The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #26140   Message #259819
Posted By: Merry
18-Jul-00 - 02:52 AM
Thread Name: Discussion: Universal Soldier
Subject: RE: Universal soldier and Codine
Hey, rangeroger, thanks for the songbook tip. My friends and I have been wondering for a couple of years now about that line, and the Internet didn't help - we even found a version "condemned him at Labau".

However, it doesn't make a lot of sense like that, either. Hitler, OK, Dachau, but who was condemned? And it doesn't seem to link to the following line ("without him Caesar would have stood alone" - that's my favourite line of the song, both as words and sound, at least in the Donovan version, I only heard a B. StMarie recording once).

There is another "miss" in the last verse, the database text is:

"He's the universal soldier and he is really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him and you and me and brothers, can't you see
This is not the way to put an end to war

The third line is actually:

"They come from here and there and you and me and brothers, can't you see"

The meaning is rather obvious, Woodstock, something like "today - in a democratic society - soldiers are receiving orders not from "far away" dictators/emperors, but from "here and there" ordinary people like "you and me"" implying that it's in our power - and it's our responsability - to give the right orders.

OK, it sounds pathetic that way... But that's why they write poetry in the end - a decent way to say things that would sound pathetic in every day speech (even non-pidgin every day speech - if anyone gets my point, try to translate this in English).