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´╗┐Title: Darkey Ways in Dixie
Author: Richard, Margaret A.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Darkey Ways in Dixie" ***

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[Illustration: A Charleston Ground-nut Woman.]




  London  NEW YORK  Montreal

Copyright, 1901.

by THE Abbey Press



  Mammy's Baby Chile                             5

  Playin' Craps                                  7

  The Washerwoman's Song                         9

  A Seller ob Ole Clo'es                        11

  A Well-Cleaner's Revery                       13

  Song of the Huckster                          15

  By-en-By                                      18

  In Season ob Mistletoe                        21

  Christmas Gif'                                24

  Snow in the South                             26

  Aunty's Affliction                            28

  The Difference                                30

  Blackberry Time                               32

  Dat Jew's-Harp                                33

  Wid his Feet                                  35

  The Broken Banjo                              37

  When Dey Sing                                 39

  At de Meetin'                                 41

  A Philosopher                                 46

  Des de Same                                   49

  So de Sunshine Stay                           50

  Daddy Long Legs                               51

  His Capacity Filled                           52

  Ike's Temptation                              54

  Whar de Watermilyun Grow                      57

  What his Education Done                       59

  Booker T. Washington                          62

  Crazy Joe's Ambition                          65

  Grinnin' Jake                                 67

  Elmiry Vaccinated                             69

  Simple Simon                                  72

  An Obstacle Overcome                          73

  Two of a Kind                                 75

  Quarantined                                   77

  A Puzzling Clause                             79

  'Fo'e de Wah                                  80

  Groun'-Hog Day                                85

  Excusable                                     87

  Jeff's Fun'ral Sermon                         88

  Uncle Bob to his Dog                          90

  A Prophecy                                    92

  'Possum en Pertatoes                          93

  Cotton's Comin' In                            96

  Dat Yaller Gal                                97

  Ter Walk wid his Gal                         101

  Cunjud                                       103

  Uncle Ben's Superstition                     104

  Wid de Witches                               106

  A Restless Spirit                            108

  Pardoned                                     111



  A Charleston Ground-Nut Woman       Frontispiece

  "I rub en I rub"                              10

  "Vegtibles"                                   16

  "En he drive a ox so slow"                    18

  The Boot-Black                                32

  The Wood-Sawyer                               46

  Grinnin' Jake                                 68

  "How de News git roun dem posts"              74

  "On de Chain Gang"                           110


Mammy's Baby Chile.

  Hush, now hush, do' cry no mo'
  Kaze yo' daddy had ter go
  In de massa's fiel' ter hoe,
        Mammy's baby chile.

  He gwine come back, dat you'll see,
  Kaze he b'long ter you en me,
  En he'll jog you on his knee,
        Mammy's baby chile.

  Hush, den hush, do' cry no mo'!
  Set dar quiet on de flo'
  While I wash de clo'es, you know,
        Mammy's baby chile.

  When de cotton season come,
  Me en you won' stay at home,
  Kaze yo' mammy gwine pick some,
        Mammy's baby chile.

  You kin set in de sunshine
  On de cotton, sof' en fine,
  Lis'nin' ter de moanin' pine,
        Mammy's baby chile.

  When we done, at en' ob day,
  En come home (heah what I say!)
  Daddy'll ride you all de way,
        Mammy's baby chile.

  Hush, den hush, do' cry no mo'
  Kaze yo' daddy had ter go
  In de massa's fiel' ter hoe,
        Mammy's baby chile.

Playin' Craps.

  What you git dat nickel change
    Up in coppers fo',
  What de preacher gib ter you
    Las' night 'fo'e he go?
      Bet you soon be wid dem chaps
      Roun' de corner playin' craps.

  What you say? You done bin dar?
    Is you, nigger, sho?
  Den de Black Maria git you
    Sho's de pleeceman know
      'Bout dem dirty little chaps
      Roun' de corner playin' craps.

  What you gwine make up ter tell
    Preacher Jones, Eli,
  When he as' you 'bout dat nickel--
    When, en how, en why?
      Dat you los' it ter dem chaps
      Roun' de corner playin' craps?

  Neber los' it? Well, I say!
    Why you talk so slow?
  Bring dat money out ter sight,
    So I sho kin know
      If you 'scape dem cunnin' chaps
      Roun' de corner playin' craps.

  Thirteen ob dem! Thirteen coppers,
    Sho ez I'm erlive!
  Han' dem ebry one to me--
    Scusin ob des five;--
      En you stay 'way frum them chaps
      Roun' de corner playin' craps!

The Washerwoman's Song.

              Oh, I rub en I rub
              All day in de tub!
  I went fo' dese clo'es 'fo'e de clock strike eight,
  En I rubbin' on dem in de evenin' late.
              I rub en I rub
              All day in de tub.

              Oh, I rub en I rub
              All day in de tub!
  I soap all de pieces in places erbout,
  En I scrub till I git all de dinginess out.
              I rub en I rub
              All day in de tub.

              Oh, I rub en I rub
              All day in de tub!
  Sho ez de good Missus pay me fo' dese

  I gwine treat you chillun ter crackers en cheese.
              Ain't you glad I kin rub
              All day in de tub?

[Illustration: "I rub en I rub!"]

A Seller Ob Ole Clo'es.

  Dese am pretty clo'es, fo' true,
  En I'll sell 'em quick fo' you,
            Dat I will!
  Dey does look des lak you, Miss,
  En I feel dat I could kiss
            Ebry frill.

  Dis heah flower on dis hat--
  Lan'! My heart do cry fo' dat--
            It so sweet!
  I would sholy lak ter go
  Wid it on my head, des so,
            Down de street.

  "Buy it, den, yo'se'f," you say?
  Now, you know dat I cain't pay
            Fo' dat hat!
  Sellin' clo'es ain't made me rich,
  But my head do sholy itch
            To weah dat.

  If dem niggers come en pay
  Allers fo' de clo'es dey say
            Dey gwine git,
  I would hab de change ter buy
  Somethin' when my heart do cry
            So fo' it.

  Ten cents on de dollar, Miss,
  Won' buy soon a hat lak dis,
            Dat am sho;
  En dis nigger hab ter eat--
  Hab ter buy some bread en meat,
            Ez you know.

  Well, good-day! Dese pretty clo'es,
  Wid dey laces en dey bows,
            Soon be gone;
  Kaze dem gals, when dey heah tell
  Dat I got yo' clo'es ter sell,
            Sho gwine run.

The Well-Cleaner's Revery.

  Me en Tom bin cleanin' wells
          Long time, sho;
  En we'll clean 'em till God tells
          Us ter go
  Up dar whar de shinin' stream,
          Pu' en sweet,
  Flow frue heaven, lak a dream,
        At our feet.

  En I min' me how us two,
          Ez time pass,
  Work togedder good, fo' true,
          Fus' en las';
  One stay up en one go down,
          En bofe know
  Dey mus' fill dey place, I boun',
          High or low.

  When Tom turn de win'lass roun',
          En I go
  Fur down underneath de groun',
          Dark en low,
  I trus' allers dat he gwine
          Draw me out
  Ter de place whar de sun shine
          All erbout.

  En I b'lieve dat if a man
          Fall in sin,
  We mus' lif' him, if we kin,
          Up ag'in;
  Kaze he need de he'pin' han',
          Dat am sho,
  If all safe he rise en stan'
          Any mo'.

  God done take dis simple way
          Ter show me
  Dat while in de worl' we stay
          We must be
  'Pendent on each other, sho,
          Till we rise
  Frum de dang'rous deeps below
          Ter de skies.

Song Of the Huckster.

  I don' ride erlong de street
    Wid my mouth shet tight,
  Kaze I know I got ter sing,
    Lak a singer right,
  If I make dis pile ob goods
    Dwindle frum de sight:

          "Tomatoes en okra
            Passin' right by!
          Beans en pertatoes--
            De prices ain't high!
          Apples en peaches,
            De fines' ter-day!
          Oh, come out en buy
            'Fo'e dey all git away--
          Come out en buy!"

  All de white men down de street
    Wantin' me, fo' sho,
  Des to drive en sell fo' dem,
    Kaze dey say dey know
  I git rid ob all my truck,
    Singin' ez I go:

          "Tomatoes en okra
            Passin' right by!
          Beans en pertatoes--
            De prices ain't high!
          Apples en peaches,
            De fines' ter-day!
          Oh, come out en buy
            'Fo'e dey all git away--
          Come out en buy!"

  Once de preacher what hol' fo'th
    Fo' de Methodis',
  Say: "Oh, man, I b'l'eve dat you
    Done yo' callin' miss!
  Why'n't you use dat voice ter preach
    'Stead ob shoutin' dis:

          "'Tomatoes en okra
            Passin' right by!
          Beans en pertatoes--
            De prices ain't high!
          Apples en peaches,
            De fines' ter-day!
          Oh, come out en buy
            'Fo'e dey all git away--
          Come out en buy!'"

  En I laugh en tell him dat
    Dis town full ter-day
  Ob fine men, des lak hisse'f,
    What kin preach en pray;
  But dey ain't but one dat go
    Singin' 'long dis way:

          "Tomatoes en okra
            Passin' right by!
          Beans en pertatoes--
            De prices ain't high!
          Apples en peaches,
            De fines' ter-day!
          Oh, come out en buy
            'Fo'e dey all git away--
          Come out en buy!"

[Illustration: "Vegtibles."]

By en By.

  Uncle Reuben, ole en good,
  Come ter town wid nice fat wood
  Frum de san' hills fur away--
  'Mos' eleben miles, dey say.
  En he drive a ox so slow,
  En a cart dat wobble so,
  Dat it look lak dey gwine fall,
  En ole Uncle gwine lose all,
            By en by, by en by.

  Uncle got dat wood dervide,
  En in hones' bundles tied,
  En he holler 'cross de fence:
  "Three big bunches fo' ten cents!
  Buy some, Missus, please, frum me,
  Kaze I need de change, you see;
  En I mus' go down de street
  Ter git me some meal en meat,
            By en by, by en by.

[Illustration: "En he drive a ox so slow."]

  Missus say she don' want none;
  What he brought befo' ain't gone;
  En ole Uncle pass on by,
  Still wid courage in his eye;
  En he doan' lose heart dat day,
  But wid smilin' face he say:
  "I ain't bin all 'roun' de town--
  I gwine sell it, I am boun',
              By en by, by en by."

  En he sell it all, fo' true,
  Ez he said dat he would do!
  When at las' he go down street,
  He buy mo' dan meal en meat,
  Kaze he lak terbacco, too,
  Well ez any nigger do;
  En he say: "I'll 'joy it, sho,
  Ez erlong de road I go,
              By en by, by en by."

  When he 'bout ter leave de town
  Ez de sun am gwine down,
  Us black niggers laugh en say:
  "Bet you won't git home ter-day
  Wid dat ox, so ole en slow,
  En dat cart dat wobble so!"
  En he bow his head en say:
  "I gwine git dar, anyway,
              By en by, by en by."

  Uncle Reuben's gittin' ole--
  He's pas' sixty, I'se bin tole;
  En his han' sho shake ter-day
  In a weak en trimblin' way;
  En his ole legs wobbled too,
  Lak de wheels ob his cart do,
  Ez he say: "De en' soon come,
  Kaze de Lawd gwine call me home,
              By en by, by en by."

In Season Ob Mistletoe.

  Dat Sambo ain't got good sense;
    Work agin hisse'f for sho;
  'Tain't no parable I'm tellin',
    'Tis de truf, en dat am so.
  He wus 'ployed by Missus Johnsing
    Ter run erran's en bring wood;--
  Ter do anything, in fac',
    Roun' de place a nigger could;
      En Sambo, he done right well
      Till de boys begin ter sell
            Bunches ob de mistletoe.

  'Twus de Chris'mas time ercomin',
    En it tingled in his blood,
  Till he couldn't stick ter sawin'
    En ter choppin' ob de wood;
  En he couldn't heah de Missus
    When she say: "Be smart, Sambo!"
  Kaze de soun' ob dem boys callin'
      In de street wus all he know;
      En a nigger stop en say:
      "We is lucky, sho, ter-day;
        We des sells de mistletoe!"

  Sambo didn't stop ter say:
    "'Scuse me, Missus, I mus' go!"
  Do his po' ole mammy teach him
    Better manners, dat you know.
  He des leave dat yard en clim'
    Up de neares' ole oak tree,
  Whar de mistletoe wus growin'
    Fresh en green ez it could be;
      En he jine dem boys dat cry:
      "Mistletoe er passin' by!
        Don' you want some mistletoe?"

  En he sell it mighty good--
    He des scoop de nickles in!
  Seem de Lawd wus blessin' him
    In his foolishness en sin.
  Dar de Missus wus er needin'
    Him ter chop en bring in wood,
  En he orter gone en done it--
    Kaze she sho bin mighty good,
      But he strut erlong de street,
      Hol'rin' out: "It's hard to beat
        Dis fine bunch ob mistletoe!"

  But de jedgment come at las',
    Ez it boun' ter come, fo' sho,
  When a nigger work agin
    His ownse'f, lak dat Sambo.
  When de holidays wus pas'
    Missus say dat she don' need
  Him to work no mo' fo' her,
    Kaze she got some one instead.
      En dat boy got sense ter know
      White folks don' buy mistletoe
        When de season am done pas'!

Chris'mas Gif'!

  I go tip-toe down de alley
    Ter de Missus' kitchen do',
  Kaze I know she got some Chris'mas
    Somewhar fo' dis darkey, sho;
      She don' spec' me roun' dat way,
      En I s'prise her when I say:
                    "Chris'mas gif'!"

  Den she turn roun', des er laughin',
    En she say: "De same ter you!
  Is you got a present fo' me?
    Kaze I want one--I sho do!"
      "You's des foolin'," den I say;
      "'Sides I hollered fus dis day:
                    'Chris'mas gif'!'"

  Den she git a big bandanna--
    One wid po'ka dots ob red,
  En she say: "Ez you done ketch me,
  You kin hab dis fo' yo' head."
    So I sho am glad dis day
    Dat I wus de fus ter say:
                "Chris'mas gif'!"

Snow in the South.

  Dis mornin' when I went ter po'
  Water out my cabin do',
  I wus sho surprised ter see,
  While de darkness all roun' me,
  Snow wus des er fallin' down
  Till it civered all de groun'.

  Bin des 'bout two yeahs or mo'
  Sence I seed a flake ob snow;
  En I call to Mandy: "Say!
  Heah's a sight, fo' sho, ter-day!
  Yestiday was lak de spring;
  Look what des one night done bring."

  En she come en poke her head
  Out from under dat ole shed;
  En she say: "When you go down
  Ter de Massa's in de town,
  You mus' civer up yo' back
  Wid a nice warm crocus sack."

  En she say: "Yo' shoes am ole;
  Sho dey days am neahly tole."
  En she wrap 'em, fo'th en back,
  Wid dem bits ob crocus sack,
  Till you hardly see my feet
  When I walk erlong de street.

  Massa p'int ter dem en say:
  "Wouldn't dress up dat erway!
  Why'n't you git some rubber shoes?
  You could buy 'em if you choose."
  But I won't! Kaze don't I know
  Soon de sun gwine drink dat snow?

Aunty's Affliction.

  How is I dis mornin', Miss?
    Po'ly, dat am true!
  In de night-time I don' sleep
    Lak I orter do,
  Kaze I got de miz'ry bad
    In me, up en down,
  En some day, fo' sho, it gwine
    Fetch me ter de groun'.

  Oh, I's full ob trouble, Miss!--
    Full ez I kin be.
  Ain't you got some liniment
    You kin gib ter me?
  I is 'bleeged ter git some he'p
    Somewhar, dat am sho,
  Else dis miz'ry in de j'ints
    Soon gwine lay me low.

  Oh, I thank you, thank you, Miss!
    God will bless you, sho.
  All de goodness ob yo' heart
    He mus' sholey know;
  En he'll pay you when at las'
    He done lay me down;--
  When dis pain en miz'ry done
    Fetch me ter de groun'.

The Difference.

  If de white man am a sinner
    He go walkin', walkin' free,
  But de nigger lan', fo' sho,
    In de penitentiary.

  Now dat Simeon steal some cotton
    (Cunjud by de evil one)
  En dey sen' him ter de prison
    Fo' de wrong dat he am done.

  Fo' three yeahs he done bin workin'
    In de penitentiary,
  En he got ter stay dar longer
    Frum de chillun en frum me.

  Dat rich farmer git de cotton--
    Ebry poun' ob it--ag'in,
  But dey keep dat Simeon lock up
    Lak he done an awful sin.

  If de white man am a sinner
    He go walkin', walkin' free,
  But de nigger sho gwine lan'
    In de penitentiary.

Blackberry Time.

  Missus, please write me a letter back home,
  En tell 'em I say dat I want 'em ter come
          At blackberry time in June.

  My little ole cabin won't hol' any mo',
  But nobody freeze in de yard, dat am sho,
          At blackberry time in June.

  Tell 'em I lonesome. I sholy will die
  If dey don' come to he'p me eat blackberry pie
          At blackberry time in June.

  Dis nigger am po', but dar's plenty to eat
  When de fruit ebrywhar hangin' juicy en sweet
          At blackberry time in June.

  So, Missus, please write me a letter back home,
  En tell 'em I say dat I want 'em ter come
          At blackberry time in June.

[Illustration: THE BOOT-BLACK.

            "No, sah ree!
            You do'n' ketch me
  Shinin' yo' shoes fo' de ha'f ob a dime;
            Dis nigger belong
            Ter de union strong,
  En he charge you de full price ebry time."]

Dat Jew's Harp.

  I does try ter fetch up Jim
  So de white folks respec' him;
      But in spite ob all I say
      He des set out dar all day
      On de back do' step, en play
              Dat jew's harp.

  De fus job he git ter do,
  I wus glad, it sho am true;
      But he come home, sleek en sly,
      Wid de sunshine in his eye,
      Soon's he git enough ter buy
              Dat jew's harp.

  "You black nigger, you!" I say,
  "Whar yo' senses gone ter-day?
      Don't you know when niggers eat
      Dey mus' 'arn dey bread en meat?"
      But he des play, sof' en sweet,
              Dat jew's harp.

  When I tell ole Missus once
  Jim wus des a lazy dunce,
      She say: "Hush! Don' talk dat way;
      He's a ginious, I dare say,
      En de muses bid him play
              Dat jew's harp."

  Pshaw! De ginious en de muses!
  What's de use ob dem ixcuses?
      If I hab ter flog dat Jim
      Wid a great big hick'ry lim',
      Bet he'll frow away frum him
              Dat jew's harp!

Wid His Feet.

  When I git down my banjo
  Des to pick a tune or so,
  Tobin 'gin ter pat de flo'
          Wid his feet.

  He don't neber heah me play
  In de night-time or de day,
  But he sho gwine ac' dat way
          Wid his feet.

  En he pat, now fas', now slow;--
  Easy now, den loud, he go,
  Keepin' time ter my banjo
          Wid his feet.

  En who ever heah dat coon
  Allers say, en dat right soon:
  "He kin play a purty tune
          Wid his feet."

  He kin make mo' music, sho,
  Dan I kin wid my banjo
  When he pat de cabin flo'
          Wid his feet.

De Broken Banjo.

  In dis little ole log cabin
    Whar de gray moss hang in sight;
  Whar de screech-owl make me trimble
    In de middle ob de night;
  Dar at ebenin' you gwine fin' me,
    If you look fo' me at all,
  Wid my Fido settin' by me,
    En my banjo on de wall.

  Once, when de long day wus finish,
    'Fo'e ter res' me I done go,
  I would set out on de do' step
    Pickin' sof' my ole banjo,
  Singin' "Dixie," "Swanee Riber,"
    "Annie Laurie," en dem all;--
  But my banjo am done broken,
    En am hangin' on de wall.

  So I set heah dreamin', dreamin',
    Ob de time dat use ter be
  'Fo'e my Dinah went to heaben--
    Dinah she wus lovin' me!
  En if she had neber lef' me
    I would neber weep at all,
  En I would not miss de music
    Ob de banjo on de wall.

When They Sing.

  When dem darkies sing togedder
    'Fo'e de houses in de street,
  People passin' stop en lis'n
    Ez dey say: "Now, ain't dat sweet?
  All dem niggers got good voices,
    En dey sho kin keep good time;
  I would ruther heah dem singin'
    Dan de bells ob Michael chime."

  When dem darkies sing togedder
    Wid de jew's harp en banjo;
  Wid dem tamb'rine bells a-ringin'
    En dem bottles dat dey blow,
  Oh, it sho do seem lak music
    Ob de holy angel ban',
  En I feel lak shoutin': "Glory!
    Take me ter de Canaan lan'."

  When dem darkies sing togedder,
    Dey kin make you laugh or cry;
  Oh, dey kin, fo' joy or sorrow,
    Bring de tear-drop ter yo' eye!
  Dey kin make you stan' dar quiet,
    Lis'nin' ter de singin' sweet,
  Or kin hab you dancin', dancin',
    Long ez you kin lif' yo' feet.

  When dem darkies sing togedder,
    White folks frow some shinin' dimes
  Out de winder. My, en den
    Don't dey hab some happy times?
  Den de people what wus lis'nin'
    Say dey mus' be gwine home;
  Say dey sorry dat de singin'
    Stop mos' soon ez dey had come.

At De Meetin'.

  Oh, now, Missus, wus I 'sleep?
    I is sorry, sho!
  I des set down heah ter res'
    Wid my head down, so.
  En I meant to pray fo' grace
    Des a little bit,
  Kaze I got a sinnin' soul,
    En I 'knowledge it.

  Yes, I knows you pays me well
    Fo' de work I do,
  En I orter stick ter it
    So dat I please you.
  But I couldn't he'p it, Miss,
    If I shet my eyes;
  God done made dem wid dese hinges,
    En He sho am wise.

  Why'n't I sleep at night, you as'?
    Missus, you don't know
  How dem voices call en call,
    Till I hab ter go.
  En when once I git in church,
    Dar I sho gwine stay
  Till de stars am gittin' pale
    'Fo'e de light ob day.

  Dar's a meetin' gwine on
    Wid de Baptis' now,
  En do I ain't jine dat church,
    I kin go, I 'low;
  Dey don't shet de do' on me
    'Cept when dey commune,
  En it won't be time fo' dat,
    So dey say, right soon.

  My, dey hab a whoopin' time
    Roun' dar eb'ry night,
  En dat preacher sho kin put
    Down de law des right;
  En he preach de holy word
    Till dem niggers shout,--
  Till dey leab dey seats at las',
    Dancin' all erbout.

  Anthea Allen got religion
    Roun' dar las' night, sho,
  En she clap her han's en waltz
    Up en down de flo',
  Singin' "Glory! Hallelujah!
    I is on de way!
  Angels peepin' down frum heaven
    Beckon me ter-day."

  Den she fall down in a trance,
    Right dar on de flo',
  En dem darkies po' de camphor
    Onto her, fo' sho;
  But she don't wake up at all--
    Lak de dead she lay,
  En we lef' her lyin' dar
    When we come away.

  Dey sho take a big collection
    At dat church las' night,
  En dat money on de table
    Sho wus shinin' bright.
  En de preacher in de pulpit
    Stan' up straight en say:
  "Dem dat am not got a cent--
    Dey kin go away!"

  En he say: "Come up en bring
    Money ter de Lawd!
  Dat He love de chee'ful giver,
    He say in His word;
  What you gib ter Him ter-night
    Am not frowed away,
  Kaze de bread cas' on de sea
    Gwine come back some day."

  En dem niggers make a noise
    Passin' up en down,
  Some wid coppers, some wid nickels,
    Some wid dimes, I'm boun';
  En dey make de music ring,
    While de preacher say:
  "Oh, I lak ter see de money
    Comin' up dat way!"

  I sot up till mos' dis mornin'
    At dat church las' night;
  Dat how come my eyes don't feel
    Wide awake en bright;
  But I sorry dat I let em
    Shet deysel's up tight
  When I workin' heah fo' you--
    Kaze _you_ treat me right!

A Philosopher.

  Mos' ob niggers sho believe
    Dat de preacher know
  All dat's fit ter study 'bout
    In dis worl' below;
  Think he am so smart dat he
    Look beyon' de sky,
  Whar he read what am gwine be
    In de by en by.

  I's a 'ception ter dat rule,
    Ez you sho will fin',
  En I come ter my conclusions
    Out ob my own min':
  Preachers ain't no mo' conspired
    Dan is you en me;
  Dat, if you des crack yo' eyes,
    You am sho gwine see.

[Illustration: THE WOOD-SAWYER.

          "Oh, I work hard, sho,
          When de col' win' blow,
  Sawin' en splittin' de white folks' wood!
          But I do'n' complain
          Ob de col' en de rain,
  Kaze de Lawd gwine sen' what He know am good."]

  Eb'ry man what see a tex'
    In de trees en stones,
  Ain't bin called ter preach en raise
    Life in dead, dry bones.
  Dat ole rooster scratchin' dar
    Am a sarmont, sho,
  But des kaze I read him right,
    I ain't called, you know.

  If you don't read it, you ain't
    Got de seein' eyes,
  En yo' heart cain't see dem things
    What would make you wise.
  Sho's de Bible done say dat
    Dem what works kin eat,
  Dat's a noble sarmont dar--
    One dat cain't be beat.

  When dat rooster scratch fo' worms
    In de lowly groun',
  He's a sayin' we mus' work
    Fo' our bread, I'm boun';
  En when he fin' food, en call
    Till dat hen do run,
  He sho mean dat man mus' work
    Fo' de weakly one.

  He don't shet his knowledge up
    In a selfish min';
  When he see de mornin' break
    He tell all mankin'.
  Do ter me all dis en mo',
    Dat same rooster teach,
  He don't say dat I's conspired
    By de Lawd ter preach.

Des De Same.

  My ole shanty am a fallin',
    En de rain am leakin' frue,
  En de rheumatiz done grip me
    Till I don't know what ter do;
      But I thank God fo' dis frame,
      En I happy, des de same.

  I cain't go en jine de singin',
    Lak I did in ole-time days,
  At de Calvary Baptis' Church,
    Whar dey sing glad songs ob praise;
      But my heart ain't sick en lame,
      En it singin', des de same.

  Mandy say de safe am empty--
    We ain't got no food ter-day!
  Say she do' know whar we git it,
    'Thout an angel come dis way;
      But I trus' in Jesus' name,
      En my soul feas', des de same.

So De Sunshine Stay.

  If de rooster crow, dey say,
    'Fo'e de clock strike ten,
  Atter he done gone ter roos'
    In de chicken pen,
  Den de weather sho gwine change
    'Fo'e dat time nex' day,
  En I don't care if it do--
    So de sunshine stay.

  How de rooster know if win'
    Am gwine res' or blow,
  Or if clouds gwine hol' de rain,
    Or gwine let it po',
  I cain't tell, do I live heah
    Forty yeahs terday;
  But I know my heart am glad
    If de sunshine stay.

Daddy Long Legs.

  "Ole Daddy Long Legs,
    Why am you so tall?
  You look lak yo' head
    Gwine soon touch de wall;
      En it take many stitches
      Ter sew up dem breeches."

  Ole Daddy Long Legs
    Make answer ter me:
  "De fines' fruit grow
    In de top ob de tree,
      En I's made tall ez dis
      So's de bes' I won't miss."

His Capacity Filled.

  Oh, I had a happy time--
    Happy time las' night!
  Staid inside dat meetin' house
    Till it mos' daylight.
  En I sho did sing en holler
    Till de people know
  Dat dis nigger got religion--
    Couldn't hol' no mo'.

  When I leave dat meetin' house--
    Leave at ha'f pas' two,
  I wuz gittin' hungry ez
    Shoutin' niggers do;
  En des den I heah a rooster
    Gib a mighty crow;
  "Don't he think he big?" I say,
    "I gwine fetch him low!"

  Oh, I fetch him low! En I
    Tote him home wid me,
  En wid dumplin's I done cook him
    Quick ez dat kin be.
  Wid religion en dat chicken
    I am full up, sho,
  But I reckon when night come
    I kin hol' some mo'!

Ike's Temptation.

  Ebry day dat come, I pass
    Whar de watermilyun grow
  In de Massa's milyun patch,
    En dey is a sight, fo' sho.
  Dey des peeps frum out de leaves,
    Playin' hide en seek wid me;
  En dey beg me come en ta'se 'em,
    Des ter see how good dey be;
      But I sho does pass 'em by--
      Same's I don't know whar dey lie.

  I's a member ob de church,
    En you'll neber see me steal;
  I kin sho han' out de cash
    Fo' my bacon en corn-meal.
  Dey will keep me des ez fat
    Ez I eber want ter be,
  En de luxuries ob life--
    Heah dem milyuns callin' me!
      Don't dey know dat I done say
      I ain't gwine take dem away?

  One ob dem--he sho am big--
    Prettiest thing I eber seen--
  All arrayed, mo' bright dan lilies,
    In dem shades ob shinnin' green.
  He done creep frum out dem leaves
    Till he close ter dis low fence,
  En he beckon me ter take him--
    Think dat I ain't got good sense!
      But dat coat ob him do shine,
      En I wish dat he wus mine.

  Wonder if he look ez nice
    On de inside ez de out?
  Wonder if he's lak dem Christians
    What do nothin' else but shout?
  Guess dat I could mighty soon
    Bu's' him on a rock, en see,
  If I had him on dis side
    Ob de ole rail-fence wid me.
      Dat I'll do! If he's deceivin',
      Nothin' else ain't wuth believin'!

  He am mellow ter de co';
    Sho de heart ob him am right;
  Since I gone en bu's' him open,
    I mus' git him out ob sight.
  I would sin agin my conshuns
    If I let him go ter was'e
  When so many mouths is thirstin'
    Fo' de juice dey loves ter tas'e;--
      Juice dat cheers de nigger's soul
      Mo' dan all dat's bought wid gol'.

  It wus good, dat watermilyun,
    But I sho am gittin' sick;
  Go en git de doctor, honey--
    Go en git him mighty quick!
  'Twus a dirty trick, fo' cartin,
    What de Massa gone en done,
  Puttin' strychnine in dat milyun
    So's ter ketch de guilty one;--
      But I ain't a rogue, he know--
      I's a Christian, dat am sho!

Whar De Watermilyun Grow.

  I wus fetch up fur away
  Frum dis city whar I stay,
  In de lan' ob shinin' day
    Whar de watermilyun grow.

  Oh, my boss heah treat me gran'!
  But I sad, you understan',
  Longing fo' de Dixie lan'
    Whar de watermilyun grow.

  Fiel's ob cotton beckon me,
  En de sweet magnolia tree,
  En my heart des cry ter be
    Whar de watermilyun grow.

  Oh, de South am des de place
  Fo' de thirsty cullud race!
  En I long ter turn my face
    Whar de watermilyun grow.

  If dey try to 'tice you 'way,
  Don't you lis'n what dey say,
  Kaze de nigger bo'n ter stay
    Whar de watermilyun grow.

What His Education Done.

  What dat you say? Sen' Zeke ter school
  Des kaze he ain't bin bo'n a fool?
  Now you talkin'! You ain't heerd
  'Bout George Washington T. Beard?
  He wus smart, his ma tell me,
  En he l'arn his A, B, C,
  'Thout no' difficult at all--
  Nat'ral ez de ripe fruit fall.

  En dat smartness grow on him
  Fas' ez leaves grow on de lim',
  Till at las' de people say:
  "He mus' sholy go away
  Ter de college in de town!"
  'Twus a great one, I am boun',
  Whar dey teach dat young man mo'
  Dan de mos' ob niggers know.

  When he reach ter gradiation,
  My! Dey make a great 'miration;
  En dey say: "Spite ob his race,
  En dat shinin', coal-black face,
  He gwine make de people's eyes
  Open wide wid dey surprise;
  Dat wus sho a good essay,
  What he read fo' us ter-day."

  En dey say dem people chee'ed
  Dat George Washington T. Beard;
  Say he look en ac' ez gran'
  Ez de fines' in de lan;
  Bowin' dis en den dat way
  Wid a smile dat seem ter say:
  "I is ready now ter do
  Somethin' dat will 'stonish you."

  Den what nex'? He des come home--
  Wait dar fo' de chance ter come
  Ter git some big job, fo' true,
  Lak falutin' white folks do;--
  Think he am too smart, you know,
  Ter use axe or spade or hoe;
  Or ter do work, han' ter han',
  Wid de ignorant cullud man.

  Dar he set en dar he wait,
  Railin' 'gin de nigger's fate,
  Sayin' dat de worl' am hard,
  When we all know dat de Lawd
  Make it easier, fo' sho',
  When de man use what he know;
  When he don't des set en wait,
  Railin' allers 'gin his fate.

  Ez you say, dat Zeke ob mine
  Got a min' dat sho could shine,
  En dem han's ob his kin do
  Mos' ez much ez mine, fo' true.
  He won't neber lack fo' bread
  Wid dem han's en wid dat head;
  En I don't sen' him ter school
  Whar he l'arn ter be a fool.

Booker T. Washington.

  People tell de news las' week
  Dat a cullud man gwine speak
            At de college hall;
  Say he try ter lif' his race
  Ter a high en shinin' place
            On dis 'restial ball.

  En dey say dat cullud man
  Doin' work dat sho am gran'
            In dis worl' below;
  Say he gib his life, fo' true,
  So de nigger be en do
            Better dan befo'.

  He done 'stablish a fine school,
  Whar, dey say, he 'force dis rule:
            Train de man all roun';
  Let de han's dey duty know;
  Let de min' wake up en grow;
            Let de heart be soun'.

  Dat great school am situate
  Down in Alabamy state,
            In dis Dixie lan';
  En folks north en eas' en wes',
  When dey heah it do its bes',
            Len' a he'pin' han'.

  Mr. Washington come down
  Las' week ter dis very town,
            Ez I spec' you know;
  En when I went ter dat hall
  Des ter heah him speak, en all,
            I wus 'sprised, fo' sho;

  'Sprised ter see dat cullud man
  On de platform, dress up gran',
            Wid de bes' white men;
  En if he don't speak dat day
  Words ez good ez dey kin say--
            Den my name ain't Ben!

  Oh, I wish dat I could tell
  What he say! It make me swell
            All up fat wid pride;
  En I say: "I sho gwine shake
  His right han' fo' dem words' sake,
            When we git outside."

  When he finish en set down,
  I go outside en walk roun'
            Till his face I see;
  Den I say, sho ez I bo'n:
  "Howdy, Mr. Washington!
            Won't you speak ter me?"

  En he shake my han' de way
  Dat men do when dey hearts say:
            "Glad ter see yo' face!"
  En I tell him; "'Fo'e you go
  I mus' say, you make me, sho,
            Proud ob de black race."

Crazy Joe's Ambition.

  Crazy Joe, he make me laugh
    When he talk dat way
  'Bout de mansion on de hill
    Whar de gov'nor stay;
        When he vow dat he
        Sho ez life gwine be
  Walkin' on dem flo's some day.

  He ain't wise on politics,
    En we tell him so,
  En we say: "Nobody vote
    Fo' you, Crazy Joe!"
        But he say dat he
        Sometime sho gwine be
  Walkin' on dat mansion flo'.

  His vote he'p de white man git
    Ter dat place, he say,
  En he waitin' fo' de state
    Ter do right, en pay
        Him wid dis job soon:
        Washin' de spittoon
  What dey use dar ebry day!

Grinnin' Jake.

  Neber seen a feller grin
    Lak dat nigger do;
  When you as' him anything
    He des look at you;--
  Neber answer what you say--
  Grin en grin dat stupid way.

  When somebody what don't know
    As' him what he name,
  He hang down dat head ob his
    Ez do' he ashame;
  En he show dem teeth ob white
  Lak dey speak fo' him all right.

  "Is de cat done got yo' tongue?"
    Mammy as' him once,
  "Or is you des bo'n to be
    A dum', stupid dunce?"
  But he hang dat head en grin,
  Silly ez he allers bin.

  I mos' b'lieve dat when he git
    Up ter heaven's gate,
  If de angels as' him why
    He stan' dar en wait,
  He won't say: "Please let me in,"
  But des grin en grin en grin!

[Illustration: Grinnin' Jake.]

Elmiry Vaccinated.

  When de vaccinater come,
  My Elmiry run frum home
        Fas' ez she could go;
  Run away ter Missus' house,
  Whar she slip in lak a mouse,
        So de Miss won't know.

  En she scramble hin' de head
  Ob de Missus' high pos' bed,
        Des ter hide erwhile;
  En de Missus come en go
  Frue dat room, but she don't know
        'Bout dat silly chile.

  By en by, when she come frue,
  She heah somethin' breave, she do,
        Lak somebody 'sleep;
  En her heart stan' still dat day,
  En she am too sca'ed, she say,
        Des to take a peep.

  So she run out-do's en call;
  "Sen' de pleeceman (heah me all!)
        Right now ter my house;
  Dar's a robber 'hin' my bed,
  Waitin' till de day be dead,
        Quiet ez a mouse."

  En de news dem people spread
  'Bout de robber 'hin' de bed,
        Waitin' till day done;
  En de pleeceman sho did race,
  So he reach dat hidin' place,
        'Fo'e de robber run.

  But when he git dar en see
  Dat chile sleepin' quiet, he
        Des frow back his head,
  En he laugh en laugh en say:
  "Come in, Missus, right away!
        Who dis 'hin' yo' bed?"

  Dey take hol' ob her en shake
  Dat Elmiry till she wake
        'Nough ter rub her eyes;
  When she open dem en see
  Who dat man am--goodness me!--
        She am sho surprise'.

  "Please, Mister Pleeceman," den she say,
  "I'll be vaccernate' dis day
        If you let me go!"
  But he say dat des a tale,
  En he take her ter de jail
        'Fo'e her mammy know.

  Take her ter be vaccernate,
  En she grunt now, soon en late,
        Wid dat arm dat's so'.
  'Tain't no use ter run frum home
  When de vaccernater come;--
        He gwine git you, sho.

"Simple Simon."

  Des cartin ez dey is a way
    Ter miss doin what am right,
  Dat boy gwine allers fin' it out
    What work fo' Mistah White.

  Las' yeah dey had him drive 'em all
    Out ter de ole school groun',
  Whar all de white folks congregate
    Frum miles en miles er-roun'.

  En Mistah White, when dey git dar,
    Say: "Simon, now you min',
  En put dis ice we got heah, in
    De cooles' place you fin'."

  En when dey all go in ter heah
    De chillun speak en sing,
  Dat boy--he go en drap dat ice
    Right in de bubblin' spring!

An Obstacle Overcome.

  Dat Tom, he allers want ter know
    All 'bout de things he see;
  I neber could remember ha'f
    Ob what he done as' me.

  He see dem posts down by de road,
    Wid wires stretch ercrost,
  En ast me why dem wires wus
    Hung dar from post ter post.

  I tell him den, de bes' I kin,
    Dat dey wus made to sen'
  De news ercrost, so men kin heah
    Frum dey fur absent frien'.

  He stan' en gaze en gaze on dem
    In his onquirin' way;
  Den: "How de news git roun dem posts?"
    Dat stupid nigger say.

  He sho ain't got de sense ter know
    (De good fo' nothin' scamp!)
  Dat des ter meet dat obstickle
    We got de postage stamp.

[Illustration: "How de News git roun' dem posts?"]

Two of a kind.

  Sime say he don't know what ter do wid dat mule
  Dat he done gone en bought (he wus sholy a fool!)
              At de sale in de town;
  He say it so stubborn dat when he say "gee,"
  It allers gwine "haw," ez sho ez kin be,
              En I's glad, I am boun'.

  He say when he want it ter stan' it gwine walk;--
  When he want it ter go, it am sholy gwine balk,
              Lak a dunce all de time.
  He say dey ain't neber bin bo'n sich a fool,
  But I know, I sho do, dat pesky ole mule
              Ain't ez stubborn ez Sime.

  He neber gwine do what I tell him am right,
  Do he know I wus bo'n wid a caul on my sight,
              En kin see what am bes';
  I tol' him ter stay frum dat sale in de town,
  But somethin' des draw him ez blood do de houn',
              Till he foller de res'.

  I sho knew dat day what dat man wus erbout
  When I seen him a-takin' de las' money out
              Ob de cup on de she'f;
  En I glad he done spent ebry cent on dat mule,
  En's got ter work now wid dat pesky ole fool,
              Kaze he's stubborn hisse'f.


  Who am sca'ed ob small-pox? Pshaw!
    Not dis nigger, sho.
  Las' yeah dar wus lots ob it
    Down in Spilman's row;
      En de pleeceman walk erbout,
      Keepin' some in en some out.

  En I ask: "What dey gwine do
    Fo' 'nough food to eat?"
  En Sime answer: "Ez fo' dat,
    Small-pox cain't be beat;
      Kaze when it done shet yo' gate,
      Den de town gwine fill yo' plate."

  He say dem dat's quarantined
    Down in Spilman's row,
  Gittin' better things ter eat
    Dan we am, fo' sho;
      Say he see 'em take some food
      Back dar dat wus mighty good.

  Den I min' me ob my frien's,
    How dey lonesome be,
  En I say: "I cain't fo'get 'em--
    Dey am deah ter me!"
      En dey voices call en call,
      Till I heah dem ober all.

  'T last I say dat I mus' go
    If I am dey frien';--
  While de guard walk up _dat_ way,
    I slip in _dis_ en';--
      En in Spilman's row I stay
      Till de small-pox pass erway.

  I don't ketch it--no, suhree!
    Neber git de chance;
  Zeke wus down dar wid his fiddle,
    En I jine de dance;--
      En de city furnish food
      Dat, fo' sho, tas'e mighty good.

A Puzzling Clause.

  Oh, de preacher done fine
  When I marry Em'line,
    But what did he mean, I wonder,
  When he stan dar en' say:
  "I done jine you ter-day;
    Let nobody put you ter thunder!"

Fo'e de Wah.

  I ain't neber work, not me!
  Fo' de white trash. Kaze, you see,
  I wus fetch up mighty gran'
  By de bes' folks in de lan';--
  En dey teach me how ter do
  Work fo' ladies rich ez you,
              'Fo'e de wah.

  "Who fetch me up?" Now, Missus, sho
  I done tol' you dat befo'!
  Why a Miss wid heart ez true
  Ez wus eber knowed by you;
  En a face dat shine ez bright
  Ez dem days so full ob light,
              'Fo'e de wah.

  When I sick in dem ole days,
  Missus don't des go her ways,
  Leabin' me ter cry en groan
  In dat cabin all alone;
  Wid her han's she wait on me
  Till I well ez I kin be,
              'Fo'e de wah.

  When de fus' sweet baby come,
  Blessin' my deah Missus' home,
  'Twarn't nobody else but me
  Dressed it nice ez it could be
  In a dress ob spotless white,
  (Shinin' lak de robes ob light!)
              'Fo'e de wah.

  En when angels, by en by,
  Call dat darlin' ter de sky,
  'Twus me robe it in its bes',
  Ez I say: "Now, sleep en res'."
  Den de house wus sad erwhile
  Kaze we lose our only chile,--
              'Fo'e de wah.

  God won't hab dem arms ob Miss
  Empty ob de mammy's bliss,
  En he fill em up wid joy--
  Now a gal, en den a boy;
  En deysel's dem chillun twine
  Roun' dis happy heart ob mine,
              'Fo'e de wah.

  When dat jolly nigger, Ned,
  Take de notion in his head
  Dat he want ter marry me,
  Missus say: "Well, we will see;"
  En she buy him fo' her slave
  (He bin long time in his grave!)
              'Fo'e de wah.

  Buy him fo' her slave, you see,
  So dat he kin live wid me
  In de hut whar de sweet vine
  Ob de yellow jes'mine twine;
  Whar de mockin'-bird all day
  Sing kaze we wus glad en gay,
              'Fo'e de wah.

  Den dem Yankees come, you know,
  En dey beat de South, fo' sho;
  Missus tell us: "You is free!
  You don't b'long no mo' ter me."
  But us niggers up en say:
  "We gwine stay right whar we stay
              'Fo'e de wah!"

  En we stay. We didn't go
  Ter de North lak some I know.
  Dey sho thought dat dey gwine be
  Rich up dar ez dey wus free;
  But dey soon come back agin
  Ter de lan' whar dey had bin
              'Fo'e de wah.

  Missus die.--Please 'scuse dese teahs;
  I mus' cry, spite ob de yeahs,
  When I min' me ob dat day
  Dat dey laid her deep away
  By de willow bendin' low,--
  One she planted long ago
              'Fo'e de wah.

  Den dey scatter, all de res',
  Some ter eas', en some to wes';
  One done jine de Miss on high
  In de mansions ob de sky;
  Dem dat's libin' write ter me
  Ob de times dat used ter be
              'Fo'e de wah.

  En dey sen's some change erlong,
  Calling it "but des a song;"
  But it free dis nigger, sho,
  Frum a lot ob care en woe;
  En it make me dream dat I
  Libin in dem days gone by
              'Fo'e de wah.

  I is gittin weak en ole,
  En I know dat soon my soul
  Sho gwine heah de angels come,
  Singin', singin', "Home, sweet home!"
  En up dar my eyes gwine see
  All de white folks deah to me
              'Fo'e de wah.

Ground Hog Day.

  What de use ter go agin
    What de groun' hog say,
  Little bud, dat done unfol'
    'Fo'e Spring come dis way?
  'Tis a shame fo' dat sunshine
    Ter be foolin' you,
  When mo' fros' am prophesied
    By de prophet true:

  If de sun am shinin' bright,
    He turn right away
  Back into dat cozy bed,
    Whar till spring he stay.
  But if clouds am in de sky,
    Den he know, fo' sho,
  Dat de winter am done pass
    Ter return no mo'.

  Yestiday, when he creep out
    Frum his winter den,
  He des turn his se'f erbout,
    En went in agin.
  He ain't easy ter deceive
    By warm sun en breeze,
  Kaze he got a way ter know
    If dey'll be a freeze.

  Wish de sunshine wouldn't 'vite
    Flowers ter unfol',
  When de prophet prophesy
    Dar gwine be mo' col';
  Wish de little buds could know
    What de groun' hog say,
  En would stay shet, close en tight,
    Till Spring come ter stay.


  Why you go en fight dat boy?
    Don't you know he white?
  Bet de pleeceman come en git you
    'Fo'e you sleep dis night!
      Don't you heah yo' mammy say,
      Why you knock him down dat way?

  "Called you nigger?" Did he, sho?
    Den you done des right!
  Eb'ry time de po' white buckra
    Call you dat, you fight!
      If you am one, I am sho
      'Taint dey place ter tell you so!

Jeff's Funeral Sermon.

  Git my mou'nin' dress, Susanah,
    Out de bottom draw';--
  It bin waitin' long time wid
    Dis black hat ob straw,
      Fo' de preacher ter come by
      En preach Jeff up ter de sky.

  Jeff done pass away befo' us
    Des six months ter-day;
  But it don't seem long ez dat
    (How time pass away!)
      Since dey laid dat po' boy down
      In de churchyard's holy groun'.

  Yestiday when I ast Missus
    Let me go ter-day
  Ter Jeff's fun'ral, she so s'prised
     Till she up en say:
      "Sakes! dey bury him, you know,
      Las' yeah, long en long ago!"

  En I tell her dat de people
    Libin fur frum home,
  Couldn't heah dat he wus gone,
    En dey want ter come;
      So we wait till news wus spread
      Ebrywhar dat he wus dead.

  En we 'vite so many people
    Frum de country roun',
  Dat dar'll be a sight ob niggers
    At dat church, I'm boun';
      So we better be gwine on,
      Kaze we set wid dem dat mou'n.

Uncle Bob to his Dog.

  Uncle Bob say ter his dog, Leo:
  "You tangle yo'se'f in my heart-strings, sho,
  But de day gwine come when you got ter go,
            Kaze I ain't got a dollar
            Ter buy you a collar,
  En de dog-ketcher ketch you, sho."

  Uncle Bob say: "I dervide my bread,
  En I kiver you up in my nice, straw bed,
  But I sca'ed dat my dog gwine soon be dead,
            Kaze I ain't got a dollar
            Ter buy you a collar,
  En de dog-ketcher ketch you, sho."

  Uncle Bob say: "Oh, de stolen am sweet,
  En dat why you clim' frue de fence ter de street,
  Do I already tol' you de en' you gwine meet!
            Kaze I ain't got a dollar
            Ter buy you a collar,
  En de dog-ketcher ketch you, sho."

A Prophecy.

  Sho ez dat dar sun on high
    Shine on me ter-day,
  Dar gwine be a riber-rise,
    Lis'n what I say!
  'Fo'e de summer am done pas'
    Dat dar Congaree
  Am gwine over-flow dem banks,
    Rushin' ter de sea.

  I does closely watch de signs,
    En de wasp, fo' true,
  Biuldin' higher up dis yeah
    Dan she mos'ly do.
  By dat nes', so safe en high,
    She done say ter me;
  "Dar gwine be a rise dis yeah
    Ob de Congaree."

Possum en Pertaters.

  De pe'simmons in de pastur' am a-fallin', fallin' down,
  En de sweet pertaters waitin' ter be dug frum out de groun';
      Dat dey good de possum know,
      En he fatten on 'em, sho!
  En I tas'e his juice ter-morrer, else I neber tas'e it mo'.

  Bring de light-wood torch, Horiah, en don't creep so slow erlong;
  Lif' yo' lazy feet up faster, so dey keep time ter dis song:
      "Mr. Possum, hear me say,
      'Tain't no use ter run away,
  Kaze I sho gwine ketch en bleed you 'fo'e de breakin' ob de day!

  Dem two dogs already trace him ter de big pe'simmon tree,
  En I see dem eyes ob his'n shinin' down lak stars at me.
      He for sho am perch up high,
      But I git him, by en by,
  En dat feas' I hab to-morrer beat de fines' chicken pie.

  I done grab him by de neck, en I comin' down agin,
  En de weight ob him do tell me he am fur frum bein' thin;
      En he droop hisse'f en play
      Dat he dead en pass away,
  Do he know dat if I loose him he gwine mighty soon be gay.

  He am sho a fine one, en I proud ter take him home,
  En de mammy en de chillun wake ter see him when he come;
      En I singe his tender hide
      Till it look lak it done fried,
  Den I try ter go ter sleep, but my eyes stay open wide.

  Oh, my eyes stay open wide, till de breakin' ob de day,
  When de long, long night oh waitin' am at las' done pass away;
      En I go outside en scratch
      Sweet pertaters frum de patch,
  Kaze wid juices ob de possum dey ain't nothin' else ter match.

  When we bake dat critter brown, wid pertaters stuff inside,
  Den we say: "Oh, hasten, nigger, ez de bridegroom ter de bride!"
      Come en dine wid us ter-day,
      En we know dat you gwine stay
  Till de las ob dat good possum am done hid frum sight away.

Cotton's Comin' In.

  Bet de goldenrod's a-bloomin'
    'Long de country roads;
  Bet de hick'ry nuts am fallin'
    By de loads en loads.
  Bet pe'simmons am mos' ripe--
    Makes a feller grin!
  What's de sign? Why, man alive,
    Cotton's comin' in!

  Bet ole Pete am busy now
    Bilin' sorghum down;
  Bet dey'll hab a pullin' soon--
    'Vite me frum de town;
  Bet de apple's dryin' on
    Chiny plates en tin,
  Bet all dis, en mo', des kaze
    Cotton's comin' in.

  Bet de rice am hangin' now
    Head down in de sun;
  Bet ole Massa's habin' times
    Wid his rod en gun;
  Wish I'd staid dar in de woods--
    Town's chuck full ob sin,
  En I sho git homesick when
    Cotton's comin' in.

  Bet de pinders spread out on
    De ole shed ter dry;
  Bet de possum know de way
    Ter de tree-top high.
  Soon dem darkies put away
    'Taters in de bin;--
  Lan'! I's gwine back when Pete
    Brings his cotton in!

Dat Yaller Gal.

  I bin watchin' you, big Jim,
    En I s'prised, fo' sho;
  You is done fo'git mos' all
    Dat you eber know.
  Dar you wus, at de cake-walk,
    Makin' eyes at Sue,
  When you orter know dat gal
    Ain't gwine look at you.

  Yo' hair curl on top yo' head
    Lak sheep's wool, fo' sho,
  En yo' skin am des ez black
    Ez de blackes' crow.
  Ebry time you pass dat gal
    She stick up her nose,
  En draw back, des lak she sca'ed
    You gwine touch her clo'es.

  Think she am too good ter speak
    Ter a coal-black man
  What, ez ebrybody know,
    Do de bes' he kin,
  Kaze her skin ain't black lak yourn,
    En her hair ain't wool,
  She ac' lak she am de queen--
    Sick'nin' yaller fool!

  Ebry day she com' dat hair
    Lak de white folks do;
  Pin it back wid fine hair-pins,
    Shinin lak bran' new;
  En she go erlong de street
    Holding her head high,
  Lak she neber see her race
    When dey pass her by.

  Us dat am de niggers right--
    Us don't ac' lak dat!
  When we com' our hair we make
    Heah en dar a plait;
  En we wrap 'em good wid cord
    So dey sho gwine stay
  Right in place a week or mo'
    Frum de com'in' day.

  En we don't pass cullud folks
    Wid our head up high,
  But we stop en speak wid dem
    'Fo'e we pass on by.
  En we as' 'em: "How you do?
    How's de folks at home?"
  En we tell 'em whar we live,
    Sayin' "You mus' come."

  I's bin watchin' you, big Jim,
    En I's s'prised, fo' sho;
  Ez I sed, you is fo'got
    All you eber know.
  If you's got good sense you'll quit
    Makin' eyes at Sue,
  Kaze dat stuck-up yaller gal
    Ain't gwine look at you.

To Walk Wid His Gal.

  Dem gals stan' erbout, en giggle en grin;
  Dey say: "His shoes shine' lak a bran' new pin!"
  En de way dat dey treat him am sholy a sin,
      When John go ter walk wid his gal.

  Dey laugh at his hat en dey laugh at his tie,
  En dey say: "Will you 'low us ter see you go by?"
  En sho wid sich nonsinse dat nigger dey try,
      When John go ter walk wid his gal.

  "Oh, shet up!" I tell 'em, "en dat right away,--
  I know what's de matter, now heah what I say;
  You's ebry one jealous, you sho is, ter-day,
      Kaze John gone ter walk wid his gal!"


  Frow fish salt out on de grass
  Ebrywhar dat man done pass,
        En be quick;
  Scatter it all roun' de do',
  Else somebody heah, fo' sho,
        Gwine be sick.

  He done cunjur' me, you know,
  One time long en long ago,
        'Fo'e you bo'n;
  En it ain't fo' good ter-day
  Dat he stop by heah dat way,
        Den pass on.

  Dat de way he done befo',
  En wid fever laid me low
        In de bed.
  Go en spread de salt all roun'
  'Fo'e we bofe am lyin' down,
        Sick or dead.

Uncle Ben's Superstition.

  Oh, please, Missus, don't as' dat!
    Is you neber heah it sed
  Him dat plants a holly tree
    Sho gwine lie down, stiff en dead,
      Soon's dat tree grow big en high
      'Nough ter shade him whar he lie?

  I ain't sca'ed ob death, not me!
    I's bin baptized in de creek,
  En in big experience meetin's
    I does rise sometimes ter speak;
      But I don't tempt Providence;--
      'Tis a act ob wickedness.

  "How ter git it planted, den?"
    Ain't got time, yo'se'f, you say?
  Lis'n, mum, en I will tell you
    What's, fo' true, de only way,
      'Th'out you hab somebody die
      Soon's dat tree grow big en high:

  Put a seed somewhar out do's,
    So de win' will blow it down
  Des whar you would hab it planted,
    On a nice, sof' bit ob groun'.
      Dar it will take root en grow;
      I is tried it, en I know.

  But ter put de seed in groun',
    Or ter plant dar de young tree,
  Am sho temptin' Providence--
    En it ain't bin done by me;
      Dat am how I'm heah ter-day
      Ter teach ole Missus de right way.

Wid de Witches.

  When I hab ter go ter bed,
  I sho civer up my head,
  Kaze I allers mighty sca'ed
      Dat de witches come at night.

  Dey does come sometimes, you know,
  En wid dem you got ter go,
  Ridin' fas' or ridin' slow,
      When dey come fo' you at night.

  I does try my bes' ter shriek,
  But my voice git low en weak,
  En I shake so I cain't speak
      When de witches come at night.

  Oh, dey tote you up so high
  Till you neahly touch de sky,
  En you sca'ed mos' 'nough ter die
      When you ride wid dem at night.

  "You des dream dat," Missus say,
  But she don't fool me ter-day!
  I done bin too fur away
      Wid dem witches des las' night.

A Restless Spirit.

  "Don't b'I'eve in hants?" Well, dat des show
  Dat you cartin neber know
        'Bout dat big house on de hill,
  Whar a sperit walk at night
  When de dark done quench de light,
        En de worl' am calm en still.

  "Who lib dar?" Well, gracious me!
  You won't as' dat when you see
        Dat ghos' walkin' roun' de place;
  Ghos' dat allers kneels en prays
  Under dem magnolia trees,
        Wid a sad en longin' face.

  Once, dey say, a sweet bride come
  Frum her fur-off northern home,
        Ter dis lan' ob flow'rs en song;
  En she love de birds en bees
  Hummin' 'roun' dem fragrant trees,
        En wus happy all day long.

  Dar she go mos' ebry day
  When de noon-sun shine dat way,
        Waitin' fo' her man ter come;
  En when evenin' light grow dim
  Dar she go ter watch fo' him
        Ter come back ter dat glad home.

  En dey walk dar, des dem two,
  When de stars am peepin' frue
        Leaves ob dem magnolia trees;
  En dey bofe am glad ob heart
  Des kaze dey don't walk apart,
        En am kiss by dat same breeze.

  When one day dat man come home,
  He don't see his young wife come
        Out ter meet him on de lawn;
  She took sick, de people say,
  En her spirit pass away
        'Fo'e de little baby bo'n.

  Den her mammy write en say:
  "Fetch en bury her, we pray,
        By her sisters heah at home."
  So she lie dar in de col',
  Whar de win's am strong en bol',
        Waitin' fo' de kingdom come.

  But her sperit walk at night,
  When de dark done quench de light,
        Under dem magnolia trees;
  En she stop dar en kneel down
  Wid her white dress floatin' roun'
        In de gentle, sighin' breeze.

  Oh, my heart ache in my breas'
  Fo' dat sperit cravin' res'!
        En I know it would fin' ease
  If dey bring dem bones some day
  Ter de south, en let 'em lay
        Under dem magnolia trees.

[Illustration: "On de Chain Gang."]


  Ike wus workin' on de chain gang
    Ebry day till set ob sun,
  Kaze he bin took up fo' somethin'
    Dat he neber orter done.

  En he ketch de quick consumption
    Workin' in de col' en rain,
  En he say if dey des free him
    He won't do so bad agin.

  Den his white frien's write a letter
    Dat dey as' us all ter sign,
  Sayin': "Ike am weak en sickly,
    En he mus' be treated kin'."

  Sayin': "He cain't lib much longer,
    En we hope you let him come
  Back ter dem dat am his people,
    So he pass away at home."

  En we des keep waiting', waitin',
    Till a letter come at las',
  Sayin' dat de gov'nor glad
    He kin grant us what we as'.

  When we carry Ike dat message,
    Ho don't heah us what we say,
  Kaze de Lawd done come en call him,
    En his soul done pass away.


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