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A few weeks back I made a note to actually sit down and do a track by track write up on the Hamilton cast recording. It would probably make more sense to do this series in order...and on a schedule even, but that’s not going to happen.

Today’s jam (actually, the earworm for the past few days is “One Last Time.”
The story: President Washington is stepping down but before he leaves, he has one more lesson to impart upon his right hand

[Long Post with large images ahead. Cross posted to tumblr.]

(lyrics, along with heavy, near line by line annotation, from: http://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-one-last-time-lyrics)

[HAMILTON]
Mr. President, you asked to see me?

[WASHINGTON]
I know you’re busy

[HAMILTON]
What do you need, sir? Sir?

The new nation has asked everything of Washington, and in turn, he’s delegated a lot of the heavy lifting to Hamilton. Washington knows this, just like he knew it in “Non-Stop” when he used this same round-about questioning to get Hamilton in his cabinet.


[WASHINGTON]
I wanna give you a word of warning

[HAMILTON]
Sir, I don’t know what you heard
But whatever it is, Jefferson started it

[WASHINGTON]
Thomas Jefferson resigned this morning

[HAMILTON]
You’re kidding

[WASHINGTON]
I need a favor

[HAMILTON]
Whatever you say, sir, Jefferson will pay for his behavior

[WASHINGTON]
Shh. Talk less

[HAMILTON]
I’ll use the press
I’ll write under a pseudonym, you’ll see what I can do to him—

[WASHINGTON]
I need you to draft an address

[HAMILTON]
Yes! He resigned. You can finally speak your mind—

[WASHINGTON]
No, he’s stepping down so he can run for President

[HAMILTON]
Ha. Good luck defeating you, sir

[WASHINGTON]
I’m stepping down. I’m not running for President

[HAMILTON]
I’m sorry, what?

Together, the team of Washington and Hamilton have forged a federal government -And they are an amazing team. Hamilton is such an eager bulldog! backed by the full, but tempering shield of of the uniquely positioned and all-mighty Washington. As we’ll all see later in “Say No To This” and “The Reynold’s Pamphet”, A. Ham is a mess when he’s left to his own devices.

I love the the acting here! Alexander protest so much at the idea of submitting to Washington’s paternal tendencies, and yet here he is, called into Daddy’s office and already shifting the blame to Jefferson. Then the absolute glee when he thinks Washington is finally going to unleash him and let him go full force at Jefferson and the Republicans, only to come to the full stop of  “I’m stepping down. I’m not running for President“

Hamilton needs Washington as President in order to finish the job of building the great nation Hamilton had blueprinted in his head. This stepping down business, much like “talk less” makes absolutely no sense to Hamilton.



[WASHINGTON]
One last time
Relax, have a drink with me
One last time
Let’s take a break tonight
And then we’ll teach them how to say goodbye
To say goodbye
You and I

[HAMILTON]
No, sir, why?

[WASHINGTON]
I wanna talk about neutrality

[HAMILTON]
Sir, with Britain and France on the verge of war, is this the best time—

[WASHINGTON]
I want to warn against partisan fighting

[HAMILTON]
But—

[WASHINGTON]
Pick up a pen, start writing
I wanna talk about what I have learned
The hard-won wisdom I have earned

[HAMILTON]
As far as the people are concerned
You have to serve, you could continue to serve—

[WASHINGTON]
No! One last time
The people will hear from me
One last time
And if we get this right
We’re gonna teach ‘em how to say
Goodbye
You and I—

[HAMILTON]
Mr. President, they will say you’re weak

[WASHINGTON]
No, they will see we’re strong

[HAMILTON]
Your position is so unique

[WASHINGTON]
So I’ll use it to move them along

[HAMILTON]
Why do you have to say goodbye?

[WASHINGTON]
If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on
It outlives me when I’m gone
Like the scripture says:
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid.”
They’ll be safe in the nation we’ve made
I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we’ve made
One last time

[HAMILTON]
One last time

 

Ooooooh, the feels!! The weight of the nation weighs so heavily on Washington. He knows there is still work to be done, so much work, and he has such a unique wisdom from his years of doing the work that he knows what needs to happen next.

Hamilton’s POV is a desperate mix of what he knows should happen. Washington is the only man that can get this work done, but... the true test of this nation, and the natural course of his great American Experiment, is that no man can rule forever.

Also, Hamilton understands Washington’s longing for home. Let’s go.

[HAMILTON]
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. I shall also carry with me

[HAMILTON]
The hope  [WASHINGTON] The hope

[HAMILTON] 
That my country will
View them with indulgence; [WASHINGTON] View them with indulgence 


[HAMILTON]
And that
After forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal  [WASHINGTON]  After forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal 

[HAMILTON] The faults of incompetent abilities will be


[TOGETHER] 
Consigned to oblivion, as I myself must soon be to the mansions of rest 

I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws
Under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust
Of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.


Ok, so Washington initially wanted to step down after his first four-year term. He’s set the ship aright and wanted to go home, but the "unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.”

Hamilton’s petulant, “

Why do you have to say goodbye?” won’t dissuade Washington this time. Now it is his duty to set forth a proper goodbye to his nation and the men and women who will lead it it in the years to come. It is Washingtons will funneled through Hamilton’s interpretation combine to send this song soaring for the ages.

There is so much overlap in the way the lyrics resonate for each man, like this one:
I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. I shall also carry with me the hope
That my country will
View them with indulgence;

and

The faults of incompetent abilities will be
Consigned to oblivion, as I myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.


[WASHINGTON]
One last time

[ALL WOMEN]
George Washington’s going home!

[HAMILTON]
Teach ‘em how to say goodbye

[WASHINGTON]
You and I
Going home
History has its eyes on you
We’re gonna teach ‘em how to
Say goodbye!
Teach ‘em how to
Say goodbye!
To say goodbye!
Say goodbye!
One last time![COMPANY]
George Washington’s going home
George Washington’s going home
George Washington’s going home
George Washington’s going home
Teach ‘em how to say goodbye!
Teach ‘em how!
Say goodbye!
Say goodbye!
One last time!

Washington, the man, comes to life again at the end of this song. He’s done it, it’s over, America will be all right, and he get’s to return to Mount Vernon. One Last Time leaves off on a joyous, seriously moving, gospel tinged high note.
This is the end of an era, and if you didn’t get the full effect of just how momentous the change is, the next song, “I know Him”, puts the OMG! down in bold print. And this leads right into Hamilton hurling himself headfirst into self destruction in “The Adams Administration.”
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