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Paul laurence dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

POEMAS
SEGUIDORES
6

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.

MAMMY’S in de kitchen, an’ de do’ is shet;
All de pickaninnies climb an’ tug an’ sweat,
Gittin’ to de winder, stickin’ dah lak flies,
Evah one ermong us des all nose an’ eyes.
'Whut’s she cookin’, Isaac?' 'Whut’s she cookin’, Jake?'
‘Is it sweet pertaters? Is hit pie er cake?’
But we couldn’t mek out even whah we stood
Whut was mammy cookin’ dat could smell so good.
Mammy spread de winder, an’ she frown an frown.
How de pickaninnies come a—tumblin’ down!
Den she say: 'Ef you—all keeps a—peepin’ in,
How I’se gwine to whup you, my! ‘t ’ill be a sin!
Need n’ come a—sniffin’ an’ a—nosin’ hyeah,
'Ca’se I knows my business, nevah feah.'
Won’t somebody tell us —how I wish dey would! —
Whut is mammy cookin’ dat it smells so good?
We know she means business, an’ we dassent stay,
Dough it’s mighty tryin’ fuh to go erway;
But we goes a—troopin’ down de ol’ wood—track
'Twell dat steamin’ kitchen brings us stealin’ back,
Climbin’ an’ a—peepin’ so’s to see inside.
Whut on earf kin mammy be so sha’p to hide?
I’d des up an’ tell folks w’en I knowed I could,
Ef I was a—cookin’ t’ings dat smelt so good.
Mammy in de oven, an’ I see huh smile;
Moufs mus’ be a—wat’rin’ roun’ hyeah fuh a mile;
Den we almos’ hollah ez we hu’ies down,
'Ca’se hit’s apple dumplin’s, big an’ fat an’ brown!
W’en de do’ is opened, solemn lak an’ slow,
Wisht you see us settin’ all dah in a row
Innercent an’ p’opah, des lak chillun should
W’en dey mammy’s cookin’ t’ings dat smell so good.

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 more kind than a priest, my dear,
For a drink is more kind than a
priest.

BY the stream I dream in calm delight, and watch as in a glass,
How the clouds like crowds of snowy—hued and white—robed maidens pass,
And the water into ripples breaks and sparkles as it spreads,
Like a host of armored knights with silver helmets on their heads.
And I deem the stream an emblem fit of human life may go,
For I find a mind may sparkle much and yet but shallows show,
And a soul may glow with myriad lights and wondrous mysteries,
When it only lies a dormant thing and mirrors what it sees.

G’way an’ quit dat noise, Miss Lucy—
Put dat music book away;
What’s de use to keep on tryin’?
Ef you practise twell you’re gray,
You cain’t sta’t no notes a—flyin’
Lak de ones dat rants and rings
F’om de kitchen to de big woods
When Malindy sings.

You ain’t got de nachel o’gans
Fu’ to make de soun’ come right,
You ain’t got de tu’ns an’ twistin’s
Fu’ to make it sweet an’ light.
Tell you one thing now, Miss Lucy,
An’ I 'm tellin’ you fu’ true,
When hit comes to raal right singin’,
'T ain’t no easy thing to do.

Easy 'nough fu’ folks to hollah,
Lookin’ at de lines an’ dots,
When dey ain’t no one kin sence it,
An’ de chune comes in, in spots;
But fu’ real malojous music,
Dat jes’ strikes yo’ hea’t and clings,
Jes’ you stan’ an’ listen wif me
When Malindy sings.

Ain’t you nevah hyeahd Malindy?
Blessed soul, tek up de cross!
Look hyeah, ain’t you jokin’, honey?
Well, you don’t know whut you los’.
Y’ ought to hyeah dat gal a—wa’blin’,
Robins, la’ks, an’ all dem things,
Heish dey moufs an’ hides dey face.
When Malindy sings.

Fiddlin’ man jes’ stop his fiddlin’,
Lay his fiddle on de she’f;
Mockin’—bird quit tryin’ to whistle,
'Cause he jes’ so shamed hisse’f.
Folks a—playin’ on de banjo
Draps dey fingahs on de strings—
Bless yo’ soul—fu’gits to move 'em,
When Malindy sings.

She jes’ spreads huh mouf and hollahs,
“Come to Jesus,” twell you hyeah
Sinnahs’ tremblin’ steps and voices,
Timid—lak a—drawin’ neah;
Den she tu’ns to “Rock of Ages,”
Simply to de cross she clings,
An’ you fin’ yo’ teahs a—drappin’
When Malindy sings.

Who dat says dat humble praises
Wif de Master nevah counts?
Heish yo’ mouf, I hyeah dat music,
Ez hit rises up an’ mounts—
Floatin’ by de hills an’ valleys,
Way above dis buryin’ sod,
Ez hit makes its way in glory
To de very gates of God!

Oh, hit’s sweetah dan de music
Of an edicated band;
An’ hit’s dearah dan de battle’s
Song o’ triumph in de lan’.
It seems holier dan evenin’
When de solemn chu’ch bell rings,
Ez I sit an’ ca’mly listen
While Malindy sings.

Towsah, stop dat ba’kin’, hyeah me!
Mandy, mek dat chile keep still;
Don’t you hyeah de echoes callin’
F’om de valley to de hill?
Let me listen, I can hyeah it,
Th’oo de bresh of angel’s wings,
Sof’ an’ sweet, “Swing Low,
Sweet Chariot,”
Ez Malindy sings.

DEY had a gread big pahty down to Tom’s de othah night;
Was I dah? You bet! I neveh in my life see sich a sight;
All de folks f’om fou’ plantations was invited, an’ dey come,
Dey come troopin’ thick ez chillun when dey hyeahs a fife an’ drum.
Evahbody dressed deir fines’—Heish yo’ mouf an’ git away,
Ain’t seen no sich fancy dressin’ sence las’ quah’tly meetin’ day;
Gals all dressed in silks an’ satins, not a wrinkle ner a crease,
Eyes a—battin’, teeth a—shinin’, haih breashed back ez slick ez grease;
Sku’ts all tucked an’ puffed an’ ruffled, evah blessed seam an’ stitch;
Ef you’d seen 'em wif deir mistus, coul n’t swahed to which was which.
Men all dressed up in Prince Alberts, swaller—tails 'u’d tek yo’ bref!
I cain’t tell you nothin’ 'bout it, y’ ought to seen it fu’ yo’se’f.
Who was dah? Now who you askin’? How you 'spect I gwine to know?
You mus’ think I stood an’ coutned evahbody at de do.'
Ole man Babah’s house—boy Isaac, brung dat gal, Malindy Jane,
Huh a—hangin’ to his elbow, him a—struttin’ wif a cane;
My, but Hahvey Jones was jealous! seemed to stick him lak a tho’n;
But he laughed with Viney Cahteh, tryin’ ha’d to not let on,
But a pusson would 'a’ noticed f’om de d’rection of his look,
Dat he was watchin’ ev’ry step dat Ike an’ Lindy took.
Ike he foun’ a cheer an’ asked huh: 'Won’t you set down?' wif a smile,
An’ she answe’d up a—bowin’, ‘Oh, I reckon ’t ain’t wuth while.'
Dat was jes’ fu’ style I reckon, 'cause she sot down jes’ de same,
An’ she stayed dah 'twell he fetched huh fu’ to jine some so’t o’ game;
Den I hyeahd huh sayin’ propah, ez she riz to go away,
'Oh, you raly mus’ excuse me, fu’ I hardly keers to play.'
But I seen huh in a minute wif de othahs on de flo’,
An’ dah was n’t any one o’ dem a—playin’ any mo’;
Comin’ down de flo’ a—bowin’ an’ a—swayin’ an’ a—swingin’,
Puttin’ on huh high—toned mannahs all de time dat she was singin’;
'Oh, swing Johnny up an’ down, swing him all aroun’,
Swing Johnny up an’ down, swing him all aroun’,
Oh, swing Johnny up an’ down, swing him all aroun’,
Fa’ you well, my dahlin’.'
Had to laff at ole man Johnson, he’s a caution now, you bet—
Hittiin’ clost onto a hunderd, but he’s spry an’ nimble yet;
He 'lowed how a—so’t o—gigglin’, 'I ain’t ole, I’ll let you see,
D’ain’t no use in gittin’ feeble, now you youngstahs jes’ watch me,'
An’ he grabbed ole Aunt Marier—weighs th’ee hunderd mo’ er less,
An’ he spun huh 'roun’ de cabin swingin’ Johnny lak de res’.
Evahbody laffed an’ hollahed: ‘Go it! Swing huh, Uncle Jim!’
An’ he swung huh too, I reckon, lak a youngstah, who but him.
Dat was bettah’n young Scott Thomas, tryin’ to be so awful smaht.
You know when dey gits to singin’ an’ dey comes to dat ere paht:
'In some lady’s new brick house,
In some lady’s gyahden.
Ef you don’t let me out, I will jump out,
So fa’ you well, my dahlin’.'
Den dey’s got a circle 'roun’ you, an’ you’s got to break de line;
Well, dat dahky was so anxious, lak to bust hisse’f a—tryin’;
Kep’ on blund’rin’ 'roun’ an’ foolin’ 'twell he giv’ one gread big jump,
Broke de line, an lit head—fo’most in de fiah—place right plump;
Hit 'ad fiah in it, mind you; well, I thought my soul I’d bust,
Tried my best to keep f’om laffin’, but hit seemed like die I must!
Y’ ought to seen dat man a—scramblin’ f’om de ashes an’ de grime.
Did it bu’n him! Sich a question, why he did n’t give it time;
Th’ow’d dem ashes and dem cindahs evah which—a—way I guess,
An’ you nevah did, I reckon, clap yo’ eyes on sich a mess;
Fu’ he sholy made a picter an’ a funny one to boot,
Wif his clothes all full o’ ashes an’ his face all full o’ soot.
Well, hit laked to stopped de pahty, an’ I reckon lak ez not
Dat it would ef Tom’s wife, Mandy, had n’t happened on de spot,
To invite us out to suppah —well, we scrambed to de table,
An’ I’d lak to tell you ‘ ’bout it– what we had– but I ain’t able,
Mention jes’ a few things, dough I know I had n’t orter,
Fu’ I know 't will staht a hank’rin’ an’ yo’ muouf’ll 'mence to worter.
We had wheat bread white ez cotton an’ a egg pone jues like gol’,
Hog jole, bilin’ hot an’ steamin’ roasted shoat an’ ham sliced cold —
Look out! What’s de mattah wif you? Don’t be fallin’ on de flo’;
Ef it’s go’n’ to 'fect you dat way, I won’t tell you nothin’ mo’.
Dah now —well, we had hot chttlin’s —now you’s tryin’ ag 'in to fall,
Cain’t you stan’ to hyeah about it? S’pose you’d been an’ seed it all;
Seed dem gread big sweet pertaters, layin’ by de possum’s side,
Seed dat coon in all his gravy, reckon den you’d up and died!
Mandy ‘lowed ’you all mus’ 'scuse me, d’ wa’n’t much upon my she’ves,
But I’s done my bes’, to suit you, so set down an’ he’p yo’se’ves.'
Tom, he ‘lowed: ’I don’t b’lieve in 'pologisin’ an’ perfessin’,
Let 'em tek it lak dey ketch it. Eldah Thomspon, ask de blessin’.'
Wish you’d seed dat colo’ed preachah cleah his th’oat an’ bow his head;
One eye shet, an’ one eye open, —dis is evah wud he said:
'Lawd, look down in tendah mussy on sich generous hea’ts ez des;
Make us truly thankful, amen. Pass dat possum, ef you please!'
Well, we eat and drunk ouah po’tion, 'twell dah wasn’t nothin’ lef,
An’ we felt jes’ like new sausage, we was mos’ nigh stuffed to def!
Tom, he knowed how we’d be feelin’, so he had de fiddlah 'roun’,
An’ he made us cleah de cabin fu’ to dance dat suppah down.
Jim, de fiddlah, chuned his fiddle, put some rosum on his bow,
Set a pine box on de table, mounted it an’ let huh go!
He’s a fiddlah, now I tell you, an’ he made dat fiddle ring,
'Twell de ol’est an’ de lamest had to give deir feet a fling.
Jigs, cotillions, reels, an’ breakdowns, cordrills an’ a waltz er two;
Bless yo’ soul, dat music winged 'em an’ dem people lak to flew.
Cripple Joe, de old rheumatic, danced dat flo’ f’om side to middle,
Th’owed away his crutch an’ hopped it; what’s rheumatics 'ginst a fiddle?
Eldah Thompson got so tickled dat he lak to los’ his grace,
Had to tek bofe feet an’ hol’ dem so’s to keep 'em in deir place.
An’ de Christuns an’ de sinnahs got so mixed up on dat flo’,
Dat I don’t see how dey’d pahted ef de trump had chanced to blow.
Well, we danced dat way an’ capahed in de mos’ redic’lous way,
'Twell de roostahs in de bahnyard cleahed deir th’oats an’ crowed fu’ day.
Y’ ought to been dah, fu’ I tell you evahthing was rich an’ prime,
An’ dey ain’t no use in talkin’, we jes had one scrumptious time!

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.

We is gathahed hyeah, my brothahs,
In dis howlin’ wildaness,
Fu’ to speak some words of comfo’t
To each othah in distress.
An’ we chooses fu’ ouah subjic’
Dis —we’ll 'splain it by an’ by;
'An’ de Lawd said, ‘ Moses, Moses,’
An’ de man said, ‘Hyeah am I.’

Now ole Pher’oh, down in Egypt,
Was de wuss man evah bo’n,
An’ he had de Hebrew chillun
Down dah wukin’ in his co’n;
'T well de Lawd got tiahed o’ his foolin’,
An’ sez he: 'I’ll let him know —
Look hyeah, Moses, go tell Pher’oh
Fu’ to let dem chillun go.'

'An’ ef he refuse to do it,
I will make him rue de houah,
Fu’ I’ll empty down on Egypt
All de vials of my powah.'
Yes, he did —an’ Pher’oh’s ahmy
Was n’t wuth a ha’f a dime;
Fu’ de Lawd will he’p his chillun,
You kin trust him evah time.

An’ yo’ enemies may 'sail you
In de back an’ in de front;
But de Lawd is all aroun’ you,
Fu’ to ba’ de battle’s brunt.
Dey kin fo’ge yo’ chains an’ shackles
F’om de mountains to de sea;
But de Lawd will sen’ some Moses
Fu’ to set his chillun free.

An’ de lan’ shall hyeah his thundah,
Lak a blas’ f’om Gab’el’s ho’n,
Fu’ de Lawd of hosts is mighty
When he girds his ahmor on.
But fu’ feah some one mistakes me,
I will pause right hyeah to say,
Dat I’m still a—preachin’ ancient,
I ain’t talkin’ 'bout to—day.

But I tell you, fellah christuns,
Things’ll happen mighty strange;
Now, de Lawd done dis fu’ Isrul,
An’ his ways don’t nevah change,
An, de love he showed to Isrul
Was n’t all on Isrul spent;
Now don’t run an’ tell yo’ mastahs
Dat I’s preachin’ discontent.

'Cause I is n’t; I’se a—judgin’
Bible people by deir ac’s;
I’se a—givin’ you de Scriptuah,
I’se a—handin’ you de fac’s.
Cose ole Pher’oh b’lieved in slav’ry,
But de Lawd he let him see,
Dat de people he put bref in, —
Evah mothah’s son was free.

An’ dahs othahs thinks lak Pher’oh,
But dey calls de Scriptuah liar,
Fu’ de Bible says ‘a servant
Is a—worthy of his hire.’
An’ you cain’t git roun’ nor thoo dat
An’ you cain’t git ovah it,
Fu’ whatevah place you git in,
Dis hyeah Bible too 'll fit.

So you see de Lawd’s intention,
Evah sence de worl’ began,
Was dat His almighty freedom
Should belong to evah man,
But I think it would be bettah,
Ef I’d pause agin to say,
Dat I’m talkin’ 'bout ouah freedom
In a Bibleistic way.

But de Moses is a—comin’,
An’ he’s comin’, suah and fas’
We kin hyeah his feet a—trompin’,
We kin hyeah his trumpit blas’.
But I want to wa’n you people,
Don’t you git too brigity;
An’ don’t you git to braggin’
'Bout dese things, you wait an’ see.

But when Moses wif his powah
Comes an’ sets us chillun free,
We will praise de gracious Mastah
Dat has gin us liberty;
An’ we’ll shout ouah halleluyahs,
On dat mighty reck’nin’ day,
When we’se reco’nised ez citiz’—
Huh uh! Chillun, let us pray!

(From a Westerner’s Point of View.)

No matter what you call it,
Whether genius, or art,
He sings the simple songs that come
The closest to your heart.
Fur trim an’ skillful phrases,
I do not keer a jot;
'Tain’t the words alone, but feelin’s,
That tech the tender spot.
An’ that’s jest why I love him,—
Why, he’s got sech human feelin’,
An’ in ev’ry song he gives us,
You kin see it creepin’, stealin’,
Through the core the tears go tricklin’,
But the edge is bright an’ smiley;
I never saw a poet
Like that poet Whitcomb Riley.

His heart keeps beatin’ time with our’n
In measures fast or slow;
He tells us jest the same ol’ things
Our souls have learned to know.
He paints our joys an’ sorrers
In a way so stric’ly true,
That a body can’t help knowin’
That he has felt them too.
If there’s a lesson to be taught,
He never fears to teach it,
An’ he puts the food so good an’ low
That the humblest one kin reach it.
Now in our time, when poets rhyme
For money, fun, or fashion,
'Tis good to hear one voice so clear
That thrills with honest passion.
So let the others build their songs,
An’ strive to polish highly,—
There’s none of them kin tech the heart
Like our own Whitcomb Riley.

W’EN us fellers stomp around, makin’ lots o’ noise,
Gramma says, 'There’s certain times comes to little boys
W’en they need a shingle or the soft side of a plank;'
She says 'we’re a—itchin’ for a right good spank.'
An’ she says, 'Now thes you wait,
It’s a—comin’ —soon or late,
W’en a fellers itchin’ fer a spank.'
W’en a feller’s out o’ school, you know how he feels,
Gramma says we wriggle 'roun like a lot o’ eels.
W’y it’s like a man that’s thes home from out o’ jail.
What’s the use o’ scoldin’ if we pull Tray’s tail?
Gramma says, tho’, 'thes you wait,
It’s a—comin’ —soon or late,
You’se the boys that’s itchin’ to be spanked.'
Cats is funny creatures an’ I like to make 'em yowl,
Gramma alwus looks at me with a awful scowl
An’ she says, 'Young gentlemen, mamma should be thanked
Ef you’d get your knickerbockers right well spanked.'
An’ she says, 'Now thes you wait,
It’s a—comin’ —soon or late,'
W’en a feller’s itchin’ to be spanked.
Ef you fin’ the days is gettin’ awful hot in school
An’ you know a swimmin’ place where it’s nice and cool,
Er you know a cat—fish hole brimmin’ full o’ fish,
Whose a—goin’ to set around school and wish?
'Tain’t no use to hide your bait,
It’s a—comin’ —soon or late,
W’en a feller’s itchin’ to be spanked.
Ol’ folks know most ever’thing 'bout the world, I guess,
Gramma does, we wish she knowed thes a little less,
But I alwus kind o’ think it 'ud be as well
Ef they wouldn’t alwus have to up an’ tell;
We kids wish 'at they’d thes wait,
It’s a—comin’ —soon or late,
W’en a feller’s itchin’ to be spanked.

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.

I has hyeahd o’ people dancin’ an’ I 's hyeahd o’ people singin’.
An’ I ‘s been ’roun’ lots of othahs dat could keep de banjo ringin’;
But of all de whistlin’ da’kies dat have lived an’ died since Ham,
De whistlin’est I evah seed was ol’ Ike Bates’s Sam.
In de kitchen er de stable, in de fiel’ er mowin’ hay,
You could hyeah dat boy a—whistlin’ pu’ty nigh a mile erway,—
Puck’rin’ up his ugly features 'twell you could n’t see his eyes,
Den you 'd hyeah a soun’ lak dis un f’om dat awful puckah rise:

When dey had revival meetin’ an’ de Lawd’s good grace was flowin’
On de groun’ dat needed wat’rin’ whaih de seeds of good was growin’,
While de othahs was a—singin’ an’ a—shoutin’ right an’ lef,
You could hyeah dat boy a—whistlin’ kin’ o’ sof beneaf his bref:

At de call fu’ colo’ed soldiers, Sam enlisted 'mong de res’
Wid de blue o’ Gawd’s great ahmy wropped about his swellin’ breas’,
An’ he laffed an’ whistled loudah in his youfful joy an’ glee
Dat de govament would let him he’p to mek his people free.
Daih was lots o’ ties to bin’ him, pappy, mammy, an’ his Dinah,—
Dinah, min’ you, was his sweet—hea’t, an’ dey was n’t nary finah;
But he lef 'em all, I tell you, lak a king he ma’ched away,
Try’n’ his level bes’ to whistle, happy, solemn, choky, gay:

To de front he went an’ bravely fought de foe an’ kep’ his sperrit,
An’ his comerds said his whistle made 'em strong when dey could

hyeah it.
When a saber er a bullet cut some frien’ o’ his’n down,
An’ de time 'u’d come to trench him an’ de boys 'u’d gethah 'roun’,
An’ dey could n’t sta’t a hymn—tune, mebbe none o’ dem 'u’d keer,
Sam 'u’d whistle ‘Sleep in Jesus,’ an’ he knowed de Mastah 'd hyeah.
In de camp, all sad discouraged, he would cheer de hea’ts of all,
When above de soun’ of labour dey could hyeah his whistle call:

When de cruel wah was ovah an’ de boys come ma’chin’ back,
Dey was shouts an’ cries an’ blessin’s all erlong dey happy track,
An’ de da’kies all was happy; souls an’ bodies bofe was freed.
Why, hit seemed lak de Redeemah mus’ 'a’ been on earf indeed.
Dey was gethahed all one evenin’ jes’ befo’ de cabin do’,
When dey hyeahd somebody whistlin’ kin’ o’ sof’ an’ sweet an’ low.
Dey could n’t see de whistlah, but de hymn was cleah and ca’m,
An’ dey all stood daih a—listenin’ ontwell Dinah shouted, ‘Sam!’
An’ dey seed a little da’ky way off yandah thoo de trees
Wid his face all in a puckah mekin’ jes’ sich soun’s ez dese: