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When Sam'l Sings

Paul Laurence Dunbar 1872 (Dayton) – 1906



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.

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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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