"Behind Those Stone Walls" lyrics - THE CARTER FAMILY

"Behind Those Stone Walls"

Was in St. Louis City where I first saw the light
Brought up by honest parents in the pathway of right
I was left an orphan at the age of ten years
On mother's grave I've shed many tears

I'd scarcely reached manhood when I left my old home
With some other fellows through the west we did roam
Seeking employment though scarcely could find
We seemed so poor, and the people unkind

[Instrumental break]

Was in New York City where we first met our fate
We were arrested while roaming the street
The charges were burglary, the theft it was small
But they said it would place us behind the stone wall

We were marched next morning to the courthouse for trial
My pal was downhearted, though I gave him a smile
We pleaded for mercy but was shown none at all
They gave us twenty years behind the stone wall

[Instrumental break]

We were handcuffed next morning and marched to the pen
We arrived there at midnight with a few other men
The doors were thrown open, we marched in the hall
We'd learn to be a convict behind the stone wall

While lying at night on a pallet of straw
I swore I would never again break the law
There's none but your mother to bear your downfall
When you are a convict behind the stone wall

[Instrumental break]

Come all you young fellows and listen to me
When you lose at life's pleasure you've lost liberty
I've tasted life's pleasure, it's bitterer than gall
It'll lead to a cell behind the stone wall