Verse > Anthologies > Alfred Kreymborg, ed. > Others for 1919
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Alfred Kreymborg, ed.  Others for 1919.  1920.
 
The Daniel Jazz
By Vachel Lindsay
 
Inscribed to Isadora Bennett


  LET the singer train the audience to roar like lions, and to join in the refrain:—“Go chain the lions down,” before he begins to lead them in this jazz.
 
Beginning with a strain of Dixie.

Darius the Mede was a king and a wonder.
His eye was proud, and his voice was thunder.
He kept bad lions in a monstrous den.
He fed up the lions on Christian men.        5
 
With a touch of Alexander’s ragtime band.

Daniel was the chief hired man of the land.
He stirred up the jazz in the palace band.
He whitewashed the cellar. He shovelled in the coal.
And Daniel kept a-praying:—“Lord save my soul.”
Daniel kept a-praying:—“Lord save my soul.”        10
Daniel kept a-praying:—“Lord save my soul.”
 
Daniel was the butler, swagger and swell.
He ran up stairs. He answered the bell.
And he would let in whoever came a-calling:—
Saints so holy, scamps so appalling.        15
“Old man Ahab leaves his card.
Elisha and the bears are a-waiting in the yard.
Here comes Pharo and his snakes a-calling.
Here comes Cain and his wife a-calling—
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego for tea.        20
Here comes Jonah and the whale, and the sea.
Here comes St. Peter and his fishing pole.
 
Here comes Judas and his silver a-calling.
Here comes old Beelzebub a-calling.”
And Daniel kept a-praying:—“Lord save my soul.”        25
Daniel kept a-praying:—“Lord save my soul.”
Daniel kept a-praying:—“Lord save my soul.”
 
His sweetheart and his mother were Christian and meek.
They washed and ironed for Darius every week.
One Thursday he met them at the door:—        30
Paid them as usual, but acted sore.
 
He said:—“Your Daniel is a dead little pigeon.
He’s a good hard worker, but he talks religion.”
 
And he showed them Daniel in the lion’s cage.
Daniel standing quietly, the lions in a rage.        35
 
His good old mother cried:—
“Lord save him.”
And Daniel’s tender sweetheart cried:—
“Lord save him.”
 
And she was a golden lily in the dew.        40
And she was as sweet as an apple on the tree.
And she was as fine as a melon in the corn-field,
Gliding and lovely as a ship on the sea,
Gliding and lovely as a ship on the sea.
 
And she prayed to the Lord:—        45
“Send Gabriel. Send Gabriel.”
King Darius said to the lions:—
“Bite Daniel. Bite Daniel.
Bite him. Bite him. Bite him.”
 
Here the audience roars with the leader.

Thus roared the lions:—
        50
“We want Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,
We want Daniel, Daniel, Daniel.
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”
 
And Daniel did not frown,        55
Daniel did not cry.
He kept on looking at the sky.
And the Lord said to Gabriel:—
 
The audience sings this with the leader, to the old negro tune.

“Go chain the lions down,
Go chain the lions down.        60
Go chain the lions down.
Go chain the lions down.”
 
And Gabriel chained the lions,
And Gabriel chained the lions,
And Gabriel chained the lions,        65
And Daniel got out of the den,
And Daniel got out of the den,
And Daniel got out of the den.
 
And Darius said:—“You’re a Christian child,
Darius said:—“You’re a Christian child,        70
Darius said:—“You’re a Christian child,”
And gave him his job again,
And gave him his job again,
And gave him his job again.
 
 
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