Ballad Of Accounting Lyrics

In the morning we built the city
In the afternoon walked through its streets
Evening saw us leaving

We wandered through our days as if they would never end
All of us imagined we had endless time to spend
We hardly saw the crossroads and small attention gave
To landmarks on the journey from the cradle to the
cradle to the grave, cradle to the grave

Did you learn to dream in the morning?
Abandon dreams in the afternoon?
Wait without hope in the evening?

Did you stand there in the traces and let 'em feed you
Did you trail along behind them wearing blinkers on
your eyes?
Did you kiss the foot that kicked you, did you thank
them for their scorn?
Did you ask for their forgiveness for the act of being
act of being born, act of being born?

Did you alter the face of the city?
Make any change in the world you found?
Or did you observe all the warnings?

Did you read the trespass notices, did you keep off the
Did you shuffle up the pavements just to let your
betters pass?
Did you learn to keep your mouth shut, were you seen
but never heard?
Did you learn to be obedient and jump to at a word,
jump to at a word, jump to at a word?

Did you demand any answers?
The who and the what and the reason why?
Did you ever question the setup?

Did you stand aside and let 'em choose while you took
second best?
Did you let 'em skim the cream off and give to you the
Did you settle for the shoddy and did you think it
To let 'em rob you right and left and never make a
never make a fight, never make a fight?

What did you learn in the morning?
How much did you know in the afternoon?
Were you content in the evening?

Did they teach you how to question when you were at the
Did the factory help you, were you the maker or the
Did the place where you were living enrich your life
and then
Did you reach some understanding of all your fellow
all your fellow men, all your fellow men?

Written in 1964 as theme music for the BBC radio-series
'LANDMARKS', this is a summing-up song, an accounts
sheet. Its Brechtian style and deceptive simplicity
mark it as unique among MacColl's

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Songwriter(s): Ewan Maccoll
Record Label(s): 1990 1990 Cooking Vinyl
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