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In a neat little town they call Brocktan
Apprenticed to trade I was bound
And many an hour's sweet happiness
I spent in that neat little town
Then bad misfortune befell me
That caused me to stray from the land
Far away from my friends and companions
To follow the black velvet band

Well, I was out strolling one evening
Not intending to stay very long
When I met with a pretty young damsel
Who was selling her trade in the bar.
When I watched, she took from a customer
And slipped it right into my hand
Then the Watch came and put me in prison
Bad luck to the black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You'd think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band

Before judge and jury next morning
Both of us did appear
A gentleman claimed his jury
And the case against us was clear
Now seven long years transportation
Right down to Van Dieman's land
Far away from my friends and companions
To follow the black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You'd think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band

So come all you jolly young fellows
I'd have you take warning by me
Whenever you're out on the liquor
Beware of the pretty colleen

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You'd think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You'd think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/dropkick_murphys/black_velvet_band.html

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  • c
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    cogitheumOct 15, 2010 at 3:18 am
    This song is about an honest young man who becomes entangled with a pretty girls' act of theft and is sent to Van Dieman's Land. I had to look up a few things that are very interesting.

    Van Dieman's Land is today called Tazmania. It was a British penal colony.

    "A gentleman claimed his jury" was very confusing to me, but I have done the best I can. Based on Black's Law and a brief peek at "Commentaries on the Laws of England," I have concluded that this most likely refers to a "claim of cognizance." If I understand it correctly, at Common Law, the King had given some persons/institutions the power to intervene on behalf of a class of people in future criminal trials, have those people released and decide what punishment that person deserved himself/itself. For instance, if a scholar was accused of a crime and his university had the right of cognizance, the university could clear the charges and decide what should happen to the scholar, rather than the court. In the present case, it seems that "a gentleman," probably the landlord of the area, had cognizance over his tenants, and sentenced the narrator and girl to "transportation" (which Wiki says at this time meant, "penal transportation"). This might have been profitable for the gentleman or his friends, since much of the forced labor in Van Dieman's land was for the benefit of private citizens.

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