African American Poetry (1870-1927): A Digital Anthology

Wellington Adams, "Lyrics of an Humble Birth" (full text) (1914)


Lyrics of an Humble Birth

 BY 
 
 WELLINGTON ADAMS 
 
 Murray Bros, printing Co. 
 
 Washington. D. C. 
 
 1914 

CONTENTS 
 
 
 ^ 
 
 
 Frontice — The Author 
 
 Preface by the Author 
 PART I. 
 
 A LETTAH TO DE PrESADANT 
 
 
 Ir'nin' Hez Shurt . . 
 
 A Child's Prayer 
 
 Why Weepest Thou, My Love? ' ^ 
 
 De Mekin's OB a Man . .... 
 
 Mother 
 
 Hi! You Little "Devil" Hi!' '
 
 Thou Queen o' the Western Sea 
 
 Apprehension ' .' . . . . 
 
 
 Aftah de Bat'le . . ... 
 
 Th' Passing of 'Old Aunt Maria' 
 
 Eatin's 
 
 Where is God? 
 
 Let us hab Peace! . . . . 
 
 SCRIBT TAH MiSTAH SmAL' WoOD . 
 
 Dem dah 'Tru' Refomahs' 
 
 POLAHTICKS ...... 
 
 Why IS Whiskey such a Curse? 

PART II. 
 
 Scripts 37 
 
 SwEKTHEART Mine . . . .38 
 
 *In thk City of Jasper Walls . . 41 
 Mammy Lov's Her Kinky-headed Boy . 43 
 There'll Come a dark Cloud Sometime 44 
 
 f^oNELY Night 45 
 
 *After a While . . . . .47 
 
 , J'retty Moon 39 
 
 Mah Sw*et Li'l' Chile .... 46 
 
 *Song' Poems have been published, and raay be had 
 by addressing" the Author. 
 



PREFACE. 
 
 lilS little volume of poems, which 
 we have so earnestly labored .to 
 Jj produce, is but the weak effort ol 
 an humble soul, reaching out be- 
 yond the piercing gloom and pene- 
 trating darkness; which it seems, 
 has filled a large part of our life. Regardless of tKe 
 many difficulties encumbered, however, the inner-man 
 still yearns for a larger usefulness to his race particu- 
 larly and mankind in general. All that 1 am and ever 
 shall be, possibly, is due to the faithful and assidious 
 training of my dead mother (bless her memory) and a 
 devoted lather; besides the encouragement given jme 
 by my loving sister and devoted brothers. 
 
 The author lays no claim to literary merit in this 
 work; for indeed, there may be numerous defects in 
 the composition, poetical metre and rythm, that none 
 but a critical mind and eye may discern and observe, 
 and as to its intrinsic value it is for you to decide, 
 dear reader. I am willing however, to launch my 
 little **bark" upon the ** Literary sea, to sinker swira, 
 survive or perish," as the case may be. 
 
 I beg further to thank a few friends for their kind 
 advice and helpfulness in the preparation of this 
 work- Most respectfully yours, 
 
 Washington, D. C. W. A. 
 
 February, 1914 
 



DEDICATED TO 
 MY BELOVED PARENTS. 
 



Lyrics of An Humble Birth 
 
 PART I. 
 
 A LETTAH TO DE PRESADANT. 
 
 Was'nton, Fust-twintee-thurd, 14. 
 
 Mistah Wilson, sah, mah Pres'dant, 
 Ah thought'd write yo' a line; 
 
 To chur yo' up a bit, but whant 
 Distub yah othah time. 
 
 Ahm glad yo' had a dandie trip, 
 To dat 'Pas' Khris'un' town; 
 
 An' dat yo' got rid ob de 'grip' 
 Yo' carrud fr'm dese groun's. 
 
 Ahm glad, sah, yo' didn't ke'p rite on 
 
 Ez stardid, on dat 'ship' ; 
 Fah feah ob dem dah 'Mexahcons', 
 
 Mought git yo' on de 'slip'. 
 



Dem countra folks, sah, sho' lak yo', 
 Doan dey? — 'n' ahm so glad; 
 
 Ah re'd, how dey kep' on de go 
 To find yo' an' yah 'Cad'. 
 
 Ah hope de 'Mistriss ob de Ian' — 
 Ah'll add (yo' dautahs) too; 
 
 *N'jord demselv's ez bes' dey kan, 
 Wile dey wtiz thah wid yo'. 
 
 Ahm glad to see 'Mah Presadant', 
 Bac' hyeah 'n' dis ol' town ; 
 
 So biz'ness' kan go on, Gawd grant, 
 An' ke'p dat 'Congrist' down. 
 
 Gib mah respechts to awl de boys — 
 
 'Tom'ltee', an' de res'; 
 Whahs wurkin' thah fah yo' an' 'joys 
 
 De t'ings dat am de bes'. 
 
 Now, ah mus' clos' dis lettah now, 
 Mah wurks be'n hard today; 
 
 Ah'll send dis writin' anyhow — 
 'Boiit awl ah got to say. 
 
 To de Tresadant' 
 W'ite 'ouse. 
 
 Yoahs trulay, 
 
 Tap' D. C. 
 



IR'NIN' HEZ SHURT. 
 
 ^'Yo' Sally !-er-r--Sal-ly !, 
 Com' hyeah gal, an' hurry be ; 
 Um gwine t' git yo', sho' ez day, 
 Ez yo' doan com' rite away : 
 Go 'n' git yah Daddy's shurt; 
 Doan yo' kno' hez com' fr'm wurk, 
 An' tah chu'ch has gottah go? 
 'Usht up gal — doan sa' no mo' !" 
 
 The lit'le girl then got the "shurt", 
 
 With her feelings awf'ly hurt'd ; 
 "Ir'nd" away with all her might. 
 
 For her "mammy" on that night. 
 "Air yo' ir'nin' dat shurt, gal?" 
 
 Yell'd the mother wild, to "Sal" ; 
 "Yas'uni!" answer'd her, the while, 
 
 Trembling like a sinner vile. 
 
 "Com' ole mawn, yo' suppahs' don';' 
 "Wal," said he, "ahm comin' hon' ;' 
 
 And the couple soon sat down 
 
 At the table, they were found. 
 "Lawd," said he, " 'ave mussy now, 
 
 Bles' dem tatoes, meat 'n' 'chow'; 
 
 Ar-min !"— and he fiU'd his plate. 
 
 As of ev'rything he ate. 
 



Moved his chair, as he made haste — 
 Not a minute did he waste; 
 Dressing hurried — got his tie, 
 As the ''shurt" his wife did spy — 
 "Sal-ly ! brin' dat shurt on hyeah ! 
 Whut yo' sa'? — Bettah keah ! 
 Hawn hit hyeah ! — 'Mah' ! — luks reel w'ite 
 Ole mawn, yo'll sho' luk out o' sight !" 
 
 *'De ole mawn" took his '*shurt" 'n' smiled, 
 Ez put'in' on, she stood and eyed : 
 
 "Lawd ! Swsan, dis shurt ahm hot, 
 Bu'ns me 'n' ah dunno whot !" 
 
 "Gwane," said she, " 'n' be a mawn. 
 Putt hit on. Si, ef yo' khan ; 
 Ef ah had'n' hurrud so, 
 Yo'd had non' fah chu'ch tah go." 
 
 A CHILD'S PRAYER. 
 
 Kneeling beside a little bed so white, 
 Clad in garments so simple and light ; 
 Praying to God as the shadows depart, 
 A lit'le child with a sorrowful heart. 
 



Hands clasp'd together and heart full of love, 
 Eyes lifting up towards heav'n above ; 
 Alone in this world of sorrow and fear; 
 Alone from mother's kindness and cheer. 
 
 "Oh! God! is my mother up there with you? 
 Let her sweet face shine out thro' skies o' blue ; 
 Pray, let her come back to me for "My Care" I 
 Would you, dear Lord? Oh, please hear my 
 prayer." 
 
 "I'd like to climb up them bright golden stairs, 
 To see if my mamma's now o'er there ; 
 Grandma, she tells me, each day after day, 
 That I'll see mamma, if I would pray." 
 
 "I have little dollies, toys — everything!" 
 Cried the poor darling child to her "King"; 
 As wafting upward those sweet words of love, 
 To the "Kingdom of Mercy" above. 
 
 "I try to be true, so good and so kind. 
 And my gradma, each day, I will mind ; 
 Keep us now, dear Jesus, each day by day ; 
 Amen. Good-night grandma," she would say. 
 
 II 
 



WHY WEEPEST THOU, MY LOVE? 
 
 The breaking waters of the deep 
 As onward rushing, blindly sweep 
 O'er distance madly; seems to speak 
 To me, as though I came to seek 
 Its passion and its fury; streak'd 
 With fierce and roaring tortures steep ! 
 And calming, while the eve'ning creeps, 
 Nor yet the rust'ling waters sleep. 
 
 I standeth, as enchanted, still 
 
 Bewilder'd, lo, in mind and will ; 
 
 To speak? ''Nay ! Nay !" bid'st thou the heart 
 
 As wounded by Dan Cupid's dart : 
 
 ("He loves me?— 'Yes;' he loves me?— 'Not!'") 
 
 Re-echoed 'round that lonely spot ; 
 
 When, out o' the depths rang out above 
 
 The mist "Why weepest thou, my love?" 
 
 DE MEKIN'S OB A MAN. 
 
 Jake, yo' ax' me whut de mekin's 
 Ob a man 'n' dis hyeah day? 
 
 Ah'll tell yo' q'ickly whut ah t'inks : 
 Hard wurk 'n' not no play ! 
 
 12 
 



Yo' ax' me den why, ef dey wurks, 
 
 Dey nebber hab no eese; 
 Bekaze, ah t'inks, dey awlus shurks, 
 
 'N' shurking wurk, doan pleese. 
 
 Mah bruddah, deirs no ust tah kic', 
 
 Fah kic'in' is'nt game; 
 De woild am made ob dem who stic's 
 
 An' wurks on jist de same. 
 
 Dis am de age ob really men. 
 Who ob dah knol'edge gibs ; 
 
 De bes' dat 'n' dem is, w'ich sends 
 De woild 'roun' ez hit libs. 
 
 De man who awlus dreemin' is, 
 An' nebber seems tah t'ink; 
 
 He soon will drap out ob de *biz', 
 An den fawl o'er de brink. 
 
 De woild, hit calls fah men ob strin'th, 
 
 Who acht upon de sq'are; 
 An' men ob currage who won't s'rink 
 
 Fr'm duty, 'n' who'll dare. 
 
 Men mus' hab nerb ef dey mus' face 
 
 Hard tri'ls, an' not swerb 
 One inch fr'm whah dah ac'ions' base; 
 
 E'vn dough de way am cur'b. 
 
 13 
 



Dese t'ings, ahve sed, dey hab som' waight, 
 
 Ah hope yo' undahstan' ; 
 Awl dat ahve sed is sho'ly, Jake, 
 
 De mekin's of a man. 
 
 MOTHER. 
 
 Tho' human as thou wert, still in thine image 
 I behold 
 
 Sweet visions of an lov'lier one than earth af- 
 fords ; who, bold, 
 
 Did fight for right with ev'ry might and with 
 all done, gone home, 
 
 To God, her Maker, vict'ry won — rest under 
 heaven's dome, 
 
 Dear Mother. 
 
 Remember thou her not of days, when suck- 
 ling babe I were? 
 
 And youthful capers with my mates, in inno- 
 cence did err? 
 
 "Why not?" I say, when all "my world" was 
 center'd in the hand 
 
 That held "me" — little fellow — up, who was 
 too weak to stand ! 
 Kind Mother. 
 
 14 
 



Her words, I well remember now, as the* 
 
 'twere yesterday ; 
 They sank so deep into my heart as I began 
 
 to pray : 
 "My son," as calm she raised my head, "do 
 
 right, let come what may," 
 And from that day, though tempted still, "I go 
 
 the righteous way." 
 My Mother. 
 
 Up thro' the fleeting years to manhood, gently 
 
 as I grew, 
 Some joys were mine, 'tis true, but oh ! the 
 
 troubles that I knew ! 
 And, through it all, what better friend in all 
 
 the world I had 
 Than she whose spirit sweeps the sky, as 
 
 joined by angels glad? 
 True Mother. 
 
 "Dust to dust" — as the minister stood with 
 
 outstretched arm and hand ; 
 "Ashes to ashes" — on he read to that sad- 
 
 stricken'd band, 
 Who, mourning then, because Grim Death saw 
 
 fit to enter in 
 And steal away such "precious gem" — 'tis 
 
 heaven's gain, the end. 
 Sleep, Mother. 
 
 IS 
 



Sleep on. Yea, the blessed Saviour soon'll 
 
 come and gather in 
 All His children, patient, waiting, and their 
 
 sorrow He shall end. 
 Angel-heralds, swiftly flying, as they sing 
 
 "Hosannas !" 
 We will join them, shouting, and go up with 
 
 flying banners. 
 
 Meet Mother. 
 
 HI! YOU LITTLE DEVIL, HI! 
 
 Hi ! you little devil, hi ! 
 
 You think you are so mighty sly : 
 
 Seeking to slay 
 
 Whom you will or may ; 
 
 Binding your victims night and day ; 
 
 Hi ! you little devil, hi ! 
 
 Run! you little devil, run! 
 
 Away wi' that contemptible "fun"; 
 
 Sneaking around 
 
 Like a hungry hound; 
 
 Trying to fool ev'ry weakling found; 
 
 Run ! you little devil, run ! 
 
 i6 
 



Shoo! you little devil, shoo! 
 
 No time have I to fool with you ; 
 
 Folks you advise 
 
 Tell yarns and *'big" lies, 
 
 And then you look as if surpris'd ; 
 
 Shoo! you little devil, shoo! 
 
 Scat! you little devil, scat! 
 Sly are you as a sneaking cat ; 
 Some think you're grand, 
 Take you by th' hand. 
 Inviting to their whiskey-stand ; 
 Scat! you little devil, scat! 
 
 Ouch! you little devil, ouch! 
 
 Please take away that horrid grouch ; 
 
 It makes me sin, 
 
 Hate, envy, and — then 
 
 I cannot conscientiously grin ; 
 
 Ouch! you little devil, ouch! 
 
 Run ! you little de\'il, run ! 
 
 Before the setting of the sun : 
 
 1 must make haste 
 
 Now to mend my case. 
 
 Ere I have ceas'd to run this race ; 
 
 Run ! vou little de\il, run ! 
 
 17 
 



THOU QUEEN O' THE WESTERN SEA. 
 
 Out of the myst'ries of the past, 
 
 Out o' the depths of centuries blast, 
 
 Out of the hidden pages rare, 
 
 Out of a history so fair, 
 
 For all the world to see and know, 
 
 And feel the crafty hand afore: 
 
 Lift up thy head, and proudly wave 
 
 Your flag, "Thou Queen o' the Western Sea !" 
 
 The hundreds, yea, the thousands, more 
 
 v^'^lied'd they their blood ! Struck to the core 
 
 I^y discontent and tyranny ; 
 
 They battled on for Liberty. 
 
 The "Sons of Might," who fought their way. 
 
 Prayed they to God that all might stay 
 
 And see the "night of terror" flee 
 
 Away, "Thou Queen o' the Western Sea!" 
 
 Then one 'rose up from 'midst the fray, 
 
 Who led on from captivity : 
 
 "George Washington" — and may his name 
 
 On down the ages shine the same. 
 
 Tho' lowly as the start was made, 
 
 'Twas "Lincoln" who his country staid; 
 
 God grant that all our hearts may be ' 
 
 As theirs: "Thou Oueen o' the Western Sea!' 
 



Roll on, O Time! Roll on, roll on! 
 
 'Till all shall know the burden burned 
 
 Of them oppres'd by Fate's decree, 
 
 And join the coming jubilee. 
 
 Lift up thy head, thou bee and drone, 
 
 Let thriftiness by us enthrone; 
 
 The "Stars and Stripes" unfurl'd, we see — 
 
 Hooray! ''Thou Queen o' the Western Sea!" 
 
 Arise ! ye gallant men, arise ! 
 
 Measure up to your country's size ; 
 
 Your noble women, you should prize; 
 
 Help lift their burden to the skies. 
 
 Arise, I say; make good the day, 
 
 Nor ever thou forget to pray; 
 
 Let victory be purchased free 
 
 From stain, ''Thou Queen o' the Western Sea!" 
 
 Go from th' dread yesterday, O men! 
 
 Fear leave behind — the morrow'll mend; 
 
 Your country's strong in th' things that make 
 
 For "right and freedom." None can take 
 
 Our banner down and on it frown ; 
 
 Nor e'en the lustre from our crown. 
 
 Until our bodies, resting be 
 
 Neath clay, "Thou Queen o' the Western Sea!" 
 
 19 
 



AFTAH DE BAT'LE. 
 
 Written from an incident during the Congress at Wash- 
 ington, D. C, January 14, 1914. 
 (W^ith apologies.) 
 
 Say, Bill, whut's awl dat fuss about 
 
 Upon de Cap'tol hill? 
 Ah hyeah a moughty rum'ling 'thout 
 
 Dat room, jest lak one's kill'd. 
 
 Why, Sam, dey's fi'tin obah dah. 
 Two men wid face shav'd klean'd ; 
 
 .\ hit'in heah an' hit'in thah, 
 Jest lak de debble, seem'd. 
 
 Ah hurd de noise an' out ah flew, 
 Fah feah dey mought hu't me ; 
 
 An' w'en ah runs, de othahs do, 
 'N feah ob dat melee. 
 
 Dem ''Sinitors" dey hollard out 
 
 Loud to de 'Ivator man — 
 "Down!" dey shout, ez ef a fiah's 'bout 
 
 De place, an' 'n' dey lan'd. 
 
 Gee whiz ! one man wuz a runnin' 
 'Roun' lak hez bloomin' mad; 
 
 He ax'd foh a gun to shoot sump'n, 
 Whut hap'nd ah hope wuzn't bad. 
 
 20 
 



Wal, Bill, ah kno'd 'twuz som'thin' doin" 
 What'h fiah dah sho' is smok' ; 
 
 Yoah rite, to act w'en trubble's brew'n, 
 Test muv' on ez de smok'. 
 
 APPREHENSION. 
 
 Whut meks me shuddah w'en de rain 
 Corn's fawl'n down so hard? 
 
 An' meks we whant tah hide mahse'f 
 Behin' somethin' dat's ood ! 
 
 Whut meks me shuddah thoo 'n' thoo 
 W'en light'nin' streaks de sky? 
 
 'N' mut'rin' thundahs sheks mah doo' 
 An' meks me calm an' shy ! 
 
 Hit gits so dark 'n' glu'my, too, 
 An' feah cre'ps in mah heart, 
 
 Dat ah would gib up awl ah knew 
 Ah own'd, fah hit tah 'part. 
 
 But den, ah 'fleets — com's tah mahse'f, 
 'N' sees 'tis Gawd dat sends 
 
 De rain hyeah fah ouah goodness, ef 
 We lub' Him tah de end. 
 
 21 
 



THE PASSING OF "OLD AUNT MARIA.' 
 
 (Note. — The first line of each stanza is to be sung 
 as the chorus of "Nearer My Home," 6s, in Baptist 
 Hymnal No. 636; published by the American Baptist 
 Pub. Society^ Philadelphia, Pa.) 
 
 "Ah'm near'er mah horn', near'er mah horn' " — 
 
 Rang out upon the air, 
 As old Aunt Maria raised her voice, 
 
 With song, to God in prayer. 
 Her form bent'd o'er by age's firm hand ; 
 
 Her voice, tho' coarse, was sweet ; 
 While angels seem'd to hover o'er, 
 
 As though they came to greet. 
 
 "Ah'm near'er mah hom' taliday,'^ 
 
 She sang more fervently 
 Than ever, as she leaned upon 
 
 Her crooked cane that day ; 
 Her voice, it seem'd, grew weaker 
 
 And softer, as she raised 
 Her eyes toward heaven gently. 
 
 To God, in song and praise. 
 
 "Yas, near'er mah hom', 'n' heav'n tahday" — 
 
 Her eyes were fill'd with tears, 
 As she remembers "Calvary," 
 
 The Christ, and Cross He bears. 
 
 22 
 



With eyes fix'd upward, as she saw 
 
 Him sitting on His throne, 
 And all the angels flying up 
 
 The great "white way" that shone. 
 
 "Yas, near'er mah horn' 'n' heav'n tahday"- 
 
 As echoed, faintly grew 
 The voice of one whose feeble form 
 
 Was nearing its adieu. 
 The cane she drop'd upon the floor, 
 
 And shocked her old white head; 
 Her pulse was beating slowly — 
 
 Soon be number'd with th' dead. 
 
 "Then ebbah ahve been befoh," 
 
 Was whisper'd soft, as death 
 Was stealing her away from there; 
 
 And left them all bereft: 
 As, one by one, they gather'd 'round 
 
 And murmured — "She is gone !" 
 Yes, old Aunt Maria's task was done 
 
 On earth, that Sunday morn. 
 
 :<yp^ 
 
 23 
 



EATIN'S. 
 
 (To Mrs. M. L. S. M. and Mrs. S. F. L.) 
 
 Gwood Lawd, luk at dem biskits dah, 
 
 Jist steamin' hot 'n' brown; 
 A-layin' 'n' dat pan o'er dah : 
 
 Sis' Maffews, han' 'em 'round. 
 
 Mali mouf s a-runnin' watah fas' 
 
 Tah see dat gravby — Oh ! 
 Ah wandah jist how Ion' hit'll las': 
 
 Sis' Maffews, air yo' sho'? 
 
 Now, hyeah yo' commin' in tah eat 
 
 Sis' Luis — tek- his cheah ; 
 'N' plees' mah'ni, doan fahgit dat meat, 
 
 Tah parse hit o'bah hyeah ! 
 
 Yo' mouf, hit's greasy 'roun', Sis Luis ; 
 
 Ah gist mine's greasy, too. 
 Sis' Maffews, 'scuse us ef yo' plees, 
 
 Fer eatin' ez we do! 
 
 Wal, now, ahm full ez ah kin be, 
 
 Jist can't crowd in no mo' ; 
 Sis Maffews, can't yo' eas'ly see 
 
 Mah stummack's curbin' o'er? 
 
 24 
 



Ah t'ank yo' mah'm, fah dis 'ere bread 
 
 'N' meat yo' kindly cook'd 
 Upon de fiah fah me ; — ah sed 
 
 'TVould taste good ez hit luk'd ! 
 
 WHERE IS GOD? 
 
 Whej-e is God? — the question ask'd : 
 Ev'rjwhere the sunlight basks ; 
 Ev'rjwhere the darkness goes, 
 As tie day its ending close. 
 
 Cast he eye towards the sky, 
 Wher\ the stars in silence fly ; 
 And tie Sun and Moon, of old, 
 'Cross me distant heaven roll. 
 
 'Mong he fishes of the deep, 
 Where, Vi boundless area, sweep; 
 In the sWll upon the shore — 
 God is tlere, forevermore ! 
 
 Look upt the forest grown 
 
 And the Ikflet and the corn ; 
 
 E'en the iot from whence they sprang, 
 
 On His id^ existing, hang. 
 
 25 
 



In the bowels of the earth, 
 Min'ral gems, find ye a dearth ; 
 In the secrets 'neath the plain, 
 Is the answer "God," again. 
 
 In the blooming- little flow^'r ; 
 In the honeysuckles' bow'r; 
 In the hidden'd tiny cells, 
 "God" alone, our Maker, dwells. 
 
 LET US HAB 'N'TAHNASHON'L PEACE. 
 
 Let us hab peace, at any kost, 
 An' sabe ouah strin'th fah othah s»rt 
 Ob fi'tin' — wid ouah hands an' s.'w, 
 'N othah wurk — dawgon' de wa ! 
 
 Let us hab peace ; ez yeahs ago 
 Upon de field, wid foreign foe, 
 Ouah boys, 'n dat Rev'lushion v^ar, 
 Spiird precious blood — dawga' de war! 
 
 Let us hab peace; an* did'n lo' 
 Ob ouah brave boys, ez can'n roa', 
 Fac'd miles ob steel an' nutti' awed, 
 'N' '65 — dawgon' de war! 
 
 26 
 



Let us hab peace. Remember Spain — 
 How wid dis countra fought again? 
 Dey box'd one 'nuttah's yeah an' jaw 
 Until one yell'd — dawgon' de war! 
 
 Let us hab peace; dem "Russ" 'n' "J^'Ps' 
 Dey kno' de feelin's ob a slap; 
 Fah didn't dey kic' an' ghee an' haw 
 Lak two ol' mules — dawgon' de war ! 
 
 Let us hab peace; now com's de Bo'r 
 'N' Ainglund, whut wid dem got sor' ; 
 E'en Bulgar an' de Turks, too, whoah 
 Dah bre'ches thoo — dawgon' de war! 
 
 Let us hab peace. Yas, go tah co'rt 
 Yo' countries — doan yo' mek us tote 
 Ouah trubbles dah, an' fac' de law 
 Tah k'ep de peace — dawgon' de war ! 
 
 Let us hab peace. Marse Cahneegay, 
 He bilt'd de Hague fah yo' tah lay 
 Yoah trubbles 'foh dem jedges dah, 
 An' larn som' sense — dawgon' de war! 
 
 Let us hab peace — ob corse, ah g'ess 
 Hit's hard tah quit a fi'tin' mess ; 
 Ef thah's somethin' wurth fi'tin' fah, 
 Den gwane, dawgon', 'n' git 'n' war. 
 
 27 
 



Let us hab peace! Marse Bryan's right, 
 Fah ke'pin' friendship wid'n' sight; 
 Ef he doan stop de wars — jist well 
 K'ep ])uildin' ships tah shoot lak' — '1. 
 
 SCRIBT TAH MISTAH SMAL'WOOD. 
 
 (This poem was contained in a letter to Mr. Small- 
 wood, City Editor of the Bvening Star, Washington. 
 D. C, after a call made upon him on the previous day.; 
 
 Mistah Smal'wood, mah deah sah : 
 Will yo' pardahn me ef ah 
 Rite yo' dis hyeah lettah, fah 
 Yoah great kindness, w'ile ah's thah ; 
 On a misshon strange tah say, 
 Dat wuz fahr'ign 'n' a way ; 
 But ah whanted yo' tah see 
 Dem dah po'ms ob mine, yo' see. 
 
 Yo' sahpriz'd me 'n a way, 
 Wen yo' sed "mah talunt" lay 
 T'wards dat nobbil man ob fame — 
 *'Dunbar," dat's de gen'man's name. 
 Ef ah b'lieved awl dat yo' say 
 Ah would drown mahse'f tahday 
 'N a pot ob bilin' oil, 
 Thah tah stay ontel ah boil'd. 
 
 28 
 



Youse jist playin' wid me, eh! 
 'On'st now, ov/n up an' say 
 Whut yo' mint w'en ah wuz dah, 
 Stan'n' on dat floo' so bah ; 
 Wal, ah t'ank yo' jist de same, 
 Fah whut hap'nd, ahm tah blame. 
 
 DEM DAH "TRU' RAFORMAHS." 
 
 (To the U. O'. T. R.) 
 
 Ah whants tah say a wurd er two 
 
 Tah eb'ry boddy hyeah ; 
 Dem "Tru' Raformahs," sho' ez Sue, 
 
 Air mekin' hit fah fair. 
 
 Ob corse, dey had a hard ol' time, 
 Who wouldn't wid sich "fools"; 
 
 A-monkin' wid thah money 'hind 
 De door upon de stools. 
 
 De peepal den got moughty skeer'd, 
 Wid awl thah money flo'n ; 
 
 'N' wid dah voices, up dey rear'd 
 A moughty loud "dawgon'." 
 
 29 
 



Wal den, dey set'ld down tah wurk, 
 
 Wid Griffin ez de man ; 
 Who made dem hus'le — awl, who'd shurk 
 
 De biz'e'ness at han'. 
 
 Dis Griffin wuz a real good man, 
 Tah good tah stay 'roun' hyeah ; 
 
 Fer he wuz call'd fr'm oft de san' 
 Ob time, hez crown tah weah. 
 
 Dey's commin' ; yes, dey's commin' sho' ! 
 
 Dem "Tru' Raformah" folk ; 
 Ez Ross is at de helm fah mo' 
 
 Ob dem dah houn's tah soalk. 
 
 But grac'ous kno's, whut mo' yo' ask 
 
 Ob Ross thawn be a man? 
 He'll whop 'n' line awl who harrass 
 
 An' wobbles lak a kan ! 
 
 Rite hyeah 'n' Was'nton tah day 
 
 We hab Sis' Saraw Luis ; 
 Whut 'n' de debble did yo' say? 
 
 Ah sed. Sis' Saraw Luis ! 
 
 She's one among de gra' big Four 
 
 Dat rules dis moughty ban' ; 
 'N' Secratahry Maffews sho' 
 
 Is wid her han' 'n' han'. 
 
 30 
 



Ob corse, ahm hyeah wid dem rite now, 
 Dat's why ah calls dah names; 
 
 Dey'll th'ow yo' 'n' a pot ob "sour," 
 Sho' ez yo're 'n' de game. 
 
 Dem "Tru' Rafohmahs" we mus' prais', 
 
 Fah mekin' thru dah way; 
 By many obstackles dat rais'd 
 
 Up dah big haids tah stay. 
 
 POLAHTICKS. 
 
 Three cullud gen'min met, tah say 
 
 Some vital "Polahticks," 
 Ez dey wuz leadahs ob de day, 
 
 An' by de peepal pick'd. 
 
 "Now, Sam," sed one, "yo' mek yo' say, 
 Tell whah yo' stan' one way; 
 
 We'll lis'n clos' fah ev'ry word 
 Dat yo' will hab tah say." 
 
 "Wal, genTmin," sed Mistah Sam; 
 
 "Ah Stan's flat-footdid — dah! 
 Upon de plank mah Tarty' ran, 
 
 Tah be fahebbah, sah !" 
 
 31 
 



"Ah am 'Rapublickun,' yo' kno', 
 Fah fifty yeahs dey've stood 
 
 Fall eq'al rites, an' somethin' mo', 
 An' fer us done much good." 
 
 *'De 'Democraps' ouah 'n'mies air, 
 Dey'll gib yo* nuttin' — hyeah? 
 
 An' nebbah will ez long ez deir 
 Be votin's lak las' 3^eah !" 
 
 Dem 'gressaves, wid dah Ro'savelt, 
 
 Air tryin' hard tah brake 
 Ouah ranks ; an' certahnly we'se felt 
 
 Dah mersahliss han'shake." 
 
 "Ahm gwine tah stan' firm, yo' kan bet, 
 Fah "Linco'n's" prinsahpill ; 
 
 An' ef hit rains, den ah'll git wet, 
 Dan gib o'bah at will." 
 
 So, awl agree'd dat Sam wuz rite, 
 
 'N whut he had tah say ; 
 Ez each one on dat very nite 
 
 Decided that tah stay. 
 
 Wid Sam, an' awl de othah folk 
 
 Who did wid dem belieze 
 In "Polahticks" an' nebbah bolt 
 
 De *'publickuns" fah ease. 
 
 32 
 



WHY IS WHISKEY SUCH A CURSE? 
 
 (Inspired by and written during the address of Dr. 
 C. W. Childs, member of the Board of Education, in a 
 temperance meeting at the First Baptist Church, West 
 Washington, D. C, February 1, 1914. Other addresses 
 weri made by Dr. C. H. Marshall, member of the Board 
 of Education; Mrs. Rosetta Lawson, and the pastor. 
 Rev. Dr. Edgar E. Ricks, who presided.) 
 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it taints the pure; 
 Wh}'- is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it harms you sure. 
 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it makes a "fool"; 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it does'nt "cool". 
 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it dulls the heart; 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it consumes the spark. 
 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because the man, it damns ; 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because the body, it jams. 
 
 33 
 



Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it makes you owe; 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it makes you poor. 
 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it ruins the home ; 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it makes you mourn. 
 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 ■ Because with brutish force it holds 
 The tot'ring form of young and old; 
 And squeezes on their vitals, bold 
 With vengeance, leaving bare the soul. 
 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it spoils the girl ; 
 Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because it dims thv. ''pearl". 
 
 Why is wdiiskey such a curse? 
 
 It plucks the "roses" from the cheek 
 And dims the lustre of the eye, 
 
 As tears of sorrow slowly streak 
 D6wn into the "cup" of bitter sighs. 
 
 34 
 



Why is whiskey such a curse? 
 
 Because in it death's lurking 
 Behind the screen of Fate unseen; 
 
 And of your life's blood sucking. 
 
 It fills the world with fearful gloom 
 And miseries' attendant woe; 
 
 While, in its train, the weak entomb 
 Within its dismal chasm low. 
 
 It makes your troubles mountain high 
 Pile up, as others, passing by. 
 
 Are happy; while to ''danger" fly 
 
 You drop — O, wretched soul ! and die. 
 
 35 
 







PART II. 
 
 SONG-POEMS. 
 
 Set to Music by the Author. 
 
 SCRIPTS. 
 
 I'm longing for you dear, 
 When, too, we will be near, 
 By each other's side. 
 Thro' all eternity; 
 Yes, you, my love, shall be. 
 O'er life's tempestuous sea. 
 And the smilin^- moon and stars 
 Our guide shall be. 
 
 Good-bye, sweetheart good-bye, 
 Good-bye, sweetheart good-bye, 
 May angels ever guide thee. 
 Until we meet again ; 
 Good-bye, sweetheart good-bye. 
 Good-bye, sweetheart good-bye. 
 Remember in the parting. 
 My heart, it giveth pain, 
 

Under the green leaf tree, dear, 
 There's where I long to be, 
 Heart light as air. 
 Sky bright and clear, 
 Listen, sweetheart, you care? 
 
 If your love be as pure, dear, 
 I'll give my heart to you ; 
 Forever one, 
 By the calm setting Sun, 
 Under the green leaf tree. 

 
 SWEETHEART MINE. 
 
 Sweetheart mine. 
 Love divine. 
 
 Well I think on you ; 
 And my heart, 
 Weary worn, 
 
 Calling now for you; 
 Thro' the live-long day I am still 
 Thinking of the time when we will 
 
 Be as happyy as birds of the sky; 
 Oh, sweetheart; sweetheart mine! 
 
 38 
 



Sweetheart mine, 
 Love divine, 
 
 Roses then for you; 
 Your bright eyes. 
 Your bright smiles, 
 
 Draws me nearer you ; 
 Tho' all else I may then forget, 
 Call back, dear, the days when we mei; 
 
 Ne'er was heart so divine and so pure, 
 Oh, sweetheart : sweetheart mine ! 
 
 PRETTY MOON. 
 
 There's a story I would tell of love in June 
 
 time, 
 When the flowers sweet are blooming in the 
 
 dell, 
 And the birds are sweetly * singing in the 
 
 noontime — 
 The story, I remember it so well. 
 All the mem'ries of the past I recollect when 
 Evening shadows fall around, as long ago; 
 In my fancy I can picture all the scenes when 
 The pretty moon's ashining all aglow. 
 


CHORUS. 
 
 Pretty moon, shining soon, 
 
 Pretty Moon, you're a boon, 
 
 With your smiling face out in the sky; 
 
 Pretty moon, come and spoon, 
 
 Oh tell me why you sigh — pretty moon, honey 
 
 moon ; 
 ril be true, dear, to you 
 As the stars in the blue, 
 And my promise to you I'll obey ; 
 Pretty moon, come and spoon — don't hide your 
 
 smiling face, 
 Pretty moon, pretty moon. 
 
 In life's fickle pathway. 
 
 Lie both thorns and roses. 
 
 As we journey t'wards the unseen distant goal ; 
 
 And the rampant and the brave their little life 
 
 goes 
 Out o'er the steep of time unto the shoal ; 
 Well, may we imagine a picture of the shadow 
 Of a never-ending tide of transient dreams, 
 As when off the stage of action, great and small 
 
 go— 
 This life is but a picture on the screen. 
 
 CHORUS. 
 


IN THE CITY OF JASPER WALLS. 
 
 (Sacred.) 
 
 Sitting alone dreaming wearily, 
 After the close of an arduous day ; 
 There, by a candle which burns so low, 
 One by one the angels come and go. 
 Gazing in silence with breathless sigh, 
 Wond'ring shall any more here go by; 
 Leaving this mortal, down here below; 
 Burden'd and footsore — joys come no more, 
 Still in my dreams I can see the shore 
 Where the INIaster doth reign evermore. 
 
 CHORUS. 
 
 Heav'n is the home of the blest 
 
 Where all the saints are at rest; 
 
 Angels, so bright and so fair. 
 
 They are calling me o'er there : 
 
 Th' good book says th' streets are pav'd wi' 
 
 shining gold, 
 And rivers of crystal brightness flow ; 
 On a great white throne reigns the King 
 
 over all. 
 In the city of Jasper Walls. (Repeat.) 
 
 41 
 



2. 
 
 When in the glow of yon heav'nly light, 
 Comes then to me lo' a wond'rous sight; 
 Mansions made ready "by God's own hand 
 For His dear children in yonder land. 
 Seraphs and cherubs, hither they fly. 
 Mingling with millions from sky to sky; 
 And loud hosannas ring out above 
 From the redeem'd ones, wash'd in His blood; 
 Still in my dreams I can see the shore 
 Where the Master doth reign evermore. 
 
 CHORUS. 
 
 Tempo 1. 
 
 Hush ! I can hear the mighty happy throng 
 In a great and grand triumphant song; 
 The Master's face is beaming o'er with love, 
 As swiftly they fly thro' realms above; 
 No shadows to cover them there, 
 No tears their joy to mar; 
 One eternal day over there. 
 And th' pearly gates ajar. 
 
 CHORUS. 



MAMMY LOV'S HER KINKY-HEADED 
 BOY. 
 
 (Typical Southern Lullaby.) 
 
 Mammy lov's her kinky-headed boy, 
 
 'N deed ah lov's yo', 'n deed ah do's — 
 Mammy lov's her kinky-headed boy, 
 
 'N deed ah lov's yo' — 'deed ah do's. 
 Mammy nebber thought befoh de aingil 
 brought 
 Mah li'l' lump o' sw'etness — an' o' joy, mah 
 baby ! 
 Dat yo'd be ez cute a li'l' boy — an' mammy 
 lov's yo, 'n deed ah do's. 
 
 Yo' li'l' no'zes air so cute an' small, 
 
 Oh, mammy lov's yo', 'n deed ah do's; 
 An' yah face is black an' shiny, too, 
 
 Yit mammy lov's yo', 'n deed ah do's. 
 Ah'll buy yo' purty t'ings an' li'l' clo'zes bring, 
 
 An' li'l' tingling bells dat rin' an' rin' — mah 
 aingil ! 
 An' a li'l' woo'en horzey, too, 
 
 Foh ah sho' lov's yo', 'n deed ah do's. 
 
 43 
 



3. 
 
 Mammy lov's her kinky-headed boy, 
 
 Ah'll roc' yo' gen'ly tc sle'p, ah will ; 
 Mammy'll ke'p de kiver on yo' bed, 
 
 Ah'll tuk it clos'ly an' lov' yo' still. 
 Wen yo' gins to cry, rite den ah gins to sigh, 
 An' picks yo' up an' roc'y bye-an'-bye — oh, 
 Lawdy ! 
 Mammy lov's her kinky-headed boy, 
 . 'N deed ah lov's you, 'n deed ah do's. 
 
 THERE'LL COME A DARK CLOUD 
 SOMETIME. 
 
 I. 
 
 Life and its joys, 
 Uncover 'd joys. 
 
 Is but a shadow sublime; 
 Fleeting away. 
 Just for a day, 
 
 There'll come a dark cloud sometime. 
 Sorrows and tears. 
 Bitter fears ; 
 
 Longing to see the sunshine; 
 Onward we go. 
 Fraught with woe — 
 
 There'll come a dark cloud sometime. 
 
 44 
 



2. 
 
 Weary and worn, 
 Bleeding and torn, 
 
 Footsteps are slowing with time. 
 Go as we may, 
 Follow the way — 
 
 There'll come a dark cloud sometime. 
 Still we may hope, 
 As we groupe 
 
 Onward thro' dismal sunshine; 
 
 Cling to the task, 
 
 Tho' encompass'd — 
 
 There'll come a dark cloud sometime. 
 ******* 
 
 Life's not all joy — 
 
 There'll come a dark cloud sometime. 
 
 LONELY TONIGHT. 
 
 I. 
 
 Lonely, tonight, dear, 
 'Mid scenes galore; 
 
 Lonely, tonight, dear, 
 While the wind blow. 
 
 45 
 



2. 
 
 I cannot see, dear, 
 Your smiling face; 
 
 Still in my dreams, dear. 
 You're my solace. 
 
 3. 
 
 Some day I'll wander 
 Back to your arms ; 
 
 And then I'll ponder 
 Under your charms. 
 
 4- 
 
 Far, far away from 
 Your fond embrace; 
 
 Lonely tonight, ''hon", 
 Dream of your face. 
 
 MAH SWE'T LI'L' CHILE. 
 
 (Lullaby.) 
 I. 
 Mammy's li'l' rag'ed pickaninny, pickaninny, 
 Mammy lak's tah see her pickaninny, picka- 
 ninny ; 
 Play'n' in de san', Lawdy know's how gran', 
 Yah li'l' toes an' fin'ers, awl a-flyin' in de aire, 
 Now hyeah, an' deir, an' ev'ry wheir, 
 Mah swe't li'l' chile, li'l' chile. 
 46 
 



Mammy's li'l' cross-eye'd pickaninny, picka- 
 ninny, 
 
 Mammy's liT greas'y pickaninny, pickaninny; 
 
 Mam'll rub yah head, put yo' in de bed ; 
 
 So go tah sle'p, mah li'l' babe, an' yo' de aingils 
 keep. 
 
 Now, lay yo' head upon mah bres', 
 
 Mah swe't li'l' chile, li'l' chile. 
 
 Psh! — hush, now go tah sle'p, mah 'ninny, 
 
 pickaninny, 
 Psh ! — don' cry, bad man'll git mah baby, 
 
 pickaninny ; 
 Clos' dem li'l' eyes, mammy hyeahs yah cries. 
 Now, roc'-er-bye, mah li'l' babe, an dream ob 
 
 mudder deah, 
 Ah'll hold yo' close, widdin' mah ahms, 
 Mah swe't li'l' chile, li'l' chile. 
 
 AFTER AWHILE. 
 
 I. 
 
 Why are the days so long and drear, 
 Why is my heart so pain'd? 
 
 It is because we parted, dear. 
 When you my love disdain'd. 
 
 47 
 



Flowers, they blossom and w'ther and die, 
 
 Then I recall those days gone by : 
 
 When you caress'd me, 
 
 And fondly kiss'd me. 
 
 And then you said ''good-bye." 
 
 CHORUS. 
 
 After awhile — when th' stars are gleaming, 
 
 After awhile — a broken heart; 
 
 You'll understand while we are parted, 
 
 After awhile, after awhile. 
 After awhile — when th' years are flying, 
 After awhile — when your hair's gray ; 
 'Tis then you'll know I loved you only, 
 After awhile. 
 
 2. 
 
 Twilight, it softly fades away. 
 
 So with my life each day : 
 
 Fill'd with its sorrow, but still I pray 
 
 For your return some day. 
 
 Once I was always bright and gay, 
 
 But now I'm pining fast away ; 
 
 Don't you remember. 
 
 In (that) cold December, 
 
 When you bade me ''good-bye"?