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Andrew Barton Paterson Poems
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That V.C. by Andrew Barton Paterson
'Twas in the days of front attack;
This glorious truth we'd yet to learn it --
That every "front" has got a back.
And French was just the man to turn it.
A wounded soldier on the ground
Was lying hid behind a hummock;
He proved the good old proverb sound --
An army travels on its stomach.

He lay as flat as any fish;
His nose had worn a little furrow;
He only had one frantic wish,
That like an ant-bear he could burrow.

The bullets whistled into space,
The pom-pom gun kept up its braying,
The fout-point-seven supplied the bass --
You'd think the devil's band was playing.

A valiant comrade crawling near
Observed his most supine behaviour,
And crept towards him; "Hey! what cheer?
Buck up," said he, "I've come to save yer.

"You get up on my shoulders, mate,
And, if we live beyond the firing,
I'll get the V.C. sure as fate,
Because our blokes is all retiring.

"It's fifty pound a year," says he,
"I'll stand you lots of beer and whisky."
"No," says the wounded man, "not me,
I'll not be saved -- it's far too risky.

"I'm fairly safe behind this mound,
I've worn a hole that seems to fit me;
But if you lift me off the ground
It's fifty pounds to one they'll hit me."

So back towards the firing-line
Our friend crept slowly to the rear-oh!
Remarking "What a selfish swine!
He might have let me be a hero."
View Andrew Barton Paterson:  Poems | Biography | Books

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