Pity the boy in front of me
He was only 16,
Lifted up my axe then down,
Split his head like a cord of wood.

Not for me the huon pine,
Not for me the ankle iron,
A'resting in the rope'll do me fine.

So they sent me down to Bellerive,
Strung me up to my relief,
I was just a petty thief
Of no account, no import.

Send my love to my sister
In the Female Factory,
Remind her of the day when we drank wine.

May a slant of winter light
Break upon my stone before the night
Ushers in the chill,
I have no sight, I have no sight.

But did they pave the streets of Hobart town?
Lop the old wood forests down?
For the press of King and Crown,
For honey? Milk and honey?

My arse.


Lyrics submitted by Loial

The Slant song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +3
    Song MeaningIt's about a tasmanian convict. The key phrase is "huon pine", the convicts used to be forced to harvest these trees under horrifying conditions. The convict is saying that living his life harvesting huon pine is not for him, nor is the ankle iron of captivity. The convict would prefer to be dead ("Arresting in the rope will do me fine"). The first paragraph is, I believe, a kind of suicide pact between him and this other convict. One person would kill the other (with an axe since that is what they used for the trees), and then they would be hung for this crime (the song says he was sent to Bellerive to be executed). That way, both get to die.

    It is a really sad song. The death of the 16 year old, the fact that he was thrust into this horrifying existence from petty theft, and wanting to remind his sister of the day they drank wine (most likely the only experience of luxury for this man, since he was of no account). Glenn has also added a unique quality to his voice that adds to the sentiment of this song tremendously.
    timothy_sfkeron August 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is amazing, and as far as I can tell it's about a man who killed the 16 year old in the 1st verse.
    He feels extremely guilty and remorseful about it as sung in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th verses, very touching I might add in verse 4 singing about his sister. The 5th verse I'm not too sure perhaps his grave stone? or the waiting cell while he is to be hanged?? The 6th verse however escapes me... however Tasmania features a few times in the album
    mUzzon March 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNope I don't think so.

    He didn't kill the boy in the first verse he means that the boy was ahead of him in line for the executioner. I'm not sure if he is being executed aswell or if he means he just did time. Either way it's obviously about a convict sent to one of the camps in Tassie where all the recidivists were sent. Very nice Australia song.
    Michael05on April 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's interesting that he makes reference to King and Crown, Hobart having been founded by Philip Gidley King.
    Also, there was a prison in Hobart Town, along with two female factories. And Bellerive is right across the river.
    I think the character of this song (who may or may not be Bryn) did kill the boy in the first verse and is only claiming to be a petty thief in the third. He does say "lifted up _my_ axe and down."
    I think the sixth verse is a reference to modern-day Hobart (increasing in size, they would have cut down the trees and paved the streets).

    I'm Canadian, so excuse me if any of my info is wrong.
    macchimoon July 21, 2009   Link

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