Paul Laurence Dunbar

Explore the Books

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

At Candle Lightin' Time

When I come in f'om de co'n-fiel' aftah wo'kin' ha'd all day,
It's amazin' nice to fin' my suppah all erpon de way;
An' it's nice to smell de coffee bubblin' ovah in de pot,
An' it's fine to see de meat a-sizzlin' teasin'-lak an' hot.

But when suppah-time is ovah, an' de t'ings is cleahed away;
Den de happy hours dat foller are de sweetes' of de day.
When m co'ncob pipe is sta'ted, an' de smoke is drawin' prime,
My ole 'ooman says, "I reckon, Ike, it's candle-lightin' time."

Den de chillum snuggle up to me, an' all commence to call,
"Oh, say, daddy, now it's time to mek de shadders on de wall."
So I puts my han's togethah--evah daddy knows de way,--
An' de chillum snuggle closer roun' ez I begin to say:--

"Fus' thing, hyeah come Mistah Rabbit; don' you see him wo'k his eahs?
Huh, uh! Dis mus' be a donkey,--look, how innercent he 'pears!
Dah's de ole black swan a-swimmin'--ain't she got a' awful neck?
Who's dis feller dat 's a-comin'? Why, dat's ole dog Tray, I 'spec!"

Dat's de way I run on, tryin' fu' to please 'em all I can;
Den I hollah, "Now be keerful--dis hyeah las' 's de buga-man!"
An' dey runs an' hides dey faces; dey ain't skeered--dey's lettin' on:
But de play ain't raaly ovah twell dat buga-man is gone.

So I jes' teks up my banjo, an' I plays a little chune,
An' you see dem haids come peepin' out to listen mighty soon.
Den my wife says, "Sich a pappy fu' to give you sich a fright!
Jes' you go to baid, an' leave him: say yo' prayers an' say good-night."

This poem appears in the following book(s):

Candle-Lightin' Time, Lyrics of the Hearthside

3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, Ohio 45435. Phone: (937) 775-2525