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The Dubliners - And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
(Eric Bogle)

When I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover
From the Murray's Green Basin to the dusty out back
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in 1915 my country said: 'Son, its time to stop rambling There's work to be done'
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda when the ship pulled away from the quay
And amid all the tears flag waving and cheers we sailed off for Gallipoli

Oh it's well I remember that terrible day when our blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell they called Suvla Bay we were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready he primed himself well
He rained us with bullets and he showered us with shell
And in five minutes flat we were all blown to hell
He nearly blew us back home to Australia
And the band played Waltzing Matilda when we stopped to bury our slain
While we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs, then it started all over again

Oh those who were living just tried to survive in that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks, I kept myself alive, while around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell, knocked me arse over head
And when I awoke in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done I wished I was dead
I never knew there was worse things than dying

For no more I'll go waltzing Matilda all around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more Waltzing Matilda for me

They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed and they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind and the insane, those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thanked Christ there was no one there waiting for me, to grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda when they carried us down the gangway
Oh, nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared, then they turned all their faces away

So now every April I sit on my porch, and I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades how proudly they march renewing their dreams of past glories
I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn
Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask, 'What're they marching for?' And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda and the old men still answer the call
But year after year, the numbers get fewer, some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll come a' Waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong
So who'll come a' Waltzing Matilda with me?


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