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A poem by Harold Begbie (1871–1929) set to music by Chris Green

lyrics

'What will you lack, sonny, what will you lack,
When the girls line up the street
Shouting their love to the lads to come back
From the foe they rushed to beat?
Will you let out a strangled cheer to the sky
And grin till your cheeks turn red?
But what will you lack when your best mate goes by
With a girl who cuts you dead?

Where will you look, sonny, where will you look,
When your children yet to be
Clamour to learn of the part you took
In the War that kept men free?
Will you say it was naught to you if France
Stood up to her foe or bunked?
But where will you look when they give the glance
That tells you they know you funked?

How will you fare, sonny, how will you fare
In the far-off winter night,
When you sit by the fire in your old man's chair
And your neighbours talk of the fight?
Will you slink away, as it were from a blow,
Your old head all shamed and bent?
Or say - I was not with the first ones to go,
But I went, thank God, I went?

Why do they call, sonny, why do they call
For men who are brave and strong?
Is it nothing to you if your country should fall,
And Right is smashed by Wrong?
Is it football still and the picture show,
The pub and the betting odds,
When your brothers all stand to the tyrant's blow,
And England's call is God's!'

credits

from The Men Who Marched Away: Songs of the Great War, released September 15, 2014
Chris Green - voice, guitar, bass, piano

Sophie Matthews - flute

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all rights reserved

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GreenMatthews Coventry, UK

Chris Green and Sophie Matthews play English traditional songs and tunes in a thoroughly 21st-century kick-ass style. Using a blend of ancient instruments such as cittern, English bagpipes and shawm as well as modern folk instruments such as guitar, flute and piano accordion, they breathe new life into material from hundreds of years ago, making it fresh and relevant for a modern audience. ... more

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