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Negro Folk Rhymes

Wise and Otherwise: With a Study

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Published: 1922
Language: English
Wordcount: 52,468 / 174 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 94.7
LoC Category: GR
Downloads: 987
Added to site: 2008.11.08 22583
Genre: Poetry

In Negro Folk Rhymes is to be found no inconsiderable part of the musical and poetic life-records of a people; the compiler presents an arresting volume which, in addition to being a pioneer and practically unique in its field, is as nearly exhaustive as a sympathetic understanding of the Negro mind, careful research, and labor of love can make it. Professor Talley of Fisk University has spared himself no pains in collecting and piecing together every attainable scrap and fragment of secular rhyme which might help in adequately interpreting the inner life of his own people.

Show Excerpt

night, w'en de moon's pale;
You don't fail to tu'n tail,
You always gives me leg bail.[2]

Molly in de Bramble-brier,
Let me git a little nigher;
Prickly-pear, it sting lak fire!
Do please come pick out de brier!

Molly in de pale moonlight,
Y[=o]' tail is sh[=o] a pretty white;
You takes it fer 'way out'n sight.
"Molly! Molly! Molly Bright!"

Ole Molly Cottontail,
You sets up on a rotten rail!
You tears through de graveyard!
You makes dem ugly [3]hants wail.

Ole Molly Cottontail,
Won't you be shore not to fail
[4]To give me y[=o]' right h[=i]n' foot?
My luck, it won't be fer sale.

[2] Leg bail = to run away.

[3] Hants = ghosts or spirits.

[4] This embraces the old superstition that carrying in one's pocket the right hind foot of a rabbit, which has habitually lived about a cemetery, brings good luck to its possessor.


Juba dis, an' Juba dat,
Juba [6]skin dat Yaller



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