John Harvey Walker

from by Anthony Quails

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lyrics

In the spring of ’35, West Virginia mountainside,
the winter still melting off the arbor,
with a dogwood tree in bloom, they gathered in a courtroom,
a jury and John Harvey Walker.

In that sleepy little town, every person gathered round
to hear him defend his very honor.
But much to his dismay, they convicted anyway,
a man of cold-blooded murder.

The judge asked him to rise,
John turned to face his wife,
and spoke the only words that came to mind:

“Forgive them; they know not what they do.
Although it’s the hardest thing to choose.
If I die within the time before the truth comes to light,
I’ll see you there on the other side.”

Sixteen days from that hour, they marched him toward the gallows
through a crowd spewing anger and despise.
They wrapped that rope around, making sure his hands were bound,
and tightened as the tears rolled from his eyes.

Before they took his life
underneath that April sky,
they asked if he had any last reply.

“Forgive them; they know not what they do.
Although it’s the hardest thing to choose.
If I die within the time before the truth comes to light,
I’ll see you there on the other side.”

In another sleepy town 2,000 years ago,
a Jewish carpenter paid a debt he didn’t owe.
Unlike John Harvey Walker, he chose to pay the fee.
Not a victim of the noose,
instead, they nailed him to a tree.

And he said:
“Forgive them; they know not what they do.
Although it’s the hardest thing to choose.
I would die to pay the price with my very sacrifice,
so I could be with you on the other side.”

credits

from Before the Bright Lights, released July 15, 2016

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about

Anthony Quails Chattanooga, Tennessee

Anthony Quails masters the classic genre of old-time country story-telling. Weaving personal and patriotic history, Anthony’s new album Before the Bright Lights presents a set of Americana parables meant to marry our very real existence with transcending spiritual truths. These are real, tangible, simple stories that are meant to resonate and inspire in the deepest places. ... more

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