Words and Music by Bob Dylan 1962 Special Rider Music Renewed 1990 Special Rider Music
My name is Donald White, you see, I stand before you all. I was judged by you a murderer And the hangman's knot must fall. I will die upon the gallows pole When the moon is shining clear, And these are my final words That you will ever hear. I left my home in Kansas When I was very young, I landed in the old Northwest, Seattle, Washington Although I'd a-traveled many miles, I never made a friend, For I could never get along in life With people that I met. If I had some education To give me a decent start, I might have been a doctor or A master in the arts. But I used my hands for stealing When I was very young, And they locked me down in jailhouse cells, That's how my life begun. Oh, the inmates and the prisoners, I found they were my kind, And it was there inside the bars I found my peace of mind. But the jails they were too crowded, Institutions overflowed, So they turned me loose to walk upon Life's hurried tangled road. And there's danger on the ocean Where the salt sea waves split high, And there's danger on the battlefield Where the shells of bullets fly, And there's danger in this open world Where men strive to be free, And for me the greatest danger Was in society. So I asked them to send me back To the institution home. But they said they were too crowded, For me they had no room. I got down on my knees and begged, "Oh, please put me away," But they would not en to my plea Or nothing I would say. And so it was on Christmas eve In the year of '59, It was on that night I killed a man, I did not try to hide, The jury found me guilty And I won't disagree, For I knew that it would happen If I wasn't put away. And I'm glad I've had no parents To care for me or cry, For now they will never know The horrible death I die. And I'm also glad I've had no friends To see me in disgrace, For they'll never see that hangman's hood Wrap around my face. Farewell unto the old north woods Of which I used to roam, Farewell unto the crowded bars Of which've been my home, Farewell to all you people Who think the worst of me, I guess you'll feel much better when I'm on that hanging tree. But there's just one question Before they kill me dead, I'm wondering just how much To you I really said Concerning all the boys that come Down a road like me, Are they enemies or victims Of your society?