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The Green Fields Of France


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Willie McBride died in the First World War and this song is a tribute to those who died in the war to end all wars. It is a popular, but sad song.

The Green Fields Of France

(a traditional Irish song - lyrics an chords)

G                          Em            C          Am
Well, how do you do, young Willie McBride
D                       D7                   C                    G
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside,
G                     Em                     C                      Am
And rest for a while heath the warm summer sun,
D                                D7         C               G   
I've been working all day and I'm nearly done.

G                    Em                             C             Am
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen,

When you joined the great fallen in nineteen sixteen,
G                        Em            C                     Am
I hope you died well and I hope you died clean,
D                           D7               C                  G
Or young Willie McBride was it slow and obscene.
               D                     D7                   C                G
 Did they beat the drum slowly, did they play the life lowly.
               D                       D7                   C                  D
 Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down,
D                 C                                         G            Em                          
 And did the band play the Last Post and chorus,
G                                                     D7  G
 Did the pipes play the Flours of the Fo - rest.

G                              Em          C                      Am
And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind,
D                       D7                  C               G
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined.
G                    Em               C                 Am
Although you died back in nineteen sixteen,
D                      D7                  C                G
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen.

      G              Em                     C          Am
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
D                    C              G                     D7
Enclosed and forever behind the glass pane,
D7     G              Em                    Am       
In an old photograph, torn and battered and stained
D                   D7              C                     G
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.
       G               Em                   C                    Am
The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
D                                     D7            C                                   G
There's a warm summer breeze, it makes the red poppies dance.
        G                   Em                    C               Am
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
D                                         D7         C                G
There's no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
      G                 Em                   C                    Am
But here in this graveyard it's still no-man's-land.
D                               C                    G                 D7
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand,
     G                   Em                Am 
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man,
        D                 D7                     C                       G
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned.

                   G           Em               C                    Am
Now young Willie McBride I can't help but wonder why
D                              D7              C             G
Do all those who lie here know why they died.
   G               Em                   C                    Am
And did they believe when they answered the cause
               D           D7                  C                      G
Did they really believe that this war would end wars.
               G                   Em                 C             Am
Well the sorrows, the suffering, the glory, the pain
        D              C               G               D7
The killing and dying was all done in vain.
D7             G                           Em               Am
For young Willie McBride it all happened again,
          D               D7              C               G
And again, and again, and again, and again.