Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
 
A Death Song
 
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906)
 
 
LAY me down beneaf de willers in de grass,
Whah de branch’ll go a-singin’ as it pass
  An’ w’en I’s a-layin’ low,
  I kin hyeah it as it go
Singin’, “Sleep, my honey, tek yo’ res’ at las’.”        5
 
Lay me nigh to whah hit meks a little pool,
An’ de watah stan’s so quiet lak an’ cool,
  Whah de little birds in spring,
  Ust to come an’ drink an’ sing,
An’ de chillen waded on dey way to school.        10
 
Let me settle w’en my shouldahs draps dey load
Nigh enough to hyeah de noises in de road;
  Fu’ I t’ink de las’ long res’
  Gwine to soothe my sperrit bes’
If I’s layin’ ’mong de t’ings I’s allus knowed.        15
 

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