"Waltzing Matilda" as written by and Eric Bogle....
When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said son
It's time to stop rambling 'cause there's work to be
So 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 we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
When the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called suvla bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He showered us with bullets, he rained us with
And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia
But the band played waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
And we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

Now those who were living did their best to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for seven long weeks I kept myself alive
While the corpses around me piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, Christ I wished I was
Never knew there were worse things than dying
And no more I'll go waltzing Matilda
To the green bushes so far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded and
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The legless, the armless, the blind and insane
Those proud wounded heroes of suvla
And as our ship pulled into circular quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
And they turned all their faces away

And 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
Reliving the or their dreams of past glory
i see the old men, all twisted and torn
The forgotten heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask me, "what are they
Marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll go a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Lyrics submitted by iKickDogs

"The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" as written by Eric Bogle


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Waltzing Matilda song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentWell, this song and "Green Fields of France" (actual title "No Man's Land" do go rather well together, since they were written by the same man - Eric Bogle, a Scot who now lives in Australia.

    Bogle's original lyric says "arse over head", which rhymes, and "rained us with bullets and showered us with shell", which scans better (and "shell" is a correct usage of the word, and it rhymes...)
    fairportfanon September 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song title is actually "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" The Pogues may have simply called it Waltzing Matilda, but they are two completely different songs.
    a portion of the song , "Waltzing Matilda"
    (and Australian folk song) is used
    at the end of the song.
    frichon March 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song reminds me of a poem we learned in highschool, actually. Does anyone else think of Dulce et Decorum Est when listening to this?
    Dysperdison April 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^^well the fact that they are both about the first world war!

    but ya, this song is quite powerful when played by the Pogues
    ~MM~on July 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPut this song on along with "Green Fields of France" by the Dropkick Murphys, a song about an Irish Soldier who died in France during WWI. Two different points of view, one hell of a message. If you're lucky enough to find a copy of "Willie McBride's Reply" throw that on the playlist as well, it's a response that adds a lot to both songs.
    udabac1on August 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs an Australian, I've grown up with Anzac Day and all the nonsense that comes with it. Entire beaches blocked for the parade to pass through, sprigs of rosemary worn by children with no concept of war, old men in uniforms who still haven't grasped that concept despite their experiences. I can well imagine myself asking, as a young child, "What are they marching for?"

    NellieWhiskeyon June 30, 2010   Link

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