Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Candle-Lightin' Time (1901)

Candle-Lightin' Time

Illustrated with photographs by
Leigh Richmond Miner
of the Hampton Institute Camera Club

Decorations by Margaret Armstrong, New York

To my friend Mrs. Fitzgerald

First published by Dodd, Mead and Company
University Press, John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, USA

Copyright 1901

Dat Ol' Mare O' Mine

Want to trade me, do you, mistah? Oh, well, now, I reckon not.
W'y you could n't buy my Sukey fu' a thousan' on de spot.
Dat ol' mare o' mine?
Yes, huh coat ah long an' shaggy, an' she ain't no shakes to see;
Dat's a ring-bone yes, you right, suh, an' she got a on'ry knee,
But dey ain't no use in talkin', she de only hoss fu' me,
Dat ol' mare o' mine.

C'ose, I knows dat Suke's contra'y, an' she moughty ap' to vex;
But you got to mek erlowance fu' de nature of huh sex;
Dat ol' mare o' mine.
Ef you pull her on de lef' han', she plum 'termined to go right,
A cannon could n't skeer huh, but she boun' to tek a fright
At a piece o' common paper, or anyt'ing whut's white,
Dat ol' mare o' mine.

W'en my eyes commence to fail me, dough, I trus'es to huh sight,
An' she'll tote me safe an' hones' on de ve'y da'kes' night,
Dat ol' mare o' mine.
Ef I whup huh, she jes' switch huh tail, an' settle to a walk,
Ef I whup huh mo', she shek huh haid, an' lak ez not, she balk.
But huh sense ain't no ways lackin', she do evah t'ing but talk,
Dat ol' mare o' mine.

But she gentle ez a lady w'en she know huh beau kin see,
An' she sholy got mo' gumption any day den you or me,
Dat ol' mare o' mine.
She's a leetle slow a-goin', an' she moughty ha'd to sta't,
But we's gittin' ol' togathah, an' she's closah to my hea't,
An' I does n't reckon, mistah, dat she'd sca'cely keer to pa't;
Dat ol' mare o' mine.

W'y, I knows de time dat cidah's kin' o' muddled up my haid,
Ef it had n't been fu' Sukey hyeah, I reckon I'd been daid;
Dat ol' mare o' mine.
But she got me in de middle o' de road an' tuk me home,
An' she would n't let me wandah, ner she would n't let me roam,
Dat's de kin' o' hoss to tie to w'en you's seed de cidah's foam,
Dat ol' mare o' mine.

You kin talk erbout yo' heaven, you kin talk erbout yo' hell,
Dey is people, dey is hosses, den dey's cattle, den dey's well, --
Dat ol' mare o' mine;
She de beatenes' t'ing dat evah struck de medders o' de town,
An' aldough huh haid ain't fittin' fu' to waih no golden crown,
D' ain't a blessed way fu' Petah fu' to tu'n my Sukey down,
Dat ol' mare o' mine.

This poem appears in the following book(s):

Candle-Lightin' Time, Lyrics of Love and Laughter

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