Old England

The Waterboys
Language: English

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"Old England" is a criticism of Thatcherism, blaming Margaret Thatcher's economic policies for what The Waterboys perceived to be an increase in desperation amongst the young and poor in the England of that time, and a rise in drug addiction, specifically to heroin. The refrain, Old England is dying is a quote from James Joyce, and the lines You're asking what makes me sigh now / What it is makes me shudder so are from W.B. Yeats' poem, Mad as the Mist and Snow.
Man looks up on a yellow sky
And the rain turns to rust in his eye
Rumours of his health are lies
Old England is dying

His clothes are dirty shade of blue
And his ancient shoes worn through
He steals from me and he lies to you
Old England is dying

Still he sings an empires song
And he keeps his navy strong
And he sticks his flag where it ill belongs
Old England is dying

You’re asking what makes me sigh now
What it is makes me shudder so
I just freeze in the wind
And I’m numb from the pummeling of the snow
That falls from high in yellow skies
Where the time stained of England flies
Where the homes are warm and the mothers sigh
Where comedians laugh and babies cry
Where criminals are televised politicians fraternize
Journalists are dignified and everyone is civilised
And children stare with heroin eyes
Old England !

Evening has fallen
The swans are singing
The last of sundays bells is ringing
The wind in the trees is sighing
And old England is dying

Contributed by Alessandro - 2010/2/18 - 14:22

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