Collected by Marvin Wallace For Mary C. Parler Transcribed by Frances Majors
Sung by Buck Buttery Lincoln, Arkansas August 19, 1958
Reel 281, Item 19
The Prisoner at the Bar
The judge was there, the jury too,
And people from afar;
A fair young lad of tender youth Was prisoner at the bar.
The great courtroom was crowded With an eager anxious throng;
Many hearts were aching For the lad accused of wrong.
A maiden fair with golden hair Swept swiftly through the crowd;
The people all gazed in wonder,
But spoke not one word aloud.
She stepped up to the judge’s stand; One moment did she pause.
Then smiling through her tears she said, "Judge, let me plead his cause.
"Now, Judge, let your mind wander back To those long years gone by.
See your sweetheart and yourself Just like this lad and I.
And if you have children of your own, Have mercy, I do pray;
Remember, Judge, you’ll break my heart If you send him away.”
Then, turning to the jury box To make her simple plea,
"This prisoner here is innocent;
I know you’ll set him free.
Remember you were once a boy Just like this fair young lad.
If you convict him with the charge, You’ll drive him to the bad.
"Next Sunday is our wedding day;
The dream of wonderous life,
When at the altar he will make Me his sweet loving wife.
Unless you aim to blight our lives, Don’t say that we must part.
Remember that your loving wife Was once your dear sweetheart.”The Prisoner at the Bar (Cont’d) Reel 281, Item 19 (Cont'd)
The Judge rose softly from the bench,
The courtroom still as death;
The tears were trickling down his cheeks He spoke with faltering breath.
"I have a little girl at home With just such baby eyes,
• • •
Will flourish in the skies."
The jury did not leave the room,
For they had quickly agreed;
The foreman briefly signed the note And gave the clerk to read.
"Hot Guilty" were the only words The maiden heard them say;
Her lover clasped her in his arms;
Love always has its way.
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