The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music

He is Coming to Us Dead

One morning when the office had opened
a 4 man quite old in 1 years
4 Entered the express 1 office
showing 5 signs of grief and 1 fear
When the clerk approached him
his 4 trembling voice did 1 say
I'm 4 waiting for my 1 boy, sir
he's 5 coming home to- 1 day

You have made a small mistake
and you must surely know
This is the express office, sir
and not a town depot
If your boy is coming home
this cold rainy day
You'll find him with the passengers
at the station just over the way

You do not understand me, sir
the old man shook his head
He's not a-coming as a passenger
but by express instead
He's coming home to mother
the old man gently said
He's coming home in a casket, sir
he's coming to us dead

Just then a whistle pierced the ears
the express came in on time
The old man rose in a breathless haste
and quickly rushed outside
Then a long white casket
was lowered to the ground
The scene was filled with the grief and tears
of those who gathered around

Don't handle that box roughly, boys
it contains our darling Jack
He went away as you boys are
see the way he's coming back
He broke his poor mother's heart
her saying's all come true
She said, this is the way that he'd come back
when he joined the boys in blue

A song from the The ToneWay Mountain Music Collection, which offers lyrics and free Song Clips (recordings for learning the song by ear) for nearly 400 traditional songs, many of which are often heard in bluegrass and old-time jam circles. The ToneWay Project also offers songbooks, CDs, and a free online video series for learning to play music by ear.