This song opens with a minute-long introduction, before we hear a series of call and responses in which Harvey links war with our agricultural heritage. The singer told NME: "This album's not solely about war, it's about very many different things – it's the world we live in, and part of that is war."
The sleeve notes for Let England Shake tell us that both this song and "In The Dark Places" were partially inspired by extracts from Russian Folk Lyrics, a book containing rhymes used by village "wailers" after someone has died. One chapter of the collection contains lyrics concerning serving soldiers.
This, along with "Let England Shake," was used in the 2014 UK miniseries The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain.