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"Prologue: Work Song"
Worksong
Information
Composer

Claude-Michel Schönberg

Lyricist

Herbert Kretzmer

Performers

The Chain Gang
Javert
Jean Valjean

Song Order
Previous

"Overture"

Next

"On Parole"

"Prologue: Work Song" is part of the Prologue. This takes part in 1815, Toulon. The Chain Gang, overseen by brutal warders, work in the sun. The song is entitled "Look Down" in the 2012 film.

The lyrics were written by Herbert Kretzmer.

LyricsEdit

Chorus:
(All humming)
Look down! Look down!
Don't look 'em in the eye.
Look down! Look down!
You’re here until you die.

1st convict:
The sun is strong.
It's hot as hell below!

Chorus:
Look down! Look down!
There's twenty years to go.

2nd convict:
I've done no wrong.
Sweet Jesus, hear my prayer.

Chorus:
Look down! Look down!
Sweet Jesus doesn't care.

3rd convict:
I know she'll wait,
I know that she'll be true.

Chorus:
Look down! Look down!
They've all forgotten you.

4th convict:
When I get free
You won't see me
'Ere for dust.

Chorus:
Look down! Look down!
Don’t look 'em in the eye.

4th convict:
How long, Dear Lord
Before you let me die?

Chorus:
Look down! Look down!
You'll always be a slave.
Look down! Look down!
You're standing in your grave.

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:
You will starve again
Unless you learn the meaning of the law.

Valjean:
I know the meaning of those nineteen 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'm Javert!
Do not forget my name.
Do not forget me
24601

Chorus:
Look down! Look down!
You'll always be a slave.
Look down! Look down!
You're standing in your grave.

2012 film lyrics Edit

Some lyrics were changed in the 2012 film.

"The sun is strong, it's hot as hell below!" is now "No God above, and Hell alone below!"
Les+Miserables+movie+2012+prisoner+jean+valjean+and+guard+javert+

Valjean and Javert in the 2012 film

Javert and Valjean's meeting is also changed:

Javert
Now, 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!
Follow to the letter your intinerary.
This badge of shame you'll wear until you die.
It warns you're a dangerous man.

Valjean
I stole a loaf of bread!
My sister's child was close to death,
And we were starving!

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

Valjean
I know the meaning of those 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'm Javert!
Do not forget my name!
Do not forget me, 24601...

Changes between versionsEdit

In the original version the third convict had an extra line which was followed by a rebuke from his fellows.

3rd convict
I killed a man, he tried to steal my wife

Chorus
Look down, look down, she wasn't worth your life.

TriviaEdit

  • In the Original French Concept Album, the song, along with the entire Prologue sequence, does not appear.
  • In the Parisian Revival version the song is titled "Le bagne : pitié, pitié" which means: "The prison: Mercy! Mercy!"
  • In the Spanish proudction this song is called "Pròlogo: Piedad, piedad" which means: "Prologue: Piety, piety"
  • In the Polish version the track is known as "Uwertura: Schyl kark" which means: "Overture: Bend your head"
  • In the 2012 film version: "The sun is strong, it's hot as hell below!" is now "No God above, and Hell alone below!" is not sung. This line is also not in the movie as well:"You robbed a house!" "I broke a window pane."
  • This song is often known as Look Down, although this song is the true song. However, this song is often referred to as "Look Down", or "Paris:1832".
  • The novel mentioned that Jean Valjean had Amesia although in this song he mentioned his name. Possibly to introduce the name of the character itself.

VideosEdit

Teatr Muzyczny ROMA- Uwertura Schyl Kark (Musical "Les Miserables")04:13

Teatr Muzyczny ROMA- Uwertura Schyl Kark (Musical "Les Miserables")

Les Misérables - Look Down03:43

Les Misérables - Look Down

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