The Retreat Lyrics

by Elton John

They laid beneath the pine trees with their caps over their eyes
They were drunk with home and mama as they brushed away the flies
In an instant before the sunrise they had gunned the rebels down
As their flags were torn at half mast in the ruins of the town

There were white sails on the water for the crippled on the beach
There was a lack of ammunition so the cause was incomplete
When the bugle blew at breakfast and they knew their ships were in
Signs of grand assurance were carried on the wind

Take it home, take it low, take responsibilities
Came the message from the front
For the captains, captains quarters must retreat
Pack the compass, pack the tents, take the bunks

They just chalked it down in history but they kept their uniforms
They put their medals on the sideboards and they went back to their farms
For it was just a mere reminder that they stood beside the best
That God had saved the chosen few and the devil took the rest

On the planes above the rock face where the sculptured eagles swoop
There's a haunted yell for action among the specters of his troops
It was silent on the coastline as the crazy angels danced
With the sound of retreating footfall from his military camp