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Humour and Dialect

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The Disturber

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: 339

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Oh, what shall I do? I am wholly upset;
I am sure I ‘ll be jailed for a lunatic yet.
I ‘ll be out of a job—it’s the thing to expect
When I ‘m letting my duty go by with neglect.
You may judge the extent and degree of my plight
When I ‘m thinking all day and a–dreaming all night,
And a–trying my hand at a rhyme on the sly,
All on account of a sparkling eye.

There are those who say men should be strong, well–a–day!
But what constitutes strength in a man? Who shall say?
I am strong as the most when it comes to the arm.
I have aye held my own on the playground or farm.
And when I ‘ve been tempted, I haven’t been weak;
But now—why, I tremble to hear a maid speak.
I used to be bold, but now I ‘ve grown shy,
And all on account of a sparkling eye.

There once was a time when my heart was devout,
But now my religion is open to doubt.
When parson is earnestly preaching of grace,
My fancy is busy with drawing a face,
Thro’ the back of a bonnet most piously plain;
‘I draw it, redraw it, and draw it again.’
While the songs and the sermon unheeded go by,—
All on account of a sparkling eye.

Oh, dear little conjurer, give o’er your wiles,
It is easy for you, you’re all blushes and smiles:
But, love of my heart, I am sorely perplexed;
I am smiling one minute and sighing the next;
And if it goes on, I ‘ll drop hackle and flail,
And go to the parson and tell him my tale.
I warrant he ‘ll find me a cure for the sigh
That you ‘re aye bringing forth with the glance of your eye.