Hard Scrabble, or Miss Philises Bobalition

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Hard Scrabble, or Miss Philises Bobalition  (c. 1824) 

Broadside ridiculing victims of the 1824 Hard Scrabble race riot in Providence, Rhode Island and promising similar treatment to other African Americans settling in the city.

Hard Scrabble,

O Dear dear what can de matter be,
Dear, dear what can de matter be,
Pomp gone so long from Phillis away;
He promise to buy me a damask and leghorn,
A Plad and a Crape and Silk Tocking to put on,
And a bunch of fine feather to dress my beaver so gay
O Dear, dear, &c.

O, O, so peaceable late we lib in Hard Scrabble,
'Till routed and driven away by the rabble,
Who 'tack us like furies wid a high diddle diddle!
Demolish our dwelling, smash Beaurau and Cradle,
My Gin Jug and Spider, my Potrait and Ladle,
My Candlestand, Chairs, and poor Pompey's Fiddle.
O Dear, dear, &c.

O! O! such a time I neber before see,
De Mobites come wizz! like a flock of mad bumble bee
Rip open my bed and scatter de fedder!
Assail us wid Brick Bat, wid Crowbars and Shovels,
And drove us poor wretches away from our hovels
To seek shelter out door expose to de wether.
O Dear, dear, &c.

Pomp and I had juss supt on a clam and eel custard,
And just topping off wid desert of tose cheese & mustard
When first salutation widout a forewarning—
Ebery window was smash in, and, O, goody gui!
Pomp leap from de table and cry 'Fly Phillis Fly,'
Or we both shall be mutton'd before morrow morning.
O Dear, dear, &c.

O, de next morning such condition our village,
So late de scene of confusion, riot and pillate.
O! it near broke de heart of my poor aged mother!
De chimnies and walls were den totling or falling,
Poor Cato's hut prop't up, and Cezer's lay sprawling,
And ours' goody gui! nothing left but de cellar!
O Dear, dear, &c.

De mud Clay & brick dust lay so thick in Hard Scrabble
I was 'blige hold up my skirt to prevent it from drabble
And de fields for a mile was spread wid hen fether;
Here lay my new bedtick and dare Pompey's garter
And my platter and Coffee Cup bury'd in Mortar,
I miscurious ruin all lay together.
O Dear, dear, &c.

Pomp has told me of Earthquakes Squall and Tornadoes
Trenarners, Harricanes, Gusts and Vulcanose,
Of battle at sea, and battle on shore;
Of Turks and of Hottentots, Indians and Moors,
Of Rygers and Crocodiles Lions and Bores,
But he neber fore saw such destruction before.
O Dear, dear, &c.

Some few weeks arter some were reign for a trial,
Dare were Peter and Moses and Jim and Abial,
And some forty or tirty or twenty or so;
But de damage t'was judge was by some shock of nature,
Mr. Nobody did it! O what a wile creature,
So de court find um No Guilty and tell um to go.
O dear what a Rogue Mr. Nobody.

Mr. Nobody, wretch! some invisible d-v-l
De bigest brick block in a moment he level
See what he did bout tre months ago;
He demolish a bilding near four stories high,
And level the whole in a twink of an eye,
Pray who did it! Why Nobody know.
O Dear, dear, &c.

I guess it best now for us brack folks be easy,
And no longer live lives immoral and lazy,
But gain honest living by sweat ob our brow;
Depend on't de white folk won't den trouble or 'tack us,
But de good people of Providence will always respec us,
As they are wont to respec all good people now.
O Dear, dear, &c.

So Miss Boston keep home your lazy black rabble.
Nor compel them seek shelter again at Hard Scrabble,
For every maggot should stick to he core;
For should they visit us gain they may find it foul wether
We've plenty of Tar and de ground cover'd wid Fether
And we've Pitch to pitch you all out of door.
O Dear, dear, &c.

So while Pomp earn a little by honest day labour,
I'll wash and make soap for some of my neighbour,
And lib by industry as honest folks do:
Pomp throuw by your Fiddle & I'll smash de Gin Bottle
And soon we'll be able to build up our hovel
And more steady course we both will puursue.
O dear, dear, and so fort.

—Sold Wholesale and Retail at No. 152, Ann-Street—Boston—

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).