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Alan Bane They're taking me to the gallows mother, They're goin'to hang me high, They're goin'to gather around me there And watch me till I die. All earthly joys are vanished now And gone each earthly hope; They'll draw a cap across mine eyes, Around my neck a rope. The crazy mob will shout and groan, The priest will read a prayer, The drop will fall beneath my feet And leave me in the air. They think I murdered Alan Bane, For so the judge has said; They'll hang me to the gallows, Ma. And hang me 'til I'm dead. The grass that grows in yonder field, The lambs that skip and play, The brook that 'yond the orchard runs And laughs upon the way. The flowers that in the garden bloom, The birds that sing and fly Are pure and clean from human blood, And Mother, so am I. My father's grave on yonder hill, His name without a stain, I swear no malice e'er I had Nor murdered Alan Bane. But me the jury guilty found, For so the judge has said; They'll hang me to the gallows, Ma, And hang me 'til I'm dead. The air is fresh and bracing, Ma, The sun shines bright and high, This is a pleasant day to live, A gloomy one to die. This is a bright, a glorious day, The joys of earth to grasp; It is a sad, a wretched one To struggle, choke, and gasp. Let them my lofty spirit damp, Or cow me if they can, They've sent me like a rogue to die, I'll meet it like a man. I never murdered Alan Bane, But so the judge has said; They'll hang me to the gallows, Ma, And hang me 'til I'm dead. Poor little sister Belle will weep And kiss me as I lie, But kiss her twice and thrice for me And tell her not to cry. Tell her to weave a garland gay And crown me as of yore And plant a lily on my grave And think of me no more. And tell the maid whose love I sought, That I am faithful yet, But I'm to lie in a felon's grave And she had best forget. My memory is forever stained, For so the judge has said; They'll hang me to the gallows, Ma, And hang me'til I'm dead. Lay me not down by father's side, For once I mind, he said No child that stained his spotless name Could share his mortal bed. Old friends will look beyond his grave To my dishonored one And hide the virtues of the sire Behind the recreant son. And I can fancy that if there, My fettered limbs should lay, His frowning skull and crumbling bones Would shriek, drive me away. I swear to God I'm innocent And never blood have shed; They'll hang me to the gallows, Ma, And hang me 'til I'm dead. You'll lay me in my coffin, Ma, As you have seen me rest, One of my arms beneath my head, The other on my breast. And place my Bible on my heart, Nay, Mother, do not weep But kiss me as in happier days You kissed me when asleep. As for the rest, for rite or form But little do I lack, But cover up that cursed stain, The black mark on my neck, And pray to God for mercy great On my devoted head. They'll hang me to the gallows, Ma, And hang me 'til I'm dead. But hark! I hear a murmur now Among the jostling crowd, A cry! A shout! A roar! It grows And echoes long and loud. Comes dashing on a foaming steed, A man with tightened rein, He sits erect, he waves his hand, Good God! It's Alan Bane! The lost is found, the dead's alive, My safety is achieved. He waves his hand again and shouts: "The prisoner is reprieved!" Now Mother praise the God you love And raise your drooping head, The murd'rous gallows, black and grim Is cheated of its dead. From Folk Songs and Singing Games of the Illinois Ozarks, McIntosh Collected from Andrew Jackson Reynolds, Rudiment, IL, 1935 Note: Based on a true story ca 1866 RG
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!