Lonely once I stood reflecting by a gloomy prison gate
There I saw the hapless victims who had been the sport of fate
They had served their time, and now at last they once again were free
First there came a hardened ruffian, and this tale he told to me.

Refrain: 'What that yer say, Miss? Have I done time afore?
Oh, bloomy! What ho! Think I have to be sure
I've broken some stones, and I've broken the law
Now look 'ere, now, what is your game?
My character, how did I lose it, old cock?
Well, I met an old bloke, and I gives him a knock
Then I collars his pin, and I pinches his clock
And that's how I lost my good name.'

Next a bent old man approached me, one could see he was no thief
On his brow I read the traces of some deep and bitter grief
'Of what crime have you been guilty?' softly I inquired of him
Then as he the story told me, how his eyes with tears were dim.

Refrain: 'My own darling child by a cur was betrayed
And he with soft words on her innocence played
Ah, soon in the grave my sweet daughter was laid
Then his day of reckoning came
One evening we met, and he fain would have fled
We struggled - he fell, in the fall struck his head
And there at my feet a base scoundrel lay dead
That's how I lost my good name.'

Stalwart, strong, and noble hearted, traces left of curls of gold
Came a youth of handsome features that were prematurely old
He was but the family scapegrace, just a black sheep ne'er do well
But how noble and unselfish his own words may fitly tell.

Refrain: 'Now, I and my brother Jack worked at one place
And he was our pride, and not one thought him base
Till one day to Jack's hand a forged cheque they traced
And on myself I took the blame
'Twas for my poor mother alone, for her sake
And her I could never - no, never forsake
So I stood in the dock that her heart might not break
And that's how I lost my good name.'

Next a youth with closely cropped hair, scarce a man nor yet a boy
With a wild yet cheeky staring, life to him seems naught but joy
Looks around, expects a pal there, for whom he has done some time
Hands in pockets, does a whistle of the latest comic rhyme.

Refrain: 'Lor bless yer, Miss I's a fair scorcher, I are
I never had neither no pa or ma
I've gone in for selling the 'Ecor' and 'Star'
I tell yer, I have played the game
A toff he can gamble at clubs in the town
With dice and with cards, a Society clown
But I've done three months for spinning a brown
That's how I lost my good name.'
Written and composed by Norton Atkins
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