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A Child For A Hat

© 2005 Words and music by Ben Scott.  
Some lyrics adapted from journals by Lt. Ralph Clarke 
 
Lyrics:
  
Monday, fine clear weather, February 1790
The harbour I sailed in my little boat for lane cove bound
I searched for Dirrawan and Tirrawan, two natives whom I know
And I rowed for the smoke column ascending from the boughs
 
I called to them for I was certain they were not far away
I alighted when I heard them my servant’s teeth chattering with fear
They offered me some muscle on the campfire set to roast
And I heard the cry of a young child in the leafy bushes near
 
Chorus:
These men who I called savage, some say foe and others friend
But the orders I’ve been given, would they make me the savage then?
Is it right, I must judge now, could I proceed with all my heart
For it’s a mighty rough old bargain, a child for a hat, a child for a hat
 
His excellency, governor Phillip, he told me if I could to take a native
He saw that I had learned their ways better than most
But as I stood there talking to those shy men and their children
I found you can take an object, a life, but you cannot take a man

In a final attempt to follow orders, tentatively my mind a jumble
I offered my brand new hat for one of the children
They shook their heads in refusal, and I dare say they were much offended 
And much to my relief I came away empty handed
 
I was born in fair Southhampton 10000 miles from here
I was raised on proper notions of honour and honesty
But I have seen those notions in the harsh light of this place
And the classrooms of my youth, they did not deal with questions of race
 
Chorus:
These men who I called savage, some say foe and others friend
But the orders I’ve been given, would they make me the savage then?
Is it right, I must judge now, could I proceed with all my heart
For it’s a mighty rough old bargain, a child for a hat, a child for a hat.
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