Arthur McBride – lyrics and chords

The lyrics to Arthur McBride tell the story of two cousins who fight off a recruiting sergeant after he tries to recruit them for the army. It’s an old Irish anti-war song. The lyrics are presented here as performed by Paul Brady, the singer who has become most closely associated with the song in recent years.

Arthur McBride
Paul Brady ‘definitive’ version
Videos

The chords are given in the key of G Major, the key used by Brady, who usually performs the song using an open G chord tuning. Planxty play the song in F Major. Bob Dylan uses A Major. Use our chord converter to play Arthur McBride in other keys.


 
Oh me  
G 
and my cousin one  
Em 
Arthur 
 
McBride
 
As we  
C 
went 
 
a-wal
G 
king down  
Am 
by the sea
C 
side,
 
Now  
G 
mark what  
C 
followed and  
G 
what did  
Em 
betide
 
For it  
G 
being on Christmas morn
D 
ing.
 
And  
G 
for recreation we  
Em 
went on a tramp
 
And we met  
C 
Sergeant 
 
Nap
G 
per and  
Am 
Corporal 
 
 
C 
Cramp.
 
And the li
G 
ttle wee  
C 
drummer 
 
in
G 
tending to  
Em 
camp
 
For the  
G 
day being pleasant and cha
D 
rming
G 
.

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“Good morning, good morning” the Sergeant did cry.”
“And the same to you gentlemen,” we did reply
Intending no harm as we meant to pass by
For it being on Christmas morning.
But says he “My fine fellows if you will enlist
It’s ten guineas in gold I will slip in your fists
And a crown in the bargain for to kick up the dust
And drink the King’s health in the morning.

For a soldier he leads a very fine life
And he always is blessed with a charming young wife,
And he pays all his debts without sorrow and strife
And always lives pleasant and charming.
And a soldier he always is decent and clean
In the finest of clothing he’s constantly seen
While other poor fellows look dirty and mean
And sup on thin gruel in the morning.”

Says Arthur, “I wouldn’t be proud of your clothes
For you’ve only the lend of them, as I suppose,
And you dare not change them one night for you know
If you do you’ll be flogged in the morning.
And although that we are single and free,
We take great delight in our own company
And we have no desire strange faces to see
Although that your offers are charming.

And we have no desire to take your advance,
All hazards and dangers we barter on chance.
For you would have no scruples for to send us to France
Where we would get shot without warning.”
“Oh no,” says the Sergeant, “I’ll have no such chat
And I neither will take it from spalpeen or brat
For if you insult me with one other word
I’ll cut off your heads in the morning.”

And then Arthur and I we soon drew our odds
And we scarce gave them time for to draw their own blades
When a trusty shillelagh came over their heads
And bade them take that as fair warning.
And their old rusty rapiers that hung by their sides
We flung them as far as we could in the tide
“Now take them out, devils,” cried Arthur McBride,
“And temper their edge in the morning.”

And the little wee drummer we flattened his pouch
And we made a football of his rowdy dow dow
Threw it in the tide for to rock and to roll
And bade it a tedious returning.
And we having no money, paid them off in cracks
And we paid no respect to their two bloody backs,
But we lathered them there like a pair of wet sacks
And left them for dead in the morning.

And so to conclude and to finish disputes
We obligingly asked if they wanted recruits,
For we were the lads who would give them hard clouts
And bid them look sharp in the morning.
Oh me and my cousin one Arthur McBride
As we went a-walking down by the seaside,
Now mark what followed and what did betide
For it being on Christmas morning.

Arthur McBride
Paul Brady ‘definitive’ version
Arthur McBride videos
Arthur McBride lyrics and chords

Arthur McBride lyrics and chords print version

Oh me [G]and my cousin one [Em]Arthur McBride
As we [C]went a-wal[G]king down [Am]by the sea[C]side,
Now [G]mark what [C]followed and [G]what did [Em]betide
For it [G]being on Christmas morn[D]ing.
And [G]for recreation we [Em]went on a tramp
And we met [C]Sergeant Nap[G]per and [Am]Corporal [C]Cramp.
And the li[G]ttle wee [C]drummer in[G]tending to [Em]camp
For the [G]day being pleasant and cha[D]rming[G].

“Good morning, good morning” the Sergeant did cry.”
“And the same to you gentlemen,” we did reply
Intending no harm as we meant to pass by
For it being on Christmas morning.
But says he “My fine fellows if you will enlist
It’s ten guineas in gold I will slip in your fists
And a crown in the bargain for to kick up the dust
And drink the King’s health in the morning.

For a soldier he leads a very fine life
And he always is blessed with a charming young wife,
And he pays all his debts without sorrow and strife
And always lives pleasant and charming.
And a soldier he always is decent and clean
In the finest of clothing he’s constantly seen
While other poor fellows look dirty and mean
And sup on thin gruel in the morning.”

Says Arthur, “I wouldn’t be proud of your clothes
For you’ve only the lend of them, as I suppose,
And you dare not change them one night for you know
If you do you’ll be flogged in the morning.
And although that we are single and free,
We take great delight in our own company
And we have no desire strange faces to see
Although that your offers are charming.

And we have no desire to take your advance,
All hazards and dangers we barter on chance.
For you would have no scruples for to send us to France
Where we would get shot without warning.”
“Oh no,” says the Sergeant, “I’ll have no such chat
And I neither will take it from spalpeen or brat
For if you insult me with one other word
I’ll cut off your heads in the morning.”

And then Arthur and I we soon drew our odds
And we scarce gave them time for to draw their own blades
When a trusty shillelagh came over their heads
And bade them take that as fair warning.
And their old rusty rapiers that hung by their sides
We flung them as far as we could in the tide
“Now take them out, devils,” cried Arthur McBride,
“And temper their edge in the morning.”

And the little wee drummer we flattened his pouch
And we made a football of his rowdy dow dow
Threw it in the tide for to rock and to roll
And bade it a tedious returning.
And we having no money, paid them off in cracks
And we paid no respect to their two bloody backs,
But we lathered them there like a pair of wet sacks
And left them for dead in the morning.

And so to conclude and to finish disputes
We obligingly asked if they wanted recruits,
For we were the lads who would give them hard clouts
And bid them look sharp in the morning.
Oh me and my cousin one Arthur McBride
As we went a-walking down by the seaside,
Now mark what followed and what did betide
For it being on Christmas morning.

Arthur McBride
Paul Brady ‘definitive’ version
Arthur McBride videos
Arthur McBride lyrics and chords

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