The Green Fields of France -  by Eric Bogle

Well how do you do, Private William MacBride
do you mind if I sit here by your graveside?
And I'll rest for a while in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done.

I see by your gravestone that you were only 19
when you joined the dead heroes in 1915.
Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
or Willie MacBride was it slow and obscene?

Well the sun's shining now on these green fields of France,
a warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished under the plow
no gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.

But here in this graveyard that is still No Man's land
the countless white crosses in mute witness stand.
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
to a whole generation that was butchered and damned.

And I can't help but wonder now Willie MacBride
do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe them that this war would end wars?

Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame -
the killing and dying - it was all done in vain.
Oh Willie MacBride, it's all happened again
and again, and again, and again, and again.

And did you leave wife or a sweetheart behind,
in some faithful heart are you forever enshrined?
And though you died back in 1915
to some faithful heart are you forever 19?

Alternate Lyrics to Green Fields of France. 

This version was sung in the "Three Irish Tenors"  ( Finbar Wright, Ronan Tynan and Anthony Kearns) concert from Ellis Island,  shown on Tara TV, New Year 2001/2.

Well, how do you do Private William McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
And rest for awhile neath the warm summer sun
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done

And I see by your gravestone, you're only nineteen
When you joined the great fallen in nineteen sixteen
Well I hope you died quickly, I hope you died clean
Or poor Willy Mcbride, was it slow and obscene?

Chorus:
Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they play the pipes lowly?
Did they bugles carry you over as they lowered you down?
And did the band play 'The Last Post' in chorus?
Did the pipes play 'The Flowers Of The Forest'?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And though you died back in nineteen-sixteen
In that faithful heart are you always nineteen?

Or are you a stranger without a name?
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane
In an old photograph, torn and tattered, and stained.
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.

(Chorus)

Well the sun's shining down on these green fields of France
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance
The trenches have vanished long under the plow
There's no gas, no barb wire, there's no guns firing now

But here in this graveyard that's still no-man's land
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
The whole generation was butchered and damned

(Chorus)

And I can't help but wonder young Willy McBride
Do those that lie here know why that they died?
And did they really believe you when you told them the cause
Did they really believe that this war would end wars?

Well the suffering, and the sorrow, the glory of pain
The killing and dying they were all done in vain
For young Willy McBride it's all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again...

(Chorus)
 

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