And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda lyrics

Liam Clancy

Now 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 outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said son
It's time to stopped 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,
As the ship pulled away from the quay
And amid all the tears, flag-waving and cheers,
We sailed off for Gallipoli.

Well I remember that terrible day
When our blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was ready, oh he'd 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
Nearly blew us back home to Australia.

And the band played Waltzing Matilda,
When we stopped to bury our slain.
We buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs,
Then it started all over again.

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
Though 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, then I wished I were dead
I never knew there was worse things than dyin'.

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, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be.
And thanked Christ there was noone there waiting for me
To grieve, and to mourn, and to pity.

And the band played Waltzing Matilda,
As they carried us down the gangway.
But nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared,
Then they turned all their faces away.

So now every April, I sit on me porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Renewing their dreams of past glories
I see the old men, old tired stiff and sore
The weary old heroes of a forgotten war
The young people ask, what are 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 as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday 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,
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Song Details

WW1 Trenches
A scene from the trenches in WW1

Music & Lyrics: Eric Bogle - Scottish singer/songwriter. He also wrote the ever-popular 'No Man's Land' which is more commonly known as The Green Fields Of France.

Brief: The story of a young man from Sydney, Australia who goes off to war in 1915 to fight in Gallipoli. He relates the hardships, struggles and senselessness of war. After a session of heavy shelling he is wounded badly losing both legs and is subsequently shipped back home to Australia where he spends time wondering what it was all about.

The song vividly portrays the horrors of war, including the graphic and brutal descriptions of battle, the loss of comrades, and the soldier's personal suffering. It also criticizes the governments and politicians who send young men to fight and die for a cause that is often seen as futile or misguided.... read more

Popular: Perhaps the most popular version of this song is by Liam Clancy - lyrics are slightly altered.

Category: Anti-War

Album: Favourites 1 & 2 (2005)

Covers: Liam Clancy (featured), The Pogues, The Dubliners, Christy Moore, Danny Doyle, Ryan Kelly, John McDermott, Seamus Kennedy, The Fenians...

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