African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Joseph S. Cotter, Sr., "A White Song and a Black One" (1909) (full text)

 and a BLACK ONE 

A "WHITE SONG.— Contents 
 My South 11-12 
  "Marse" Henry Wattersou 12 
 Grant and Lee 13 
  Col. Bennett H. Young to the North 13-14 
  Unele Remus to Massa Joel 14 
  President AVilliam M'Kinley 15 
  The Birth of American Song 15-lG 
  The Confederate Veteran and the Old Time Darky 16 
  Bishop Thomas U. Dudley IT 
  The Book's Creed 18-19 
  William Lloyd Garrison 19-20 
  Gavin H. Cochran, The Children's Friend. . 20-21 
  Gen. Cassius M. Clay 21 
  As It Is 22-23 
  Algernon Charles Swinburne 23-24 
  Col. W. C. P. Breckinridge 24 
  The Teacher Pre-Eminent 25 
  The Child 25 
  The Old Pedagogue's Welcome to the New 25 
  Truth . ~ 25 
  Delay and Truth 26 
  The Little Child That Leads 26 
  Chicago 26-27 
  Thomas Mock 27-28 
  To President Taft's Young Son, Master Charlie 28-29 
  Sequel to the "Pied Piper of Hamelin" • .29-35 
A BLACK SONG. -Contents 
 Dr. Booker T. Washington to the National Negro Business League 38 
  Tuskegee 38-39 
  Ned's Psalm of Life for the Negro 39-40 
  The Negro's Chiristmas Prayer 40-42 
  The Old Negro Teaeher to the New 42-44 
  The Negro Child and the Story Book 44-45 
  The Negro's Kducatioual Creed 46 
  The Loafing Negro 48 
  The Don't-Care Negro 47 
  Negro Love Song 48 
  The Negro's Nevv Year Prayer 48-49 
  Rivalry 49-50 
  Honey, Whut's You Askin'? 50-51 
  To the Memory of Mrs. Sallie Broivn 51 
  Lazy Sam 52 
  The Vicious Negro 52-53 
  Dem Phillupeeners 53-54 
  I'se Jes' er Little N----- . , 55 
  Big Ike and Little Ike.  55-57 
  The Christmas Tree 57-59 
  New Year Resolutions 59-61 
  Reporting the Sermon 61-63 

 Dedicated to the following lovers of 
 both white and black humanity : 
 Hon. Henry Watterson, 
 Bishop Charles Edward Woodcock, 
 Col. Bennett H. Young, 
 Prof. E. H. Mark and 
 Mr. Robert E. Woods. 

 {To Gavin H. Cochran, Esq.) 
 Men said thy hopes were buried in thy needs, 
 They pitied Death for wooing thee, my South ; 
 They now behold in thee a life that leads 
 Through genius quickened at the cannon's mouth. 
 Thy idle strength, when pitted 'gainst thy fate. 
 Renewed the mansion, vivified the farm, 
 Kept timid hearts from growing desolate 
 By teaching valor through a missing arm. 
 Thou seest millions lurking in thy hills, 
 Thou seest comfort peeping from thy soil. 
 Thou knowest now that he alone fulfills 
 Self's highest aim who keeps in league with toil. 
 Thou earnest heirship to all elder worth, 
 Thou winnest guerdon of all times to be ; 
 Thou boldest up thy wealth to all the earth. 
 There comes reply: ''Alas, we did not see." 
 Above the hand whose mission is to smite, 
 Beyond the tongue that galls that it may snare. 
 Thou standest forth, peaked ever in the light 
 Of self-evolving self that cries: ''Beware." 
 Earth's farthest bounds shall know thee as thou art. 
 Thy humblest sons make spoil of thy increase ; 
 Our country, searching for its patriot heart, 
 Shall find it hid between thy love and peace. 
 Go star these ever in the public eye ; 
 Go wed these ever to the public mind ; 
 Go ever teach that sin and lethargy 
 Will leave a people shrunken, halt and blind. 

I would behold in thee world-conquering ken, 
 Would fain be dazzled by thy steady flame ; 
 Would cry aloud : "Thy women and thy men 
 Weave life a robe that puts past dreams to 
 Who makes a law may force a means to curse, 
 Who puts it forth may blight the universe ; 
 For what is man that he should say to man : 
 "Do thus and so, or feel the scourge and ban?" 
 Who builds a tower of crumbling theories 
 Must list his Babel in its mongrel keys ; 
 For truth is onward, while a guess but hears 
 Its name re-echoed in a thousand years. 
 Who dares to whisper that his God and he 
 Are all-in-all of aristocracy, 
 Proves him a tyrant with a tyrant's power 
 And slays that tyrant in his boasting hour. 
 Nay, not of these is he of pregnant phrase, 
 Nay, not of these is he of toil-won bays. 
 Socratic spirit and Platonic pen 
 Win him first heirship in the ranks of men. 
 He sees as clearly as the Magi saw 
 That love is living, and that life is law. 
 He knows as fully as the prophets knew 
 Faith in man's struggles makes the strength of two. 
 My South that suffers and my South that bears 
 A triple measure of the Nation's cares, 
 Use but one weapon, and thy battle's won — 
 The love and faith and poise of Watterson. 

 The South's the sin? The North's the glory? 
 Laugh out of court the hackneyed story. 
 The sin took root in the nation's heart. 
 And North and South played a dual part. 
 The North and the South wore a cheek of shame, 
 Till a life of woe wrought an earth of flame. 
 And who were the heroes? All who fell, 
 Whether North or South, in the nation's hell. 
 And who were the heroes? Great souls who fed 
 The nation's maw with the nation's dead 
 Till the nation's blood slew the nation's curse. 
 And made man free as the universe. 
 Neither Grant of the North nor Lee of the South 
 Shall link his name with the cannon's mouth. 
 Neither Lee of the South nor Grant of the North 
 Shall stand accused when the blame goes forth. 
 In the South's warm heart, on the North's just 
 A dual epic of peace is sung 
 With regret for the bond and hope for the free. 
 And a God-like love for Grant and Lee. 
 The Northerners have often censured us. 
 And we of Southern blood have held in scorn 
 Their manhood's value and their motive's aim ; 

But slaying faith heals not our country's wound. 
 This broader day, upon this border line, 
 Should pulse anew our nation's severed heart. 
 And hail the hand that clutches North and South. 
 And hail the tongue that choruses the two, 
 And hail the thought that draws our feet together. 
 And hail the deed that makes us one forever. 
 Listen, Massa Joel ; 
 I'se er callin' ter you ; 
 Callin' in de sunlight, 
 Callin' in de dew, 
 Callin' whar you uster be. 
 An' callin' whar you ain't. 
 'Specks de Lawd dun called you blessed. 
 An' de angels calls you saint. 
 Heah me, Massa Joel ; 
 I'se er mournin' fer you ; 
 Mournin' when de day is old, 
 Mournin' when it's new, 
 Mournin' whar you uster sing. 
 An' whar you uster pray. 
 'Specks de worl' is full ob mournin', 
 But de heabens, dey is gay. 
 Meet me, Massa Joel; 
 Fse er comin' ter you ; 
 Comin' wid er load ob sin 
 Fer de sinner's due; 
 Comin' whar I sho' kin borrer 
 Er little loan ob grace. 
 'Specks de Lawd gwine call us brudders 
 When He sees us face ter face. 

 Blessed art thou. Fate linked thee with her sons, 
 Ye form the trinity of martyred ones; 
 A nation's praise is jealous of its grief, 
 Therefore thy glory's day cannot be brief. 
 So poorly schooled in littleness wast thou 
 No party stamped its ethics on thy brow. 
 So future-sighted was thy leadership 
 Earth's farthest bounds hailed it with welcome lip. 
 Thy life work was to lift men far above 
 Mere selfishness to a pure country love. 
 Thou didst become, dwarfed not by creed or clan, 
 A modern miracle, a nation's man. 
 The good of yesterday we have unsought, 
 To-day lives in to-morrow's generous thought ; 
 So the fanatic's tongue, the assassin's knife 
 Can find no way to chill a nation's life. 
 So long, O, Hermit Muse, so long 
 Didst thou preside o'er British song 
 Men came to think it grievous wrong 
 To roam elsewhere, 
 And take the rugged Western throng 
 Into thy care. 
 True Song, like selfishness and pride, 
 Is to the human race allied; 
 And, how soe'er it be decried. 
 Will spring amain, 
 And in its turn be beautified 
 By joy and pain. 

So, circumscribing thy swift feet 
 With their abundance of conceit, 
 They sternly held it most unmeet 
 For thee to stray ; 
 But, caged within their dim retreat, 
 Shouldst dwell for aye. 
 They forged on envy's anvil bands 
 To keep thy strong and affluent hands 
 From scattering throughout the lands 
 Song's jubilee. 
 Thou saidst: "Each great soul understands 
 Its liberty." 
 Straightway their envy's force was spent; 
 Straightway toil left embellishment; 
 Straightway soul -rifts and thought were blent 
 Straightway the birth 
 Of Song whose own importance sent 
 It through the earth. 
 I seed him on de corner dar 
 Er-lookin' lak he's gwine ter war. 
 I wondered ef he thought it sin 
 Ter fight dem battles ober ergin. 
 De way he greeted de passers-by 
 Showed me de kindness in his eye. 
 De way he listened ter my woes 
 Tuk all de fight outen his clones. 

 A force was he in the thoroughfare, 
 A light where gloom abode, 
 A prophet-seer, whose Godlike care 
 Made precious the human load. 
 Ever the heart of trustful youth 
 Kept his faith's longings real ; 
 Ever the gleam of a truer truth 
 Led on his fair ideal. 
 His brother's need was the Master's call, . 
 And his was his brother's tear, 
 And his the word or alms for all. 
 And his the Master's cheer. 
 A word for man is a word for God, 
 However blind chance doth play; 
 He saw this truth turn the chastening rod 
 Into life for the common clay. 
 What message of truth would you have us bear, 
 O, seer, as we journey along? 
 "I would have you lessen the whole world's care, 
 Be glad, and so be strong. 
 "Since human aims flaw human creeds 
 That narrow race to clan 
 Find God in universal needs. 
 If each would be a man. 
 "Our darkening wisdom may not show 
 Where flares the Eternal Dawn, 
 But this we know — if aught we know — 
 They who live here live on." 

 Reader, listen ere we go, 
 I will furnish line and page ; 
 You must bring a soul aglow 
 And an eye that scans the age. 
 I am but a shadow sent. 
 Telling of a shape that's gone; 
 I am just an instrument 
 All mankind may play upon. 
 If you would behold the shape, 
 You must carve it all alone. 
 I, as shadow, will be crepe 
 On your door till you are grown. 
 All my myriad silent keys 
 Are responsive to the touch 
 That has lived the mysteries 
 Former masters knew as such. 
 I am but a skeleton. 
 Flesh and blood and soul and speech 
 Were the property of one — 
 Now the property of each. 
 If you see a Godlike eye. 
 Give it not an ancient name. 
 Would you stamp a wanton lie 
 On the helmet of your fame? 
 If you hear a charming tongue. 
 Do not think it from the dead. 
 This old world proclaims it young 
 Through your heart and through your head. 

If I am a ghastly find, 
 You are poor beyond compare — 
 You of empty heart and mind, 
 Dweller in a world of air. 
 You are dead to all the Then, 
 You are dead to all the Now, 
 If you hold that former men 
 Wore the garland for your brow. 
 Time and tide were theirs to brave, 
 Time and tide are yours to stem. 
 Bow not o'er their open grave 
 Till you drop your diadem. 
 Honor all who strove and wrought, 
 Even to their tears and groans ; 
 But slay not your honest thought 
 Through your reverence for their bones. 
 Reader, listen ere we part. 
 Search to know and know to read; 
 And, by owning brain and heart. 
 You will live this simple creed. 
 His country seared its conscience through its gain, 
 And had not wisdom to behold the loss. 
 It held God partner in the hellish stain, 
 And saw Christ dying on a racial cross. 
 What unto it the shackled fellow-man, 
 Whose plea was mockery, and whose groans were 

Its boasted creed was : "He should rule who can 
 Make prey of highest heaven and dupe of earth." 
 From out this mass of century-tutored wrong 
 A man stood God-like, and his voice rang true. 
 His soul was sentry to the dallying throng, 
 His thought was watchword to the gallant few. 
 He saw not as his fellow-beings saw ; 
 He would not misname greed expediency. 
 He found no color in the nation's law, 
 And scorned to meet it in its liberty. 
 He saw his duty in his neighbor's cause, 
 And died that he might rise up strong and free- 
 A creature subject to the highest laws, 
 And master of a God-like destiny. 
 The thunder of a million armed feet, 
 Reverberating till the land was stirred, 
 Was but the tension of his great heart-beat. 
 The distant echo of his spoken word. 
 He speaks again : ''Such as would miss the rod 
 That ever chastens insufficiency, 
 Must purge their lives and make them fit for God, 
 Must train their liberty and make it free." 
 He felt the child-heart throb beside his own, 
 And question of its lot by right divine. 
 His answer was : "Thou shalt not ask alone ; 
 I, too, will claim all things that be are thine." 

He knew the child-thought in its wanderings, 
 Its timid ventures and its scattered might, 
 And gave his years to find the force that brings 
 Through childhood's struggles manhood's crown- 
 He saw that child-life on its winding slope 
 Must gaze a-back or scan the heights above 
 As teachers see in it the wide world's hope. 
 And God's true symbol of his matchless love. 
 "Give me an heir," the Century plead, 
 "With the brain of a man and the will of a god; 
 With a soul that will flash with the word that is said, 
 And a hand that will strike, 'though the heavens 
 "When the storm blows not, and the way is clear. 
 And man is to man as star to star. 
 Let the sage come forth with his thought-bred fear. 
 And plans that are meek as the grass blades are. 
 "When soul meets soul and disdains to hate. 
 When thought meets thought and clashes not. 
 The priest may sweetly, sternly prate 
 Of a saintly way and a Godless lot. 
 "When w^eal must lessen the cry of woe, 
 And blood must sanction the will of heaven. 
 My heir must conquer the foremost foe ; 
 To slay, faith-spurred, is the age's leaven." 
 So the Century hurled thee, a living flame, 
 To blaze thy way to the heart of man. 
 Now, at its end, thou art a name 
 That shines wherever greatness can. 

 With a rope of glass I am bound to time. 
 Its strength is the measure of life. 
 I move. It cuts. Stern Law says: "Mine," 
 And my Soul moans : . "Strife ! Strife ! Strife !" 
 A weakling I. God's prophets say 
 All share in His goodness still. 
 He speaks. I hear. Life acts. I slay. 
 Now whose is the slaying will ? 
 A weakling I. My brother is halt 
 And stands in my destined path. 
 I pass. He dies for his faultless fault. 
 Now whose is the slaying wrath? 
 A weakling I. My brother is strong 
 And stands in my destined path. 
 He yields it not. I tarry long 
 As many a pilgrim hath. 
 On, and I fall bv my brother's sword, 
 Back, and I die through his death, 
 I hold my ground with never a word, 
 A begging God for a breath. 
 The air I breathe comes over the dead, 
 The light of the sword is mine, 
 The stronger man has a prayer in his head 
 That says : "God, prosper thine." 
 I blunder about and know not how. 
 I fall and know not when. 
 The stronger man has kept his vow, 
 And God has kept his ken. 

The corpse that rots, the strong man there, 
 And my self-slain self are one. 
 So man has fared. So man must fare 
 Till his little day be done. 
 Perchance foul worms in God's sunlight 
 May house in my unhoused bones. 
 Perchance God's wrath in a world of night 
 May measure my dead Soul's groans. 
 With a rope of glass I am bound to time. 
 Its strength is the measure of life. 
 "Frail man is mine. All law is mine," 
 Says God. My Soul, whence strife? 
 All earth is a poet. 
 All nature doth know it. 
 Each firefly doth show it, 
 Each frost-work doth rhyme. 
 Poor man who the fool is, 
 And prone as the pool is, 
 May yet learn God's rule is : 
 All prose is part crime. 
 The dust that we tread in, 
 The swirls we are sped in. 
 The throes we are wed in. 
 Were dust, dust and dust. 
 If out of God's treasure 
 There came not a measure 
 Of rhythmical pleasure 
 In sibilant trust. 

Thy gift was a yearning 
 That paradised learning, 
 And ended in turning 
 All seasons to Junes 
 Through death that caresses, 
 Through hatred that blesses, 
 And love that distresses, 
 And words that are tunes. 
 A Milton may ghoul us, 
 A Shakespeare may rule us, 
 A Wordsworth may school us, 
 A Tennyson cheer ; 
 But thine is the glory, 
 Star-sprung from the hoary. 
 Flame-decadent story 
 Of the munificent ear. 
 Great in the riches the world-brain has wroughl", 
 Great in the gilding of a candid thought. 
 Great in the knitting of the headless throng, 
 Great in the music that outrivals song. 
 Great in his striving for his cherished clan, 
 Great in his welcome to his fellow-man, 
 Great in the working that is sacrifice, 
 Great in the longing that proclaims the Christ, 
 He has left us a heritage, mothered of Pain, 
 To be hoarded by mankind and given to mankind 

 To test Himself God spoke the heavens unfurled; 
 To please Himself He formed this nether world; 
 To warn the world He sanctified the Preacher; 
 To save the whole He called the inspired Teacher. 
 It is a story that it cannot tell. 
 It sees a point, and then it sees it not. 
 Behold the only human miracle — 
 The Teacher's leading it to grasp the plot. 
 rt is a jewel lost in its own worth; 
 The search is aimless, and the loss is twain. 
 The Teacher's absence, and a puzzled earth ; 
 The Teacher's touch, and all is found again. 
 I welcome ye, fine masters of today; 
 Move in your track and renovate and save. 
 I am so wedded to the good old way 
 Your theories were fitter o'er my grave. 
 Truth is the unmixed coin God issues out ; 
 His wisdom mints it for life's tutoring; 
 It is the antidote for fear and doubt; 
 And soothes man with omnipotence's ring. 

 Delay in anger bit the sphere of truth, 
 And, in so doing, broke his wisdom tooth: 
 Therefore, it is, when truth comes rolling by, 
 Delay looks not, cowed by the memory. 
 ("A little child shall lead them.") 
 Our earth-girt souls grow faint and gaunt and 
 And more and more unblessed our jarring creeds, 
 Because we fail to humbly, wisely follow 
 The little child that leads. 
 Our thoughts lack courage and our words lack 
 And less and less we value noble deeds 
 Until we are at one with Christ's esteeming 
 The little child that leads. 
 Toil-deepened truth is ever clearer, dearer, 
 All life is holier for its common needs, 
 As we in brotherly thought and act draw nearer 
 The little child that leads. 
 You meet Chicago ere you meet it ; 
 You greet Chicago ere you greet it. 
 You wonder but to wonder 
 How life is life and death together, 
 How man and beast and work and weather 
 Are blundering without a blunder. 

You see Chicago, if you see it, 
 With sphere-bound eyes that wholly free it 
 From forceless force's commanding. 
 You see its greatness throb in centers; 
 You see the doom of him who enters, 
 A-coining hope for understanding. 
 Chicago woos time's active hour 
 And turns its ashes into power 
 That makes to-day to-morrow, 
 Quickened with all life's stress compresses. 
 Lightened with all life's forethought blesses, 
 And burdened with a sorrow's sorrow. 
 O, plain man, plain man, double manned, 
 Through love of home and love of peace, 
 And love that opes a clinched hand 
 And hastens sorrow's sure surcease — 
 Thy plainness charmed me to the end. 
 My neighbor-friend. 
 O, faithful son who gladly stood 
 A guard at the parental door. 
 And let naught in or out that would 
 Not brace its portals more and more. 
 Thy sonship spurred me to the end. 
 My neighbor-friend. 
 O, neighbor, always neighborly, 
 And dowered with a gift that leads 
 The neighbor-eye to quickly see 
 A neighbor's plight, a neighbor's needs. 
 Thy neighbor-spirit knew no end, 
 My neighbor-friend. 

O, spirit touched by childhood's woe, 
 O, spirit moved by childhood's glee, 
 O, spirit that did gladly go 
 Unto thy death for charity, 
 Thy aim shall lead me to the end. 
 My neighbor-friend. 
 The man who finds his native worth, 
 And holds it in life's sun to leaven 
 Is great enough to sweeten earth 
 And good enough to merit heaven. 
 This thought did cheer thee to the end, 
 My neighbor-friend. 
 To President Taft's Young Son, Master Charlie, On 
 Sending Him a Copy of "The Sequel to the 
 Pied Piper of Hamelin." 
 Master Charlie, read my story 
 Of the Piper in his glory. 
 And bethink you how his striped. 
 Ancient vestments looped and dangled 
 From his limbs that crooked and spranglod. 
 As he piped, piped, piped. 
 Master Charlie, see the city, 
 Odd and quaint as oldest ditty, 
 And bethink you, little man, 
 How the children laughed and whistled 
 Through the streets, by deeds epistled. 
 As they ran, ran, ran. 
 Master Charlie, see the people 
 Grave and grim as church's steeple. 
 As they reached the magic hill, 

And bethink you how they wound it 
 Time and time until they found it 
 To be still, still, still. 
 Master Charlie, see the Council 
 That refused to pay an ounce till 
 Every rat was out of sight ; 
 But I'm telling you the story 
 Of the Piper in his glory. 
 As I write, write, write. 
 {To Thomas G. Watkins, Esq.) 
 The last sweet notes the piper blew 
 Were heard by the people far and wide ; 
 And one by one and two by two 
 They flocked to the mountain-side. 
 Some came, of course, intensely sad, 
 And some came looking fiercely mad, 
 And some came singing solemn hymns, 
 And some came showing shapely limbs, 
 And some came bearing the tops of yews, 
 And some came wearing wooden shoes. 
 And some came saying what they would do, 
 And some came praying (and loudly too), 
 And all for what? Can you not infer? 
 A-searching and lurching for the Pied Piper, 
 And the boys and girls he had taken away. 
 And all were ready now to pay 
 Any amount that he should say. 
 It seems that just relentless Fate 
 Ransacks her ever ample store, 

And issues out the roughest ore 
 To all who basely hesitate. 
 The people stood at the mountain-side, 
 And listened to hear the merry strain 
 That gathered them from far and wide, 
 But they listened all in vain. 
 And if they could have heard his music. 
 Why some of them were really too sick 
 To tell just what his notes were saying, 
 Or know it was the piper playing. 
 Their heads were many, l3ut their hearts were one ; 
 And so the thoughts that came and went 
 Served only to kindle their discontent 
 Into a flame ere the set of sun. 
 Some thought that they could open wide 
 Another portal in the mountain-side 
 And then that they could pass right through 
 And find the children and piper, too. 
 At last a stalwart man arose 
 And spoke as one who would interpose : 
 *'Rouse up, good sirs, like gallant people, 
 And quake no longer with consternation ; 
 But ring the bells from every steeple, 
 And summon the mayor and corporation." 
 The bells rang out as never before 
 Within that ancient city; 
 They seemed to tell it o'er and o'er — 
 To tell that tale of pity. 
 And steadily the angry people 
 Stood gazing at each lofty steeple. 
 The stalwart man cried out again : 
 "Death's servant is procrastination; 

Your grief and tears are all in vain, 
 Go, summon the mayor and corporation." 
 The people started in twos and threes 
 To seek the mayor and corporation, 
 And found them all upon their knees. 
 Imploring expiation. 
 The mayor winked and the mayor blinked; 
 And the councilmen, they listened. 
 The mayor's eyes gazed at the skies, 
 And the councilmen's eyes, they glistened. 
 "You are all to blame," the people cried, 
 With a look of detestation, 
 *'You know full well that you have lied. 
 And sold our rising nation. 
 "As enemies we hold you all. 
 Despite your loud lamenting; 
 Upon your recreant heads shall fall 
 The burden of repenting. 
 "Through you the little ones we nursed 
 Were taken we don't know where to ; 
 "Through you our city has been cursed — 
 Deny it if you dare to. 
 "And you shall know that parleying 
 With that outlandish piper 
 Shall be to you as deep a sting 
 As that of any viper." 
 They mayor bowed low, and then said, "Oh !" 
 And the councilmen said, "What is it?" 
 The mayor grew red and huskily said: 
 "I do not like this visit." 
 The mayor's teeth clattered, and the mayor's tongue 

And the councilmen's did also ; 
 The mayor floundered, and the mayor wondered 
 How a brave man's voice could fall so. 
 The mayor did sup from no golden cup 
 That he could drown his grief in ; 
 The councilmen saw with deepest awe 
 Nothing to find relief in. 
 The mayor looked straight at the massive gate 
 (And it was a look of pity), 
 Then turned his face to leave the place. 
 And bid farewell to the city. 
 The councilmen turned, and their red cheeks burned, 
 As the bells rang out in the steeple ; 
 And they heard the beat of a thousand feet, 
 And saw the angry people. 
 Who came by dozens and scores that way. 
 Intent upon their human prey. 
 They hadn't a single word to say. 
 But, oh, it was a woeful day 
 For the mayor whose hair was turning gray. 
 Some seized the mayor by the throat 
 As roughly as they could do. 
 And tore the buttons off his coat 
 To show him what they would do 
 Unless he eased their mental strain 
 By finding the boys and girls again. 
 And some arrested the corporation. 
 And poured into their ears 
 So free a strain of denunciation 
 It roused their latest fears. 
 Till one and all wished through and through 
 The piper would come and take them too. 
 And then they marched through that ancient city, 
 With the mayor right before them, 
 And the corporation who sang a ditty 

That threw a madness o'er them, 
 And stirred their ire so it crept out 
 And put their better thoughts to rout. 
 "Let's drive them into the Weser waters," 
 Some cried out angrily 
 "Unless they find our sons and daughters. 
 And bring them back this way." 
 "Agreed ! agreed !" said high and low, 
 "Right into the waters they shall go !" 
 They marched them down to the river's brink. 
 And roughly drove them in ; 
 But before the shortest one could sink 
 An inch above his chin 
 They heard a muffled deafening note. 
 Such as might come from a lion's throat. 
 And all the motly crowd grew mute. 
 For it was a blast from the piper's flute. 
 He stood on the edge of Koppleberg hill 
 And blew till the feet of the people grew still, 
 And those of the mayor and corporation 
 Began to move as by incantation. 
 He took the flute from his honeyed lips 
 And pressed it between his finger tips. 
 And straightway a vapor began to rise 
 That tickled the nose and blinded the eyes ; 
 And when the people could see again 
 They looked for their victims all in vain. 
 And all about it they ever knew 
 Was that the piper had drawn from view. 
 And the mayor and corporation too. 
 How often is the tide of sin 
 Averted ere it reaches us 
 By ways just as mysterious 
 As those in the case of Hamelin! 

The people went to their homes as mute 
 As since has been the piper's flute, 
 And never was known to even dispute, 
 Among themselves or others, 
 As to how such things could come about. 
 Or whether or not they had a doubt 
 Concerning how they would turn out 
 For fathers, sons, or mothers. 
 The years passed by, as years will do. 
 When trouble is the master. 
 And always strives to bring to view 
 A new and worse disaster; 
 And Sorrow, like a sorcerer, 
 Spread out her melancholy pall 
 So that its folds enveloped all, 
 And each became her worshipper. 
 And not a single child was born 
 Through all the years thereafter; 
 If words sprang from the lips of scorn 
 None came from those of laughter. 
 So hour by hour, and day by day, 
 The city's inmates passed away. 
 And left but one, then old and gray. 
 And that was he the piper left 
 That fatal day behind him, 
 Of whatsoe'er he was bereft, 
 He never strove to find him. 
 But wisely let the prowler go 
 Where'er his whim might take him, 
 And kiss his magic flute and blow 
 For all who might forsake him. 
 Ats^ alas, there came a time 
 Too sad for even the saddest rhyme, 
 When this one mortal became immortal, 
 And flitted away through the heavenly portal. 

Without a soul outside or in 
 Stood poor deserted Hamelin, 
 Devoid for once of human sin. 
 You know a message went to Rat-land 
 By that strong rat that swam the Weser ; 
 And lo ! a race of rats was at hand 
 Outnumbering all the hosts of Caesar. 
 They came by ones and twos and threes, 
 And then in larger companies — 
 As single fours and double scores 
 And hundreds up to fifty, 
 And thousands up to twenty-five, 
 And all seemed more and more alive, 
 And hence were double thrifty. 
 They swarmed into the highest towers, 
 And loitered in the fairest bowers, 
 And sat down where the mayor sat, 
 And also in his Sunday hat; 
 And gnawed revengefully thereat. 
 With rats for mayor and rats for people, 
 With rats in the cellar and rats in the steeple, 
 With rats without and rats within. 
 Stood poor, deserted Hamelin. 


 Dedicated to the following lovers of both 
 black and white humanity: 
 Dr. Booker T. Washington, 
 Rector Leroy Ferguson, 
 Dr. C. H. Parrish, 
 Alexander Morris, Esq., 
 Rev. Thomas F. Blue and 
 Prof. John H. Jackson. 

 'Tis strange indeed to hear us plead 
 For selling and for buying 
 When yesterday we said: "Away 
 With all good things but dying." 
 The world's ago, and we're agog 
 To have our first brief inning; 
 So let's away through surge and fog 
 However slight the winning. 
 What deeds have sprung from plow and pick ! 
 What bank-rolls from tomatoes ! 
 No dainty crop of rhetoric 
 Can match 'one of potatoes. 
 Ye orators of point and pith, 
 Who force the world to heed you, 
 What skeletons you'll journey with 
 Ere it is forced to feed you. 
 A little gold won't mar our grace, 
 A little ease our glory. 
 This world's a better biding place 
 When money clinks its story. 
 Tuskegee blazes in the nation's eye ; 
 Tuskegee lifts plain labor to the sky ; 
 Tuskegee grounds and towers prosperity. 
 Tuskegee started as an uncouth name; 
 Tuskegee stood a race's scorching blame ; 
 Tuskegee leads that race to deathless fame. 
 Tuskegee sees the merit in a clod; 
 Tuskegee meets false worth with spur and rod ; 
 Tuskegee lifts the Negro nearer God. 
 Tuskegee trains the hand to train the head; 
 Tuskegee lives the laws the ancients read ; 
 Tuskegee saves the living that are dead. 
 Tuskegee wins all foemen, one by one; 
 Tliskegee stars the work that is begun ; 
 Tuskegee's other name is Washington ! 
 Dis is Ned dat am er-speakin', 
 Wid no wuds dat's cute an' fine. 
 Dis is Ned dat am er-seekin' 
 Light fur dis heah race o' mine. 
 I don' know as I'se er prophit — 
 Ef I is, I prophersy — 
 Smart folks, don' you dar ter scoflF it : 
 Dis race feelings gwine ter die. 
 'Tain't er thing dat has er color — 
 Tse gwine lib ter see it ain't. 
 Hit goes *long wid black an' yeller, 
  Kase you's not er wukin' saint. 
 When you wuks so dat de folks is 
 Boun' ter lib by whut you does, 
All dey feelin's an' dey jokes is 
 Fur de man dat once you wuz. 
 Folks will 'cept you when you takes 'em 
 By supplyin' all dey needs; 
 Dey will paint you when you makes 'em 
 Jes' de color o' yo' deeds. 
 Atter while dey will be treatin' 
 You de bery bes' dey can, 
 An' you'll nebber 'gret de meetin' 
 Wid yo' brudder feller man. 
 Yes, dey's feelin' 'twixt de races, 
 An' hit's gwine ter las' until 
 We jes' wuks ourselves ter places 
 Udder folks has got ter fill. 
 Dis is Ned dat am er-speakin' — 
 Smart folks, don' you dar ter scorn- — 
 I'se er-prayin' an' er-seekin' 
 Ways ter let dis race be born. 
 I'se got faith 'nuff in de Marster 
 Fur ter know He'll do His part; 
 Ef we stomps out dire disarster 
 Wid er wukin' brain an' heart. 
 On this. Thy natal day, O God, 
 Make me forget each ancient care 
 That erstwhile loomed where'er I trod, 
 And robbed me of thy generous fare. 
Frail man is great — and doubly great — 
 So long as he can gaze a-down 
 The path that wrecked his sole estate 
 And speak it just without a frown. 
 It must be true that man is wise 
 When he from out the shattered past 
 Plucks keys to ope the paradise 
 That holds his future hard and fast. 
 This is Thy spirit, earthly housed, 
 This is Thy vision, earthly kenned. 
 With these at hand I am aroused 
 To chase life's phantom to the end. 
 I gaze upon my fellow man, 
 I think that I am such as he. 
 O, God, if Thou hast made a span 
 To bridge his greater self to me, 
 I do not ask the reason why, 
 I do not ask the logic's course ; 
 I turn me from an alien sky 
 To battle with an alien's force. 
 If shadows are the substance here. 
 If God to man is naught to God, 
 Hope looks a-back, faith sinks in fear. 
 And vengeance sways Heaven's chastening rod. 
 A little space, a little breath, . 
 I ask no more. I would not take 
 A feather from the wings of Death 
 To trick with Life for my poor sake. 
 I do not ask for vision clear 
 Enough to pierce the future's maze, 
I only ask a heart sincere, 
 And sense enough to crown my days. 
 Now, grant, O, God, Thy servant's prayer, 
 ^ Grant it as Thou dost wisely see ; 
 Then, as the seasons roll, my fare 
 Shall take the name of charity. 
 I has bin er backwoods teacher 
 In my day. 
 I has bin er jackleg preacher 
 In er way. 
 I has hustled frum de jump, 
 I has 'rated frum de stump 
 An' I has full many er bump 
 Frum de fray. 
 I has I'arned ter fret an' clamer 
 Ober slights. 
 I has I'arned ter read de grammer 
 Ob my rights. 
 I has also I'arned ter go 
 'Bout dis Tarnin' sorter slow; 
 An* Fse proud ter lib ter know 
 Dese delights. 
 Ask me questions 'bout my knowin' 
 In de books? 
 Ask de rooster 'bout his crowin' 
 While he cooks. 
 I jes' called de chillens in. 
 An' I sed you mus'n't sin, 
 An' straightway de change begin 
 In dey looks. 
Dis you say wuz no beginnin* 
 Ob er school? 
 Let me tell you all dat sinnin' 
 Meks de fool. 
 When our fools thinks dey is bigger 
 Kase dey Tarns ter read an' figger 
 Jes' es well go pull er trigger 
 Till dey's cool. 
 'Course I had no way ter teach 'em 
 How ter parse, 
 An' I had no way ter reach 'em 
 Up ter Mars. 
 But dat blueback spellin' book 
 An' de strap upon de hook 
 An' my daily business look 
 Left what? Scars? 
 Better gib de boys er flayin' 
 Now an' den 
 Dan ter see 'em daily strayin' 
 Ter de "pen." 
 Fer de youngsters dat I sees 
 Libin' 'bout heah at dey ease 
 Won't be wuf two black-eye peas 
 In de en'. 
 You has bin ter school an' college 
 I suppose. 
 An' you has er lot ob knowledge 
 Dat you knows. 
 Will you let de few dat's tryin' 
 Jine de many dat is dyin' 
 An' so heah ten millun cryin' 
 Ob dey woes? 
Younger brudders, you is leadin' 
 Us ter-day. 
 May we heah no fur-fetched pleadin' 
 Dat mought slay; 
 Fer you knows dat we mus' be 
 Whar de white man's eye kin see 
 An' his cash is scattered free 
 In our way. 
 See it settin' dar alone, 
 Gently swayin' to an' fro, 
 Readin' in an undertone 
 ^Bout de things of long ago? 
 See its eyes a-fillin' up? 
 Heah it giggle now an' den? 
 It is sippin' frum de cup 
 Dat has nourished mighty men. 
 See dat frown upon its brow? 
 See dat curl upon its lip? 
 It is fightin' frum de prow 
 Of an ancient battleship. 
 It is winnin' wid its frien'. 
 It is losin' to its foes. 
 It has quitted ere de en', 
 An' is lost in polar snows. 
 Bless its soul, it's free ag'in, 
 An^ is journeyin' afar. 
 All creation is a-spin 
 An' its kerridge is er star. 
 # p. 46 (#50) ##############################################

See it still as tho' asleep? 
 Heah it sigh a heavy sigh? 
 It is thinkin' 'bout de sheep 
 Dat'll be parted by-an'-by. 
 See dat smile creep frimi its month 
 Till it kivers up its face? 
 It is picturin' de South 
 As a lastin' bidin' place. 
 When it looks frum left to right 
 An' is scratchin' of its head, 
 Jes' be sure it wants de light 
 For to see it safe in bed. 
 When its thoughts are true as go!', 
 An' its ways are cute as wit, 
 It has read what Remus tol', 
 It has lived what Aesop writ. 
 When true rhythm sways its heart, 
 An' a jingle primes its tongue, 
 It is Dunbar's subtle art 
 Frum a joyous scabbard flung. 
 When its spirit dares to dare. 
 An' its darin' dares to win. 
 It is thrivin' on de fare ^ 
 Of de story tol' widin. 
 Let us buil' roun' de story-book. 
 Let us buil' for de story-child, 
 Lest our worl' space shrink to a nook, 
 An' our lives grow gross and wild. 
 The Negro simply asks the chance to think, 
 To wed his thinking unto willing hands, 
 And thereby prove himself a steadfast link, 
 In the sure chain of progress through the lands. 
  He does not ask to loiter and complain 
 While others turn their life blood into worth. 
 He holds that this would be the one foul stain 
 On the escutcheon of this brave old earth. 
 He does not ask to clog the wheels of State 
 And write his color on the Nation's Creed. 
 He asks an humble freedman's estimate. 
 And time to grow ere he essavs to lead. 
 Whut's use wukin' when you kin 
 Libe lak white folks 'out dey care? 
 Eat lak dem an' dress up in 
 Same fine clo'es dey useter wear? 
 Chicken leg an' good hambone, 
 Homemade bread an' pasty pie, 
 Yo' gal brings ter you erlone : 
 No use wukin' till you die. 
 When you's full jes' walk erbout 
 Lak de worl' wuz made fer you, 
 An' hit could not run widout 
 You libed lak you wants ter do. 
 Matters not whut cums er goes, 
 Matters not who's up er down, 
 All you need's er suit ob clo'es 
 An' er chance ter do de town. 
 Neber min' what's in your cran'um 
 So your collar's high an' true. 
 Neber min' what's in your pocket 
 So de blackin's on your shoe. 
 Neber min' who keeps you comp'ny 
 So he halfs up what he's tuk. 
 Neber min' what way you's gwine 
 So you's gwine away frum wuk. 
 Neber min' de race's troubles 
 So you profits by dem all. 
 Neber min' your leaders' stumblin' 
 So you he'ps to mak' dem fall. 
 Neber min' what's true to-morrow 
 So you libes a dream to-day. 
 Neber min' what tax is levied 
 So it's not on craps or play. 
 Neber min' how hard you labors 
 So you does it to de en' 
 Dat de judge is boun' to sen' you 
 An' your record to de "pen." 
 Neber min' your manhood's risin' 
 So you habe a way to stay it. 
 Neber min' folks' good opinion 
 So you habe a way to slay it. 
 Neber min' man's why an' wharfo' 
 So de worl' is big an' roun'. 
 Neber min' whar next you's gwine to 
 So you's six foot under groun'. 
 I lobes your hands, gal ; yes I do. 
 (Fse gwine ter wed ter-morro'.) 
 I lobes your earnings thro' an' thro'. 
 (I'se gwine ter wed ter-morro'.) 
 Now, heah de truf. I'se mos' nigh broke; 
 I wants ter take you fer my yoke; 
 So let's go wed ter-morro'. 
 Now, don't look shy, an' don't say no. 
 (I'se gwine ter wed ter-morro'.) 
 I hope you don't expects er sho' 
 When we two weds ter-morro'. 
 I needs er licends — you knows I do — 
 I'll borrow de price ob de same frum you, 
 An' den we weds ter-morro'. 
 How pay you back? In de reg'ler way. 
 When you becomes my honey 
 You'll habe myself fer de princ'pal pay, 
 An' my faults fer de interes' money. 
 Dat suits you well? Dis cash is right. 
 So we two weds ter-morro' night, 
 An' you wuks all de ter-morro's. 
 A backward glance, a lion's daring, 
 A long regret, a sage's bearing. 
 Are the sure steps to onward faring. 
 To-morrow's luck's to-day's devising, 
 To-day's to-morrow's ghost uprising, 
 The future's promise emphasizing. 
New Year we reckon thus : Intruder, 
 The past taught us and left us shrewder, 
 Wilt thou teach us and leave us ruder? 
 An age's zeal may make what naught is, 
 An age's fruit may stop ere aught is, 
 An age's faith may wane when it sought is. 
 Not so its gentleness. It measures 
 The God free-bound in man. It leasures 
 His restlessness into soul-treasures. 
 Grant but this boon. New Year, and set us 
 Above an erring past. There let us 
 Match stars with faults, lest God forget us. 
 John an' Mandy's prancin' 'long 
 Lak dey's good an' rich ; 
 All her fine clo'es fit up wrong, 
 Eb'ry rag an' stitch. 
 Each one's spahkin' de udder so, 
 Cyarn't tell how dey lobe will grow. 
 She mout marry my beau dat wuz, 
 Don' keer ef she does. 
 John an' Mandy's 'proachin' neah 
 Eak dey means it all ; 
 He's er whisp'rin' so's I heah 
 De sweet wo'ds dat fall. 
 Now ef Mandy knowed ernuff. 
 An' she warn't so big an' rufT, 
 I'd gibe her my beau dat wuz ; 
 Trounce me ef I does. 
John an' Mandy's standin' still, 
 His eyes fixed in hers; 
 Seems ter me dey has one will, 
 Now dey moufs is burs. 
 Each one tells de udder dat 
 It knows 'zac^kly whar hit's at; 
 I gibe her my beau dat wuz? 
 Kill me ef I does. 
 John an' Mandy's man an' wife; 
 Parson Grim say so. 
 He done tied 'em on throo life 
 'Till de last trump blow. 
 I'se not gwine ter be er fool. 
 More big fish is in de pool ; 
 I don' miss er beau dat wuz ; 
 Bless me ef I does. 
 I lobes you lak I used ter do? 
 Now, honey, whut's you askin'? 
 Lobe is er b' ilin' 'twixt us two ; 
 So, honey, whut's you askin'? 
 I sho' lobes you, an' you lobes me. 
 An' we owns lobes dat mus' ergree; 
 So, honey, whut's you askin'? 
 A crow's foot's creepin' 'bout yo' eyes 
 Now, honey, whut's you askin'? 
 You know my lobe is blin' an' wise ; 
 So, honey, whut's you askin'? 
 My lobe lobes yo's an' yo's lobes mine, 
 An' bofe lobes lobes es in dey prime ; 
 So, honey, whut's you askin'? 
Old age is creepin' on erpace? 
 Now, honey, whut's you askin'? 
 Yo' soul keeps house widin yo' face ; 
 So, honey, whut's you askin'? 
 De yeahs is simply chisels to 
 Make lastin' my day-dreams ob you ; 
 So, good wife, whut's you askin'? 
 God gives man bent of will and scope of vision 
 To weave life's earthy threads into a whole ; 
 And lest he miss a glimpse of things elysian, 
 He gives him woman with her heaven-lit soul. 
 Fame may bedazzle him ; alluring power 
 May seize a prostrate world and say: *"Tis thine." 
 This is but chaff beside his nature's dower, 
 Woman, to reassure that life's divine. 
 Woman is weak that she may test man's heart. 
 Betimes she's strong that she may test his brain. 
 In weakness or in strength she plays a part, 
 Man's ever-rising worth cannot attain. 
 Wise unto knowledge that shall spur the thought. 
 Wise unto wisdom that shall sweeten prayer; 
 Wise unto God-like insight who has sought 
 To star his darkness with a woman's care. 
 In life she leads. In death she beckons on 
 To higher aims and more completed duty, 
 Until her vanished self becomes a dawn, 
 Reflecting on his path hope, shrined in beauty. 
 Don' know my name? It's Lazy Sam, 
 Proud o' dat name. You bet I am. 
 How did I git it? Guess my mammy 
 Long time ergo jes' called me Sammy. 
 Guess all de folks whut heahed ob it 
 Thought me an' dat name wouldn't fit; 
 So dey jes' added one whut suits, 
 Jes' like de heels does ter de boots. 
 How does I manage ter git so fat? 
 Yo's mighty 'quisitive ter ax all dat. 
 I talks fer wuk an' sleeps ter grow. 
 An' eats fer sauce. Now does you know? 
 I's mos' nigh tired o' foolin' wid you. 
 Folks thinks dat Fse got nuthin' ter do, 
 But tell dem whut I is er ain't, 
 I'se Lazy Sam. Is you er saint? 
 Jes' one word mo'? Well, heah it is: 
 You jes' go 'long an' min' yo' biz. 
 Be nice an' sweet an' sma't an' ca'm. 
 An' I'll look atter dis Lazy Sam. 
 Dere ain't no ^arthly use I hoi' in totin' 'roun' er gun. 
 When twenty smells de powder, an' de bullets hits 
 but one. 
 An' he turns in an' dies befo' de shooter sees de fun. 
I uster tote er gun 'long time, until I Tarned ter - 
 Er n-----'s nebber in it 'less he makes up all de 
 So twitch 'im till you draws de crowd, den cyarve 
 'im high an' low. 
 He'll p'int his vengeance at you, but he'll 'preciate 
 de fact 
 Dat you has sense whut shows you how ter mix up 
 blood an' tact, 
 So folks will alius 'mind him ob his 'lation ter de act. 
 De coon dat dahs ter 'spute wid me until my blood 
 runs hot 
 I chokes until his tongue crooks up inter er silent 
 Den ef he's gen'l'man 'nufif ter stan' I cyarves 'im on 
 de spot. 
 I don' keer fer yo' pow'ful names er whut yo' 'sitions 
 I only keers fer bre'sts an' ahrms an' heads an' 'vitin' 
 So I kin cyarve dem reckless wid dis razah dat I 
 Well, Phillupeeners, how's yo' health? 
 I don' ax how's yo' playin', 
 I 'specs de angels heahs by stealth 
 An' coins it in a sayin'. 
 I 'specs dey's plannin' big ovations ; 
 I 'specs dey'll send sum invitations 
 To all de music-lovin' nations 
 To bless you Phillupeeners. 
Jes' heah 'em once, an' afterwerds 
 Yo'll heah 'em, heah 'em ever, 
 De notes dey plays will come in herds 
 An' heah 'em, heah 'em ever. 
 Dey '11 fust be best, an' den dey'U flee 
 Right on to find de next degree, 
 An' still right on until you see 
 Music, not Phillupeeners. 
 If you would live anudder life 
 An' still live dis you lives heah, 
 If you would turn yo' loss an' strife 
 To gains dat always gives heah, 
 If you would lose yo' appertite 
 Fer all de things dat plagues de sight, 
 An' think up straight an' feel upright, 
 Jes' heah dem Phillupeeners. 
 De white man plays until you dreams 
 Yo' life's a kind o' story; 
 De white man plays until you seems 
  To peep right into glory. 
 Dat's good enough. Dis world widout it 
 Would go wid mournin' wropped about it, 
 But laziness! He jes' cyarn't rout it, 
 Like dem brown Phillupeeners. 
 Heah's to de music dat you plays 
 Upon dem inst'uments, 
 Heah's to de music dat you lays  
 Up fer yo' own contents. 
 Pleah's to yo' sense dat makes yo' luck, 
 Heah's to yo' Phillupeener pluck, 
 An' heah's good will from Old Kaintuck 
 To all you Phillupeeners. 

I'SE JES' ER LITTLE n-----. 
 I keeps er sharp eye on de folks I sees — 
 De big- folks dat habe bo't de bery breeze; 
 But why should I be totin' 'long wid dese? 
 I'se jes' er little n-----. Dat is all. 
 I looks in at de glass an' sees er face 
 Dat 'pears ter say: ''De n-----'s got er place 
 He boun' ter keep." Dat quits me frum de race. 
 I'se jes' er little n-----. Dat is all. 
 De white boy tug an' wuk an' go th'oo school. 
 Ob course he kyarn't erford ter be er fool. 
 But why should I be wuk's obleegin' tool? 
 I'se jes' er little n-----. Dat is all. 
 Don' tell me 'bout de good things ober dere ; 
 Fur eb'ry one o' dem is in de air, 
 An' neber will be sauce ter my po' fare. 
 I'se jes' er little n-----. Dat is all. 
 I'se gwine ter habe er good time now, you bets. 
 Dis world's not gwine ter owe me eny de'ts. 
 I pities all my folks who wuks an' frets. 
 I'll be er sho' 'nuff n-----. Dat is all. 
 One mawn ole marse, he say ter me : 
 "Ike, whar you bin las' night?" 
 "Ole marse," I say, "I climed er tree 
 An' drinked till I gits tight. 
 Ole marse, I'se Little Ike, you know, 

So Big Ike 'clared he's gwine ter show 
 Er little n-----'s skeered ter do 
 Sum movements he's gwine ter put 'im throo. 
 "I clim'ed de tree, ez I sed befo', 
 An' Ike, Big Ike, he gaze, 
 I drinked er pint ; now Ike he know 
 He tumble off ef he sot dat ways 
 An' drink dat pint an' brace dat tree. 
 An' kick dis legs an' rock lack me. 
 Den twis' hisself erroun' dat lim'. 
 An' go ter sleep in de breeze erswim. 
 ''Now, Ike, he shake dat tree an' me. 
 An' down I cums wid de lim'. 
 An' Ike, he laff till he hed ter see 
 Dere warn' no laff in him ; 
 Fer me an' de lim' an' de pint wuz dere. 
 An' Big Ike's cries, dey fill de air. 
 An' me an' de lim' an' de pint — we three 
 Jes' press on Ike till he couldn't see." 
 Den marse, he says: ''Well, Ike, how's dat?" 
 I looks, an' dere stan' Ike ; 
 Ike say: "You lies! You'll be er cat 
 In de big tree on de pike !" 
 I 'splains ter Ike, an' marse say: "Sin!" 
 I 'splains ter marse, an' Ike he grin, 
 I 'splain ter bof, an' bof dem looks 
 My name clean outen de heabenly books. 
 Den marse, he says: "Go 'long wid Ike." 
 Ike looks, an' den I goes. 
 I foun' myself flung ober de pike 
 On er lim', jes' erlibe wid woes. 

Ike oberseed. So he hed all cum 
 An' bring er fife an' bring er drum. 
 Dey kicked up dus', an' pranced an' sung 
 Right under de tree-tops whar I hung. 
 Ike makes me tell dat lie all ober, 
 Ergin an' ergin an' ergin. 
 My gal wuz dere. ''You's got no lober?" 
 Ike ax wid er sassy grin. 
 She shake her haid, den take de han' 
 Ob Pete, my ribal. He take her fan, 
 An' all prance off wid er look at me 
 Dat said: "Grow inter de lim' ob de tree. 
 (To my friend, R. W. Thompson.) 
 Heah, ole ooman ! Heah is me, 
 Den cum wid yo' Chris'mus tree. 
 Heah, ole ooman! Whar's you at? 
 Shake de snow offen my hat. 
 Stir de fiah an' let it blaze, 
 W inter's liabin' techey ways. 
 Rub one ear, an' I'll rub tudder ; 
 Patience gone, an' don't keer nudder. 
 Lak ter miss dis Chris-mus tree. 
 All de rich folks dat I see 
 Wuz er buyin' at dey ease 
 All de playthings an' de trees. 
 Last I bo't dis little one ; 
 Now our Liz kin habe sum fun. 
 Rich folks, dey owns all creation, 
 Sabe de po' folks' po' relation. 

Met our naber cumin' 'long 
 Wid er tree not wuth er song. 
 He wuz braggin' all de while 
 'Bout his tree an' 'bout his chile. 
 You could lose his tree in dis 
 Jes' lak sorrer's lost in bliss; 
 An' de chile whut he wuz praisin' 
 Won't be wuth de trouble o' raisin' 
 Now, de tree is in its place, 
 Kiber up our darlin's face. 
 Kiber up her hands an' feet, 
 Don't her toes look nice an' sweet? 
 Musten' let her eben heah 
 Ob de good things whut is neah. 
 Is my talk er gittin' louder? 
 Well, I'se proud an' gittin' prouder. 
 B'lieve I'll take her out o' bed. 
 An' hoi' up her sleepy haid 
 Ter de things up on de tree, 
 Co'se she'll not erwake ter see. 
 Cum heah, darlin'. Look up dar ! 
 Eb'ry playthin' is er star 
 Shinin' down on you ter please you. 
 Sleepin' still? I b'lieve I'll tease you. 
 Tickle all yo' little toes, 
 Kiss you on yo' stumpy nose, 
 Run my fingers throo yo' haih, 
 Loos'nin' all de kinks up dar. 
 Rub yo' black face 'g'inst my own 
 Till you cries : "Let me erlone." 
 Is you 'wake? You is an' sholy 
 Looks lak angels whut is holy. 

Eat dis candy an' dis cake. 
 Blow dis horn an' keep erwake. 
 Take hor ob dis jumpin' jack, 
 Scatter 'roun' dis little pack. 
 Use dis pencil an' dis slate, 
 Wid 'em I'arn ter calkerlate ; 
 Kiss yo' doll an' kiss her tresses, 
 An' her hat an' all her dresses. 
 Sleep ergin? Well, I'se bin mean — 
 Meanest dad you you's eber seen. 
 Ef you dar's fall out wid me 
 I'se gwine rob yo' Christ-mus tree. 
 Gwine ter cry? Yo' teahs is sweet, 
 Lak de toes whut slits you feet. 
 Take dis chile, good wife, an' wrop it 
 Warm in bed befo' I whop it. 
 I is fifty, more er less, an' it's cuttin' ter my pride 
 Not ter know ef I is stationed on de lower er upper 
 But I hopes I'se on de lower wid er gap dat's good 
 an' wide. 
 I has alluz bin er lober, an' I alluz has bin jilted. 
 All de nos I has rece'bed would make er quilt, full 
 stuffed an' quilted; 
 So my co'tin's but er mem'ry, an' my pride is kinder 
 Dese is strokes dat makes de wise men scratch dey 
 nakid pates an' wunder, 

Dese is strokes dat men in gin'ral 'fuse ter libe an' 
 Stan' up under, 
 Dese is strokes dat robs de lightnin' ob de right ter 
 owe de thunder. 
 Dar is strokes dat is more pow'ful den yo' I'arnin's 
 Dey jes' grin's you till you feels lak you's de four 
 win's distributions. 
 Dey is tryin' ter walk de chalk line ob yo' New Yeah 
 Knowed 'er man who swahed 'fo' gracious he wuz 
 gwine ter libe up higher 
 Den de swillin' ob' good licker till he kilt de base 
 desire ; 
 An' he ended full ob whisky 'cross de back log in de 
 Knowed er nuther man who sed he would fergibe his 
 An' he started out ter do it jes' es happy es you 
 please ; 
 But he foun' without opponents he could neber be at 
 Why dis strikin' out at randum,, when dis talk is all 
 fer me? 
 I has practiced resolutin' on de Ian' an' on de sea 
 Till my failures fin's me guilty on de charge ob 
 I is sho' my heart is tender, an' I wants ter mend my 
 I jes' lobes ter heah folks singin', an' I 'oners folks 
 dat prays. 
 But frum New Yeah resolutin' I is free de res' my 

'Cause you see I'se tried de ole ones till I'se put 'em 
 all ter rout; 
 An' ef new ones probed successful dey would leabe 
 my niin' in dou't, 
 Ef it eber could grow wise enuff ter fin' my new self 
 Heahed er sermon tudder night 
 Frum de Reb'rent Rastus White. 
 You wus dar? Don' I know dat? 
 Seed you sportin' yo' new hat. 
 Seed you lookin' 'roun' er-bout 
 So's ter pick sum feller out, 
 Whut wuz bol' er-nuff ter spy on 
 De same gal you had yo' eye on. 
 Reb'rent Rastus weahs er face 
 Dat is alius sayin' grace. 
 Reb'rent Rastus' veins ain't blue? 
 Don' I know dat well as you? 
 An' I know no udder man 
 Kin be foun' in all de Ian' 
 Whut kin go frum de beginnin' 
 Ter de en' ob all yo' sinnin'. 
 Reb'rent Rastus tuk er tex', 
 Couldn't tell whut would cum nex'? 
 Dar you cum er-puttin' in. 
 Darky, you speak up ergin 
 An' my fist'll fin' er spot 
 On yo' jaw an' keep it hot 
 Till you I'arn ter know dat knowin' 
 Ain't er thing ter be alius showin'. 

Whut's dis worl' er-comin' to 
 Ef one cyarn't go right on through 
 Wid er speech he's boun' ter make 
 'Stid ob stoppin* fer yo' sake? 
 Now, I'se gwine ter tell you how — 
 (Needn't 'gin to scrape an' bow) 
 Reb'rent Rastus sot us thinkin' — 
 Take my boot-toe fer dat blinkin' ! 
 Yes, he lead us all ter see 
 Dis worl's full ob misery, 
 An' ter spy de better Ian' — 
 Whut you got dar in yo' han'? 
 Dat's right, pardner, hoi' it up. 
 Ain't you got er glass er cup? 
 My taste's alius monstrus frisky 
 When I sees Kaintucky whisky. 
 Whar's de res' dat speech, you say? 
 Brudder Rastus cumin' dis way. 
 He kin make it bettern me, 
 An, you's boun' ter wait ter see, 
 Kase Fse got dis bottle, pard. 
 An' I'se gwine ter strike it hard. 
 Chunk me, chunk me all you please ter 
 I'se got glory heah ter freeze ter. 
 Gibe you sum? Jes' wait er bit. 
 Maybe I mought habe er fit. 
 Long's I keep my common sense 
 I'll not put on no pretense. 
 I'll jes' drink until I rise 
 Ter sum sort ob paradise. 
 Rastus cumin'? B'liebe I'll bore him. 
 Bar's de empty bottle 'fore him. 

Let us hide heah in dese weeds. 
 Rastus, Rastus, show yo' deeds. 
 Now he's lookin' on de groun', 
 Now he's list'nin' fer sum soun', 
 Now he's hid it in his clothes, 
 Now he's stuck it ter his nose, 
 Now he smacks his lips an' shows dat 
 He would like ter know whar mo's at. 
 Thoo dat bottle held er drouf 
 Rastus, you mus' hoi' yo' mouf. 
 Ef you 'spouse de temp'rence cause, 
 We's gwine be both jedge an' laws. 
 You's wid us? You better be. 
 Cum right on an' let us see. 
 Bress de Lawd fer dis chance meetin', 
 We's dun drunk. Now, let's ter eatin'. 

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