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On Parole

This song is by Claude-Michel Schönberg and appears on the musical Les Misérables - The Complete Symphonic Recording (1988) by various artists.

Javert
Now bring me prisoner 24601
Your time is up
And your parole's begun
You know what that means

Valjean
Yes, it means I'm free

Javert
No
It means you get
Your yellow ticket-of-leave
You are a thief

Valjean
I stole a loaf of bread!

Javert
You robbed a house!

Valjean
I broke a window pane!
My sister's child was close to death
And we were starving!

Javert
And you will starve again
Unless you learn the meaning of the law.

Valjean
I know the meaning of these 19 years
A slave of the law

Javert
Five years for what you did
The rest because you tried to run
Yes 24601

Valjean
My name is Jean Valjean

Javert
And I am Javert
Do not forget my name
Do not forget me
24601

Choir
Look down, look down
You will always be a slave
Look down, look down
You're standing in your grave.

Valjean
Freedom is mine. The earth is still.
I feel the wind. I breathe again.
And the sky clears, the world is waiting.
Drink from the pool. How clean the taste
Never forget the years, the waste.
Nor forgive them, for what they've done.
They are the guilty, everyone.
The day begins...
And now lets see
What this new world
Will do for me!

Employer
You'll have to go
I'll pay you off for the day
Collect your bits and pieces there
And be on your way.

Valjean
You've given me half
What the other men get!
This handful of tin
Wouldn't buy my sweat!

Laborer
You broke the law
It's there for people to see
Why should you get the same
As honest men like me?

Valjean
Now I know how freedom feels
The jail is always at your heels
It is the law
This piece of paper in my hand which bids me cast throughout the land
It is the law
Like a cur
I walk the streets
The dirt beneath their feet

Bishop
Come in sir for you are weary
And the night is cold out there
Though our lives are very humble
What we have we have to share
There is wine here to revive you
There is bread to make you strong
There's a bed to rest till morning
Rest from pain and rest from wrong

Valjean
Let me eat my fill
I have my lying share
The silver in his hand cost twice what I had earned
In all those nineteen years, that lifetime of despair
And yet he trusted me
The old fool trusted me
He'd done his bit of good
I played the grateful serf, and thanked him like I should
But when the house was still
I got up in the night
Took the silver
Took my flight!

Constable 1
Tell his reverence your story

Constable 2
Let us see if he's impressed

Constable 1
You were lodging there last night

Constable 2
You were the honest Bishop's guest.

Constable 1
And then, out of Christian goodness

Constable 2
When he learned about your plight

Constable 1
You maintain he made a present of this silver -

Bishop
That is right.
But my friend you left so early
Surely something slipped your mind

You forgot I gave these also
Would you leave the best behind?
So Messieurs you may release him
For this man has spoken true
I commend you for your duty
May God's blessing go with you.
But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man
By the witness of the martyrs
By the Passion and the Blood
God has raised you out of darkness
I have bought your soul for God!

Music by:

Claude-Michel Schönberg

Lyrics by:

Alain Boublil Wikipedia16 (original lyrics), Herbert Kretzmer Wikipedia16 (English translation)