Humour and Dialect

by Paul Laurence Dunbar


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: 417
  • Genre: Poetry
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Jes’ lak toddy wahms you thoo’
Sets yo’ haid a reelin’,
Meks you ovah good and new,
Dat ’s de way I ’s feelin’.
Seems to me hit ’s summah time,
Dough hit ’s wintah reely,
I ’s a feelin’ jes’ dat prime—
An’ huh name is Dely.

Dis hyeah love ’s a cu’rus thing,
Changes ‘roun’ de season,
Meks you sad or meks you sing,
‘Dout no urfly reason.
Sometimes I go mopin’ ‘roun’,
Den agin I ’s leapin’;
Sperits allus up an’ down
Even when I ’s sleepin’.

Fu’ de dreams comes to me den,
An’ dey keeps me pitchin’,
Lak de apple dumplin’s w’en
Bilin’ in de kitchen.
Some one sot to do me hahm,
Tryin’ to ovahcome me,
Ketchin’ Dely by de ahm
So ’s to tek huh f’om me.

Mon, you bettah b’lieve I fights
(Dough hit’s on’y seemin’);
I’s a hittin’ fu’ my rights
Even w’en I ’s dreamin’.
But I ‘d let you have ‘em all,
Give ‘em to you freely,
Good an’ bad ones, great an’ small,
So ’s you leave me Dely.

Dely got dem meltin’ eyes,
Big an’ black an’ tendah.
Dely jes’ a lady–size,
Delikit an’ slendah.
Dely brown ez brown kin be
An’ huh haih is curly;
Oh, she look so sweet to me,—
Bless de precious girlie!

Dely brown ez brown kin be,
She ain’ no mullatter;
She pure cullud,—don’ you see
Dat ’s jes’ whut ’s de mattah?
Dat ’s de why I love huh so,
D’ ain’t no mix about huh,
Soon ’s you see huh face you know
D’ ain’t no chanst to doubt huh.

Folks dey go to chu’ch an’ pray
So ’s to git a blessin’.
Oomph, dey bettah come my way,
Dey could lu’n a lesson.
Sabbaf day I don’ go fu’,
Jes’ to see my pigeon;
I jes’ sets an’ looks at huh,
Dat’s enuff ‘uligion.