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No Man's Land

Music and lyrics by Eric Bogle


How do you do, private William McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun
Been walking all day and I'm nearly done

I can see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the glorious force in 1916
And I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, William McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the pipe lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles play "The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play the "Flowers Of The Forest"?

Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined
Although you died back in 1916
In that loyal heart are you always nineteen

Or are you just a stranger, without even a name
Forever encased behind some glass pane
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained
And fading away in a brown leather frame?

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the pipe lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles play "The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play the "Flowers Of The Forest"?

The sun it shins down on these green fields of France
The warm winds blow as the red poppies dance
The trenches have vanished now under the plow
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now

But here in this graveyard it is still no man's land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the pipe lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles play "The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play the "Flowers Of The Forest"?

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