Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896)

Lyrics of Lowly Life

With an introduction by W.D. Howells

First published by Dodd, Mead and Company

Copyright 1895 and 1896

When Malindy Sings

G'way an' quit dat noise, Miss Lucy-
Put dat music book away;
What's de use to keep on tryin'?
Ef you practice twell you're gray,
You cain't sta't no notes a-flyin'
Lak de ones dat rants an' rings
F'om de kitchen to de big woods
When Melindy 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',
'Tain'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 melojous music,
Dat jes' strikes yo' hawt and clings,
Jes' you stan' an' listen wif me
When Malindy sings.

Ain't you nevah heerd Malindy?
Blessed soul, take up de cross!
Look heah, ain't you jokin' honey?
Well, you don't know whut you los'.
Y'ought to heah dat gal a-wa'blin',
Robins, la'ks, an' all dem things,
Heish dey moufs an' hides dey faces
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 heah
Sinnahs' tremblin' steps and voices,
Timid-like 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 heah 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, hits sweetah dan de music
Of an edicated band;
An' hits 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', heah me!
Mandy, make dat chile keep still;
Don't you heah de echoes callin'
F'om de valley to de hill.
Let me listen, I can heah it,
Th'oo de bresh of angel's wings,
Sof' an' sweet, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,"
Ez Malindy sings.

This poem appears in the following book(s):

Lyrics of Lowly Life, Majors and Minors, When Malindy Sings

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