Tramp The Dirt Down

Words & Music:

Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus (Elvis Costello)

Transcribed by Paul Tibbetts


          G  D/F#   Em                C         G

I saw a newspaper picture from the political campaign.

             Em  Bm/D  A/C#              C          G

A woman was kissing a child, who was obviously in pain.

               Em Bm/D A/C#               C                             G

She spills w/ compassion, as that young child's face in her hands she grips.

                Em Bm/D   A/C#       C                      G       C

Can you imagine all that greed and avarice coming down on that child's lips?


Well, I hope you don't die too soon.  I pray the Lord my soul to save.

Oh, I'll be a good boy, I'll try so hard to behave.

Because there's one thing I know, I'd like to live long enough to savor



         C   Bm   Am  G   Am               G

That's when they finally put you in the ground,

       C    Bm Am   G         Am              G      D

I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down.



      D                Em          D/F#   G(?)             D

When England was the whore of the world  Margaret was her madam

                           Em          D/F#         Em         G

And the future looked as bright and as clear as the black tar macadam

G                                                                        C 

Well I hope that she sleeps well at night, isn't haunted by every tiny detai.

Am                  E/G#  G                 D/F#       Em              D

When she held that lovely face in her hands, all she thought was betrayal.


And now the cynical ones say that it all ends the same in the long run.

Try telling that to the desperate father who just squeezed the life from his only son.

And how it's only voices in your head and dreams you never dreamt.

Try telling him the subtle difference between justice and contempt.

Try telling me she isn't angry with this pitiful discontent.

When they flaunt it in your face as you line up for punishment.

And then expect you to say "Thank you" straighten up, look proud and pleased.

Because you've only got the symptoms, you haven't got the whole disease.

Just like a schoolboy, whose head's like a tin-can filled up with dreams

Then poured down the drain.

Try telling that to the boys on both sides, being blown to bits or beaten and maimed.

Who takes all the glory and none of the shame?


Well I hope you live long now, I pray the Lord your soul to keep.

I think I'll be going before we fold our arms and start to weep.

I never thought for a moment that human life could be so cheap.

'Cause when they finally put you in the ground.

They'll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down.


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