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Published on Feb 2, 2011
Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris sing this moving song - probably the most touching song on the First World War. It's included on their 1999 album "Western Wall (The Tucson Sessions)". The original (often referred to as "The French Prostitute") was written and performed by David Olney. The song tells the story of a French prostitute in Paris, who comforts an English speaking soldier on his three day leave in 1917.
The strange young man who comes to me A soldier on a three day spree Who needs one night's cheap ecstasy And a woman's arms to hide him He greets me with a courtly bow And hides his pain by acting proud He drinks too much and he laughs too loud How can I deny him?
Let us dance beneath the moon I'll sing to you "Claire de Lune' The morning always comes too soon But tonight the war is over
He speaks to me in schoolboy French Of a soldier's life inside a trench Of the look of death and the ghastly stench I do my best to please him
He puts two roses in a vase Two roses sadly out of place Like the gallant smile on his haggard face Playfully I tease him
Hold me 'neath the Paris skies Let's not talk of how or why Tomorrow's soon enough to die But tonight the war is over
We make love too hard too fast He falls asleep, his face a mask He wakes with the shakes and he drinks from his flask I put my arms around him
They die in the trenches and they die in the air In Belgium and France the dead are everywhere They die so fast there's no time to prepare A decent grave to surround them
Old world glory, old world fame The old world's gone, gone up in flames Nothing will ever be the same And nothing lasts forever
Oh I'd pray for him but I've forgotten how And there's nothing, nothing that can save him now There's always another with the same funny bow And who am I to deny them