The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda'


When I was a young man I carried my pack
I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
But in nineteen fifteen my country said 'son
it's time to stop rambling for there's work to be done'
So they gave me a tin hat and they agve me a gun
And they sent me to the war

And the band played 'Waltzing Matilda'
And we sailed away from the quay
And amid all the tears, flag weaving and cheers
We sailed all for Galipoli

Now, those who were living just tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses plied higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head
And when I awoke in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done how I wished I was dead
Never knew there were 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

And the band played 'Waltzing Matilda'
And we sailed away from the quay
And amid all the tears, flag weaving and cheers
We sailed all for Galipoli

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 the dreams of past glory
I see the old men all tired, stiff and sore
Those poor lonely heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask 'What are they marching for?'
And I ask myself the same question
And the band played 'Waltzing Matilda'
And the old men still answer the call
But year after year our number 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 can be heard as they pass by the Billabong
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me

An Australian song about the Great War.

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