beneath the sod;
But there, up there, 'tis heart to heart!
The most popular sentimental song of the Civil War had the name Bertha
in the original Henry deLafayette Webster (1824-1896) poem. But when
Joseph Philbrick Webster (1819-1875), not related to Henry Webster, did
the tune, he preferred a three-syllable name and invented Lorena, which
is still used as a given name today. It's been said that this song was
banned by at least one Civil War general as it appeared responsible for
homesickness and many desertions among soldiers.
One variation is to sing only Verses 1, 3 and 6.