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

Paul Laurence Dunbar, "Lyrics of Love and Laughter" (Full Text) (1902)


  Two little boots all rough an' wo',
      Two little boots!
  Law, I 's kissed 'em times befo',
      Dese little boots!
  Seems de toes a-peepin' thoo
  Dis hyeah hole an' sayin' "Boo!"
  Evah time dey looks at you--
      Dese little boots.

  Membah de time he put 'em on,
      Dese little boots;
  Riz an' called fu' 'em by dawn,
      Dese little boots;
  Den he tromped de livelong day,
  Laffin' in his happy way,
  Evaht'ing he had to say,
      "My little boots!"

  Kickin' de san' de whole day long,
      Dem little boots;
  Good de cobblah made 'em strong,
     Dem little boots!
  Rocks was fu' dat baby's use,
  I'on had to stan' abuse
  W'en you tu'ned dese champeens loose,
      Dese little boots!

  Ust to make de ol' cat cry,
      Dese little boots;
  Den you walked it mighty high,
      Proud little boots!
  Ahms akimbo, stan'in' wide,
  Eyes a-sayin' "Dis is pride!"
  Den de manny-baby stride!
      You little boots.

  Somehow, you don' seem so gay,
      Po' little boots,
  Sence yo' ownah went erway,
      Po' little boots!
  Yo' bright tops don' look so red,
  Dese brass tips is dull an' dead;
  "Goo'-by," whut de baby said;
      Deah little boots!

  Ain't you kin' o' sad yo'se'f,
      You little boots?
  Dis is all his mammy 's lef',
      Two little boots.
  Sence huh baby gone an' died.
  Heav'n itse'f hit seem to hide
  Des a little bit inside
      Two little boots.


  Cool is the wind, for the summer is waning,
      Who 's for the road?
  Sun-flecked and soft, where the dead leaves are raining,
      Who 's for the road?
  Knapsack and alpenstock press hand and shoulder,
  Prick of the brier and roll of the boulder;
  This be your lot till the season grow older;
      Who 's for the road?

  Up and away in the hush of the morning,
      Who 's for the road?
  Vagabond he, all conventions a-scorning,
      Who 's for the road?
  Music of warblers so merrily singing,
  Draughts from the rill from the roadside up-springing,
  Nectar of grapes from the vines lowly swinging,
      These on the road.

  Now every house is a hut or a hovel,
      Come to the road:
  Mankind and moles in the dark love to grovel,
      But to the road.
  Throw off the loads that are bending you double;
  Love is for life, only labor is trouble;
  Truce to the town, whose best gift is a bubble:
      Come to the road!


  Come on walkin' wid me, Lucy; 't ain't no time to mope erroun'
    Wen de sunshine 's shoutin' glory in de sky,
  An' de little Johnny-Jump-Ups 's jes' a-springin' f'om de groun',
    Den a-lookin' roun' to ax each othah w'y.
  Don' you hyeah dem cows a-mooin'? Dat 's dey howdy to de spring;
    Ain' dey lookin' most oncommon satisfied?
  Hit 's enough to mek a body want to spread dey mouf an' sing
    Jes' to see de critters all so spa'klin'-eyed.

  W'y dat squir'l dat jes' run past us, ef I did n' know his tricks,
    I could swaih he 'd got 'uligion jes' to-day;
  An' dem liza'ds slippin' back an' fofe ermong de stones an' sticks
    Is a-wigglin' 'cause dey feel so awful gay.
  Oh, I see yo' eyes a-shinin' dough you try to mek me b'lieve
    Dat you ain' so monst'ous happy 'cause you come;
  But I tell you dis hyeah weathah meks it moughty ha'd to 'ceive
    Ef a body's soul ain' blin' an' deef an' dumb.

  Robin whistlin' ovah yandah ez he buil' his little nes';
    Whut you reckon dat he sayin' to his mate?
  He's a-sayin' dat he love huh in de wo'ds she know de bes',
    An' she lookin' moughty pleased at whut he state.
  Now, Miss Lucy, dat ah robin sholy got his sheer o' sense,
    An' de hen-bird got huh mothah-wit fu' true;
  So I t'ink ef you 'll ixcuse me, fu' I do' mean no erfence,
    Dey 's a lesson in dem birds fu' me an' you.

  I 's a-buil'in' o' my cabin, an' I 's vines erbove de do'
    Fu' to kin' o' gin it sheltah f'om de sun;
  Gwine to have a little kitchen wid a reg'lar wooden flo',
    An' dey 'll be a back verandy w'en hit 's done.
  I 's a-waitin' fu' you, Lucy, tek de 'zample o' de birds,
    Dat 's a-lovin' an' a-matin' evahwhaih.
  I cain' tell you dat I loves you in de robin's music wo'ds,
    But my cabin 's talkin' fu' me ovah thaih!


  De da'kest hour, dey allus say,
  Is des' befo' de dawn,
  But it's moughty ha'd a-waitin'
  W'ere de night goes frownin' on;
  An' it's moughty ha'd a-hopin'
  W'en de clouds is big an' black,
  An' all de t'ings you 's waited fu'
  Has failed, er gone to wrack--
  But des' keep on a-joggin' wid a little bit o' song,
  De mo'n is allus brightah w'en de night's been long.

  Dey 's lots o' knocks you 's got to tek
  Befo' yo' journey 's done,
  An' dey 's times w'en you 'll be wishin'
  Dat de weary race was run;
  W'en you want to give up tryin'
  An' des' float erpon de wave,
  W'en you don't feel no mo' sorrer
  Ez you t'ink erbout de grave--
  Den, des' keep on a-joggin' wid a little bit o' song,
  De mo'n is allus brightah w'en de night's been long.

  De whup-lash sting a good deal mo'
  De back hit 's knowed befo',
  An' de burden 's allus heavies'
  Whaih hits weight has made a so';
  Dey is times w'en tribulation
  Seems to git de uppah han'
  An' to whip de weary trav'lah
  'Twell he ain't got stren'th to stan'--
  But des' keep on a-joggin' wid a little bit o' song,
  De mo'n is allus brightah w'en de night's been long.


  Oh to have you in May,
    To talk with you under the trees,
  Dreaming throughout the day,
    Drinking the wine-like breeze,

  Oh it were sweet to think
    That May should be ours again,
  Hoping it not, I shrink,
    Out of the sight of men.

  May brings the flowers to bloom,
    It brings the green leaves to the tree,
  And the fatally sweet perfume,
    Of what you once were to me.


  What dreams we have and how they fly
  Like rosy clouds across the sky;
    Of wealth, of fame, of sure success,
    Of love that comes to cheer and bless;
  And how they wither, how they fade,
  The waning wealth, the jilting jade--
    The fame that for a moment gleams,
    Then flies forever,--dreams, ah--dreams!

  O burning doubt and long regret,
  O tears with which our eyes are wet,
    Heart-throbs, heart-aches, the glut of pain,
    The somber cloud, the bitter rain,
  You were not of those dreams--ah! well,
  Your full fruition who can tell?
    Wealth, fame, and love, ah! love that beams
    Upon our souls, all dreams--ah! dreams.


  De night creep down erlong de lan',
    De shadders rise an' shake,
  De frog is sta'tin' up his ban',
    De cricket is awake;
  My wo'k is mos' nigh done, Celes',
    To-night I won't be late,
  I 's hu'yin' thoo my level bes',
    Wait fu' me by de gate.

  De mockin'-bird 'll sen' his glee
    A-thrillin' thoo and thoo,
  I know dat ol' magnolia-tree
    Is smellin' des' fu' you;
  De jessamine erside de road
    Is bloomin' rich an' white,
  My hea't 's a-th'obbin' 'cause it knowed
    You 'd wait fu' me to-night.

  Hit 's lonesome, ain't it, stan'in' thaih
    Wid no one nigh to talk?
  But ain't dey whispahs in de aih
    Erlong de gyahden walk?
  Don't somep'n kin' o' call my name,
    An' say "he love you bes'"?
  Hit 's true, I wants to say de same,
    So wait fu' me, Celes'.

  Sing somep'n fu' to pass de time,
    Outsing de mockin'-bird,
  You got de music an' de rhyme,
    You beat him wid de word.
  I 's comin' now, my wo'k is done,
    De hour has come fu' res',
  I wants to fly, but only run--
    Wait fu' me, deah Celes'.


  Treat me nice, Miss Mandy Jane,
      Treat me nice.
  Dough my love has tu'ned my brain,
      Treat me nice.
  I ain't done a t'ing to shame,
  Lovahs all ac's jes' de same;
  Don't you know we ain't to blame?
      Treat me nice!

  Cose I know I 's talkin' wild;
      Treat me nice;
  I cain't talk no bettah, child,
      Treat me nice;
  Whut a pusson gwine to do,
  Wen he come a-cou'tin' you
  All a-trimblin' thoo and thoo?
      Please be nice.

  Reckon I mus' go de paf
      Othahs do:
  Lovahs lingah, ladies laff;
      Mebbe you
  Do' mean all the things you say,
  An' pu'haps some latah day
  W'en I baig you ha'd, you may
      Treat me nice!


  Out of the sunshine and out of the heat,
  Out of the dust of the grimy street,
  A song fluttered down in the form of a dove,
  And it bore me a message, the one word--Love!

  Ah, I was toiling, and oh, I was sad:
  I had forgotten the way to be glad.
  Now, smiles for my sadness and for my toil, rest
  Since the dove fluttered down to its home in my breast!


  "Sunshine on de medders,
    Greenness on de way;
  Dat 's de blessed reason
    I sing all de day."
  Look hyeah! Whut you axin'?
    Whut meks me so merry?
  'Spect to see me sighin'
    W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary?

  'Long de stake an' rider
    Seen a robin set;
  W'y hit 'mence a-thawin',
    Groun' is monst'ous wet.
  Den you stan' dah wond'rin',
    Lookin' skeert an' stary;
  I's a right to caper
    W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary.

  Missis gone a-drivin',
    Mastah gone to shoot;
  Ev'ry da'ky lazin'
    In de sun to boot.
  Qua'tah 's moughty pleasant,
    Hangin' 'roun' my Mary;
  Cou'tin' boun' to prospah
    W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary.

  Cidah look so pu'ty
    Po'in' f'om de jug--
  Don' you see it's happy?
    Hyeah it laffin'--glug?
  Now's de time fu' people
    Fu' to try an' bury
  All dey grief an' sorrer,
    W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary.


  Dey is snow upon de meddahs, dey is snow upon de hill,
  An' de little branch's watahs is all glistenin' an' still;
  De win' goes roun' de cabin lak a sperrit wan'erin' 'roun'.
  An' de chillen shakes an' shivahs as dey listen to de soun'.
  Dey is hick'ry in de fiahplace, whah de blaze is risin' high,
  But de heat it meks ain't wa'min' up de gray clouds in de sky.
  Now an' den I des peep outside, den I hurries to de do',
  Lawd a mussy on my body, how I wish it would n't snow!

  I kin stan' de hottes' summah, I kin stan' de wettes' fall,
  I kin stan' de chilly springtime in de ploughland, but dat's all;
  Fu' de ve'y hottes' fiah nevah tells my skin a t'ing,
  W'en de snow commence a-flyin', an' de win' begin to sing.
  Dey is plenty wood erroun' us, an' I chop an' tote it in,
  But de t'oughts dat I 's a t'inkin' while I 's wo'kin' is a sin.
  I kin keep f'om downright swahin' all de time I 's on de go,
  But my hea't is full o' cuss-wo'ds w'en I's trampin' thoo de snow.

  What you say, you Lishy Davis, dat you see a possum's tracks?
  Look hyeah, boy, you stop yo' foolin', bring ol' Spot, an' bring de ax.
  Is I col'? Go way, now, Mandy, what you t'ink I's made of?--sho,
  W'y dis win' is des ez gentle, an' dis ain't no kin' o' snow.
  Dis hyeah weathah 's des ez healthy ez de wa'mest summah days.
  All you chillen step up lively, pile on wood an' keep a blaze.
  What's de use o' gittin' skeery case dey 's snow upon de groun'?
  Huh-uh, I 's a reg'lar snowbird ef dey 's any possum 'roun'.

  Go on, Spot, don' be so foolish; don' you see de signs o' feet.
  What you howlin' fu? Keep still, suh, cose de col' is putty sweet;
  But we goin' out on bus'ness, an' hit 's bus'ness o' de kin'
  Dat mus' put a dog an' dahky in a happy frame o' min'.
  Yes, you 's col'; I know it, Spotty, but you des stay close to me,
  An' I 'll mek you hot ez cotton w'en we strikes de happy tree.
  No, I don' lak wintah weathah, an' I 'd wush 't uz allus June,
  Ef it was n't fu' de trackin' o' de possum an' de coon.


  Oh, de clouds is mighty heavy
  An' de rain is mighty thick;
   Keep a song up on de way.
  An' de waters is a rumblin'
  On de boulders in de crick,
    Keep a song up on de way.
  Fu' a bird ercross de road
  Is a-singin' lak he knowed
  Dat we people did n't daih
  Fu' to try de rainy aih
    Wid a song up on de way.

  What's de use o' gittin' mopy,
  Case de weather ain' de bes'!
    Keep a song up on de way.
  W'en de rain is fallin' ha'des',
  Dey 's de longes' times to res'
    Keep a song up on de way.
  Dough de plough 's a-stan'in' still
  Dey 'll be watah fu' de mill,
  Rain mus' come ez well ez sun
  'Fo' de weathah's wo'k is done,
    Keep a song up on de way.

  W'y hit's nice to hyeah de showahs
  Fallin' down ermong de trees:
    Keep a song up on de way.
  Ef de birds don' bothah 'bout it,
  But go singin' lak dey please,
    Keep a song up on de way.
  You don' s'pose I's gwine to see
  Dem ah fowls do mo' dan me?
  No, suh, I 'll des chase dis frown,
  An' aldough de rain fall down,
    Keep a song up on de way.


  Woman's sho' a cur'ous critter, an' dey ain't no doubtin' dat.
  She's a mess o' funny capahs f'om huh slippahs to huh hat.
  Ef you tries to un'erstan' huh, an' you fails, des' up an' say:
  "D' ain't a bit o' use to try to un'erstan' a woman's way."

  I don' mean to be complainin', but I 's jes' a-settin' down
  Some o' my own obserwations, w'en I cas' my eye eroun'.
  Ef you ax me fu' to prove it, I ken do it mighty fine,
  Fu' dey ain't no bettah 'zample den dis ve'y wife o' mine.

  In de ve'y hea't o' midnight, w'en I 's sleepin' good an' soun',
  I kin hyeah a so't o' rustlin' an' somebody movin' 'roun'.
  An' I say, "Lize, whut you doin'?" But she frown an' shek huh haid,
  "Heish yo' mouf, I's only tu'nin' of de chillun in de bed.

  "Don' you know a chile gits restless, layin' all de night one way?
  An' you' got to kind o' 'range him sev'al times befo' de day?
  So de little necks won't worry, an' de little backs won't break;
  Don' you t'ink case chillun 's chillun dey hain't got no pain an' ache."

  So she shakes 'em, an' she twists 'em, an' she tu'ns 'em 'roun' erbout,
  'Twell I don' see how de chillun evah keeps f'om hollahin' out.
  Den she lif's 'em up head down'ards, so's dey won't git livahgrown,
  But dey snoozes des' ez peaceful ez a liza'd on a stone.

  W'en hit's mos' nigh time fu' wakin' on de dawn o' jedgment day,
  Seems lak I kin hyeah ol' Gab'iel lay his trumpet down an' say,
  "Who dat walkin' 'roun' so easy, down on earf ermong de dead?"--
  'T will be Lizy up a-tu'nin' of de chillun in de bed.


  Heel and toe, heel and toe,
   That is the song we sing;
  Turn to your partner and curtsey low,
   Balance and forward and swing.
  Corners are draughty and meadows are white,
  This is the game for a winter's night.

  Hands around, hands around,
    Trip it, and not too slow;
  Clear is the fiddle and sweet its sound,
    Keep the girls' cheeks aglow.
  Still let your movements be dainty and light,
  This is the game for a winter's night.

  Back to back, back to back,
    Turn to your place again;
  Never let lightness nor nimbleness lack,
    Either in maidens or men.
  Time hasteth ever, beware of its flight,
  Oh, what a game for a winter's night!

  Slower now, slower now,
    Softer the music sighs;
  Look, there are beads on your partner's brow
    Though there be light in her eyes.
  Lead her away and her grace requite,
  So goes the game on a winter's night.


  Dey 's a so't o' threatenin' feelin' in de blowin' of de breeze,
    An' I 's feelin' kin' o' squeamish in de night;
  I 's a-walkin' 'roun' a-lookin' at de diffunt style o' trees,
    An' a-measurin' dey thickness an' dey height.
  Fu' dey 's somep'n mighty 'spicious in de looks de da'kies give,
    Ez dey pass me an' my fambly on de groun,'
  So it 'curs to me dat lakly, ef I caihs to try an' live,
    It concehns me fu' to 'mence to look erroun'.

  Dey's a cu'ious kin' o' shivah runnin' up an' down my back,
    An' I feel my feddahs rufflin' all de day,
  An' my laigs commence to trimble evah blessid step I mek;
    W'en I sees a ax, I tu'ns my head away.
  Folks is go'gin' me wid goodies, an' dey 's treatin' me wid caih,
    An' I 's fat in spite of all dat I kin do.
  I 's mistrus'ful of de kin'ness dat's erroun' me evahwhaih,
    Fu' it 's jes' too good, an' frequent, to be true.

  Snow 's a-fallin' on de medders, all erroun' me now is white,
    But I 's still kep' on a-roostin' on de fence;
  Isham comes an' feels my breas'bone, an' he hefted me las' night,
    An' he 's gone erroun' a-grinnin' evah sence.
  'T ain't de snow dat meks me shivah; 't ain't de col' dat meks me
    'T ain't de wintah-time itse'f dat's 'fectin' me;
  But I t'ink de time is comin', an' I 'd bettah mek a break,
    Fu' to set wid Mistah Possum in his tree.

  Wen you hyeah de da'kies singin', an' de quahtahs all is gay,
    'T ain't de time fu' birds lak me to be 'erroun';
  Wen de hick'ry chip is flyin', an' de log 's been ca'ied erway,
    Den hit's dang'ous to be roostin' nigh he groun'.

  Grin on, Isham! Sing on, da'kies! But I flop my wings an' go
    Fu' de sheltah of de ve'y highest tree,
  Fu' dey 's too much close ertention--an' dey's too much fallin' snow--
    An' it's too nigh Chris'mus mo'nin' now fu' me.


  Wen I git up in de mo'nin' an' de clouds is big an' black,
  Dey's a kin' o' wa'nin' shivah goes a-scootin' down my back;
  Den I says to my ol' ooman ez I watches down de lane,
  "Don't you so't o' reckon, Lizy, dat we gwine to have some rain?"

  "Go on, man," my Lizy answah, "you cain't fool me, not a bit,
  I don't see no rain a-comin', ef you's wishin' fu' it, quit;
  Case de mo' you t'ink erbout it, an de mo' you pray an' wish,
  W'y de rain stay 'way de longah, spechul ef you wants to fish."

  But I see huh pat de skillet, an' I see huh cas' huh eye
  Wid a kin' o' anxious motion to'ds de da'kness in de sky;
  An' I knows whut she 's a-t'inkin', dough she tries so ha'd to hide.
  She 's a-sayin', "Would n't catfish now tas'e monst'ous bully, fried?"

  Den de clouds git black an' blackah, an' de thundah 'mence to roll,
  An' de rain, it 'mence a-fallin'. Oh, I's happy, bless my soul!
  Ez I look at dat ol' skillet, an' I 'magine I kin see
  Jes' a slew o' new-ketched catfish sizzlin' daih fu' huh an' me.

  'T ain't no use to go a-ploughin', fu' de groun' 'll be too wet,
  So I puts out fu' de big house at a moughty pace, you bet,
  An' ol' mastah say, "Well, Lishy, ef you t'ink hit 's gwine to rain,
  Go on fishin', hit 's de weathah, an' I 'low we cain't complain."

  Talk erbout a dahky walkin' wid his haid up in de aih!
  Have to feel mine evah minute to be sho' I got it daih;
  En' de win' is cuttin' capahs an' a-lashin' thoo de trees,
  But de rain keeps on a-singin' blessed songs, lak "Tek yo' ease."

  Wid my pole erpon my shouldah an' my wo'm can in my han',
  I kin feel de fish a-waitin' w'en I strikes de rivah's san';
  Nevah min', you ho'ny scoun'els, need n' swim erroun' an' grin,
  I 'll be grinnin' in a minute w'en I 'mence to haul you in.

  W'en de fish begin to nibble, an' de co'k begin to jump,
  I 's erfeahed dat dey 'll quit bitin', case dey hyeah my hea't go "thump,"
  'Twell de co'k go way down undah, an' I raise a awful shout,
  Ez a big ol' yallah belly comes a gallivantin' out.

  Need n't wriggle, Mistah Catfish, case I got you jes' de same,
  You been eatin', I 'll be eatin', an' we needah ain't to blame.
  But you need n't feel so lonesome fu' I 's th'owin' out to see
  Ef dey ain't some of yo' comrades fu' to keep you company.

  Spo't, dis fishin'! now you talkin', w'y dey ain't no kin' to beat;
  I don' keer ef I is soakin', laigs, an' back, an' naik, an' feet,
  It 's de spo't I 's lookin' aftah. Hit 's de pleasure an' de fun,
  Dough I knows dat Lizy 's waitin' wid de skillet w'en I's done.


  Hain't you see my Mandy Lou,
    Is it true?
  Whaih you been f'om day to day,
    Whaih, I say?
  Dat you say you nevah seen
    Dis hyeah queen
  Walkin' roun' f'om fiel' to street
    Smilin' sweet?

  Slendah ez a saplin' tree;
    Seems to me
  Wen de win' blow f'om de bay
    She jes' sway
  Lak de reg'lar saplin' do
    Ef hit's grew
  Straight an' graceful, 'dout a limb,
    Sweet an' slim.

  Browner den de frush's wing,
    An' she sing
  Lak he mek his wa'ble ring
    In de spring;
  But she sholy beat de frush,
    Hyeah me, hush:
  Wen she sing, huh teef kin show
    White ez snow.

  Eyes ez big an' roun' an' bright
    Ez de light
  Whut de moon gives in de prime
    Harvest time.
  An' huh haih a woolly skein,
    Black an' plain.
  Hol's you wid a natchul twis'
    Close to bliss.

  Tendah han's dat mek yo' own
    Feel lak stone;
  Easy steppin', blessid feet,
    Small an' sweet.
  Hain't you seen my Mandy Lou,
    Is it true?
  Look at huh befo' she's gone,
    Den pass on!


  De win' is hollahin' "Daih you" to de shuttahs an' de fiah,
    De snow's a-sayin' "Got you" to de groun',
  Fu' de wintah weathah 's come widout a-askin' ouah desiah,
    An' he 's laughin' in his sleeve at whut he foun';
  Fu' dey ain't nobody ready wid dey fuel er dey food,
    An' de money bag look timid lak, fu' sho',
  So we want ouah Chrismus sermon, but we 'd lak it ef you could
    Leave a little Chrismus basket at de do'.

  Wha 's de use o' tellin' chillen 'bout a Santy er a Nick,
    An' de sto'ies dat a body allus tol'?
  When de harf is gray wid ashes an' you has n't got a stick
    Fu' to warm dem when dey little toes is col'?
  Wha 's de use o' preachin' 'ligion to a man dat's sta'ved to def,
    An' a-tellin' him de Mastah will pu'vide?
  Ef you want to tech his feelin's, save yo' sermons an' yo' bref,
    Tek a little Chrismus basket by yo' side.

  'T ain't de time to open Bibles an' to lock yo' cellah do',
    'T ain't de time to talk o' bein' good to men;
  Ef you want to preach a sermon ez you nevah preached befo',
    Preach dat sermon wid a shoat er wid er hen;
  Bein' good is heap sight bettah den a-dallyin' wid sin,
    An' dey ain't nobody roun' dat knows it mo',
  But I t'ink dat 'ligion 's sweeter w'en it kind o' mixes in
    Wid a little Chrismus basket at de do'.


  When to sweet music my lady is dancing
    My heart to mild frenzy her beauty inspires.
  Into my face are her brown eyes a-glancing,
    And swift my whole frame thrills with tremulous fires.
  Dance, lady, dance, for the moments are fleeting,
    Pause not to place yon refractory curl;
  Life is for love and the night is for sweeting;
    Dreamily, joyously, circle and whirl.

  Oh, how those viols are throbbing and pleading;
    A prayer is scarce needed in sound of their strain.
  Surely and lightly as round you are speeding,
    You turn to confusion my heart and my brain.
  Dance, lady, dance to the viol's soft calling,
    Skip it and trip it as light as the air;
  Dance, for the moments like rose leaves are falling,
    Strikes, now, the clock from its place on the stair.

  Now sinks the melody lower and lower,
    The weary musicians scarce seeming to play.
  Ah, love, your steps now are slower and slower,
    The smile on your face is more sad and less gay.
  Dance, lady, dance to the brink of our parting,
    My heart and your step must not fail to be light.
  Dance! Just a turn--tho' the tear-drop be starting.
    Ah--now it is done--so--my lady, good-night!


  When Phyllis sighs and from her eyes
  The light dies out; my soul replies
  With misery of deep-drawn breath,
  E'en as it were at war with death.

  When Phyllis smiles, her glance beguiles
  My heart through love-lit woodland aisles,
  And through the silence high and clear,
  A wooing warbler's song I hear.

  But if she frown, despair comes down,
  I put me on my sack-cloth gown;
  So frown not, Phyllis, lest I die,
  But look on me with smile or sigh.


  W'en de clouds is hangin' heavy in de sky,
  An' de win's 's a-taihin' moughty vig'rous by,
  I don' go a-sighin' all erlong de way;
  I des' wo'k a-waitin' fu' de close o' day.

  Case I knows w'en evenin' draps huh shadders down,
  I won' care a smidgeon fu' de weathah's frown;
  Let de rain go splashin', let de thundah raih,
  Dey 's a happy sheltah, an' I 's goin' daih.

  Down in my ol' cabin wa'm ez mammy's toas',
  'Taters in de fiah layin' daih to roas';
  No one daih to cross me, got no talkin' pal,
  But I 's got de comp'ny o' my sweet brown gal.

  So I spen's my evenin' listenin' to huh sing,
  Lak a blessid angel; how huh voice do ring!
  Sweetah den a bluebird flutterin' erroun',
  W'en he sees de steamin' o' de new ploughed groun'.

  Den I hugs huh closah, closah to my breas'.
  Need n't sing, my da'lin', tek you' hones' res'.
  Does I mean Malindy, Mandy, Lize er Sal?
  No, I means my fiddle-dat's my sweet brown gal!


  Grass commence a-comin'
    Thoo de thawin' groun',
  Evah bird dat whistles
    Keepin' noise erroun';
  Cain't sleep in de mo'nin',
    Case befo' it 's light
  Bluebird an' de robin,
    Done begun to fight.

  Bluebird sass de robin,
    Robin sass him back,
  Den de bluebird scol' him
    'Twell his face is black.
  Would n' min' de quoilin'
    All de mo'nin' long,
  'Cept it wakes me early,
    Case hit 's done in song.

  Anybody wo'kin'
    Wants to sleep ez late
  Ez de folks 'll 'low him,
    An' I wish to state
  (Co'se dis ain't to scattah,
    But 'twix' me an' you),
  I could stan' de bedclothes,
    Kin' o' latah, too.

  'T ain't my natchul feelin',
    Dis hyeah mopin' spell.
  I stan's early risin'
    Mos'ly moughty well;
  But de ve'y minute,
    I feel Ap'il's heat,
  Bless yo' soul, de bedclothes
    Nevah seemed so sweet.

  Mastah, he's a-scol'in',
    Case de han's is slow,
  All de hosses balkin',
    Jes' cain't mek 'em go.
  Don' know whut's de mattah,
    Hit's a funny t'ing,
  Less'n hit 's de fevah
    Dat you gits in spring.


  Little lady at de do',
    W'y you stan' dey knockin'?
  Nevah seen you ac' befo'
    In er way so shockin'.
      Don' you know de sin it is
      Fu' to git my temper riz
      Wen I 's got de rheumatiz
    An' my jints is lockin'?

  No, ol' Miss ain't sont you down,
    Don' you tell no story;
  I been seed you hangin' 'roun'
    Dis hyeah te'itory.
      You des come fu' me to tell
      You a tale, an' I ain'--well--
      Look hyeah, what is dat I smell?
    Steamin' victuals? Glory!

  Come in, Missy, how you do?
    Come up by de fiah,
  I was jokin', chile, wid you;
    Bring dat basket nighah.
      Huh uh, ain't dat lak ol' Miss,
      Sen'in' me a feas' lak dis?
      Rheumatiz cain't stop my bliss,
    Case I's feelin' spryah.

  Chicken meat an' gravy, too,
    Hot an' still a-heatin';
  Good ol' sweet pertater stew;
    Missy b'lieves in treatin'.
      Des set down, you blessed chile,
      Daddy got to t'ink a while,
      Den a story mek you smile
    Wen he git thoo eatin'.


  Wintah, summah, snow er shine,
    Hit's all de same to me,
  Ef only I kin call you mine,
    An' keep you by my knee.

  Ha'dship, frolic, grief er caih,
    Content by night an' day,
  Ef only I kin see you whaih
    You wait beside de way.

  Livin', dyin', smiles er teahs,
    My soul will still be free,
  Ef only thoo de comin' yeahs
    You walk de worl' wid me.

  Bird-song, breeze-wail, chune er moan,
    What puny t'ings dey 'll be,
  Ef w'en I 's seemin' all erlone,
    I knows yo' hea't 's wid me.


  Wen de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street,
  Don't you people stan' daih starin'; lif yo' feet!
    Ain't dey playin'? Hip, hooray!
    Stir yo' stumps an' cleah de way,
  Fu' de music dat dey mekin' can't be beat.

  Oh, de major man's a-swingin' of his stick,
  An' de pickaninnies crowdin' roun' him thick;
    In his go'geous uniform,
    He 's de lightnin' of de sto'm,
  An' de little clouds erroun' look mighty slick.

  You kin hyeah a fine perfo'mance w'en de white ban's serenade,
    An' dey play dey high-toned music mighty sweet,
  But hit 's Sousa played in ragtime, an' hit 's Rastus on Parade,
    Wen de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street.

  Wen de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street
  You kin hyeah de ladies all erroun' repeat:
    "Ain't dey handsome? Ain't dey gran'?
    Ain't dey splendid? Goodness, lan'!
  Wy dey's pu'fect f'om dey fo'heads to dey feet!"
  An' sich steppin' to de music down de line,
  'T ain't de music by itself dat meks it fine,
    Hit's de walkin', step by step,
    An' de keepin' time wid "Hep,"
  Dat it mek a common ditty soun' divine.

  Oh, de white ban' play hits music, an' hit 's mighty good to hyeah,
  An' it sometimes leaves a ticklin' in yo' feet;
  But de hea't goes into bus'ness fu' to he'p erlong de eah,
    Wen de colo'ed ban' goes ma'chin' down de street.


  Belated wanderer of the ways of spring,
    Lost in the chill of grim November rain,
  Would I could read the message that you bring
    And find in it the antidote for pain.

  Does some sad spirit out beyond the day,
    Far looking to the hours forever dead,
  Send you a tender offering to lay
    Upon the grave of us, the living dead?

  Or does some brighter spirit, unforlorn,
    Send you, my little sister of the wood,
  To say to some one on a cloudful morn,
    "Life lives through death, my brother, all is good?"

  With meditative hearts the others go
    The memory of their dead to dress anew.
  But, sister mine, bide here that I may know,
    Life grows, through death, as beautiful as you.


  At the golden gate of song
  Stood I, knocking all day long,
  But the Angel, calm and cold,
  Still refused and bade me, "Hold."

  Then a breath of soft perfume,
  Then a light within the gloom;
  Thou, Love, camest to my side,
  And the gates flew open wide.

  Long I dwelt in this domain,
  Knew no sorrow, grief, or pain;
  Now you bid me forth and free,
  Will you shut these gates on me?


  Gray is the palace where she dwells,
    Grimly the poplars stand
  There by the window where she sits,
    My Lady of Castle Grand.

  There does she bide the livelong day,
    Grim as the poplars are,
  Ever her gaze goes reaching out,
    Steady, but vague and far.

  Bright burn the fires in the castle hall,
    Brightly the fire-dogs stand;
  But cold is the body and cold the heart
    Of my Lady of Castle Grand.

  Blue are the veins in her lily-white hands,
    Blue are the veins in her brow;
  Thin is the line of her blue drawn lips,
    Who would be haughty now?

  Pale is the face at the window-pane,
    Pale as the pearl on her breast,
  "Roderick, love, wilt come again?
    Fares he to east or west?"

  The shepherd pipes to the shepherdess,
    The bird to his mate in the tree,
  And ever she sighs as she hears their song,
    "Nobody sings for me."

  The scullery maids have swains enow
    Who lead them the way of love,
  But lonely and loveless their mistress sits
    At her window up above.

  Loveless and lonely she waits and waits,
    The saddest in all the land;
  Ah, cruel and lasting is love-blind pride,
    My Lady of Castle Grand.


  Hit 's been drizzlin' an' been sprinklin',
    Kin' o' techy all day long.
  I ain't wet enough fu' toddy,
    I 's too damp to raise a song,
  An' de case have set me t'inkin',
    Dat dey 's folk des lak de rain,
  Dat goes drizzlin' w'en dey's talkin',
    An' won't speak out flat an' plain.

  Ain't you nevah set an' listened
    At a body 'splain his min'?
  W'en de t'oughts dey keep on drappin'
    Was n't big enough to fin'?
  Dem 's whut I call drizzlin' people,
    Othahs call 'em mealy mouf,
  But de fust name hits me bettah,
    Case dey nevah tech a drouf.

  Dey kin talk from hyeah to yandah,
    An' f'om yandah hyeah ergain,
  An' dey don' mek no mo' 'pression,
    Den dis powd'ry kin' o' rain.
  En yo' min' is dry ez cindahs,
    Er a piece o' kindlin' wood,
  'T ain't no use a-talkin' to 'em,
    Fu' dey drizzle ain't no good.

  Gimme folks dat speak out nachul,
    Whut 'll say des whut dey mean,
  Whut don't set dey wo'ds so skimpy
    Dat you got to guess between.
  I want talk des' lak de showahs
    Whut kin wash de dust erway,
  Not dat sprinklin' convusation,
    Dat des drizzle all de day.


  Ain't nobody nevah tol' you not a wo'd a-tall,
  'Bout de time dat all de critters gin dey fancy ball?
  Some folks tell it in a sto'y, some folks sing de rhyme,
  'Peahs to me you ought to hyeahed it, case hit 's ol' ez time.

  Well, de critters all was p'osp'ous, now would be de chance
  Fu' to tease ol' Pa'son Hedgehog, givin' of a dance;
  Case, you know, de critters' preachah was de stric'est kin',
  An' he nevah made no 'lowance fu' de frisky min'.

  So dey sont dey inbitations, Raccoon writ 'em all,
  "Dis hyeah note is to inbite you to de Fancy Ball;
  Come erlong an' bring yo' ladies, bring yo' chillun too,
  Put on all yo' bibs an' tuckahs, show whut you kin do."

  W'en de night come, dey all gathahed in a place dey knowed,
  Fu' enough erway f'om people, nigh enough de road,
  All de critters had ersponded, Hop-Toad up to Baih,
  An' I 's hyeah to tell you, Pa'son Hedgehog too, was daih.

  Well, dey talked an' made dey 'bejunce, des lak critters do,
  An' dey walked an' p'omenaded 'roun' an' thoo an' thoo;
  Jealous ol' Mis' Fox, she whispah, "See Mis' Wildcat daih,
  Ain't hit scan'lous, huh a-comin' wid huh shouldahs baih?"

  Ol' man T'utle was n't honin' fu' no dancin' tricks,
  So he stayed by ol' Mis' Tu'tle, talkin' politics;
  Den de ban' hit 'mence a-playin' critters all to place,
  Fou' ercross an' fou' stan' sideways, smilin' face to face.

  'Fessah Frog, he play de co'net, Cricket play de fife,
  Slews o' Grasshoppahs a-fiddlin' lak to save dey life;
  Mistah Crow, 'he call de figgers, settin' in a tree,
  Huh, uh! how dose critters sasshayed was a sight to see.

  Mistah Possom swing Mis' Rabbit up an' down de flo',
  Ol' man Baih, he ain't so nimble, an' it mek him blow;
  Raccoon dancin' wid Mis' Squ'il squeeze huh little han',
  She say, "Oh, now ain't you awful, quit it, goodness lan'!"

  Pa'son Hedgehog groanin' awful at his converts' shines,
  'Dough he peepin' thoo his fingahs at dem movin' lines,
  'Twell he cain't set still no longah w'en de fiddles sing,
  Up he jump, an' bless you, honey, cut de pigeon-wing.

  Well, de critters lak to fainted jes' wid dey su'prise.
  Sistah Fox, she vowed she was n't gwine to b'lieve huh eyes;
  But dey could n't be no 'sputin' 'bout it any mo':
  Pa'son Hedgehog was a-cape'in' all erroun' de flo.'

  Den dey all jes' capahed scan'lous case dey did n't doubt,
  Dat dey still could go to meetin'; who could tu'n 'em out?
  So wid dancin' an' uligion, dey was in de fol',
  Fu' a-dancin' wid de Pa'son couldn't hu't de soul.


  Dey was talkin' in de cabin, dey was talkin' in de hall;
  But I listened kin' o' keerless, not a-t'inkin' 'bout it all;
  An' on Sunday, too, I noticed, dey was whisp'rin' mighty much,
  Stan'in' all erroun' de roadside w'en dey let us out o' chu'ch.
  But I did n't t'ink erbout it 'twell de middle of de week,
  An' my 'Lias come to see me, an' somehow he could n't speak.
  Den I seed all in a minute whut he 'd come to see me for;--
  Dey had 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias gwine to wah.

  Oh, I hugged him, an' I kissed him, an' I baiged him not to go;
  But he tol' me dat his conscience, hit was callin' to him so,
  An' he could n't baih to lingah w'en he had a chanst to fight
  For de freedom dey had gin him an' de glory of de right.
  So he kissed me, an' he lef me, w'en I 'd p'omised to be true;
  An' dey put a knapsack on him, an' a coat all colo'ed blue.
  So I gin him pap's ol' Bible f'om de bottom of de draw',--
  W'en dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went to wah.

  But I t'ought of all de weary miles dat he would have to tramp,
  An' I could n't be contented w'en dey tuk him to de camp.
  W'y my hea't nigh broke wid grievin' 'twell I seed him on de street;
  Den I felt lak I could go an' th'ow my body at his feet.
  For his buttons was a-shinin', an' his face was shinin', too,
  An' he looked so strong an' mighty in his coat o' sojer blue,
  Dat I hollahed, "Step up, manny," dough my th'oat was so' an' raw,--
  W'en dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went to wah.

  Ol' Mis' cried w'en mastah lef huh, young Miss mou'ned huh brothah Ned,
  An' I did n't know dey feelin's is de ve'y wo'ds dey said
  W'en I tol' 'em I was so'y. Dey had done gin up dey all;
  But dey only seemed mo' proudah dat dey men had hyeahed de call.
  Bofe my mastahs went in gray suits, an' I loved de Yankee blue,
  But I t'ought dat I could sorrer for de losin' of 'em too;
  But I could n't, for I did n't know de ha'f o' whut I saw,
  'Twell dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went to wah.

  Mastah Jack come home all sickly; he was broke for life, dey said;
  An' dey lef my po' young mastah some'r's on de roadside,--dead.
  W'en de women cried an' mou'ned 'em, I could feel it thoo an' thoo,
  For I had a loved un fightin' in de way o' dangah, too.
  Den dey tol' me dey had laid him some'r's way down souf to res',
  Wid de flag dat he had fit for shinin' daih acrost his breas'.
  Well, I cried, but den I reckon dat 's whut Gawd had called him for,
  W'en dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went to wah.


  Hurt was the nation with a mighty wound,
  And all her ways were filled with clam'rous sound.
  Wailed loud the South with unremitting grief,
  And wept the North that could not find relief.
  Then madness joined its harshest tone to strife:
  A minor note swelled in the song of life.
  'Till, stirring with the love that filled his breast,
  But still, unflinching at the right's behest,
  Grave Lincoln came, strong handed, from afar,
  The mighty Homer of the lyre of war.
  'T was he who bade the raging tempest cease,
  Wrenched from his harp the harmony of peace,
  Muted the strings, that made the discord,--Wrong,
  And gave his spirit up in thund'rous song.
  Oh mighty Master of the mighty lyre,
  Earth heard and trembled at thy strains of fire:
  Earth learned of thee what Heav'n already knew,
  And wrote thee down among her treasured few.


  Who dat knockin' at de do'?
  Why, Ike Johnson,--yes, fu' sho!
  Come in, Ike. I 's mighty glad
  You come down. I t'ought you 's mad
  At me 'bout de othah night,
  An' was stayin' 'way fu' spite.
  Say, now, was you mad fu' true
  Wen I kin' o' laughed at you?
    Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

  'T ain't no use a-lookin' sad,
  An' a-mekin' out you 's mad;
  Ef you 's gwine to be so glum,
  Wondah why you evah come.
  I don't lak nobidy 'roun'
  Dat jes' shet dey mouf an' frown,--
  Oh, now, man, don't act a dunce!
  Cain't you talk? I tol' you once,
    Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

  Wha 'd you come hyeah fu' to-night?
  Body 'd t'ink yo' haid ain't right.
  I 's done all dat I kin do,--
  Dressed perticler, jes' fu' you;
  Reckon I 'd 'a' bettah wo'
  My ol' ragged calico.
  Aftah all de pains I 's took,
  Cain't you tell me how I look?
    Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

  Bless my soul! I 'mos' fu'got
  Tellin' you 'bout Tildy Scott.
  Don't you know, come Thu'sday night,
  She gwine ma'y Lucius White?
  Miss Lize say I allus wuh
  Heap sight laklier 'n huh;
  An' she 'll git me somep'n new,
  Ef I wants to ma'y too.
    Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

  I could ma'y in a week,
  Ef de man I wants 'ud speak.
  Tildy's presents 'll be fine,
  But dey would n't ekal mine.
  Him whut gits me fu' a wife
  'Ll be proud, you bet yo' life.
  I 's had offers; some ain't quit;
  But I has n't ma'ied yit!
    Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f.

  Ike, I loves you,--yes, I does;
  You 's my choice, and allus was.
  Laffin' at you ain't no harm.--
  Go 'way, dahky, whah 's yo' arm?
  Hug me closer--dah, dat 's right!
  Was n't you a awful sight,
  Havin' me to baig you so?
  Now ax whut you want to know,--
    Speak up, Ike, an' 'spress yo'se'f!


  W'en de evenin' shadders
    Come a-glidin' down,
  Fallin' black an' heavy
    Ovah hill an' town,
  Ef you listen keerful,
    Keerful ez you kin,
  So 's you boun' to notice
    Des a drappin' pin;
  Den you 'll hyeah a funny
    Soun' ercross de lan';
  Lay low; dat's de callin'
    Of de Boogah Man!

  _Woo-oo woo-oo!_
    _Hyeah him ez he go erlong de way;_
  _Woo-oo, woo-oo!_
    _Don' you wish de night 'ud t'un to day?_
  _Woo-oo, woo-oo!_
    _Hide yo' little peepers 'hind yo' han;_
  _Woo-oo, woo-oo!_
    _Callin' of de Boogah Man._

  W'en de win 's a-shiverin'
    Thoo de gloomy lane,
  An' dey comes de patterin'
    Of de evenin' rain,
  W'en de owl's a-hootin',
    Out daih in de wood,
  Don' you wish, my honey,
    Dat you had been good?
  'T ain't no use to try to
    Snuggle up to Dan;
  Bless you, dat's de callin'
    Of de Boogah Man!

  Ef you loves yo' mammy,
    An' you min's yo' pap,
  Ef you nevah wriggles
    Outen Sukey's lap;
  Ef you says yo' "Lay me"
    Evah single night
  'Fo' dey tucks de kivers
    An' puts out de light,
  Den de rain kin pattah
    Win' blow lak a fan,
  But you need n' bothah
    'Bout de Boogah Man!


  Ah me, it is cold and chill
    And the fire sobs low in the grate,
  While the wind rides by on the hill,
    And the logs crack sharp with hate.

  And she, she is cold and sad
    As ever the sinful are,
  But deep in my heart I am glad
    For my wound and the coming scar.

  Oh, ever the wind rides by
    And ever the raindrops grieve;
  But a voice like a woman's sigh
    Says, "Do you believe, believe?"

  Ah, you were warm and sweet,
    Sweet as the May days be;
  Down did I fall at your feet,
    Why did you hearken to me?

  Oh, the logs they crack and whine,
    And the water drops from the eaves;
  But it is not rain but brine
    Where my dead darling grieves.

  And a wraith sits by my side,
    A spectre grim and dark;
  Are you gazing here open-eyed
    Out to the lifeless dark?

  But ever the wind rides on,
    And we sit close within;
  Out of the face of the dawn,
    I and my darling,--sin.


  'T is better to sit here beside the sea,
    Here on the spray-kissed beach,
  In silence, that between such friends as we
    Is full of deepest speech.


  Slow de night 's a-fallin',
  An' I hyeah de callin,
    Out erpon de lonesome hill;
  Soun' is moughty dreary,
  Solemn-lak an' skeery,
    Sayin' fu' to "whip po' Will."

  Now hit 's moughty tryin',
  Fu' to hyeah dis cryin',
    'Deed hit 's mo' den I kin stan';
  Sho' wid all our slippin',
  Dey 's enough of whippin'
    'Dout a bird a'visin' any man.

  In de noons o' summah
  Dey 's anothah hummah
    Sings anothah song instid;
  An' his th'oat 's a-swellin'
  Wid de joy o' tellin',
    But he says dat "Katy did."

  Now I feels onsuhtain;
  Won't you raise de cu'tain
    Ovah all de ti'ngs dat 's hid?
  W'y dat feathahed p'isen
  Goes erbout a-visin'
    Whippin' Will w'en Katy did?


    Daih 's a moughty soothin' feelin'
      Hits a dahky man,
        'Long to'ds night.
    W'en de row is mos' nigh ended,
      Den he stops to fan,
        'Long to'ds night.
  De blue smoke f'om his cabin is a-callin' to him "Come;"
  He smell de bacon cookin', an' he hyeah de fiah hum;
  An' he 'mence to sing, 'dough wo'kin' putty nigh done made him dumb,
        'Long to'ds night.

    Wid his hoe erpon his shouldah
      Den he goes erlong,
        'Long to'ds night.
    An' he keepin' time a-steppin'
      Wid a little song,
        'Long to'ds night.
  De restin'-time 's a-comin', an' de time to drink an' eat;
  A baby's toddlin' to'ds him on hits little dusty feet,
  An' a-goin' to'ds his cabin, an' his suppah 's moughty sweet,
        'Long to'ds night.

    Daih his Ca'line min' de kettle,
      Rufus min' de chile,
        'Long to'ds night;
    An' de sweat roll down his forred,
      Mixin' wid his smile,
        'Long to'ds night.
  He toss his piccaninny, an' he hum a little chune;
  De wokin' all is ovah, an' de suppah comin' soon;
  De wo'kin' time 's Decembah, but de restin' time is June,
        'Long to'ds night.

    Dey 's a kin' o' doleful feelin',
    Hits a tendah place,
        'Long to'ds night;
    Dey 's a moughty glory in him
      Shinin' thoo his face,
        Long to'ds night.
  De cabin 's lak de big house, an' de fiah's lak de sun;
  His wife look moughty lakly, an' de chile de puttiest one;
  W'y, hit 's blessid, jes' a-livin' w'en a body's wo'k is done.
        'Long to'ds night.


  Wen de snow 's a-fallin'
    An' de win' is col'.
  Mammy 'mence a-callin',
    Den she 'mence to scol',
  "Lucius Lishy Brackett,
    Don't you go out do's,
  Button up yo' jacket,
    Les'n you 'll git froze."

  I sit at de windah
    Lookin' at de groun',
  Nuffin nigh to hindah,
    Mammy ain' erroun';
  Wish 't she would n' mek me
    Set down in dis chaih;
  Pshaw, it would n't tek me
    Long to git some aih.

  So I jump down nimble
    Ez a boy kin be,
  Dough I 's all a-trimble
    Feahed some one 'll see;
  Bet in a half a minute
    I fly out de do'
  An' I 's knee-deep in it,
    Dat dah blessed snow.

  Den I hyeah a pattah
    Come acrost de flo'.
  Den dey comes a clattah
    At de cabin do';
  An' my mammy holler
    Spoilin' all my joy,
  "Come in f'om dat waller,
    Don't I see you, boy?"

  Wen de snow 's a-sievin'
    Down ez sof ez meal,
  Whut 's de use o' livin'
    'Cept you got de feel
  Of de stuff dat's fallin'
    'Roun' an' white an' damp,
  'Dout some one a-callin',
    "Come in hyeah, you scamp!"


  I have seen full many a sight
  Born of day or drawn by night:
  Sunlight on a silver stream,
  Golden lilies all a-dream,
  Lofty mountains, bold and proud,
  Veiled beneath the lacelike cloud;
  But no lovely sight I know
  Equals Dinah kneading dough.

  Brown arms buried elbow-deep
  Their domestic rhythm keep,
  As with steady sweep they go
  Through the gently yielding dough.
  Maids may vaunt their finer charms--
  Naught to me like Dinah's arms;
  Girls may draw, or paint, or sew--
  I love Dinah kneading dough.

  Eyes of jet and teeth of pearl,
  Hair, some say, too tight a-curl;
  But the dainty maid I deem
  Very near perfection's dream.
  Swift she works, and only flings
  Me a glance--the least of things.
  And I wonder, does she know
  That my heart is in the dough?


  Dear critic, who my lightness so deplores,
  Would I might study to be prince of bores,
  Right wisely would I rule that dull estate--
  But, sir, I may not, till you abdicate.


  Want to trade me, do you, mistah? Oh, well, now, I reckon not,
  W'y you could n't buy my Sukey fu' a thousan' on de spot.
      Dat ol' mare o' mine?
  Yes, huh coat ah long an' shaggy, an' she ain't no shakes to see;
  Dat's a ring-bone, yes, you right, suh, an' she got a on'ry knee,
  But dey ain't no use in talkin', she de only hoss fu' me,
      Dat ol' mare o' mine.

  Co'se, I knows dat Suke 's contra'y, an' she moughty ap' to vex;
  But you got to mek erlowance fu' de nature of huh sex;
      Dat ol' mare o' mine.
  Ef you pull her on de lef han'; she plum 'termined to go right,
  A cannon could n't skeer huh, but she boun' to tek a fright
  At a piece o' common paper, or anyt'ing whut's white,
      Dat ol' mare o' mine.

  Wen my eyes commence to fail me, dough, I trus'es to huh sight,
  An' she 'll tote me safe an' hones' on de ve'y da'kes' night,
      Dat ol' mare o' mine.
  Ef I whup huh, she jes' switch huh tail, an' settle to a walk,
  Ef I whup huh mo', she shek huh haid, an' lak ez not, she balk.
  But huh sense ain't no ways lackin', she do evah t'ing but talk,
      Dat ol' mare o' mine.

  But she gentle ez a lady w'en she know huh beau kin see.
  An' she sholy got mo' gumption any day den you or me,
    Dat ol' mare o' mine.
  She's a leetle slow a-goin,' an' she moughty ha'd to sta't,
  But we 's gittin' ol' togathah, an' she 's closah to my hea't,
  An' I does n't reckon, mistah, dat she 'd sca'cely keer to pa't;
    Dat ol' mare o' mine.

  W'y I knows de time dat cidah 's kin' o' muddled up my haid,
  Ef it had n't been fu' Sukey hyeah, I reckon I 'd been daid;
    Dat ol' mare o' mine.
  But she got me in de middle o' de road an' tuk me home,
  An' she would n't let me wandah, ner she would n't let me roam,
  Dat's de kin' o' hoss to tie to w'en you 's seed de cidah's foam,
    Dat ol' mare o' mine.

  You kin talk erbout yo' heaven, you kin talk erbout yo' hell,
  Dey is people, dey is hosses, den dey's cattle, den dey's--well--
    Dat ol' mare o' mine;
  She de beatenes' t'ing dat evah struck de medders o' de town,
  An' aldough huh haid ain't fittin' fu' to waih no golden crown,
  D' ain't a blessed way fu' Petah fu' to tu'n my Sukey down,
    Dat ol' mare o' mine.


  'Lias! 'Lias! Bless de Lawd!
  Don' you know de day's erbroad?
  Ef you don' git up, you scamp,
  Dey 'll be trouble in dis camp.
  T'ink I gwine to let you sleep
  W'ile I meks yo' boa'd an' keep?
  Dat's a putty howdy-do--
  Don' you hyeah me, 'Lias--you?

  Bet ef I come crost dis flo'
  You won' fin' no time to sno'.
  Daylight all a-shinin' in
  Wile you sleep--w'y hit's a sin!
  Ain't de can'le-light enough
  To bu'n out widout a snuff,
  But you go de mo'nin' thoo
  Bu'nin' up de daylight too?

  'Lias, don' you hyeah me call?
  No use tu'nin' to'ds de wall;
  I kin hyeah dat mattuss squeak;
  Don' you hyeah me w'en I speak?
  Dis hyeah clock done struck off six--
  Ca'line, bring me dem ah sticks!
  Oh, you down, suh; huh, you down--
  Look hyeah, don' you daih to frown.

  Ma'ch yo'se'f an' wash yo' face,
  Don' you splattah all de place;
  I got somep'n else to do,
  'Sides jes' cleanin' aftah you.
  Tek dat comb ah' fix yo' haid--
  Looks jes' lak a feddah baid.
  Look hyeah, boy, I let you see
  You sha' n't roll yo' eyes at me.

  Come hyeah; bring me dat ah strap!
  Boy, I'll whup you 'twell you drap;
  You done felt yo'se'f too strong,
  An' you sholy got me wrong.
  Set down at dat table thaih;
  Jes' you whimpah ef you daih!
  Evah mo'nin' on dis place,
  Seem lak I mus' lose my grace.

  Fol' yo' han's an' bow yo' haid--
  Wait ontwell de blessin' 's said;
  "Lawd, have mussy on ouah souls--"
  (Don' you daih to tech dem rolls--)
  "Bless de food we gwine to eat--"
  (You set still-I _see_ yo' feet;
  You jes' try dat trick agin!)
  "Gin us peace an' joy. Amen!"


  He sang of life, serenely sweet,
    With, now and then, a deeper note.
    From some high peak, nigh yet remote,
  He voiced the world's absorbing beat.

  He sang of love when earth was young,
    And Love, itself, was in his lays.
    But ah, the world, it turned to praise
  A jingle in a broken tongue.


  Win' a-blowin' gentle so de san' lay low,
    San' a little heavy f'om de rain,
  All de pa'ms a-wavin' an' a-weavin' slow,
    Sighin' lak a sinnah-soul in pain.
  Alligator grinnin' by de ol' lagoon,
  Mockin'-bird a-singin' to be big full moon.
  'Skeeter go a-skimmin' to his fightin' chune
    (Lizy Ann's a-waitin' in de lane!).

  Moccasin a-sleepin' in de cyprus swamp;
   Need n't wake de gent'man, not fu' me.
  Mule, you need n't wake him w'en you switch an' stomp,
    Fightin' off a 'skeeter er a flea.
  Florida is lovely, she's de fines' lan'
  Evah seed de sunlight f'om de Mastah's han',
  'Ceptin' fu' de varmints an' huh fleas an' san'
    An' de nights w'en Lizy Ann ain' free.

  Moon 's a-kinder shaddered on de melon patch;
    No one ain't a-watchin' ez I go.
  Climbin' of de fence so 's not to click de latch
    Meks my gittin' in a little slow.
  Watermelon smilin' as it say, "I' s free;"
  Alligator boomin', but I let him be,
  Florida, oh, Florida 's de lan' fu' me--
    (Lizy Ann a-singin' sweet an' low).


  My neighbor lives on the hill,
    And I in the valley dwell,
  My neighbor must look down on me,
    Must I look up?--ah, well,
  My neighbor lives on the hill,
    And I in the valley dwell.

  My neighbor reads, and prays,
    And I--I laugh, God wot,
  And sing like a bird when the grass is green
    In my small garden plot;
  But ah, he reads and prays,
    And I--I laugh, God wot.

  His face is a book of woe,
    And mine is a song of glee;
  A slave he is to the great "They say,"
    But I--I am bold and free;
  No wonder he smacks of woe,
    And I have the tang of glee.

  My neighbor thinks me a fool,
    "The same to yourself," say I;
  "Why take your books and take your prayers,
    Give me the open sky;"
  My neighbor thinks me a fool,
    "The same to yourself," say I.


  De ol' time's gone, de new time's hyeah
    Wid all hits fuss an' feddahs;
  I done fu'got de joy an' cheah
    We knowed all kin's o' weddahs,
  I done fu'got each ol'-time hymn
    We ust to sing in meetin';
  I 's leahned de prah's, so neat an' trim,
    De preachah keeps us 'peatin'.

  Hang a vine by de chimney side,
    An' one by de cabin do';
  An' sing a song fu' de day dat died,
    De day of long ergo.

  My youf, hit's gone, yes, long ergo,
    An' yit I ain't a-moanin';
  Hit 's fu' somet'ings I ust to know
    I set to-night a-honin'.
  De pallet on de ol' plank flo',
    De rain bar'l und' de eaves,
  De live oak 'fo' de cabin do',
    Whaih de night dove comes an' grieves.

  Hang a vine by de chimney side,
    An' one by de cabin do';
  An' sing a song fu' de day dat died,
    De day of long ergo.

  I 'd lak a few ol' frien's to-night
    To come an' set wid me;
  An' let me feel dat ol' delight
    I ust to in dey glee.
  But hyeah we is, my pipe an' me,
    Wid no one else erbout;
  We bofe is choked ez choked kin be,
    An' bofe 'll soon go out.

  Hang a vine by de chimney side,
    An' one by de cabin do';
  An' sing a song fu' de day dat died,
    De day of long ergo.


  De trees is bendin' in de sto'm,
  De rain done hid de mountain's fo'm,
    I 's 'lone an' in distress.
  But listen, dah 's a voice I hyeah,
    A-sayin' to me, loud an' cleah,
  "Lay low in de wildaness."

  De lightnin' flash, de bough sway low,
  My po' sick hea't is trimblin' so,
    It hu'ts my very breas'.
  But him dat give de lightnin' powah
  Jes' bids me in de tryin' howah
    "Lay low in de wildaness."

  O brothah, w'en de tempes' beat,
  An' w'en yo' weary head an' feet
    Can't fin' no place to res',
  Jes' 'membah dat de Mastah 's nigh,
  An' putty soon you 'll hyeah de cry,
    "Lay low in de wildaness."

  O sistah, w'en de rain come down,
  An' all yo' hopes is 'bout to drown,
    Don't trus' de Mastah less.
  He smilin' w'en you t'ink he frown,
  He ain' gwine let yo' soul sink down--
    Lay low in de wildaness.


  De 'cession's stahted on de gospel way,
    De Capting is a-drawin' nigh:
  Bettah stop a-foolin' an' a-try to pray;
    Lif' up yo' haid w'en de King go by!

  Oh, sinnah mou'nin' in de dusty road,
    Hyeah 's de minute fu' to dry yo' eye:
  Dey 's a moughty One a-comin' fu' to baih yo' load;
    Lif' up yo' haid w'en de King go by!

  Oh, widder weepin' by yo' husban's grave,
    Hit 's bettah fu' to sing den sigh:
  Hyeah come de Mastah wid de powah to save;
    Lif' up yo' haid w'en de King go by!

  Oh, orphans a-weepin' lak de widder do,
    An' I wish you 'd tell me why:
  De Mastah is a mammy an' a pappy too;
    Lif' up yo' haid w'en de King go by!

  Oh, Moses sot de sarpint in de wildahness
    W'en de chillun had commenced to die:
  Some 'efused to look, but hit cuohed de res';
    Lif' up yo' haid w'en de King go by!

  Bow down, bow 'way down, Bow down,
  But lif' up yo' haid w'en de King go by!


  Out in de night a sad bird moans,
    An', oh, but hit 's moughty lonely;
  Times I kin sing, but mos' I groans,
    Fu' oh, but hit 's moughty lonely!
  Is you sleepin' well dis evenin', Marfy, deah?
  W'en I calls you fom de cabin, kin you hyeah?
    'T ain't de same ol' place to me,
    Nuffin' 's lak hit used to be,
  W'en I knowed dat you was allus some'ers near.

  Down by de road de shadders grows,
    An', oh, but hit's moughty lonely;
  Seem lak de ve'y moonlight knows,
    An', oh, but hit's moughty lonely!
  Does you know, I's cryin' fu' you, oh, my wife?
  Does you know dey ain't no joy no mo' in life?
    An' my only t'ought is dis,
    Dat I's honin' fu' de bliss
  Fu' to quit dis groun' o' worriment an' strife.

  Dah on de baid my banjo lays,
    An', oh, but hit's moughty lonely;
  Can't even sta't a chune o' praise,
    An', oh, but hit's moughty lonely!
  Oh, hit's moughty slow a-waitin' hyeah below.
  Is you watchin' fu' me, Marfy, at de do'?
    Ef you is, in spite o' sin,
    Dey'll be sho' to let me in,
  Wen dey sees yo' face a-shinin', den dey'll know.


  It's moughty tiahsome layin' 'roun'
  Dis sorrer-laden earfly groun',
  An' oftentimes I thinks, thinks I,
  'T would be a sweet t'ing des to die,
      An' go 'long home.

  Home whaih de frien's I loved 'll say,
  "We've waited fu' you many a day,
  Come hyeah an' res' yo'se'f, an' know
  You's done wid sorrer an' wid woe,
      Now you's at home."

  W'en I gits home some blessid day,
  I 'lows to th'ow my caihs erway,
  An' up an' down de shinin' street,
  Go singin' sof' an' low an' sweet,
      W'en I gits home.

  I wish de day was neah at han',
  I's tiahed of dis grievin' lan',
  I's tiahed of de lonely yeahs,
  I want to des dry up my teahs,
      An' go 'long home.

  Oh, Mastah, won't you sen' de call?
  My frien's is daih, my hope, my all.
  I 's waitin' whaih de road is rough,
  I want to hyeah you say, "Enough,
      Ol' man, come home!"


  Do' a-stan'in' on a jar, fiah a-shinin' thoo,
  Ol' folks drowsin' 'roun' de place, wide awake is Lou,
  W'en I tap, she answeh, an' I see huh 'mence to grin,
  "Howdy, honey, howdy, won't you step right in?"

  Den I step erpon de log layin' at de do',
  Bless de Lawd, huh mammy an' huh pap's done 'menced to sno',
  Now's de time, ef evah, ef I's gwine to try an' win,
  "Howdy, honey, howdy, won't you step right in?"

  No use playin' on de aidge, trimblin' on de brink,
  Wen a body love a gal, tell huh whut he t'ink;
  W'en huh hea't is open fu' de love you gwine to gin,
  Pull yo'se'f togethah, suh, an' step right in.

  Sweetes' imbitation dat a body evah hyeahed,
  Sweetah den de music of a lovesick mockin'-bird,
  Comin' f'om de gal you loves bettah den yo' kin,
  "Howdy, honey, howdy, won't you step right in?"

  At de gate o' heaven w'en de storm o' life is pas',
  'Spec' I 'll be a-stan'in', 'twell de Mastah say at las',
  "Hyeah he stan' all weary, but he winned his fight wid sin.
  Howdy, honey, howdy, won't you step right in?"


  A song for the unsung heroes who rose in the country's need,
  When the life of the land was threatened by the slaver's cruel greed,
  For the men who came from the cornfield, who came from the plough and
            the flail,
  Who rallied round when they heard the sound of the mighty man of the

  They laid them down in the valleys, they laid them down in the wood,
  And the world looked on at the work they did, and whispered, "It is good."
  They fought their way on the hillside, they fought their way in the glen,
  And God looked down on their sinews brown, and said, "I have made them

  They went to the blue lines gladly, and the blue lines took them in,
  And the men who saw their muskets' fire thought not of their dusky skin.
  The gray lines rose and melted beneath their scathing showers,
  And they said, "'T is true, they have force to do, these old slave boys
            of ours."

  Ah, Wagner saw their glory, and Pillow knew their blood,
  That poured on a nation's altar, a sacrificial flood.
  Port Hudson heard their war-cry that smote its smoke-filled air,
  And the old free fires of their savage sires again were kindled there.

  They laid them down where the rivers the greening valleys gem.
  And the song of the thund'rous cannon was their sole requiem,
  And the great smoke wreath that mingled its hue with the dusky cloud,
  Was the flag that furled o'er a saddened world, and the sheet that made
            their shroud.

  Oh, Mighty God of the Battles Who held them in Thy hand,
  Who gave them strength through the whole day's length, to fight for their
            native land,
  They are lying dead on the hillsides, they are lying dead on the plain,
  And we have not fire to smite the lyre and sing them one brief strain.

  Give, Thou, some seer the power to sing them in their might,
  The men who feared the master's whip, but did not fear the fight;
  That he may tell of their virtues as minstrels did of old,
  Till the pride of face and the hate of race grow obsolete and cold.

  A song for the unsung heroes who stood the awful test,
  When the humblest host that the land could boast went forth to meet the
  A song for the unsung heroes who fell on the bloody sod,
  Who fought their way from night to day and struggled up to God.


  By the pool that I see in my dreams, dear love,
    I have sat with you time and again;
  And listened beneath the dank leaves, dear love,
    To the sibilant sound of the rain.

  And the pool, it is silvery bright, dear love,
    And as pure as the heart of a maid,
  As sparkling and dimpling, it darkles and shines
    In the depths of the heart of the glade.

  But, oh, I 've a wish in my soul, dear love,
    (The wish of a dreamer, it seems,)
  That I might wash free of my sins, dear love,
    In the pool that I see in my dreams.


  Whose little lady is you, chile,
    Whose little gal is you?
  What's de use o' kiver'n up yo' face?
    Chile, dat ain't de way to do.
  Lemme see yo' little eyes,
    Tek yo' little han's down nice,
  Lawd, you wuff a million bills,
    Huh uh, chile, dat ain't yo' price.

  Honey, de money ain't been made
    Dat dey could pay fu' you;
  'T ain't no use a-biddin'; you too high
    Fu' de riches' Jap er Jew.
  Lemme see you smilin' now,
    How dem teef o' yo'n do shine,
  An' de t'ing dat meks me laff
    Is dat all o' you is mine.

  How 's I gwine to tell you how I feel,
    How's I gwine to weigh yo' wuff?
  Oh, you sholy is de sweetes' t'ing
    Walkin' on dis blessed earf.
  Possum is de sweetes' meat,
    Cidah is the nices' drink,
  But my little lady-bird
    Is de bes' of all, I t'ink.

  Talk erbout 'uligion he'pin' folks
    All thoo de way o' life,
  Gin de res' 'uligion, des' gin me
    You, my little lady-wife.
  Den de days kin come all ha'd,
    Den de nights kin come all black,
  Des' you tek me by de han',
    An' I'll stumble on de track.

  Stumble on de way to Gawd, my chile,
    Stumble on, an' mebbe fall;
  But I'll keep a-trottin', while you lead on,
    Pickin' an' a-trottin', dat's all.
  Hol' me mighty tight, dough, chile,
    Fu' hit's rough an' rocky lan',
  Heaben 's at de en', I know,
    So I's leanin' on yo' han'.


  W'en daih 's chillun in de house,
    Dey keep on a-gittin' tall;
  But de folks don' seem to see
    Dat dey 's growin' up at all,
  'Twell dey fin' out some fine day
    Dat de gals has 'menced to grow,
  Wen dey notice as dey pass
    Dat de front gate 's saggin' low.

  Wen de hinges creak an' cry,
    An' de bahs go slantin' down,
  You kin reckon dat hit's time
    Fu' to cas' yo' eye erroun',
  'Cause daih ain't no 'sputin' dis,
    Hit's de trues' sign to show
  Dat daih 's cou'tin' goin' on
    Wen de ol' front gate sags low.

  Oh, you grumble an' complain,
    An' you prop dat gate up right;
  But you notice right nex' day
    Dat hit's in de same ol' plight.
  So you fin' dat hit's a rule,
    An' daih ain' no use to blow,
  W'en de gals is growin' up,
    Dat de front gate will sag low.

  Den you t'ink o' yo' young days,
    W'en you cou'ted Sally Jane,
  An' you so't o' feel ashamed
    Fu' to grumble an' complain,
  'Cause yo' ricerlection says,
    An' you know hits wo'ds is so,
  Dat huh pappy had a time
    Wid his front gate saggin' low.

  So you jes' looks on an' smiles
    At 'em leanin' on de gate,
  Tryin' to t'ink whut he kin say
    Fu' to keep him daih so late,
  But you lets dat gate erlone,
    Fu' yo' 'sperunce goes to show,
  'Twell de gals is ma'ied off,
    It gwine keep on saggin' low.


  In the east the morning comes,
  Hear the rollin' of the drums
      On the hill.
  But the heart that beat as they beat
  In the battle's raging day heat
      Lieth still.
  Unto him the night has come,
  Though they roll the morning drum.

  What is in the bugle's blast?
  It is: "Victory at last!
      Now for rest."
  But, my comrades, come behold him,
  Where our colors now enfold him,
      And his breast
  Bares no more to meet the blade,
  But lies covered in the shade.

  What a stir there is to-day!
  They are laying him away
      Where he fell.
  There the flag goes draped before him;
  Now they pile the grave sod o'er him
      With a knell.
  And he answers to his name
  In the higher ranks of fame.

  There's a woman left to mourn
  For the child that she has borne
      In travail.
  But her heart beats high and higher,
  With the patriot mother's fire,
      At the tale.
  She has borne and lost a son,
  But her work and his are done.

  Fling the flag out, let it wave;
  They 're returning from the grave--
      "Double quick!"
  And the cymbals now are crashing,
  Bright his comrades' eyes are flashing
      From the thick
  Battle-ranks which knew him brave,
  No tears for a hero's grave.

  In the east the morning comes,
  Hear the rattle of the drums
      Far away.
  Now no time for grief's pursuing,
  Other work is for the doing,
      Here to-day.
  He is sleeping, let him rest
  With the flag across his breast.


  Swing yo' lady roun' an' roun',
    Do de bes' you know;
  Mek yo' bow an' p'omenade
    Up an' down de flo';
  Mek dat banjo hump huhse'f.
    Listen at huh talk:
  Mastah gone to town to-night;
    'T ain't no time to walk.

  Lif yo' feet an' flutter thoo,
    Run, Miss Lucy, run;
  Reckon you 'll be cotched an' kissed
    'Fo' de night is done.
  You don't need to be so proud--
    I's a-watchin' you,
  An' I's layin' lots o' plans
    Fu' to git you, too.

  Moonlight on de cotton-fiel'
    Shinin' sof an' white,
  Whippo'will a-tellin' tales
    Out thaih in de night;
  An' yo' cabin 's 'crost de lot:
    Run, Miss Lucy, run;
  Reckon you 'll be cotched an' kissed
    To' de night is done.


  Some folks t'inks hit's right an' p'opah,
    Soon ez bedtime come erroun',
  Fu' to scramble to de kiver,
    Lak dey 'd hyeahed de trumpet soun'.
  But dese people dey all misses
    Whut I mos'ly does desiah;
  Dat 's de settin' roun' an' dozin',
    An' a-noddin' by de fiah.

  When you 's tiahed out a-hoein',
    Er a-followin' de plough,
  Whut's de use of des a-fallin'
    On yo' pallet lak a cow?
  W'y, de fun is all in waitin'
    In de face of all de tiah,
  An' a-dozin' and a-drowsin'
    By a good ol' hick'ry fiah.

  Oh, you grunts an' groans an' mumbles
    Case yo' bones is full o' col',
  Dough you feels de joy a-tricklin'
    Roun' de co'nahs of yo' soul.
  An' you 'low anothah minute
    'S sho to git you wa'm an' dryah,
  W'en you set up pas' yo' bedtime,
    Case you hates to leave de fiah.

  Whut's de use o' downright sleepin'?
    You can't feel it while it las',
  An' you git up feelin' sorry
    W'en de time fu' it is pas'.
  Seem to me dat time too precious,
    An' de houahs too short entiah,
  Fu' to sleep, w'en you could spen' 'em
    Des a-noddin' by de fiah.


  Key and bar, key and bar,
    Iron bolt and chain!
  And what will you do when the King comes
    To enter his domain?

  Turn key and lift bar,
    Loose, oh, bolt and chain!
  Open the door and let him in,
    And then lock up again.

  But, oh, heart, and woe, heart,
    Why do you ache so sore?
  Never a moment's peace have you
    Since Love hath passed the door.

  Turn key and lift bar,
   And loose bolt and chain;
  But Love took in his esquire, Grief,
   And there they both remain.


  Darling, my darling, my heart is on the wing,
    It flies to thee this morning like a bird,
  Like happy birds in springtime my spirits soar and sing,
   The same sweet song thine ears have often heard.

  The sun is in my window, the shadow on the lea,
    The wind is moving in the branches green,
  And all my life, my darling, is turning unto thee,
    And kneeling at thy feet, my own, my queen.

  The golden bells are ringing across the distant hill,
    Their merry peals come to me soft and clear,
  But in my heart's deep chapel all incense-filled and still
    A sweeter bell is sounding for thee, dear.

  The bell of love invites thee to come and seek the shrine
    Whose altar is erected unto thee,
  The offerings, the sacrifice, the prayers, the chants are thine,
    And I, my love, thy humble priest will be.


TO F. N.

  Like sea-washed sand upon the shore,
    So fine and clean the tale,
  So clear and bright I almost see,
    The flashing of a sail.

  The tang of salt is in its veins,
    The freshness of the spray
  God give you love and lore and strength,
    To give us such alway.


  I 's feelin' kin' o' lonesome in my little room to-night,
    An' my min 's done los' de minutes an' de miles,
  Wile it teks me back a-flyin' to de country of delight,
    Whaih de Chesapeake goes grumblin' er wid smiles.
      Oh, de ol' plantation 's callin' to me, Come, come back,
    Hyeah 's de place fu' you to labouh an' to res',
      'Fu my sandy roads is gleamin' w'ile de city ways is black;
    Come back, honey, case yo' country home is bes'.

  I know de moon is shinin' down erpon de Eastern sho',
    An' de bay 's a-sayin' "Howdy" to de lan';
  An' de folks is all a-settin' out erroun' de cabin do',
    Wid dey feet a-restin' in de silvah san';
      An' de ol' plantation 's callin' to me, Come, oh, come,
    F'om de life dat 's des' a-waihin' you erway,
      F'om de trouble an' de bustle, an' de agernizin' hum
    Dat de city keeps ergoin' all de day.

  I 's tiahed of de city, tek me back to Sandy Side,
    Whaih de po'est ones kin live an' play an' eat;
  Whaih we draws a simple livin' f'om de fo'est an' de tide,
    An' de days ah faih, an' evah night is sweet.
      Fu' de ol' plantation 's callin' to me, Come, oh, come.
    An' de Chesapeake 's a-sayin' "Dat's de t'ing,"
      W'ile my little cabin beckons, dough his mouf is closed an' dumb,
    I 's a-comin, an' my hea't begins to sing.


  Will I have some mo' dat pie?
  No, ma'am, thank-ee, dat is--I--
    Bettah quit daihin' me.
  Dat ah pie look sutny good:
  How 'd you feel now ef I would?
  I don' reckon dat I should;
    Bettah quit daihin' me.

  Look hyeah, I gwine tell de truf,
  Mine is sholy one sweet toof:
    Bettah quit daihin' me.
  Yass'm, yass'm, dat's all right,
  I 's done tried to be perlite:
  But dat pie 's a lakly sight,
    Wha 's de use o' daihin' me?

  My, yo' lips is full an' red,
  Don't I wish you 'd tu'n yo' haid?
    Bettah quit daihin' me.
  Dat ain't faih, now, honey chile,
  I 's gwine lose my sense erwhile
  Ef you des set daih an' smile,
    Bettah quit daihin' me.

  Nuffin' don' look ha'f so fine
  Ez dem teef, deah, w'en dey shine:
    Bettah quit daihin' me.
  Now look hyeah, I tells you dis;
  I 'll give up all othah bliss
  Des to have one little kiss,
    Bettah quit daihin' me.

  Laws, I teks yo' little han',
  Ain't it tendah? bless de lan'--
    Bettah quit daihin' me.
  I 's so lonesome by myse'f,
  'D ain't no fun in livin' lef';
  Dis hyeah life's ez dull ez def:
    Bettah quit daihin' me.

  Why n't you tek yo' han' erway?
  Yass, I 'll hol' it: but I say
    Bettah quit daihin' me.
  Holin' han's is sholy fine.
  Seems lak dat 's de weddin' sign.
  Wish you 'd say dat you 'd be mine;--
    Dah you been daihin' me.


  By Mystic's banks I held my dream.
    (I held my fishing rod as well,)
  The vision was of dace and bream,
    A fruitless vision, sooth to tell.
    But round about the sylvan dell
  Were other sweet Arcadian shrines,
    Gone now, is all the rural spell,
  Arcadia has trolley lines.

  Oh, once loved, sluggish, darkling stream,
    For me no more, thy waters swell,
  Thy music now the engines' scream,
    Thy fragrance now the factory's smell;
    Too near for me the clanging bell;
  A false light in the water shines
    While Solitude lists to her knell,--
  Arcadia has trolley lines.

  Thy wooded lanes with shade and gleam
    Where bloomed the fragrant asphodel,
  Now bleak commercially teem
    With signs "To Let," "To Buy," "To Sell."
    And Commerce holds them fierce and fell;
  With vulgar sport she now combines
    Sweet Nature's piping voice to quell.
  Arcadia has trolley lines.


  Oh, awful Power whose works repel
    The marvel of the earth's designs,--
  I 'll hie me otherwhere to dwell,
    Arcadia has trolley lines.


  Dey been speakin' at de cou't-house,
    An' laws-a-massy me,
  'T was de beatness kin' o' doin's
    Dat evah I did see.
  Of cose I had to be dah
    In de middle o' de crowd,
  An' I hallohed wid de othahs,
    Wen de speakah riz and bowed.

  I was kind o' disapp'inted
    At de smallness of de man,
  Case I 'd allus pictered great folks
    On a mo' expansive plan;
  But I t'ought I could respect him
    An' tek in de wo'ds he said,
  Fu' dey sho was somp'n knowin'
    In de bald spot on his haid.

  But hit did seem so't o' funny
    Aftah waitin' fu' a week
  Dat de people kep' on shoutin'
    So de man des could n't speak;
  De ho'ns dey blared a little,
    Den dey let loose on de drums,--.
  Some one toll me dey was playin'
    "See de conkerin' hero comes."

  "Well," says I, "you all is white folks,
    But you 's sutny actin' queer,
  What's de use of heroes comin'
    Ef dey cain't talk w'en dey's here?"
  Aftah while dey let him open,
    An' dat man he waded in,
  An' he fit de wahs all ovah
    Winnin' victeries lak sin.

  Wen he come down to de present,
    Den he made de feathahs fly.
  He des waded in on money,
    An' he played de ta'iff high.
  An' he said de colah question,
    Hit was ovah, solved, an' done,
  Dat de dahky was his brothah,
    Evah blessed mothah's son.

  Well he settled all de trouble
    Dat's been pesterin' de lan',
  Den he set down mid de cheerin'
    An' de playin' of de ban'.
  I was feelin' moughty happy
    'Twell I hyeahed somebody speak,
  "Well, dat's his side of de bus'ness,
    But you wait for Jones nex' week."


   "In the fight at Brandywine, Black Samson, a giant negro armed with
   a scythe, sweeps his way through the red ranks...." C. M. Skinner's
   "_Myths and Legends of Our Own Land_."

  Gray are the pages of record,
    Dim are the volumes of eld;
  Else had old Delaware told us
    More that her history held.
  Told us with pride in the story,
    Honest and noble and fine,
  More of the tale of my hero,
    Black Samson of Brandywine.

  Sing of your chiefs and your nobles,
    Saxon and Celt and Gaul,
  Breath of mine ever shall join you,
    Highly I honor them all.
  Give to them all of their glory,
    But for this noble of mine,
  Lend him a tithe of your tribute,
    Black Samson of Brandywine.

  There in the heat of the battle,
    There in the stir of the fight,
  Loomed he, an ebony giant,
    Black as the pinions of night.
  Swinging his scythe like a mower
    Over a field of grain,
  Needless the care of the gleaners,
    Where he had passed amain.

  Straight through the human harvest,
    Cutting a bloody swath,
  Woe to you, soldier of Briton!
    Death is abroad in his path.
  Flee from the scythe of the reaper,
    Flee while the moment is thine,
  None may with safety withstand him,
    Black Samson of Brandywine.

  Was he a freeman or bondman?
    Was he a man or a thing?
  What does it matter? His brav'ry
    Renders him royal--a king.
  If he was only a chattel,
    Honor the ransom may pay
  Of the royal, the loyal black giant
    Who fought for his country that day.

  Noble and bright is the story,
    Worthy the touch of the lyre,
  Sculptor or poet should find it
    Full of the stuff to inspire.
  Beat it in brass and in copper,
    Tell it in storied line,
  So that the world may remember
    Black Samson of Brandywine.


  Dinah stan' befo' de glass,
    Lookin' moughty neat,
  An' huh purty shadder sass
    At huh haid an' feet.
  While she sasshay 'roun' an' bow,
  Smilin' den an' poutin' now,
  An' de lookin'-glass, I 'low,
    Say: "Now, ain't she sweet?"

  All she do, de glass it see,
    Hit des see, no mo',
  Seems to me, hit ought to be
    Drappin' on de flo'.
  She go w'en huh time git slack,
  Kissin' han's an' smilin' back,
  Lawsy, how my lips go smack,
    Watchin' at de do'.

  Wisht I was huh lookin'-glass,
    Wen she kissed huh han';
  Does you t'ink I 'd let it pass,
    Settin' on de stan'?
  No; I'd des' fall down an' break,
  Kin' o' glad 't uz fu' huh sake;
  But de diffunce, dat whut make
    Lookin'-glass an' man.


  Heart of my heart, the day is chill,
  The mist hangs low o'er the wooded hill,
  The soft white mist and the heavy cloud
  The sun and the face of heaven shroud.
  The birds are thick in the dripping trees,
  That drop their pearls to the beggar breeze;
  No songs are rife where songs are wont,
  Each singer crouches in his haunt.

  Heart of my heart, the day is chill,
  Whene'er thy loving voice is still,
  The cloud and mist hide the sky from me,
  Whene'er thy face I cannot see.
  My thoughts fly back from the chill without,
  My mind in the storm drops doubt on doubt,
  No songs arise. Without thee, love,
  My soul sinks down like a frightened dove.


  Oh, de weathah it is balmy an' de breeze is sighin' low.
          Li'l' gal,
  An' de mockin' bird is singin' in de locus' by de do',
          Li'l' gal;
  Dere 's a hummin' an' a bummin' in de lan' f'om eas' to wes',
  I 's a-sighin' fu' you, honey, an' I nevah know no res'.
  Fu' dey 's lots o' trouble brewin' an' a-stewin' in my breas',
          Li'l' gal.

  Whut 's de mattah wid de weathah, whut's de mattah wid de breeze,
          Li'l' gal?
  Whut 's de mattah wid de locus' dat 's a-singin' in de trees,
          Li'l' gal?
  W'y dey knows dey ladies love 'em, an' dey knows dey love 'em true,
  An' dey love 'em back, I reckon, des' lak I 's a-lovin' you;
  Dat 's de reason dey 's a-weavin' an' a-sighin', thoo an' thoo,
          Li'l' gal.

  Don't you let no da'ky fool you 'cause de clo'es he waihs is fine,
          Li'l' gal.
  Dey 's a hones' hea't a-beatin' unnerneaf dese rags o' mine,
          Li'l' gal.
  Cose dey ain' no use in mockin' whut de birds an' weathah do,
  But I 's so'y I cain't 'spress it w'en I knows I loves you true,
  Dat 's de reason I 's a-sighin' an' a-singin now fu' you,
          Li'l' gal.


  Ah, Douglass, we have fall'n on evil days,
    Such days as thou, not even thou didst know,
    When thee, the eyes of that harsh long ago
  Saw, salient, at the cross of devious ways,
  And all the country heard thee with amaze.
    Not ended then, the passionate ebb and flow,
    The awful tide that battled to and fro;
  We ride amid a tempest of dispraise.

  Now, when the waves of swift dissension swarm,
    And Honor, the strong pilot, lieth stark,
  Oh, for thy voice high-sounding o'er the storm,
    For thy strong arm to guide the shivering bark,
  The blast-defying power of thy form,
    To give us comfort through the lonely dark.


  Hyeah dat singin' in de medders
    Whaih de folks is mekin' hay?
  Wo'k is pretty middlin' heavy
    Fu' a man to be so gay.
  You kin tell dey 's somep'n special
    F'om de canter o' de song;
  Somep'n sholy pleasin' Sam'l,
    W'en he singin' all day long.

  Hyeahd him wa'blin' 'way dis mo'nin'
    'Fo' 't was light enough to see.
  Seem lak music in de evenin'
    Allus good enough fu' me.
  But dat man commenced to hollah
    'Fo' he 'd even washed his face;
  Would you b'lieve, de scan'lous rascal
    Woke de birds erroun' de place?

  Sam'l took a trip a-Sad'day;
    Dressed hisse'f in all he had,
  Tuk a cane an' went a-strollin',
    Lookin' mighty pleased an' glad.
  Some folks don' know whut de mattah,
    But I do, you bet yo' life;
  Sam'l smilin' an' a-singin'
    'Case he been to see his wife.

  She live on de fu' plantation,
    Twenty miles erway er so;
  But huh man is mighty happy
    Wen he git de chanst to go.
  Walkin' allus ain' de nices'--
    Mo'nin' fin's him on de way--
  But he allus comes back smilin',
    Lak his pleasure was his pay.

  Den he do a heap o' talkin',
    Do' he mos'ly kin' o' still,
  But de wo'ds, dey gits to runnin'
    Lak de watah fu' a mill.
  "Whut 's de use o' havin' trouble,
    Whut 's de use o' havin' strife?"
  Dat 's de way dis Sam'l preaches
    W'en he been to see his wife.

  An' I reckon I git jealous,
    Fu' I laff an' joke an' sco'n,
  An' I say, "Oh, go on, Sam'l,
    Des go on, an' blow yo' ho'n."
  But I know dis comin' Sad'day,
    Dey 'll be brighter days in life;
  An' I 'll be ez glad ez Sam'l
    W'en I go to see my wife.


  The word is writ that he who runs may read.
  What is the passing breath of earthly fame?
  But to snatch glory from the hands of blame--
  That is to be, to live, to strive indeed.
  A poor Virginia cabin gave the seed,
  And from its dark and lowly door there came
  A peer of princes in the world's acclaim,
  A master spirit for the nation's need.
  Strong, silent, purposeful beyond his kind,
    The mark of rugged force on brow and lip,
  Straight on he goes, nor turns to look behind
    Where hot the hounds come baying at his hip;
  With one idea foremost in his mind,
    Like the keen prow of some on-forging ship.


  In this sombre garden close
  What has come and passed, who knows?
  What red passion, what white pain
  Haunted this dim walk in vain?

  Underneath the ivied wall,
  Where the silent shadows fall,
  Lies the pathway chill and damp
  Where the world-quit dreamers tramp.

  Just across, where sunlight burns,
  Smiling at the mourning ferns,
  Stand the roses, side by side,
  Nodding in their useless pride.

  Ferns and roses, who shall say
  What you witness day by day?
  Covert smile or dropping eye,
  As the monks go pacing by.

  Has the novice come to-day
  Here beneath the wall to pray?
  Has the young monk, lately chidden,
  Sung his lyric, sweet, forbidden?

  Tell me, roses, did you note
  That pale father's throbbing throat?
  Did you hear him murmur, "Love!"
  As he kissed a faded glove?

  Mourning ferns, pray tell me why
  Shook you with that passing sigh?
  Is it that you chanced to spy
  Something in the Abbot's eye?

  Here no dream, nor thought of sin,
  Where no worlding enters in;
  Here no longing, no desire,
  Heat nor flame of earthly fire.

  Branches waving green above,
  Whisper naught of life nor love;
  Softened winds that seem a breath,
  Perfumed, bring no fear of death.

  Is it living thus to live?
  Has life nothing more to give?
  Ah, no more of smile or sigh--
  Life, the world, and love, good-bye.

  Gray, and passionless, and dim,
  Echoing of the solemn hymn,
  Lies the walk, 'twixt fern and rose,
  Here within the garden close.


  If Death should claim me for her own to-day,
    And softly I should falter from your side,
  Oh, tell me, loved one, would my memory stay,
    And would my image in your heart abide?
  Or should I be as some forgotten dream,
    That lives its little space, then fades entire?
  Should Time send o'er you its relentless stream,
    To cool your heart, and quench for aye love's fire?

  I would not for the world, love, give you pain,
    Or ever compass what would cause you grief;
  And, oh, how well I know that tears are vain!
    But love is sweet, my dear, and life is brief;
  So if some day before you I should go
    Beyond the sound and sight of song and sea,
  'T would give my spirit stronger wings to know
    That you remembered still and wept for me.


  Slow moves the pageant of a climbing race;
    Their footsteps drag far, far below the height,
    And, unprevailing by their utmost might,
  Seem faltering downward from each hard won place.
  No strange, swift-sprung exception we; we trace
    A devious way thro' dim, uncertain light,--
    Our hope, through the long vistaed years, a sight
  Of that our Captain's soul sees face to face.
    Who, faithless, faltering that the road is steep,
  Now raiseth up his drear insistent cry?
    Who stoppeth here to spend a while in sleep
  Or curseth that the storm obscures the sky?
    Heed not the darkness round you, dull and deep;
  The clouds grow thickest when the summit's nigh.


  Say a mass for my soul's repose, my brother,
    Say a mass for my soul's repose, I need it,
  Lovingly lived we, the sons of one mother,
    Mine was the sin, but I pray you not heed it.

  Dark were her eyes as the sloe and they called me,
    Called me with voice independent of breath.
  God! how my heart beat; her beauty appalled me,
    Dazed me, and drew to the sea-brink of death.

  Lithe was her form like a willow. She beckoned,
    What could I do save to follow and follow,
  Nothing of right or result could be reckoned;
    Life without her was unworthy and hollow.

  Ay, but I wronged thee, my brother, my brother;
    Ah, but I loved her, thy beautiful wife.
  Shade of our father, and soul of our mother,
    Have I not paid for my love with my life?

  Dark was the night when, revengeful, I met you,
    Deep in the heart of a desolate land.
  Warm was the life-blood which angrily wet you
    Sharp was the knife that I felt from your hand.

  Wept you, oh, wept you, alone by the river,
    When my stark carcass you secretly sank.
  Ha, now I see that you tremble and shiver;
    'T was but my spirit that passed when you shrank!

  Weep not, oh, weep not, 't is over, 't is over;
    Stir the dark weeds with the turn of the tide;
  Go, thou hast sent me forth, ever a rover,
    Rest and the sweet realm of heaven denied.

  Say a mass for my soul's repose, my brother,
    Say a mass for my soul, I need it.
  Sin of mine was it, and sin of no other,
    Mine was it all, but I pray you not heed it.


  I been t'inkin' 'bout de preachah; whut he said de othah night,
    'Bout hit bein' people's dooty, fu' to keep dey faces bright;
  How one ought to live so pleasant dat ouah tempah never riles,
    Meetin' evahbody roun' us wid ouah very nicest smiles.

  Dat 's all right, I ain't a-sputin' not a t'ing dat soun's lak fac',
    But you don't ketch folks a-grinnin' wid a misery in de back;
  An' you don't fin' dem a-smilin' w'en dey 's hongry ez kin be,
    Leastways, dat 's how human natur' allus seems to 'pear to me.

  We is mos' all putty likely fu' to have our little cares,
    An' I think we 'se doin' fus' rate w'en we jes' go long and bears,
  Widout breakin' up ouah faces in a sickly so't o' grin,
    W'en we knows dat in ouah innards we is p'intly mad ez sin.

  Oh dey 's times fu' bein' pleasant an' fu' goin' smilin' roun',
    'Cause I don't believe in people allus totin' roun' a frown,
  But it's easy 'nough to titter w'en de stew is smokin' hot,
    But hit's mighty ha'd to giggle w'en dey's nuffin' in de pot.


  Mastah drink his ol' Made'a,
    Missy drink huh sherry wine,
  Ovahseah lak his whiskey,
    But dat othah drink is mine,
      Des' 'lasses an' watah, 'lasses an' watah.

  Wen you git a steamin' hoe-cake
    On de table, go way, man!
  'D ain but one t'ing to go wid it,
    'Sides de gravy in de pan,
      Dat 's 'lasses an' watah, 'lasses an' watah.

  W'en hit 's 'possum dat you eatin',
    'Simmon beer is moughty sweet;
  But fu' evahday consumin'
    'D ain't no mo'tal way to beat
      Des' 'lasses an' watah, 'lasses an' watah.

  W'y de bees is allus busy,
    An' ain' got no time to was'?
  Hit's beca'se dey knows de honey
    Dey 's a makin', gwine to tas'
      Lak 'lasses an' watah, 'lasses an' watah.

  Oh, hit 's moughty mil' an' soothin',
    An' hit don' go to yo' haid;
  Dat 's de reason I 's a-backin'
    Up de othah wo'ds I said,
      "Des 'lasses an' watah, 'lasses an' watah."


  This is the debt I pay
  Just for one riotous day,
  Years of regret and grief,
  Sorrow without relief.

  Pay it I will to the end--
  Until the grave, my friend,
  Gives me a true release--
  Gives me the clasp of peace.

  Slight was the thing I bought,
  Small was the debt I thought,
  Poor was the loan at best--
  God! but the interest!



  Not to the midnight of the gloomy past,
    Do we revert to-day; we look upon
  The golden present and the future vast
    Whose vistas show us visions of the dawn.

  Nor shall the sorrows of departed years
    The sweetness of our tranquil souls annoy,
  The sunshine of our hopes dispels the tears,
    And clears our eyes to see this later joy.

  Not ever in the years that God hath given
    Have we gone friendless down the thorny way,
  Always the clouds of pregnant black were riven
    By flashes from His own eternal day.

  The women of a race should be its pride;
    We glory in the strength our mothers had,
  We glory that this strength was not denied
    To labor bravely, nobly, and be glad.

  God give to these within this temple here,
    Clear vision of the dignity of toil,
  That virtue in them may its blossoms rear
    Unspotted, fragrant, from the lowly soil.

  God bless the givers for their noble deed,
    Shine on them with the mercy of Thy face,
  Who come with open hearts to help and speed
    The striving women of a struggling race.


  Let those who will stride on their barren roads
  And prick themselves to haste with self-made goads,
  Unheeding, as they struggle day by day,
  If flowers be sweet or skies be blue or gray:
  For me, the lone, cool way by purling brooks,
  The solemn quiet of the woodland nooks,
  A song-bird somewhere trilling sadly gay,
  A pause to pick a flower beside the way.


  By rugged ways and thro' the night
  We struggle blindly toward the light;
  And groping, stumbling, ever pray
  For sight of long delaying day.
  The cruel thorns beside the road
  Stretch eager points our steps to goad,
  And from the thickets all about
  Detaining hands reach threatening out.

  "Deliver us, oh, Lord," we cry,
  Our hands uplifted to the sky.
  No answer save the thunder's peal,
  And onward, onward, still we reel.
  "Oh, give us now thy guiding light;"
  Our sole reply, the lightning's blight.
  "Vain, vain," cries one, "in vain we call;"
  But faith serene is over all.

  Beside our way the streams are dried,
  And famine mates us side by side.
  Discouraged and reproachful eyes
  Seek once again the frowning skies.
  Yet shall there come, spite storm and shock,
  A Moses who shall smite the rock,
  Call manna from the Giver's hand,
  And lead us to the promised land!

  The way is dark and cold and steep,
  And shapes of horror murder sleep,
  And hard the unrelenting years;
  But 'twixt our sighs and moans and tears,
  We still can smile, we still can sing,
  Despite the arduous journeying.
  For faith and hope their courage lend,
  And rest and light are at the end.


  When the bees are humming in the honeysuckle vine
    And the summer days are in their bloom,
  Then my love is deepest, oh, dearest heart of mine,
  When the bees are humming in the honeysuckle vine.

  When the winds are moaning o'er the meadows chill and gray,
    And the land is dim with winter gloom,
  Then for thee, my darling, love will have its way,
  When the winds are moaning o'er the meadows chill and gray.

  In the vernal dawning with the starting of the leaf,
    In the merry-chanting time of spring,
  Love steals all my senses, oh, the happy-hearted thief!
  In the vernal morning with the starting of the leaf.

  Always, ever always, even in the autumn drear,
    When the days are sighing out their grief,
  Thou art still my darling, dearest of the dear,
  Always, ever always, even in the autumn drear.


  It is as if a silver chord
    Were suddenly grown mute,
  And life's song with its rhythm warred
    Against a silver lute.

  It is as if a silence fell
    Where bides the garnered sheaf,
  And voices murmuring, "It is well,"
    Are stifled by our grief.

  It is as if the gloom of night
    Had hid a summer's day,
  And willows, sighing at their plight,
    Bent low beside the way.

  For he was part of all the best
    That Nature loves and gives,
  And ever more on Memory's breast
    He lies and laughs and lives.



  Heart of the Southland, heed me pleading now,
  Who bearest, unashamed, upon my brow
  The long kiss of the loving tropic sun,
  And yet, whose veins with thy red current run.

  Borne on the bitter winds from every hand,
  Strange tales are flying over all the land,
  And Condemnation, with his pinions foul,
  Glooms in the place where broods the midnight owl.

  What art thou, that the world should point at thee,
  And vaunt and chide the weakness that they see?
  There was a time they were not wont to chide;
  Where is thy old, uncompromising pride?

  Blood-washed, thou shouldst lift up thine honored head,
  White with the sorrow for thy loyal dead
  Who lie on every plain, on every hill,
  And whose high spirit walks the Southland still:

  Whose infancy our mother's hands have nursed.
  Thy manhood, gone to battle unaccursed,
  Our fathers left to till th' reluctant field,
  To rape the soil for what she would not yield;

  Wooing for aye, the cold unam'rous sod,
  Whose growth for them still meant a master's rod;
  Tearing her bosom for the wealth that gave
  The strength that made the toiler still a slave.

  Too long we hear the deep impassioned cry
  That echoes vainly to the heedless sky;
  Too long, too long, the Macedonian call
  Falls fainting far beyond the outward wall,

  Within whose sweep, beneath the shadowing trees,
  A slumbering nation takes its dangerous ease;
  Too long the rumors of thy hatred go
  For those who loved thee and thy children so.

  Thou must arise forthwith, and strong, thou must
  Throw off the smirching of this baser dust,
  Lay by the practice of this later creed,
  And be thine honest self again indeed.

  There was a time when even slavery's chain
  Held in some joys to alternate with pain,
  Some little light to give the night relief,
  Some little smiles to take the place of grief.

  There was a time when, jocund as the day,
  The toiler hoed his row and sung his lay,
  Found something gleeful in the very air,
  And solace for his toiling everywhere.

  Now all is changed, within the rude stockade,
  A bondsman whom the greed of men has made
  Almost too brutish to deplore his plight,
  Toils hopeless on from joyless morn till night.

  For him no more the cabin's quiet rest,
  The homely joys that gave to labor zest;
  No more for him the merry banjo's sound,
  Nor trip of lightsome dances footing round.

  For him no more the lamp shall glow at eve,
  Nor chubby children pluck him by the sleeve;
  No more for him the master's eyes be bright,--
  He has nor freedom's nor a slave's delight.

  What, was it all for naught, those awful years
  That drenched a groaning land with blood and tears?
  Was it to leave this sly convenient hell,
  That brother fighting his own brother fell?

  When that great struggle held the world in awe,
  And all the nations blanched at what they saw,
  Did Sanctioned Slavery bow its conquered head
  That this unsanctioned crime might rise instead?

  Is it for this we all have felt the flame,--
  This newer bondage and this deeper shame?
  Nay, not for this, a nation's heroes bled,
  And North and South with tears beheld their dead.

  Oh, Mother South, hast thou forgot thy ways,
  Forgot the glory of thine ancient days,
  Forgot the honor that once made thee great,
  And stooped to this unhallowed estate?

  It cannot last, thou wilt come forth in might,
  A warrior queen full armored for the fight;
  And thou wilt take, e'en with thy spear in rest,
  Thy dusky children to thy saving breast.

  Till then, no more, no more the gladsome song,
  Strike only deeper chords, the notes of wrong;
  Till then, the sigh, the tear, the oath, the moan,
  Till thou, oh, South, and thine, come to thine own.


  Pray why are you so bare, so bare,
    Oh, bough of the old oak-tree;
  And why, when I go through the shade you throw,
    Runs a shudder over me?

  My leaves were green as the best, I trow,
    And sap ran free in my veins,
  But I saw in the moonlight dim and weird
    A guiltless victim's pains.

  I bent me down to hear his sigh;
    I shook with his gurgling moan,
  And I trembled sore when they rode away,
    And left him here alone.

  They 'd charged him with the old, old crime,
    And set him fast in jail:
  Oh, why does the dog howl all night long,
    And why does the night wind wail?

  He prayed his prayer and he swore his oath,
    And he raised his hand to the sky;
  But the beat of hoofs smote on his ear,
    And the steady tread drew nigh.

  Who is it rides by night, by night,
    Over the moonlit road?
  And what is the spur that keeps the pace,
    What is the galling goad?

  And now they beat at the prison door,
    "Ho, keeper, do not stay!
  We are friends of him whom you hold within,
    And we fain would take him away

  "From those who ride fast on our heels
    With mind to do him wrong;
  They have no care for his innocence,
    And the rope they bear is long."

  They have fooled the jailer with lying words,
    They have fooled the man with lies;
  The bolts unbar, the locks are drawn,
    And the great door open flies.

  Now they have taken him from the jail,
    And hard and fast they ride,
  And the leader laughs low down in his throat,
    As they halt my trunk beside.

  Oh, the judge, he wore a mask of black,
    And the doctor one of white,
  And the minister, with his oldest son,
    Was curiously bedight.

  Oh, foolish man, why weep you now?
    'Tis but a little space,
  And the time will come when these shall dread
    The mem'ry of your face.

  I feel the rope against my bark,
    And the weight of him in my grain,
  I feel in the throe of his final woe
    The touch of my own last pain.

  And never more shall leaves come forth
    On a bough that bears the ban;
  I am burned with dread, I am dried and dead,
    From the curse of a guiltless man.

  And ever the judge rides by, rides by,
    And goes to hunt the deer,
  And ever another rides his soul
    In the guise of a mortal fear.

  And ever the man he rides me hard,
    And never a night stays he;
  For I feel his curse as a haunted bough,
    On the trunk of a haunted tree.


  You ask why I am sad to-day,
  I have no cares, no griefs, you say?
  Ah, yes, 't is true, I have no grief--
  But--is there not the falling leaf?

  The bare tree there is mourning left
  With all of autumn's gray bereft;
  It is not what has happened me,
  Think of the bare, dismantled tree.

  The birds go South along the sky,
  I hear their lingering, long good-bye.
  Who goes reluctant from my breast?
  And yet--the lone and wind-swept nest.

  The mourning, pale-flowered hearse goes by,
  Why does a tear come to my eye?
  Is it the March rain blowing wild?
  I have no dead, I know no child.

  I am no widow by the bier
  Of him I held supremely dear.
  I have not seen the choicest one
  Sink down as sinks the westering sun.

  Faith unto faith have I beheld,
  For me, few solemn notes have swelled;
  Love bekoned me out to the dawn,
  And happily I followed on.

  And yet my heart goes out to them
  Whose sorrow is their diadem;
  The falling leaf, the crying bird,
  The voice to be, all lost, unheard--

  Not mine, not mine, and yet too much
  The thrilling power of human touch,
  While all the world looks on and scorns
  I wear another's crown of thorns.

  Count me a priest who understands
  The glorious pain of nail-pierced hands;
  Count me a comrade of the thief
  Hot driven into late belief.

  Oh, mother's tear, oh, father's sigh,
  Oh, mourning sweetheart's last good-bye,
  I yet have known no mourning save
  Beside some brother's brother's grave.


  Why was it that the thunder voice of Fate
    Should call thee, studious, from the classic groves,
    Where calm-eyed Pallas with still footstep roves,
  And charge thee seek the turmoil of the state?
  What bade thee hear the voice and rise elate,
    Leave home and kindred and thy spicy loaves,
    To lead th' unlettered and despised droves
  To manhood's home and thunder at the gate?

  Far better the slow blaze of Learning's light,
    The cool and quiet of her dearer fane,
  Than this hot terror of a hopeless fight,
    This cold endurance of the final pain,--
  Since thou and those who with thee died for right
    Have died, the Present teaches, but in vain!


  Oh, wind of the spring-time, oh, free wind of May,
    When blossoms and bird-song are rife;
  Oh, joy for the season, and joy for the day,
    That gave me the roses of life, of life,
    That gave me the roses of life.

  Oh, wind of the summer, sing loud in the night,
    When flutters my heart like a dove;
  One came from thy kingdom, thy realm of delight,
    And gave me the roses of love, of love,
    And gave me the roses of love.

  Oh, wind of the winter, sigh low in thy grief,
    I hear thy compassionate breath;
  I wither, I fall, like the autumn-kissed leaf,
   He gave me the roses of death, of death,
   He gave me the roses of death.


  Ah, love, my love is like a cry in the night,
  A long, loud cry to the empty sky,
  The cry of a man alone in the desert,
  With hands uplifted, with parching lips,

  Oh, rescue me, rescue me,
  Thy form to mine arms,
  The dew of thy lips to my mouth,
  Dost thou hear me?--my call thro' the night?

  Darling, I hear thee and answer,
  Thy fountain am I,
  All of the love of my soul will I bring to thee,
  All of the pains of my being shall wring to thee,
  Deep and forever the song of my loving shall sing to thee,
  Ever and ever thro' day and thro' night shall I cling to thee.
  Hearest thou the answer?
  Darling, I come, I come.


  Fu' de peace o' my eachin' heels, set down;
    Don' fiddle dat chune no mo'.
  Don' you see how dat melody stuhs me up
    An' baigs me to tek to de flo'?
  You knows I 's a Christian, good an' strong;
    I wusship f'om June to June;
  My pra'ahs dey ah loud an' my hymns ah long:
    I baig you don' fiddle dat chune.

  I 's a crick in my back an' a misery hyeah
    Whaih de j'ints 's gittin' ol' an' stiff,
  But hit seems lak you brings me de bref o' my youf;
    W'y, I 's suttain I noticed a w'iff.
  Don' fiddle dat chune no mo', my chile,
    Don' fiddle dat chune no mo';
  I 'll git up an' taih up dis groun' fu' a mile,
    An' den I 'll be chu'ched fu' it, sho'.

  Oh, fiddle dat chune some mo', I say,
    An' fiddle it loud an' fas':
  I's a youngstah ergin in de mi'st o' my sin;
    De p'esent 's gone back to de pas'.
  I 'll dance to dat chune, so des fiddle erway;
    I knows how de backslidah feels;
  So fiddle it on 'twell de break o' de day
    Fu' de sake o' my eachin' heels.


  This is to-day, a golden summer's day
    And yet--and yet
    My vengeful soul will not forget
  The past, forever now forgot, you say.

  From that half height where I had sadly climbed,
    I stretched my hand,
    I lone in all that land,
  Down there, where, helpless, you were limed.

  Our fingers clasped, and dragging me a pace,
    You struggled up.
    It is a bitter Cup,
  That now for naught, you turn away your face.

  I shall remember this for aye and aye.
    Whate'er may come,
    Although my lips are dumb,
  My spirit holds you to that yesterday.


  In the tents of Akbar
    Are dole and grief to-day,
  For the flower of all the Indies
    Has gone the silent way.

  In the tents of Akbar
    Are emptiness and gloom,
  And where the dancers gather,
    The silence of the tomb.

  Across the yellow desert,
   Across the burning sands,
  Old Akbar wanders madly,
    And wrings his fevered hands.

  And ever makes his moaning
    To the unanswering sky,
  For Sutna, lovely Sutna,
    Who was so fair to die.

  For Sutna danced at morning,
    And Sutna danced at eve;
  Her dusky eyes half hidden
    Behind her silken sleeve.

  Her pearly teeth out-glancing
    Between her coral lips,
  The tremulous rhythm of passion
    Marked by her quivering hips.

  As lovely as a jewel
    Of fire and dewdrop blent,
  So danced the maiden Sutna
    In gallant Akbar's tent.

  And one who saw her dancing,
    Saw her bosom's fall and rise
  Put all his body's yearning
    Into his lovelit eyes.

  Then Akbar came and drove him--
    A jackal--from his door,
  And bade him wander far and look
    On Sutna's face no more.

  Some day the sea disgorges,
    The wilderness gives back,
  Those half-dead who have wandered,
    Aimless, across its track.

  And he returned--the lover,
    Haggard of brow and spent;
  He found fair Sutna standing
    Before her master's tent.

  "Not mine, nor Akbar's, Sutna!"
    He cried and closely pressed,
  And drove his craven dagger
    Straight to the maiden's breast.

  Oh, weep, oh, weep, for Sutna,
    So young, so dear, so fair,
  Her face is gray and silent
    Beneath her dusky hair.

  And wail, oh, wail, for Akbar,
    Who walks the desert sands,
  Crying aloud for Sutna,
    Wringing his fevered hands.

  In the tents of Akbar
    The tears of sorrow run,
  But the corpse of Sutna's slayer,
    Lies rotting in the sun.


  All hot and grimy from the road,
    Dust gray from arduous years,
  I sat me down and eased my load
    Beside the Fount of Tears.

  The waters sparkled to my eye,
    Calm, crystal-like, and cool,
  And breathing there a restful sigh,
    I bent me to the pool.

  When, lo! a voice cried: "Pilgrim, rise,
    Harsh tho' the sentence be,
  And on to other lands and skies--
    This fount is not for thee.

  "Pass on, but calm thy needless fears,
    Some may not love or sin,
  An angel guards the Fount of Tears;
    All may not bathe therein."

  Then with my burden on my back
    I turned to gaze awhile,
  First at the uninviting track,
    Then at the water's smile.

  And so I go upon my way,
    Thro'out the sultry years,
  But pause no more, by night, by day,
    Beside the Fount of Tears.


  It may be misery not to sing at all
    And to go silent through the brimming day.
  It may be sorrow never to be loved,
    But deeper griefs than these beset the way.

  To have come near to sing the perfect song
    And only by a half-tone lost the key,
  There is the potent sorrow, there the grief,
    The pale, sad staring of life's tragedy.

  To have just missed the perfect love,
    Not the hot passion of untempered youth,
  But that which lays aside its vanity
    And gives thee, for thy trusting worship, truth--

  This, this it is to be accursed indeed;
    For if we mortals love, or if we sing,
  We count our joys not by the things we have,
    But by what kept us from the perfect thing.


  De way t'ings come, hit seems to me,
  Is des' one monst'ous mystery;
  De way hit seem to strike a man,
  Dey ain't no sense, dey ain't no plan;
  Ef trouble sta'ts a pilin' down,
  It ain't no use to rage er frown,
  It ain't no use to strive er pray,
  Hit's mortal boun' to come dat way.

  Now, ef you 's hongry, an' yo' plate
  Des' keep on sayin' to you, "Wait,"
  Don't mek no diffunce how you feel,
  'T won't do no good to hunt a meal,
  Fu' dat ah meal des' boun' to hide
  Ontwell de devil's satisfied,
  An' 'twell dey's some'p'n by to cyave
  You 's got to ease yo'se'f an' sta've.

  But ef dey 's co'n meal on de she'f
  You need n't bothah 'roun' yo'se'f,
  Somebody's boun' to amble in
  An' 'vite you to dey co'n meal bin;
  An' ef you 's stuffed up to be froat
  Wid co'n er middlin', fowl er shoat,
  Des' look out an' you 'll see fu' sho
  A 'possum faint befo' yo' do'.

  De way t'ings happen, huhuh, chile,
  Dis worl' 's done puzzled me one w'ile;
  I 's mighty skeered I 'll fall in doubt,
  I des' won't try to reason out
  De reason why folks strive an' plan
  A dinnah fu' a full-fed man,
  An' shet de do' an' cross de street
  F'om one dat raaly needs to eat.


  Shadder in de valley
  Sunlight on de hill,
  Sut'ny wish dat locus'
  Knowed how to be still.
  Don't de heat already
  Mek a body hum,
  'Dout dat insec' sayin'
  Hottah days to come?

  Fiel' 's a shinin' yaller
  Wid de bendin' grain,
  Guinea hen a callin',
  Now's de time fu' rain;
  Shet yo' mouf, you rascal,
  Wha' 's de use to cry?
  You do' see no rain clouds
  Up dah in de sky.

  Dis hyeah sweat's been po'in'
  Down my face sence dawn;
  Ain't hit time we 's hyeahin'
  Dat ah dinnah ho'n?
  Go on, Ben an' Jaspah,
  Lif yo' feet an' fly,
  Hit out fu' de shadder
  Fo' I drap an' die.

  Hongry, lawd a' mussy,
  Hongry as a baih,
  Seems lak I hyeah dinnah
  Callin' evahwhaih;
  Daih 's de ho'n a blowin'!
  Let dat cradle swing,
  One mo' sweep, den da'kies,
  Beat me to de spring!


      A lilt and a swing,
      And a ditty to sing,
    Or ever the night grow old;
      The wine is within,
      And I 'm sure 't were a sin
  For a soldier to choose to be cold, my dear,
  For a soldier to choose to be cold.

      We 're right for a spell,
      But the fever is--well,
    No thing to be braved, at least;
      So bring me the wine;
      No low fever in mine,
  For a drink is more kind than a priest, my dear,
  For a drink is more kind than a priest.


  Storm and strife and stress,
  Lost in a wilderness,
  Groping to find a way,
  Forth to the haunts of day

  Sudden a vista peeps,
  Out of the tangled deeps,
  Only a point--the ray
  But at the end is day.

  Dark is the dawn and chill,
  Daylight is on the hill,
  Night is the flitting breath,
  Day rides the hills of death.


  Night, dim night, and it rains, my love, it rains,
    (Art thou dreaming of me, I wonder)
  The trees are sad, and the wind complains,
    Outside the rolling of the thunder,
  And the beat against the panes.

  Heart, my heart, thou art mournful in the rain,
    (Are thy redolent lips a-quiver?)
  My soul seeks thine, doth it seek in vain?
    My love goes surging like a river,
  Shall its tide bear naught save pain?

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