"The Last Farewell" as written by Ronald Arthur Webster and Roger Whittaker....
There's a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbor
Tomorrow for old England she sails
Far away from your land of endless sunshine
To my land full of rainy skies and gales
And I shall be aboard that ship tomorrow
Though my heart is full of tears at this farewell

For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

I've heard there's a wicked war a-blazing
And the taste of war I know so very well
Even now I see the foreign flag a-raising
Their guns on fire as we sail into hell
I have no fear of death, it brings no sorrow
But how bitter will be this last farewell

For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

Though death and darkness gather all about me
My ship be torn apart upon the seas
I shall smell again the fragrance of these islands
And the heaving waves that brought me once to thee
And should I return home safe again to England
I shall watch the English mist roll through the dale

For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell


Lyrics submitted by dmg18

"The Last Farewell" as written by Ronald Arthur Webster Roger Whittaker

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Last Farewell song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentHe was british and when they had all their colonies way back a lot of them never got back to England much. He fell in love and he is telling her this before he leaves he know's even if he survives the battles he has to go back to England
    pirate87on February 04, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHave listened to this song many times. In some earlier times; WWII, maybe the 1800"s
    the writer may refer to being in the Philippines or in that general area. He may
    not be refering to a woman that is beautiful but the islands themselves.
    50 years ago I was stationed in Taiwan and Okinawa for 4 years. Okinawa is a great
    island to spend time on, but not "beautiful" like Taiwan. Taiwan was named
    Formosa by the Portuguise which means Beautiful Island. My wife is from Taiwan and
    she is beautiful also, so to me Roger could have been singing about a woman or
    an island. He sings about death and dying, we didnt have to go through that.
    I mention the Philippines because he sings of "foreign flag a-rising" , sounds
    like the invasion by the Japanese of that whole area.
    raenmanon January 21, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo add to raenman's comment, the singer is leaving the Philippines (per original poem) to return to England (first verse) to fight the French ("rigged sails" so pre WWI, but after the war against Spain- probably the Napoleonic wars around 1800) in a sea battle (third verse).

    It is not clear whether he is talking about leaving a woman or the islands, but I am a romantic and will assume it is a woman ("more dearly than the spoken word can tell" is too extreme to be just about leaving a place).

    Sadly, he does not intend to return. It is his last farewell.
    Windsurferon April 18, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is beautiful. It's being sung to the country he loves as he sails off to defend it. Very moving, especially given the events going on in the world right now.
    falln_angelon May 02, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know that the song is about leaving a country you love dearly to fight a war, but my (now ex-) boyfriend sand this to me the last time I saw him, after we had broken up, and it broke my heart. So I understand the whole song is about a country, but it has another special meaning to me, too.
    Pinkaton June 04, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, if you read the lyrics, the song is about two countries..... the one he is visiting, and the one he is from...... loves them both. Seems to be talking about a tropical island.
    quickmikeon September 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentquickmike is correct. Although the song can be interpreted patrotically, since he is doing what he sees as his duty, he obviously does not want to return and leave the object of his love, whoever that may be.
    DJacques75on May 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song can also be regarded as an allegory of life's difficult journey and, as the title suggests, the singer is saying a meaningful goodbye to his loved ones for the last time. The "wicked war" is the battle between good and evil. "Country" can be taken to mean Heaven as Shakespeare's description in "the undiscovered country" in Hamlet. Even though he may die without fear, his soul will again return to "smell the fragrance of these islands". A lovely song.
    asupergavon February 20, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI heard on the radio years ago the song the last farewell was written about Captain Mathew Flinders , when you read about him on Wiki it makes sense. ..
    Ulti682on October 20, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLike so many of the songs that came out in the pre-disco era of the 70's, this was a masterpiece of storytelling through song. I got to go to the Caribbean as a college student. I spent a great deal of time on the beaches and down at the peers watching the ships go in and out of the harbor--I just couldn't stay away from the ocean. When I listen to this song, I can almost feel the heat of the sun on my face, hear the waves gently rolling against the shore and the gulls crying over head. I can almost smell the brininess of the ocean; I can nearly taste the salt on the sea air---almost. But the longing the song creates in my heart, I genuinely feel every time I hear this tune. Having to give up a great love creates an ache in your heart that you don't have to imagine--it stays with you forever.
    roseanneycon December 11, 2016   Link

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