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The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Eric Bogle
notes: One of Mr. Bogle's most popular songs.
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

       G        C                  G              Em           Am              D         G
When I was a young man I carried my pack and I lived the free life of a rover
                                   C               G           Em     Am                D        G
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback I waltzed my matilda all over
          D                                C                 G
Then in nineteen and sixteen my country said: son
    D                                      C               G
It’s time to stop ramblin’, there’s work to be done
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So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun; and they sent me away to the war
                             C               G                                  C                 D
And the band played “Waltzing Matilda� as the ship pulled away from the quay
     C               D            G              Em            Am              D      G
And amid all the tears, flag wavin’ and cheers, we sailed off for Gallipoli

Well I remember that terrible day when our blood stained the sand and the water
And how, in that hell that they called Souvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
The Turks they were ready, they’d primed themselves well
They rained us with bullets, they showered us with shell
And 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
And we buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs; then it started all over again

Those who were living just tried to survive in that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for five weary weeks I kept myself alive, while around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse-over-head, and when I awoke in my hospital bed
And saw what it did, I wished I were dead; never knew there were worse things than dyinâ
For no more I’d go Waltzing Matilda All around the green bush fancy free
For to hump tent and pegs a man needs his 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; those proud, wounded heroes of Souvla
And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thanked 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 there and stared; then they turned all their faces away

So 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, renewing their dreams of past glory
I see the old men, all tired, stiff and sore; the forgotten heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask: What are they marchin’ for?
And I ask myself the same question
And the band still plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call
But year after year their numbers grow fewer. Someday no one will march there at all

                            C                           G                      C                 
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda; who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me
              G                     D                  G                C
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass by the billabong
G                             C           D              G
Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me