The watchers on the hillside stand in silence
As the dawn appears
Then they gather to their horses in an instant
As a sunshaft sears
Through the morning mist which hangs low in the valleys
Like a serpent's tail
Both poisonous to enemies and heroes
In the soldiers' tale.

A lonely tower stands empty as a refuge
By the sullen lake
As the straggle of survivors, in their weakness,
Make a grave mistake
For the crossroad sign which points towards the cost
Is another nail
In the cross of the Pretender and his comrades
In the soldiers' tale.

The dream we once knew
Is now over
The battle is lost
The retreat has begun
Let us make our escape
In the dead of the night
While the lone widows wail
In the soldiers' tale.

The French boat, at the ready, stands at anchor
On the swollen tide
His loyal followers raise a faint cheer
As he draws aside
The Pretender's cause is lost, a sad farewell
As the boat sets sail
And the rain hurls down on the challenge of the gauntlet
In the soldiers' tale.

The soldiers' song is never sung
The soldiers' battle never won
The soldiers' lives are bought an sold
The soldiers' bayonets are cold
The soldiers' guns are never fired
The soldiers' eyes are never tired
The soldiers' hearts are filled with hate
A soldier's cause must ever wait.
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The Soldiers' Tale Lyrics

Strawbs – The Soldiers' Tale Lyrics