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Valjean Arrested, Valjean Forgiven

Claude-Michel Schönberg


Herbert Kretzmer


Valjean Bishop Myriel

Song Order

"Prologue: On Parole"


"Prologue: What Have I Done?"

"Valjean Arrested, Valjean Forgiven" is part of the Prologue. This takes part in 1815, Digne. After he is thrown out of an inn, Valjean decides to lie down a bench outside Monsieur Myriel's house. The bishop comes out and lets him inside his house, feeds him and offers him a bed to sleep in. In the middle of the night, when the house was quiet, Valjean steals the Bishop's silver and runs off.

He is brought back by two constables. The bishop lies to save Valjean from being arrested again and hands him two silver candlesticks. The constables leave and Valjean is left alone. Afterwards, Monsieur Myriel made Valjean promise that he must use the silver to become an honest man.

The lyrics were written by Herbert Kretzmer.


Bishop of Digne: 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 'til morning.
Rest from pain, and rest from wrong.

Valjean: He let me eat my fill,
I had the lion's share.
The silver in my 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!

[Valjean runs away, but is caught by the constables and brought back to the bishop.]

Constable 1: Tell His Reverence your story.
Constable 2: Let us see if he's impressed.

Constable 1: You were lodging here last night.
Constable 2: You were the honest Bishop's guest.

And then, out of Christian goodness,
When he learned about your plight.

Constable 1: You maintain he made a present of this silver.

Bishop of Digne: That is right.
But my friend, you left so early
Surely something slipped your mind.
[The bishop gives Valjean two candlesticks.]
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
And God's blessing go with you.
[The constables leave.]
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.


  • This song is known as Obispo en Digne in the Spanish production, meaning "The Bishop in Digne."
  • In the 2012 movie, the constables speak their lines before the Bishop sings.
  • In the 2012 movie, the lines "Monsieur, release him, this man has spoken true" are spoken, not sung.
  • In the 2012 movie, the final line is changed from "I have bought your soul for God" to "I have saved your soul for God"
  • In the 2012 movie, there is a small gap placed between the Bishops first verse and Valjeans first verse, where a short, spoken scene is played, showing Valjean sharing a meal with the bishop, and being referred to as his honoured guest.
  • Furthermore, Valjean's lines in this song were removed from the movie.
  • A minor difference exists in the original 1985 London recording, where the Bishop's line is "something surely slipped your mind" instead of "surely something slipped your mind."