Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Poems of Cabin and Field (1899)

Poems of Cabin and Field

Illustrated with Photographs by the Hampton Institute Camera Club and Decorations by Alice Morse.

To: Bishop Henry C. Potter and with him the friends who were kind in my illness.

First published by Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, 1899.
William Briggs, Toronto
Copyright: 1896-1899 by Dodd, Mead & Co.
Copyright: 1895-1896 by the Century Company

Copyright 1899

The Deserted Plantation

Oh, de grubbin-hoe's a rustin' in de co'nah,
An' de plow's a tumblin' down in de fiel'--
While de whippo'will's a wailin' lak a mou'nah
When his stubbo'n hawt is tryin' ha'd to yiel'.

In de furrers wha' de co'n was allus wavin',
Now de weeds is growin' green an' rank an' tall;
An de swallers roun' de whole place is a bravin'
Lak dey thought their folks had allus owned it all.

An' de big house stan's all quiet lak an' solemn,
Not a blessed soul in pa'lor, po'ch er lawn;
Not a guest, ner not a ca'iage lef' to haul 'em,
Fu' de ones dat tu'ned de latch-string out air gone.

An' de banjo's voice is silent in de qua'ters,
D'ain't a hymn ner co'n-song ringin' in de ah;
But de murmur of a branch's passin' waters
Is de only soun' dat breks de stillness da.

Wha's de da'kies, dem dat used to be a dancin'
Ebry night befo' de ole cabin do'?
Wha's de chillun, dem dat used to be a prancin',
Er a rollin' in de san' er on de flo'?

Wha's de Uncle Mordecai an' Uncle Aaron?
Wha's Aunt Doshy, Sam an' Kit an' all de res'?
Wha's ole Tom de da'ky fiddlah, how's he farin'?
Wha's de gals dat ust to sing an' dance de bes'?

Gone! not one o' dem is lef' to tell de story;
Dey have lef' de deah ole place to fall away.
Couldn't one o' dem dat seed it in its glory
Stay to watch it in de hour of decay?

Dey have lef' de ole plantation to de swallers,
But it hol's in me a lover till de las';
Fu' I fin' hyeah in de memory dat follers
All dat loved me an' dat I loved in de pas'.

So I'll stay an' watch de deah ole place an' tend it
Ez I used to in de happy days gone by.
Twell de othah Mastah thinks it's time to end it,
An' calls me to my qua'ters in de sky.

This poem appears in the following book(s):

Lyrics of Lowly Life, Majors and Minors, Poems of Cabin and Field

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