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Van Diemen's Land Lyrics

Found On:


Rattle And Hum (1988)


The Complete U2 (2004)

Note: U2 has released different versions of most singles in different countries. We are not showing every cover image in this space, just one that's representative of each release.

"Van Diemen's Land"

"...I wrote a song called 'Van Diemen's Land' which touches on that on the new album. I was interested in the history of this character, John Boyle O'Reilly. I was out one day with my wife Aislinn and we came upon this monument in County Meath. At the entrance to it was this faded brown newspaper clipping which gave the history of his life. How he was a member of the British Army in Ireland. He left the British army and became a Fenian and wrote Fenian poetry. He was arrested by the British Government and was charged with writing material that was liable to undermine the government and was deported to Australia for 20 years' hard labour. He was, to me, a prisoner of conscience in a way. He was not a man of violence and he was sent away for 20 years so I wrote a song about that." - The Edge, NME 1988

Hold me now, hold me now
Till this hour has gone around
And I'm gone on the rising tide
For to face Van Diemen's Land

It's a bitter pill I swallow here
To be rent from one so dear
We fought for justice and not for gain
But the magistrate sent me away

Now kings will rule and the poor will toil
And tear their hands as the tear the soil
But a day will come in the dawning age
When an honest man sees an honest wage

Hold me now, hold me now
Till this hour has gone around
And I'm gone on the rising tide
For to face Van Diemen's Land

Still the gunman rules and the widows pay
A scarlet coat now a black beret
They thought that that blood and sacrifice
Could out of death bring forth a life

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12/16 - 12/17/2017

Bono & The Edge on Dave Fanning

Songs of Experience, Track by Track

December 16 2017

09:00 PM - 11:00 PM - The Joshua Tree - U2 Tribute Band Performance

Tonight in Marlborough

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