Jim Jones at Botany Bay

Ewan MacColl
Back to the song page with all the versions

OriginalVersione di Bob Dylan dall’album “Good as I Been to You” del 1992

Oh, listen for a moment, lads, and hear me tell me tale,
How o'er the sea from England's shore I was obliged to sail.
The jury says: “He's guilty, sir,” and says the judge, says he:
“For life, Jim Jones, I'm sending you across the stormy sea.
And take my tip before you ship to join the iron gang,
Don't be too gay at Botany Bay or else you'll surely hang.
Or else you'll surely hang,“ says he, “and after that, Jim Jones,
High upon the gallows tree the crows will pick your bones.
You'll have no chance for mischief then, remember what I say:
They'll flog the poaching out of you down there at Botany Bay.”

The wind blew high upon the sea and the pirates come along,
But the soldiers in our convict ship was nigh five hundred strong.
They opened fire and somehow drove that pirate ship away.
I'd rather have joined the skull-and-bones than go to Botany Bay.

Now night and day the irons clang, and like poor galley-slaves
We toil and strive and when we die, we fill dishonoured graces.
But by and by I'll break me chains and to the bush I'll go,
And join the brave bushrangers there like Donahue and Co.

And some dark night when everything is silent in the town,
I'll kill them tyrants one by one and shoot the floggers down.
I'll give the law a little shock, remember what I say,
They'll yet regret they sent Jim Jones in chains to Botany Bay.


Come and listen for a moment, lads,
And hear me tell my tale.
How across the sea from England
I was condemned to sail.
Now the jury found me guilty,
Then says the judge, says he,
"Oh, for life, Jim Jones, I'm sending you
Across the stormy sea.
But take a tip before you ship
To join the iron gang.
Don't get too gay in Botany Bay,
Or else you'll surely hang.
Or else you'll surely hang," says he.
"And after that, Jim Jones,
It's high above on the gallows tree
The crows will pick your bones."

And our ship was high upon the sea
Then pirates came along,
But the soldiers on our convict ship
Were full five hundred strong.
For they opened fire and somehow drove
That pirate ship away.
But I'd rather have joined that pirate ship
Tan gone to Botany Bay.
With the storms ragin' round us,
And the winds a-blowin' gale,
I'd rather have drowned in misery
Than gone to New South Wales.

Now it's day and night and the irons clang,
And like poor galley slaves
We toil and toil, and when we die
Must fill dishonored graves,
And it's by and by I'll slip my chains,
Well, into the bush I'll go
And I'll join the bravest rankers there,
Jack Donohue and co.
And some dark night, when everything
Is silent in the town
I'll shoot those tyrants one and all,
I'll gun the flogger down.
Oh, I'll give the land a little shock,
Remember what I say,
And they'll yet regret they've sent Jim Jones
In chains to Botany Bay.

Back to the song page with all the versions

Main Page

Note for non-Italian users: Sorry, though the interface of this website is translated into English, most commentaries and biographies are in Italian and/or in other languages like French, German, Spanish, Russian etc.

hosted by