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Hey Jesse leave your ploughing.
There’s a man waiting at the door.
He’s got some government papers,
For you to go to war.
He says I should stop my crying.
He’ll make a hero out of you.
But if the guns should claim you.
I just don’t know what I’ll do.

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Hey Jesse, where’s my ploughboy?
I’ve never seen you look so well.
Your face amongst the thousands
As the ship set sail.
You’ll plough no fields in Flanders.
Nor reap no winter grain.
And the home dust of Alberta
Will wash away in distant rain

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Heads down, heads down, brave Canada.
Load up another round
Heads down, heads down brave Canada.
Hide your fear in foreign ground.
There’s Jack from Nova Scotia,
And Jean-Paul from Montreal
And Jesse from Alberta
But the guns will take you all
Yes the guns will take you all.

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Set your sights for a hundred yards
And remember how to pray
And march towards the sound of guns
To earn your soldier’s pay.
There’s barbed wire on the skyline
Where the Maxim guns are hid
As you join the young Canadians
On the muddy slopes of Vimy Ridge

A telegram came this morning.
They said it was from the King.
He spoke of your brave sacrifice,
But Jess, it don’t mean a thing.
Your fields remain unbroken
And your plough’s rusting in a ditch
And your body hangs of the wire
On the bloody slopes of Vimy Ridge

“In those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a Nation.”

BRIGADIER-GENERAL A.E. ROSS

— by Martyn Day