The Boston Burglar lyrics

Johnny McEvoy

I was born and raised in Boston
A place you all know well
Brought up by honest parents
The truth to you l'll tell

Brought up by honest parents
And raised most tenderly
'Til I became a sporting lad
At the age of twenty three

My character was taken
And I was sent to jail
My friends they came and tried in vain
To get me out on bail

The jury found me guilty
The clerk he wrote it down
The Judge he passed the sentence
I was bound for Charlestown

They placed me on an East bound train
One cold December day
And every station we passed through
You could hear the people say

There goes the Boston Burglar
In cold chains he is bound
For one crime or another
He is bound for Charlestown

All you who have your freedom
Take a warning if you can
And don't go round the streets at night
Breaking laws of God and man

For if you do you'll surely rue
And find yourself like me
Serving up for twenty years
In the penitentiary

Song Details

Charlestown Penitentiary
Charlestown State Prison

Author: Unknown

Brief: The story of a young man brought up by honest parents who finds himself on the wrong side of the law. He is tried and sentenced, serving up to twenty years in a penitentiary. He warns people to stay on the right side of the law and enjoy their freedom.

The following is a comment from Mudcat.org in relation to the song:

The Boston Burglar would seem to be an Americanised version of the British song Botany Bay. "The Boston Burglar. Sung by Dan MacCarthy" was copyrighted in 1881 by H. J. Wehman (New York) and published by him as both a broadside (no. 480) and in The Vocalists's Favorite Songster of 1885. Gavin Greig noted three versions of the song in Scotland, and commented that, 'the song has got quite naturalised in this country'. The Irish collector Sam Henry also noted the song from a singer in Coleraine and it may be that Charlie Whiting's version comes from the recording made in 1940 by the Irish singer Delia Murphy, a recording that was once played frequently on the radio in England. (Delia's recording can now be heard on the CD 'From Galway to Dublin' Rounder CD1087.)

Boston - capital city of Massachusetts in the United States.
Charlestown - the oldest neighborhood in Boston
penitentiary - prison for those convicted of major crimes

Covers: Delia Murphy, Lads of Ireland, Connie Foley, Allison Crowe, Hugo Duncan, Kilkenny Krew...

Category: Folk Song

Album: Legends of Irish Music (July 30, 2007)

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