"The Soldiering Life" as written by and Colin Meloy....
Ambling madly all over the town
The call to arms, you're likened to a whisper
I liken to a radio
You were a brick bag a bowery tough, so rough
They called you from a cartoon
Pulled out of your pantaloons

But You
My brother in arms
I'd rather I'd lose my limbs
Than let you come to harm

But You
My bombazine doll
The bullets may singe your skin
And the mortars may fall

But I
I never felt so much life
Than tonight
Huddled in the trenches
Gazing on the battle field
Our rifles blaze away
We blaze away

Corporal Bradley of regiment five
And proud array standing by the bathing
Soldiers and the stevedores
We laid on the mattress and tumbled to sleep
Our eyes align, swaddled in our civies
Cradled in our dungarees

But You
My brother in arms
I'd rather I'd lose my limbs
Than let you come to harm

But You
My bombazine doll
The bullets may singe your skin
And the mortars may fall

But I
I never felt so much life
Than tonight
Huddled in the trenches
Gazing on the battle field
Our rifles blaze away
We blaze away
We blaze away
We blaze away


Lyrics submitted by Hunter

"The Soldiering Life" as written by Colin Meloy

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Soldiering Life song meanings
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52 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commenti love this song a lot....and it reminds me of All Quiet on the Western Front...a tad bit
    Abex22on May 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song describes both brotherhood between soldiers and a bit of homoeroticism thrown in, as well. It's subtle but it is definitely there.
    thundergodon July 01, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbom·ba·zine - A fine twilled fabric of silk and worsted or cotton, often dyed black and used for mourning clothes.

    I often use a dictionary when listening the Decemberists.
    awesomeon January 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti feel silly saying "i love this song" because, there isn't a song by this band that I don't. but in case there is doubt, I fucking love this song/band.
    farewell2RMSon July 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the thought of two men finding love on the battlefield. It's such a beautiful theme.
    Cool Cozon August 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI LOVE the word innuendo as well, but almost all instances of its use have been wrong in previous comments to the extent of using it for its opposite. This song does have some homosexual innuendo but for the most part is clearly mapping out the fraternal-style, gay relationships nurtured in long term and close contact military situations. One is seduced by a whisper of glory and camaraderie, our narrator is commanded by patriotism and duty, and the two of them shared these thoughts as they 'tumbled to sleep.' The corporal is proudly standing next to his bathing soldiers with stevedores. Why are these stevedores bathing with the soldiers? because stevedores have been notorious for coupling with shipmen when they dock. This is not a song doesnt seem to be denouncing or chastising gay tendancies in military situations, rather holding up to the light some of the homosexual-type relationships that are unique to this specific environment and how they are natural and joyful in their setting.
    ufmailon June 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is a great, great song. It is also one of the gayest songs of all time not written by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

    "Our rifles blaze away
    We blaze away"

    Yep, sounds like they were "flaming" alright.

    *This is not to disparage homosexuality in any way. It's just to point out that this is a very, very gay song. It's also beautiful and wistful, sort of a doomed romantic tale.
    parentheticalon August 11, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI stand by that this is the best song on her majesty but they're all good
    mrbrown1013on October 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPretty awesome song... Im enjoying the decemberists at the moment.
    ADimeADexteron October 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat the heck is a bombazine doll?


    ....?
    iamsamon December 29, 2004   Link

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