The Band Played Waltzing

Melody -

Matilda Eric Bogle

1. When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of the rover.
From the Murrays green Basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in nineteen fifteen the country said son,
It's time to stop rambling, there's work to be done
And 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 our ship pulled away from the quay,
And a mid'st all the cheers,
Flag waving and tears,
We sailed off to Galipoli.

2. How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that town, that day Salva Day
We were butchered like lambs to the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He showered us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell
Nearly blew us back home to Australia.

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

3. Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire.
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
As around me the corpses piled higher.
Then a big Turkish shell knocked my arse over head
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
I saw what it had done and 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.

4. So they collected the cripples, the wounded and maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The legless, the armless, the blind and insane
Those proud wounded hero's of Salva.
And as our ship pulled in to Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
Thank Christ there was no one 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,
Nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared;
Then they turned all their faces away.

5. And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I watch my old comrades how proudly they march
Renewing old dreams of past glory
And the old men marched slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The tired old relics from a forgotten war
And the young people ask "what are they marching for"
And sometimes I ask 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.

Last Refrain:
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda;
Who'll go a waltzing Matilda with me.
And the ghosts may be heard as they pass by the Billabong
Who'll go a waltzing Matilda with me.

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