I think I should scarcely trouble the reader with a special appeal inbehalf of this book, if it had not specially appealed to me for reasonsapart from the author's race, origin, and condition. The world is tooold now, and I find myself too much of its mood, to care for the work ofa poet because he is black, because his father and mother were slaves,because he was, before and after he began to write poems, anelevator-boy. These facts would certainly attract me to him as a man, ifI knew him to have a literary ambition, but when it came to his literaryart, I must judge it irrespective of these facts, and enjoy or endure itfor what it was in itself. --commentary by William Dean Howells.
Den dey 'buse him thoo an' thoo;
Well, hit 's all de same.
Somep'n's wrong erbout my lung,
An' I 's glad hit 's so.
Doctah says 'at I 'll die young,
Well, I wants to go!
Whut 's de use o' livin' hyeah,
Wen de gal you loves so deah,
Goes back on you clean an' cleah--
I sh'd like to know?
Whut dat you whisperin' keepin' f'om me?
Don't shut me out 'cause I 's ol' an' can't see.
Somep'n's gone wrong dat 's a-causin' you dread,--
Don't be afeared to tell--Whut! mastah dead?
Somebody brung de news early to-day,--
One of de sojers he led, do you say?
Did n't he foller whah ol' mastah lead?
How kin he live