Well, how do you do, young Willie McBride,
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside,
And rest for a while neath the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen,
When you joined the great fallen in nineteen sixteen,
I hope you died well and I hope you died clean,
Or young Willie McBride was it slow and obscene.
Did they beat the drum slowly, did they play the pipes lowly.
Did they sound the dead march as they lowered you down,
And did the band play the Last Post and chorus,
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest.
And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined ?
Although you died back in nineteen sixteen,
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger without even a name?
Enclosed and forever behind the glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and battered and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.
The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
There's a warm summer breeze, it makes the red poppies dance.
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard it's still no-man's-land.
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand,
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man,
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned.
Now young Willie McBride I can't help but wonder why
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
And did they believe when they answered "The Cause?"
Did they really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the sorrows, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying was all done in vain.
For young Willie McBride it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.