Paul Dunbar – American poetry

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Paul Dunbar: a young black man in a suit

Paul Dunbar

The Party (1913)

DEY had a gread big pahty down to Tom’s de othah night;
Was I dah? You bet! I neveh in my life see sich a sight;
All de folks f’om fou’ plantations was invited, an’ dey come,
Dey come troopin’ thick ez chillun when dey hyeahs a fife an’ drum…

…Well, we eat and drunk ouah po’tion, ‘twell dah wasn’t nothin’ lef,
An’ we felt jes’ like new sausage, we was mos’ nigh stuffed to def!
Tom, he knowed how we’d be feelin’, so he had de fiddlah ‘roun’,
An’ he made us cleah de cabin fu’ to dance dat suppah down.
Jim, de fiddlah, chuned his fiddle, put some rosum on his bow,
Set a pine box on de table, mounted it an’ let huh go!
He’s a fiddlah, now I tell you, an’ he made dat fiddle ring,
‘Twell de ol’est an’ de lamest had to give deir feet a fling.
Jigs, cotillions, reels, an’ breakdowns, cordrills an’ a waltz er two;
Bless yo’ soul, dat music winged ’em an’ dem people lak to flew.
Cripple Joe, de old rheumatic, danced dat flo’ f’om side to middle,
Th’owed away his crutch an’ hopped it; what’s rheumatics ‘ginst a fiddle?
Eldah Thompson got so tickled dat he lak to los’ his grace,
Had to tek bofe feet an’ hol’ dem so’s to keep ’em in deir place.
An’ de Christuns an’ de sinnahs got so mixed up on dat flo’,
Dat I don’t see how dey’d pahted ef de trump had chanced to blow.
Well, we danced dat way an’ capahed in de mos’ redic’lous way,
‘Twell de roostahs in de bahnyard cleahed deir th’oats an’ crowed fu’ day.
Y’ ought to been dah, fu’ I tell you evahthing was rich an’ prime,
An’ dey ain’t no use in talkin’, we jes had one scrumptious time!

American Poetry Project
American Literature
Tom Sawyer Project
Prince and the Pauper Project

Bibliography and further reading about American literature:

  

Native American Literature
American History
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By | 2017-08-14T10:27:40+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Literature, North America|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Paul Dunbar – American poetry. Quatr.us Study Guides, August 14, 2017. Web. December 11, 2017.

About the Author:

Karen Carr

Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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