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And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Traditional Irish Songs

When I was a young man, I carried my pack
And I knew the free life of a rover
From the Murray's 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 ramblin' for there's work to be done"
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to a war

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
As the ship sailed away from the quay
Amid all the tears, the flag-waving and cheers
We sailed off for Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
When our blood stained the sand and the water
And how, in that hell, which they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs to the slaughter
Johnny Turk was ready, Lord he primed himself well
He rained us with bullets and he showered us with shells
In five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell
Nearly blew us back home to Australia

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

And those who were living just tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and, fire
For ten weary weeks, I kept myself alive
While around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me ass over head
And when I awoke, in a hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I were dead
I never knew there were worse things than dying

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
All around the green bush far and near
But to hunt and to pace, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing matilda for me

They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
All us proud wounded heroes from Suvla
And as they ship pulled into Circular Quay
And I looked at the holes where my legs used to be
I thanked Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve or to mourn or to pity

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
As they carried us down the gangway
This time nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared
Then they turned their faces away

And now every April, I sit on this porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving their deeds of past glory
I see the old men all tired, stiff, and sore
The weary old heroes from some forgotten war
And the young people ask, "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
And the old men still answer the call
But year after year, their numbers get fewer
Someday no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll come a-waltzing matilda with me
And their ghosts can be heard, as they march by the billabong
"Who'll come a-waltzing matilda with me?"

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