At Night (Dunbar)

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For works with similar titles, see At Night.
At Night
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In the 1913 collection of his work, The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar

            AT NIGHT

Whut time 'd dat clock strike?
  Nine? No—eight;
I didn't think hit was so late.
  Aer chew! I must 'a' got a cough,
I raally b'lieve I did doze off—
  Hit's mighty soothin' to de tiah,
A-dozin' dis way by de fiah;
  Oo oom—hit feels so good to stretch
I sutny is one weary wretch!

Look hyeah, dat boy done gone to sleep!
  He des ain't wo'th his boa'd an' keep;
I des don't b'lieve he'd bat his eyes
  If Gab'el called him fo'm de skies!
But sleepin's good dey ain't no doubt—
  Dis pipe o' mine is done gone out.
Don't bu'n a minute, bless my soul,
  Des please to han' me dat ah coal.

You 'Lias git up now, my son,
  Seems lak my nap is des begun;
You sutny mus' ma'k down de day
  Wen I treats comp'ny dis away!
W'y, Brother Jones, dat drowse come on,
  An' laws! I dremp dat you was gone!
You 'Lias, whaih yo' mannahs, suh,
  To hyeah me call an' nevah stuh!

To-morrer mo'nin' w'en I call
  Dat boy'll be sleepin' to beat all,
Don't mek no diffunce how I roah,
  He'll des lay up an' sno' and sno'.
Now boy, you done hyeahed whut I said,
  You bettah tek yo'se'f yo baid,
Case ef you gits me good an' wrong
  I'll mek dat sno' a diffunt song.

Dis wood fiah is invitin' dho',
  Hit seems to wa'm de ve'y flo'—
An' nuffin' ain't a whit ez sweet,
  Ez settin' toastin' of yo' feet.
Hit mek you drowsy, too, but La!
  Hyeah, 'Lias, don't you hyeah yo' ma?
Ef I gits sta'ted f'om dis cheah
  I' lay, you scamp, I'll mek you heah!

To-morrer mo'nin' I kin bawl
  Twell all de neighbohs hyeah me call;
An' you'll be snoozin' des ez deep
  Ez if de day was made fu' sleep;
Hit's funny when you got a cough
  Somehow yo' voice seems too fu' off—
Can't wake dat boy fu' all I say,
  I reckon he'll sleep daih twell day!

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.