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Prisoner for Life My old father advised me when I was but young, "Of ramblin' an' gamblin', bad company shun. These words you'll remember when I'm old an' gray, These words you'll remember when I'm cold in my grave." But I kept on a-ramblin' in that terrible band, Till I was attackted by the laws of the land, Was tried an' convicted for mail robbery, Nine years was transported across the salt sea. Then I met my old father a-leavin' the dock, He wrang his poor hands an' he tore his gray locks , Sayin', "Son, they have ruint you, I've advised you before, But now we are partin' to meet here no more." If I was on shipboard, pretty Molly by me, Bound down in strong Ireland I'd feel myself free, Bound down in strong Ireland an' kept like a slave, 'Twas in my own country I did not behave. Farewell, little doogie, to an embel you fly, You sing an' you sorrow your troubles all by; Oh, what would I give in such freedom to share, To roam at my ease an' to breathe the fresh air. Oh, farewell, kind comrades, I'm willin' to own That such a wild outcast has never been known; 'Tis the cause of my ruin an' sudden downfall, An' caused me to labor behind the stone wall. Note: One of many local variants, each, apparently with an "authentic" local history. In next to last verse, I find myself utterly charmed by "..little doogie, to an embel you'll fly.." Any Missourians have a clue? From Ozark Folksongs, Randolph. Collected from Carrie Baber, MO, 1922 RG
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!