The Ballad of Donald White
Peter Amberley - Bonnie Dobson - as sung by Bob Dylan

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’s pole when the moon is shinin’ clear
And these are my final words that you will ever hear

If I had some education to gimme a decent start
I might have been a doctor or a master in the arts
But I used my hands for stealin’ when I was very young
And they locked me down in jailhouse cells that’s how my life begun

Well, 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 to crowded, institutions overflowed
So they turned me loose to walk upon life’s hurried tangled road

There’s a danger on the ocean where the salt sea waves split high
There’s a danger on the battlefield where the shells of bullets fly
There’s a danger in this open world where men fight to be free
But 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 to crowded, for me they had no room
I got down on my knees and begged: Oh please put me away!
But they would not listen to my plea as if nothing I would say

And so it was on Christmas eve in the year of fifty-nine
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 and 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 have been my home
Farewell to all you people who think the worst of me
I guess you feel much better when I’m on that hangin’ tree

But there is just one more question before they kill me dead
I’m wond’rin’ just how much I really said
Concerning all they come down the road like me
Are they enemies or victims of your society?

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