Sung by: Mrs. Ben Daugherty
Recorded in Cave City, AR 8/24/58

Click here to listen to the original recording

The crowd was there, the jury, too,
The people from afar.
A fair young boy with tender looks
Was a prisoner at the bar.
The great courthouse was crowded
With eager, anxious thoughts.
Many a heart was aching
For the boy accused of wrong.

A fair young girl with golden hair
Crept slowly through the crowd,
And many looked with wondering eyes,
But spoke not a word aloud.
Stepped into the jury box,
One moment she did pause,
Then smiling through her tears, she said,
"Judge, let me plead his case.

"Now, Judge, your mind must wander back
To those old days gone by.
See your sweetheart and yourself,
Just like this boy and I.
Unless you want to blight our lives,
Don't say that we must part.
Remember, Judge, your darling wife
Was once your own sweetheart.

"Next Sunday was our wedding day,
And dreams of loved ones there.
At the altar he would make
Me his own darling wife.
If you have children of your own,
Have mercy, I do pray.
Remember, Judge, your darling wife
Was once your own sweetheart."

The judge rose slowly from his seat;
The court was still as death.
The tears came twinkling down his cheeks.
He spoke in a faltering breath.
"I have a little girl at home
With just such babyish eyes.
Seeds of mercy scattered here
Will flourish to the skies."

The jury did not leave their seat,
For they had quickly agreed.
Um, um, hm, hm, hm,
Hm hm hm hm-hm.
Not guilty was the only word
The maiden heard them say.
Her lover clasped her in his arms;
Love always has its way.

(Mrs. Daugherty: "I forgot . . . I forgot what it was, you know.")

Also found in Randolph, Vol. IV, #828, "The Prisoner at the Bar."

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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