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The Last Man and the Last Shilling

Tony Smith
Lingua: Inglese


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With war looming in Europe in 1914 Australian political parties competed to outdo one another in expressing loyalty to Britain in what was essentially a 'khaki election'. Labor Party leader Fisher promised that Australia would support Britain to the last man and the last shilling.

 The Last Man and the Last Shilling
A bloodied young digger lay dying
His great coat supporting his head
His best mates gathered around him
As he leaned on his elbow and said:
‘There’s a shilling piece in my pocket
It’s for him who sent us here
He who made those very fine speeches
That echo still in my ear

Say: this must be the last shilling
Spent on this bloody war
And I must be the last man
To die on this foreign shore

You know I don’t mind dying
For you my very best mates
If it means you surviving
And not sharing my forlorn fate
That’s why I must be the last man
The last man to die in this war
For if you have to follow me
Then what am I dying for?

Chorus: Yes, ....

I remember the smile of my Mary
And how she swelled with pride
To see me in my slouch hat
I still see her beautiful smile
Her letters told me the secret
That she can no longer hide
For soon she’ll be the mother
Of our very welcome child

Chorus:

I’ll miss the birth of our little lad
But his future’s important to me
Tell Mary not to be sad
If I can end this stupidity
Then he won’t need to don khaki
Or leave Australia (go overseas?) to stoush
He can live in peace all his life
And not know what war is about

Chorus:
Yes, this must be the last shilling
Spent on this bloody war
And I must be the last man
To die on this foreign shore

I know this Bob won’t buy much
Some ice cream down at the Bay
Where families take their leisure
And children can happily play
But this shilling is a symbol
Of the huge overbearing cost
And a tragedy for Australia
Whose innocence has been lost

Yes this must be the last shilling
Spent on this bloody war
And I must be the last man
To die on this foreign shore

inviata da Tony Smith - 22/1/2016 - 10:44



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