My parents raised me tenderly, I was their only son. My mind got mixed with ramblin' When I was all so young, And I left my home the first time When I was twelve and one. I'm a long time a-comin', Maw, An' I'll be a long time gone.
On the western side of Texas, On the Texas plains, I tried to find a job o'work But they said I's young of age. My eyes they burned when I heard, "Go home where you belong!" I'm a long time a-comin', An' I'll be a long time gone.
I remember when I's ramblin' Around with the carnival trains, Different towns, different people, Somehow they're all the same. I remember children's faces best, I remember travelin' on. I'm a long time a-comin', I'll be a long time gone.
I once loved a fair young maid An' I ain't too big to tell, If she broke my heart a single time, She broke it ten or twelve. I walked and talked all by myself, I did not tell no one. I'm a long time a-comin', babe, An' I'll be a long time gone.
Many times by the highwayside, I tried to flag a ride. With bloodshot eyes and gritting teeth, I'd watch the cars roll by. The empty air hung in my head I's thinkin' all day long. I'm a long time a-comin', An' I'll be a long time gone.
You might see me on your crossroads When I'm a-passin' through. Remember me how you wished to As I'm a-driftin' from your view. I ain't got the time to think about it, I got too much to get done. Well, I'm a long time comin' An' I'll be a long time gone.
If I can't help somebody With a word or song, If I can't show somebody They are travelin' wrong. But I know I ain't no prophet An' I ain't no prophet's son. I'm just a long time a-comin' An' I'll be a long time gone.
So you can have your beauty, It's skin deep and it only lies. And you can have your youth, It'll rot before your eyes. Just give to me my gravestone With it clearly carved upon: "I's a long time a-comin', An' I'll be a long time gone."