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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

Virginia Creepers

By Armistead Churchill Gordon (1855–1931)

[From Befo’ de War. Echoes in Negro Dialect. By A. C. Gordon and T. N. Page. 1888.]


OLE Mistis offen afo’ she died—

You know how she used ter set

Out dar on de Gre’t House porch, o’ days;

I thinks I sees her yet—

Offen she said: “You’s good enough—

But Anniky’s pizen mean;

An’ dem chillun o’ her’n an’ yourn’s de scruff

O’ de y’arth!” Now, y’all done seen

How what she tole me is done come true:

I always knowed it, and said so, too.

What is dat sass you’s up ter, now?

What does you want ter know?

Ef you says one word ’gin ole Mistis, boy,

I’ll smack you, sartin sho’!

“How come she go call you scruff?” Jes dis:

Y’all was de lazies’ crew

Dat de Lord ever made, in doin’ de work

Dat she wanted you ter do;

“Ferginyer Creepers!” she used ter say,

When she seen you a-pokin’ along all day.

An’ now sence de freedom come, it’s wus’

Dan ever it was afo’;

You stretches out dar in de sun, an’ sleeps

An’ sleeps foreber mo’.

Ef you’s got a rag ter yer back, somehow

You thinks dat dat’s enough.

An’, boy, dat’s de reason o’ how come why

Ole Mistis called you scruff.

You lets me slave fur de grub you eat;

You sleeps while I gethers de bread an’ meat.

I’m gittin’ w’ared out wid dis here thing

O’ t’ilin’ fur all o’ you;

Sometimes I wishes de ole slave ways

Was back fur a week or two.

“How come?” Jes dis: ter make you work!

De niggers never did lay

Out on a bench in de sunshine den,

An’ sun deyselves all day.

“Ferginyer Creepers” was bad, at fus’;

“Ferginyer Sleepers” is p’int’ly wus’!