Exploring The Waste Land
A note page linked from The Waste Land, Part III, line 199

Eliot's note for line 199

I do not know the origin of the ballad from which these lines are taken: it was reported to me from Sydney, Australia.

Commentator's note

A song sung by Australian troops during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I. A fuller rendition is:

O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
And on the daughter
of Mrs. Porter.
They wash their feet in soda water
and so they ougther
To keep them clean

Mrs. Porter was a madame of a Cairo brothel and she and her daughter were well known to Australian troops who created new (risque) lyrics to a popular ragtime song.

For those who wish to find the music with which to sing this passage Southam notes that the music is from the chorus of the ragtime song Red Wing by Thurland Chattaway.

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T 44 - Gallipoli Campaign

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: nq199.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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