Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

Agnes o' de Village Lane


Fancy o' me childish will,
   Playin' now before me eyes,
Sadly I remember still
How much your love I prize',
As I think o' you again,
Agnes o' de village lane.

In de school-room worn an' old
   Fus' I  saw your pretty smile, 
Heard your footsteps firm an' bold,
   Loved your face so free o' guile,
An' your soul so clear of stain,
Agnes, Agnes o' de lane.

Oh, I suffered much for you,
   For dey t'umped an' beat poor me
Tell me skin tu'n black an' blue,
   Tryin' ef day could part we;
But we closer grew we twain,
Heartful Agnes o' de lane.

Little love t'oughts o' me breast
   I wrote by tin lamp's light:
P'raps dey were not of de best
   (Bunny showed me what to write),
Yet you never would complain,
Easy Agnes o' de lane.

But dere came de partin' day,
   An' they took me from you, dear,
An' de passion died away,
   But de memory was there:
Long you've lingered in me brain,
Plump-cheeked Agnes o' de lane. 

A'ter many a weary year,
   Sad, sad news o' you I heard,
News dat brought a scaldin' tear
   At de sound o' every word;
An my mind, filled wid disdain,
Grieved for Agnes o' de lane.

Agnes o' de lane no more,
   for you went away, my pet,
Agnes once so sweet an' pure,
   To a miserable deat';
Oh, de 'membrance brings me pain,
Fallen Agnes o' de lane!

 

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  1. The Work of a Gifted Jamaican (Upper half)
  2. The Work of a Gifted Jamaican (Lower half)