Trad / Arr: Christy Moore
As I was a-walking down by the Locke Hospital
Cold was the morning and dark was the day
I spied a young squaddie wrapped up in old linen
Wrapped up in old linen as cold as the day.
So play the drums slowly and play the fifes lowly
Sound a dead march as you carry him along
And over his coffin throw a bunch of white laurels
For he’s a young soldier cut down in his prime.
Oh mother, dear mother, come sit ye down by me
Sit ye down by me and pity my sad plight
For my body is injured and sadly disordered
All by a young girl me own heart’s delight.
Get six of me comrades to carry my coffin
Get six of me comrades to carry me on high
And let every one hold a bunch of white roses
So no-one will notice as we pass them by.
And over his headstone these words they were written
“All ye young fellows take warning from me.
Beware of the flash girls that roam through the city
For the girls of the city were the ruin of me.”
This is another one of those archetypal songs that appears in many guises again and again. The Furey Brothers and Davey Arthur had a major hit with a version of this song called”The Green Fields of France”
“There have been many British garrisons around the world through the years and each one has had its own Locke Hospital for soldiers who caught the dreaded disease. I believe this is a Dublin song, but if not its musical origins are certainly Irish.”