Rio Grande and other Verses

That V.C.

Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

’TWAS in the days of front attack,
    This glorious truth we’d yet to learn it—
That every “front” had 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 four-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 pounds 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.”

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