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Dead Man's Boots

This song is by Sting and appears on the album The Last Ship (2013).

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You see these work boots in my hands
They'll probably fit ye now my son
Take them, they're a gift from me
Why don't you try them on?
It would do your old man good
To see you walking in these boots one day
And take your place among the men
Who work upon the slipway

These dead man's boots
Though they're old and curled
When a feller needs a job
And a place in the world
And it's time for a man to put down roots
And walk to the river in his old man's boots

He said, "I'm nearly done and asking this
That ye do one final thing for me
You're barely but a sapling
And you think that you're a tree
If ye need a seed to prosper
Ye must first put down some roots
Just one foot then the other
In these dead man's boots."

These dead man's boots know their way down the hill
They could walk there themselves and they probably will
There's a place for ye there to sink your roots
And take a walk down the river in these dead man's boots

I said, "Why in the hell would I do that?
And why would I agree?"
When his hand was all that I'd received
As far as I remember
It's not as if he'd spoiled me
With his kindness up to then, ye see
I'd a plan of me own and I'd quit this place
When I came of age September

These dead man's boots know their way down the hill
They can walk there themselves and they probably will
I'd plenty of choices and plenty other routes
And he'd never see me walking in these dead man's boots

What was it made him think
I'd be happy ending up like him?
When he'd hardly got two halfpennies left
Or a broken pot to piss in
He wanted the same thing for me
Was that his final wish?
He said, "What the hell are ye gonna do?"
I said, "Anything but this!"

These dead man's boots know their way down the hill
They can walk there themselves and they most likely will
But they won't walk with me ‘cause I'm off the other way
I've had it up to here, I'm gonna have my say
When all ye've got left is that cross on the wall
I want nothing from you, I want nothing at all
Not a pension, nor a pittance, when your whole life is through
Get this through your head, I'm nothing like you
I'm done with all the arguments, there'll be no more dispute
And ye'll die before ye see me in your dead man's boots

Written by:

Sting

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