Monday, April 26, 2010

Dark Ditties: The Convict

Now, I'm not much of one for country music, but I do make certain exceptions--The Man in Black being the primary example.  Today's Dark Ditty may not have been a part of Mr. Cash's oeuvre (hell, maybe it was.  What do I know?), but it definitely could have been.  There doesn't seem to be any answer as to who actually wrote the bloody thing, but I can tell you that this version came from the 1910 edition of Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, collected by John A. Lomax.  Click here to download the whole she-bang.

The Convict
When slumbering In my convict cell my childhood days I see,
When I was mother's little child and knelt at mother's knee.
There my life was peace, I know, I knew no sorrow or pain.
Mother dear never did think, I know, I would wear a felon's chain.

Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink,
Ah, don't you hear the clinking of my chain?
Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink,
Ah, don't you hear the clinking of my chain?

When I had grown to manhood and evil paths I trod,
I learned to scorn my fellow-man and even curse my God;
And in the evil course I ran for a great length of time
Till at last I ran too long and was condemned for a felon's crime.

My prison life will soon be o'er, my life will soon be gone,--
May the angels waft it heavenward to a bright and happy home.

I'll be at rest, sweet, sweet rest, there is rest in the heavenly home;
I'll be at rest, sweet, sweet rest, there is rest in the heavenly home.

Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink,
Ah, don't you hear the clinking of my chain?
Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink,
Ah, don't you hear the clinking of my chain?

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