Wasted and wounded, it ain't what the moon did
I got what I paid for now
See ya tomorrow, hey Frank can I borrow
A couple of bucks from you
To go waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, you'll go waltzing Matilda with me

I'm an innocent victim of a blinded alley
And I'm tired of all these soldiers here
No one speaks English, and everything's broken
And my Stacys are soaking wet
To go waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, you'll go waltzing Matilda with me

Now the dogs are barking
And the taxicabs parking
A lot they can do for me
I begged you to stab me
You tore my shirt open
And I'm down on my knees tonight
Old Bushmills I staggered
You buried the dagger in
Your silhouette window light
To go waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, you'll go waltzing Matilda with me

Now I've lost my St. Christopher
Now that I've kissed her and the
And the one-armed bandit knows
And the maverick Chinaman, and the cold-blooded signs
And the girls down by the strip tease shows go
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, you'll go waltzing Matilda with me

No, I don't want your sympathy
The fugitives say that the streets aren't for dreaming now
Manslaughter dragnets and the ghosts that sell memories
They want a piece of the action anyhow
Go waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, you'll go waltzing Matilda with me

And you can ask any sailor
And the keys from the jailer
And the old men in wheelchairs know
That Matilda's the defendant, she killed about a hundred
And she follows wherever you may go
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, you'll go waltzing Matilda with me

And it's a battered old suitcase
To a hotel someplace
And a wound that will never heal
No prima donna, the perfume is on
An old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
And goodnight to the street sweepers
The night watchman flame keepers
And goodnight Matilda, too

Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

Tom Traubert's Blues Lyrics as written by Tom Waits

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, JALMA MUSIC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen) song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +6
    General Comment
    I also love the line "lost my St. Christopher now that I kissed her." St. Christopher is (in the West) the patron saint of travellers. I think what Waits means is that when he kissed "her," his wandering days were over. This makes a nice juxtaposition with the "Waltzing Matilda" theme which is about being a roving bandit of sorts.
    criostoiron April 22, 2007   Link
  • +6
    General Comment
    Tom Waits was in an interview last year (I think) where he explained this song. Whether or not this was an actual explanation or one of those Waits "answers" I can't really know, but essentially this is what he said: a 'Matilda' is the name for a backpack, and hence 'waltzing Matilda' is backpacking. Tom Traubert is the name of (not sure if it's his actual name) one of Waits' friends who spent his time hitchiking across America. Tom Traubert was arrested for some reason (he didn't explain) and lived in jail for some years before eventually dying there. This song is, apparently, written for him. You can see it in the song if you look at it again: there are a lot of references things like "innocent victim", "fugitives", "dagger", "bandit", "I don't want your sympathy", "I got what I paid for now", seems like Waits wanted to write Tom Traubert's story from his own perspective.
    Blackmirthon March 15, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General Comment
    I came here for an interpretation of the lyrics and you can't even GET THEM RIGHT. Here is what I know for those who want real answers. The biographical background while interesting, is not that relevant. A drunk wants to hit the rails (so to speak) so he borrows money A waltzing Matilda is a hobo's bag on a stick (she follows wherever you may go) justifications and booze bottles (soldier's here) No one speaks English and everything's broken And my suspenders (STACES, not STACY'S) are soaking wet to go cabs and dogs, and stabbing as a dual reference, wanting to die and the "stab" when the booze (Old Bushmill's) hits your throat. Lost my St. Christopher (out of luck) now that I've kissed her Slot machines (one-armed bandit) drug dealers (maverick Chinamen) neon signs (cold-blooded signs) and loose women cannot help. No, I don't want your sympathy Hobos are not as innocent anymore Murder hunts and (ghosts that sell memories?) all want you. sailors, keys and invalids are not free. Matilda (street life) kills. And it's a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace And a wound that will never heal No prima donna (he means he is a mess here), the perfume is on an old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey And goodnight to the street sweepers The night watchman flame keepers And goodnight, Matilda, too That's about it. Staces or Braces are suspenders. What does Ghosts who sell memories mean? Antique store or book store people? Or maybe photography studio owners?
    HappyHiramon May 16, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    "I lost my Saint Christopher now that I've kissed her" One of my favourite lines ever.
    smellystudenton August 17, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    It's about men who travel the world to get over a woman. A guy is somewhere far from home, out of money and still battling his heartache, and he sees a lot of men like himself. One of Waits' greatest songs, i think. His manager at the time cried the first time he read/heard it, and called it the greatest piece of poetry ever written.
    wertoion March 27, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning
    Oh, and stephoney13, Four Sheets to the Wind is slang for being very, very drunk. Nothing to do with boats.
    daveydkon July 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    just my favourite song ever
    PiKueloon April 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    i think it was written about a drunken evening that tom spent with danish folk-singer Mathilde Bondo after a performance in copanhagen. its definately not about his wife kathleen as they only met a few years later when he was working on the soundtrack for 'One From The Heart'
    alfresco_slapstickon April 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    Tom Waits mixed a popular Australian song "Waltzing Matilda" with his own original material. The Australian original is about a travelling man (swagman) who stole a sheep (jumbuck) stuffed it in his bag but then was cornered by the farmer who owned the sheep (squatter) and the police (troopers). The swagman jumped into the billabong so he wouldn't get caught alive and his ghost is still there today. 'Waltzing matilda' means to travel with your swag (where you roll all your stuff up in a fabric or whatever and carry it). Waltz = to travel, matilda = swag. Good song, I like the war/fight/hopelessness type theme and sombreness of it.
    tman123on May 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    Just beautiful. It's appearence in the movie "Basquiat" is one of the best song/movie moments ever.
    Smokleron December 02, 2006   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Somewhere Only We Know
Per the FAQ on Keane's website, Keane's drummer Richard Hughes, stated the following: "We've been asked whether "Somewhere Only We Know" is about a specific place, and Tim has been saying that, for him, or us as individuals, it might be about a geographical space, or a feeling; it can mean something individual to each person, and they can interpret it to a memory of theirs... It's perhaps more of a theme rather than a specific message... Feelings that may be universal, without necessarily being totally specific to us, or a place, or a time..." With the nostalgic sentiment and the overall tone of the song, I think Keane is attempting to express a Portuguese term known as 'saudade', which does not have a direct English translation but roughly means "that which we remember because it is gone."
Album art
Loved by You
Justin Bieber
The fourteenth track, "Loved By You" of the singer's latest studio album titled "Justice", was produced by Josh Gudwin, Skrillex, Jason Evigan & LeriQ. It was released on March 19, 2021.
Album art
This standout track comes off the artist's latest studio album titled "empathetic". The track was produced by Danny Score and released via notable digital streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify on January 1, 2021.
Album art
Keep My Name Outta Your Mouth
Black Keys, The
This standout track comes off the artiste's latest reissue titled "Brothers Deluxe Remastered 10th Anniversary Edition". The track was produced by Mark Neill, Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbach. It was released via major streaming platforms on December 18, 2020.
Album art
Up 2020
Uncle Murda
This standout song of the rapper's latest studio album titled "Don’t Come Outside, Vol. 3" was produced by Great John. The track was released via major streaming platforms on January 1, 2021.