Humour and Dialect

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Humour and Dialect

This is a collection of poetry by African American author Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dunbar's work frequently features a conversational tone, innovative rhetorical structure, and a colorful use of both dialect and mainstream English. Dunbar was among the first nationally successful African American writers.

Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.

Then and Now
He loved her, and through many years,
At Cheshire Cheese
"When first of wise old Johnson taught,"
My Corn-Cob Pipe
"Men may sing of their Havanas, elevating to the stars"
In August
"When August days are hot an’ dry,"
The Disturber
"Oh, what shall I do? I am wholly upset;"
"You ‘ll be wonderin’ whut ’s de reason"
Lover's Lane
"Summah night an’ sighin’ breeze,"
"Who say my hea’t ain’t true to you?"
"O li’l’ lamb out in de col’,"
Little Brown Baby
"Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes,"
Time to Tinker' Roun'!
"Summah ’s nice, wif sun a–shinin’,"
The Real Question
"Folks is talkin’ ‘bout de money, ‘bout de silvah an’ de gold;"
"Lucy done gone back on me,"
The News
"Whut dat you whisperin’ keepin’ f’om me?"
Chrismus on the Plantation
"It was Chrismus Eve, I mind hit fu’ a mighty gloomy day—"
"When de fiddle gits to singin’ out a ol’ Vahginny reel,"
Foolin' Wid de Seasons
"Seems lak folks is mighty curus"
My Sort 'o Man
"I don’t believe in ‘ristercrats"
"Ef dey ’s anyt’ing dat riles me"
On the Road
"I ’s boun’ to see my gal to–night—"
A Death Song
"Lay me down beneaf de willers in de grass,"
A Back-Log Song
"De axes has been ringin’ in de woods de blessid day,"
"Bedtime ’s come fu’ little boys."
The Photograph
"See dis pictyah in my han’?"
"Hyeah come Cæsar Higgins,"
"De breeze is blowin’ ‘cross de bay."
"I done got ‘uligion, honey, an’ I ’s happy ez a king;"
Possum Trot
"I ‘ve journeyed ‘roun’ consid’able, a–seein’ men an’ things,"
"Jes’ lak toddy wahms you thoo’"
Breaking the Charm
"Caught Susanner whistlin’; well,"
Hunting Song
"Tek a cool night, good an’ cleah,"
A Letter
"Dear Miss Lucy: I been t’inkin’ dat I ‘d write you long fo’ dis,"
Chrismus is A-Comin'
"Bones a–gittin’ achy,"
A Cabin Tale (The Young Master Asks For a Story)
"Whut you say, dah? huh, uh! chile,"
At Candle-Lightin' Time
"When I come in f’om de co’n–fiel’ aftah wo’kin’ ha’d all day,"
Whistling Sam
"I has hyeahd o’ people dancin’ an’ I ’s hyeahd o’ people singin’."
How Lucy Backslid
"De times is mighty stirrin’ ‘mong de people up ouah way,"
  • Year Published: 1913
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
  • Word Count: 14,750
  • Genre: Poetry
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