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The Lawyers' Ways

Paul Laurence Dunbar 1872 (Dayton) – 1906

I've been list'nin' to them lawyers
  In the court house up the street,
  An' I've come to the conclusion
  That I'm most completely beat.
  Fust one feller riz to argy,
  An' he boldly waded in
  As he dressed the tremblin' pris'ner
  In a coat o' deep-dyed sin.
  Why, he painted him all over
  In a hue o' blackest crime,
 An' he smeared his reputation
  With the thickest kind o' grime,
 Tell I found myself a-wond'rin',
  In a misty way and dim,
 How the Lord had come to fashion
  Sich an awful man as him.
 Then the other lawyer started,
  An' with brimmin', tearful eyes,
 Said his client was a martyr
  That was brought to sacrifice.
 An' he give to that same pris'ner
  Every blessed human grace,
 Tell I saw the light o' virtue
  Fairly shinin' from his face.
 Then I own 'at I was puzzled
  How sich things could rightly be;
 An' this aggervatin' question
  Seems to keep a-puzzlin' me.
 So, will some one please inform me,
  An' this mystery unroll--
 How an angel an' a devil
  Can persess the self-same soul?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a seminal American poet of the late 19th and early 20th centuries Dunbar gained national recognition for his 1896 Lyrics of a Lowly Life one poem in the collection being Ode to Ethiopia more…

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