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Lyrics of Lowly Life

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

"A Border Ballad"

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1913
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
  • Word Count: 224

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Oh, I have n’t got long to live, for we all
Die soon, e’en those who live longest;
And the poorest and weakest are taking their chance
Along with the richest and strongest.
So it’s heigho for a glass and a song,
And a bright eye over the table,
And a dog for the hunt when the game is flush,
And the pick of a gentleman’s stable.

There is Dimmock o’ Dune, he was here yester–night,
But he ’s rotting to–day on Glen Arragh;
‘Twas the hand o’ MacPherson that gave him the blow,
And the vultures shall feast on his marrow.
But it’s heigho for a brave old song
And a glass while we are able;
Here ’s a health to death and another cup
To the bright eye over the table.

I can show a broad back and a jolly deep chest,
But who argues now on appearance?
A blow or a thrust or a stumble at best
May send me to–day to my clearance.
Then it’s heigho for the things I love,
My mother ‘ll be soon wearing sable,
But give me my horse and my dog and my glass,
And a bright eye over the table.