Well how do you do, young Willy McBride,
Do you mind if I sit here down 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 19,
When you joined the great fallen in 1916.
Well I hope you died quick, and I hope you died clean.
Or Willy McBride, was it slow and obscene?
Did they beat the drums slowly,
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play "The Last Post" and chorus?
Did the pipes play the "Flowers of the Forest"?
Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind,
In some faithful heart, is your memory in shrine?
And though you died back in 1916,
In that faithful heart, you're forever 19.
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enclosed forever behind a glass pane.
In an old photograph, torn and battered and stained,
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.
Now Willy McBride, I can't help wondering why
Do those who lie here know why they died.
Did they really believe when they answered the cause,
Did they really believe that this war would end wars?
But the sorrow, the sufferin', the glory, the pain
The killing and dying were all done in vain.
But, Willy McBride, it all happened again, and again, and again, and again, and again.