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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Terpsichore in the Flat Creek Quarters

By John Alfred Macon (b. 1851)

[Born in Demopolis, Ala., 1851. Contributed to the Century Magazine. 1880–83.]

LISTEN when I call de figgers! Watch de music es you go!

Chassay forrard! (Now look at ’em! some too fas’ an’ some too slow!)

Step out when I gibs de order; keep up eben wid de line;

What’s got in dem lazy niggers? Stop dat stringin’ out behin’!

All go forrard to de centre! Balance roun’ an’ den go back!

Keep on in de proper ’rection, right straight up an’ down de crack!

Moobe up sides an’ mind de music; listen when you hear me speak!

(Jes’ look at dem Pea Ridge niggers, how dey’s buckin’ ’gin de Creek!)

Dat’s de proper action, Sambo! den you done de biznis right!

Now show ’em how you knocked de splinters at de shuckin’ t’udder night;

Try to do your lebbel bes’, an’ stomp it like you use to do!

Jes’ come down on de “Flat Creek step” an’ show de Ridge a thing or two!

Now look at dat limber Jonah tryin’ to tech de fancy fling!

(Who ebber seed a yaller nigger dat could cut de pidgin-wing?)

Try dat lick agin, dar, Moses; tell you what, dat’s hard to beat!

(How kin sich a little nigger handle sich a pile o’ feet?)

Swing your corners! Turn your pardners! (’Pears de motion’s gittin’ slow.)

What’s de matter wid de music? Put some rosgum on dat bow!

Moobe up, Tom—don’t be so sleepy! Let ’em see what you kin do!

Light off in de “gra’-vine-twis’” an’ knock de “double-shuffle,” too!

Gosh! dat double-j’inted Steben flings a hifalutin hoof!

He kicks de dus’ plum out de planks an’ jars de shingles on de roof!

Steady, now, an’ check de motion! Let de fiddler stop de chune!

I smell de ’possum froo de crack, an’ supper’s gwine to call you soon!

De white folks come it mighty handy, waltzin’ ’roun’ so nice an’ fine;

But when you come to reg’lar dancin’, niggers leabes ’em way behin’!