“The Prisoner's Song (II)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1962 (collected from Christina McAllister)
Keywords: captivity warning prison punishment freedom bird prisoner floatingverses
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber))

Description

The singer envies a sparrow its liberty. He describes the hard lot of the prisoners, "reduced to skin and bone," bound to ball and chain. He warns others not to keep bad company, or they'll be like him, serving 27 years in the penitentiary

Long description

The singer, a prisoner, strolls to see a sparrow, envying the bird its liberty; he imagines it saying, "Cheer up, my lads, and don't be sad; some day you will be free." He describes the hard lot of the prisoners, "strapping fellows reduced to skin and bone," bound to ball and chain. He warns others not to stay out late or keep bad company, or they'll be like him, serving 27 years in the penitentiary

Notes

Despite the identical title and subject, this is a completely different song from "The Prisoner's Song (I)"; the latter has the distinguishing verse beginning "If I had the wings of an eagle." It does share a final warning verse with many other songs, however. - PJS

Cross references

References

  1. MacSeegTrav 99, "The Prisoner's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #16638
  3. BI, McCST099