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Full text of "Poems of cabin and field"

F O o E F M S 
CABIN 



AN D 



FIELD 







LAURENCE DUNBAR 



University of California Berkeley 






Poems of 
Cabin and Field 




A V^r %^tJ " VV^ 



PAVHAVKEflCEDWBAR 

nmlVSTR ATEDWITM-PMOTOG-RAPMS m 



MA/^PTO/V-IAfSTITUTE 
CAMERA CU/B 

A/VD-DECORATIOAfS-fiy 

ALICE 



DODD-MEAO^COMPA /VV 




Copyright, 189 
by 

Dodd, Mead 
& Co, 

All right* 




Copyright, 1895-1896 

By The Century Company 



JBntbemtg ^ress 
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A. 



To 



Bishop Henry C. Potter 

and with him the friends 
who were kind in my illness 











Contents 

The Deserted Plantation Page 9 

Hunting Song 31 

Little Brown Baby 43 

Chris'mus is a-Comin' 55 

Signs of the Times 67 

Time to Tinker 'Round 81 

Lullaby 93 

A Banjo Song 107 









t\ / 



The Deserted Plantation 










Oh, de grubbin'-hoe 's a-rustin' in de co'nah, 
An* de plow 's a-tumblin' down in de fieP, 

While de whippoVill 's a-wailin' lak a mou^nah 
When his stubborn hea't is tryin' ha'd to yiel\ 









1 



In de furrers whah de co'n was allus waving 
Now de weeds is growin' green an' rank an' tall ; 

An' de swallers round' de whole place is a-bravin' 
Lak dey thought deir folks had allus owned it all* 





"N> 




An* de big house Stan's all quiet lak an' solemn, 
Not a blessed soul in pa'lor, po'ch, er lawn ; 

Not a guest, ner not a ca'iage leP to haul 'em, 
Fu'de ones dat tu'ned de latch-string out air gone. 






^ * a r=^* ". 







EA 




A 









' de banjo's voice is silent in de quarters, 
D' ain't a hymn ner co'n-song ringin' in de air ; 
But de murmur of a branch's passin' waters 
Is de only soun' dat breks de stillness dere. 








ft 



s>^ 






Whah 's oF Uncle Mordecai an' Uncle Aaron ? 

Whah's Aunt Doshy, Sam, an' Kit, an' all de 
res'? 



54 W^^^^^KS^^ 



23 






Whah 's ol' Tom de da'ky fiddlah, how 's he farin' ? 

Whah 's de gals dat used to sing an' dance de 
bes'? 







I 




I 



Gone ! not one o' dem is lef ' to tell de story ; 

Dey have lef' de deah oP place to fall away. 
Could n 't one o' dem dat seed it in its glory 

Stay to watch it in de hour of decay ? 

25 



M 

i 




1 




I 



Dey have lef ' de ol' plantation to de swallers, 
But it hoi's in me a lover till de las' ; 

Fu' I fin' hyeah in de memory dat follers 
All dat loved me an' dat I loved in de pas'. 

27 



Srs) 




1 

So 1 11 stay an 9 watch de deah oP place an' tend it 
Ez I used to in de happy days gone by. 

Twell de othah Mastah thinks it 's time to end it, 
An' calls me to my quarters in de sky. 



29 



i 






Hunting Song 



31 



&\. 




Tek a cool night, good an' cleah, 

Skiff o' snow upon de groun' ; 
Jes' 'bout fall-time o' de yeah 

Wen de leaves is dry an* brown ; 
Tek a dog an' tek a axe, 

Tek a lantu'n in yo' han', 
Step light whah de switches cracks, 

Fu' dey 's huntin' in de Ian'. 
Down th'oo de valleys an' ovah de hills, 

Into de woods whah de 'simmon-tree grows, 
Wakin' an' skeerin' de po' whippo' wills, 
Huntin' fu' coon an' fu' 'possum we goes. 

35 









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Blow dat ho'n dah loud an 9 strong, 

**^ 

Call de dogs an 9 da'kies neah ; 
Mek its music cleah an' long, 

So de folks at home kin hyeah. 
Blow it twell de hills an' trees 

Sen's de echoes tumblin' back ; 
Blow it twell de back'ard breeze 

Tells de folks we 's on de track* 
Coons is a-ramblin' an' 'possums is out ; 

Look at dat dog ; you could set on his tail ! 
Watch him now steady, min' what you 's 

about, 
Bless me, dat animal 's got on de trail ! 

37 




3 









r / 





Listen to him ba'kin' now ! 

Dat means business, sho 's you bo'n ; 
Ef he 's struck de scent I low 

Dat ere 'possum 's sholy gone. 
Knowed dat dog fu' fo'teen yeahs, 

An' I nevah seed him fail 
Wen he sot dem flappin' eahs 
An' went off upon a trail. 
Run, Mistah 'Possum, an' run, Mistah Coon, 

No place is safe fu' yo' ramblin' to-night; 
Mas' gin de lantu'n an' God gin de moon, 
An' a long hunt gins a good appetite. 



39 




rvi 










Look hyeah, folks, you hyeah dat change ? 

Dat ba'k is sharper dan de res'. 
Dat ere soun' ain't nothin' strange, 

Dat dog's talked his level bes'. 
Somep'n' 's treed, I know de soun'. 

Dah now, wha 'd I tell you ? see ! 
Dat ere dog done run him down ; 

Come hyeah, he'p cut down dis tree. 
Ah, Mistah 'Possum, we got you at las' 

Need n't play daid, laying dah on de groun' ; 
Pros' an' de 'simmons has made you grow fas', 
Won't he be fine when he 's roasted up brown ! 

4J 







Little Brown Baby 







Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes, 

Come to yo' pappy an' set on his knee. 
What you been doin', suh makin' san' pies ? 

Look at dat bib you 's ez du'ty ez me* 
Look at dat mouf dat 's merlasses, I bet ; 

ODme hyeah, Maria t an^ wipe off his han's. 
Bees gwine to ketch you an' eat you up yit, 

Bein' so sticky an' sweet goodness lan's ! 



47 







. 



Little brown baby wif spavin' eyes, 

Who 's pappy's darlin' an* who 's pappy's chile ? 
Who is it all de day nevah once tries 

Ft/ to be cross, er once loses dat smile ? 
Whah did you git dem teef ? My, you 's a scamp ! 

Whah did dat dimple come Pom in yo' chin? 
Pappy do' know yo I b'lieves you 's a tramp ; 

Mammy, dis hyeah 's some 61* straggler got in ! 




Let 's th'ow him outcn de do 9 in de san', 

We do' want stragglers a-layin' 'roun' hyeah; 
Let 's gin him 'way to de big buggah-man ; 

I know he 's hidin' erroun' hyeah right neah. 
Buggah-man, buggah-man t come in de do', 

Hyeah's a bad boy you kin have ft/ to eat. 
Mammy an' pappy do' want him no mo', 

Swaller him down f'om his haid to his feet ! 








Dah, now, I t'ought dat you'd hug me up close* 

Go back, oP buggah, you sha'n't have dis boy. 
He ain't no tramp, ner no straggler, of co'se ; 

He 's pappy's pa'dner an' playmate an' joy. 
Come to you' pallet now go to yo' res' ; 

Wisht you could allus know ease an' cleah skies; 
Wisht you could stay jes' a chile on my breas' 

Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes ! 







Chris'mus is a-Comin' 



55 












Bones a-gittin' achy, 
Back a-feelin' col', 
Han's a-growin' shaky, 
Jes' lak I was of. 
Pros' erpon de meddah 
Lookin' mighty white ; 
Snowdraps lak a feddah 
Slippin' down at night* 
Jes' keep t'ings a-hummin' 
Spite o' fros' an' showahs, 
Chris'mus is a-comin' 
An' all de week is ouahs. 

59 
















Little mas' a-axin', 
" Who is Santy Glaus ?" 
Meks it kin' o' taxin' 
Not to brek de laws* 
Chilian's pow'ful tryin' 
To a pusson's grace 
Wen dey go a-pryin' 
Right on th'oo you' face 
Down ermong yo' feelin's ; 
Jes' 'pears lak dat you 
Got to change you' dealin's 
So 's to tell 'em true. 

6* 



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fi 

I 



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' my pickaninny 
Dreamin' in his sleep ! 
Come hyeah, Mammy Jinny, 
Come an' tek a peep. 
01' Mas' Bob an' Missis 
In dey house up daih 
Got no chile lak dis is, 
D' ain't none anywhaih. 
Sleep, my little lammy, 
Sleep, you little limb, 
He do' know whut mammy 
Done saved up fu' him. 

63 












1 

HP 





1 



Dey '11 be banjo picking 
Dancin' all night th'oo. 
Dey '11 be lots o' chicken, 
Plenty tu'ky, too* 
Drams to wet yo' whistles 
So 's to drive out chills* 
Whut I keer fu' drizzles 
Fallin' on de hills ? 
Jes* keep t'ings a-hummin' 
Spite o' col' an' showahs, 
Chris'mus day 's a-comin^ 
An' all de week is ouahs. 

65 






Signs of the Times 



67 




Air a-gittin' cool an' coolah, 
Frost a-comin' in de night, 

Hicka' nuts an' wa'nuts falling 

. +.- 

\ 

Tossum keepin' out o' sight. 
Turkey struttin' in the ba'nya'd, 

Nary step so proud ez his ; 
Keep on strutting Mistah Tu'key t 

Yo' do' know whut time it is. 






Cidah press commence a-squeakin/ 
Eatin' apples sto'ed away, 

Chilian swa'min' 'roun' lak ho'nets, 
Huntin' aigs ermung de hay 

Mistah Tt/key keep on gobblin' 
At de geese a-flyin* souf t 

Oomph! dat bird do' know whut's 
comin' ; 



Ef he did he *d shet his mouf . 



73 



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. 








Pum'kin gittin' good an' yallah 

Mek me open up my eyes ; 
Seems lak it 's a-lookin' at me 

Jes' a-la'in' dah sayin' "Pies." 
Tu'key gobbler gwine 'roun' blowing 

Gwine Voun' gibbin' sass an' slack; 
Keep on talking Mistah TVkey, 

You ain't seed no almanac. 

75 




mamm 









If. s l 

life*, 



Fa'mer walkin' th^oo de ba'nya'd 

Sccin' how things is comin' on, 
Sees ef all de fowls is fatt'nin' 

Good times comin' sho 's you bo'n. 
Hyeahs dat tu'key gobbler bragging 

Den his face break in a smile 
Nebbah min', you sassy rascal, 

He 's gwine nab you atter while. 

77 



r M 



- -W|X 




1W 1 







Choppin' suet in de kitchen, 
Stonin* raisins in de hall, 

Beef a-cookin' fu' de mince meat, 
Spices groun' I smell 'em all. 






Look hyeah, TVkey, stop dat gob- 
bling 

You ain' luned de sense ob feah, 
You oP fool, yo' naik ^s in dangah, 

Do' you know Thanksgibbin 's 
hyeah? 

79 



Time to Tinker 'Roun' 






81 




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?^ f r, 
* '' 



W% 




Summah 's nice, wif sun a-shinin', 

Spring is good wif greens and grass, 
An' dey 's some t'ings nice 'bout win- 
tah, 

Dough hit brings de freezin' bias' ; 
But de time dat is de fines', 

Whethah fiel's is green er brown, 
Is w'en de rain 's a-po'in' 

An' dey 's time to tinker 'roun'. 

85 







P^!^^ 

^J - ' i* 



Den you men's de mule's oP harness, 

An' you men's de broken chair, 
Hummin' all de time you 's wo'kin' 

Some ol f common kind o' air* 
Evah now an' then you looks out, 

Tryin' mighty ha'd to frown, 
But you cain't, you's glad hit 's rain- 
in', 

An' dey 's time to tinker 'roun'. 

**,_, 87 






Oh, you 'ten's lak you so anxious 

Evah time it so' o' stops. 
Wen hit goes on, den you reckon 

Dat de wet '11 he'p de crops* 
But hit ain't de crops you 's aftah ; 

You knows w'en de rain comes 

down 
Dat 's hit 's too wet out fu' wo'kin', 

An' dey 's time to tinker 'roun'. 

89 









Oh, dey 's fun inside de co'n-crib, 

An' dey 's laffin' at de ba'n; 
An' dey 's allus some one joking 

Er some one to tell a ya'n. 
Dah 's a quiet in yo' cabin, 

Only fu' de rain's sof soun' ; 
So you 's mighty blessed happy 

W'en dey 's time to tinker 'roun'! 




Lullaby 




t \ 






IF 








Bedtime 's come fu' little boys, 

Po' little lamb. 
Too tiahed out to make a noise, 

Po' little lamb. 

You gwine t' have to-morrer sho' ? 
Yes, you tole me dat befo', 
Don't you fool me, chile, no mo', 

Po' little lamb. 

97 






m 



You been bad de livelong day, 

Po' little lamb* 
Th'owin' stones an' runnin' 

Po' little lamb. 

My, but you 's a-runnin' wil', 
Look jes' lak some po' folks chile ; 
Mam' gwine whup you atter while, 

Po' little lamb. 

99 




^^vS3 
iS^^^ILl^Kl 






Come hyeah ! you mos' tiahed to def, 

Po' little lamb. 
Played yo'se'f clean out o' bref, 

Po' little lamb. 

See dem ban's now sich a sight ! 
Would you evah b'lieve dey 's white ? 
Stan' still twell I wash 'em right, 

Po' little lamb. 

JOJ 









Jes' cain't ho? yo' haid up straight, 

Po' little lamb. 
Had n't oughter played so late, 

Po' little lamb. 

Mammy do 9 know whut she 'd do, 
Ef de chillun's all lak you; 
You 's a caution now fu' true, 

Po' little lamb. 

J03 




w?^ 










Lay yo' haid down in my lap, 

Po' little lamb* 
Y'ought to have a right good slap, 

Po' little lamb. 

You been runnin' roun' a heap* 
Shet dem eyes an' don't you peep, 
Dah now, dah now, go to sleep, 

Po' little lamb* 

J05 







A Banjo Song 



J07 



Oh, dere 's lots o' keer an' trouble 
In dis world to swaller down ; 

An' ol' Sorrer 's purty lively 
In her way o' gittin' roun' 

Yet dere 's time when I f urgit 'em, 



Aches an' pains an' troubles all, 



An' it 's when I tek at ebenin' 
My ol' banjo f'om de wall* 
m 








',' 



.'5-77 










'Bout de timedat night is fallin' 

An' my daily wu'k is done, 
An' above de shady hilltops 

I kin see de settin' sun ; 
When de quiet, restful shadders 

Is beginnin' jes' to fall, 
Den I take de little banjo 

F'om its place upon de wall, 
ns 




f ):>} 



-/"" '<'- -/''>* ^j^ 










^mmlw^^^^ ^SixA^ ** -"<^ ^_^jGzjs&. 

Den my fam'ly gadders roun' me 

In de fadin' o' de light, 
Ez I strike de strings to try 'em 

Ef dey all is tuned er-right. 
An' it seems we 're so nigh heaben 

We kin hyeah de angels sing 
When de music o' dat banjo 

Sets my cabin all er-ring. 

H5 




r-^C 



jfW&#l 






I 



An' my wife an 9 all de othahs, 

Male an' female, small an' big, 
Even up to gray-haired granny, 

Seem jes' boun' to do a jig ; 
Twell I change de style o' music, 

Change de movement an' de time, 
An' de ringin' little banjo 

Plays an ol' hea't-feelin' hime. 













An' somehow my throat gits choky,. 

An' a lump keeps tryin' to rise 
Lafc it wan'ed to ketch de water 

Dat was flowin' to my eyes ; 
An' I feel dat I could sorter 

Knock de socks clean off o' sin 
Ez I hyeah my po' oP granny 

Wif huh tremblin' voice jine in* 



OH ^r/t '^^"'U 

s wif W^Jnv 

'\SSSv x (v It t/f/ xT ' ^\Wx-r \\l hmnnnnrK. 




Den we all th'ow in our voices 

Ft/ to he'p de chune out too, 
Lak a big camp-meetin' choiry 

Tryin' to sing a mou'nah th'oo* 
An^ our th'oats let out de music, 

Sweet an' solemn, loud an' free, 
Twell de raftahs o' my cabin 

Echo wif de melody* 




Oh, de music o' de banjo, 

Quick an' deb'lish, solemn, slow, 
Is de greates' joy an' solace 

Dat a weary slave kin know ! 
So jes' let me hyeah it ringing 

Dough dechune be po'an' rough, 
It 's a pleasure ; an' de pleasures 

O' dis life is few enough* 

J23 





Now, de blessed little angels 

Up in heaben, we are told, 
Don't do nothin' all dere lifetime 

'Ceptin' play on ha'ps o' gold* 
Now I think heaben 'd be mo' homelike 

Ef we 'd hyear some music fall 
Fom a real ol'-fashioned banjo, 

Like dat one upon de wall. 

J25 



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