The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar/An Ante-Bellum Sermon

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WE is gathahed hyeah, my brothahs,
          In dis howlin' wildaness,
Fu' to speak some words of comfo't
          To each othah in distress.
An' we chooses fu' ouah subjic'
          Dis -- we'll 'splain it by an' by;
"An' de Lawd said, ' Moses, Moses,'
          An' de man said, 'Hyeah am I.'"

Now ole Pher'oh, down in Egypt,
          Was de wuss man evah bo'n,
An' he had de Hebrew chillun
          Down dah wukin' in his co'n;
'T well de Lawd got tiahed o' his foolin',
          An' sez he: "I'll let him know --
Look hyeah, Moses, go tell Pher'oh
          Fu' to let dem chillun go."

"An' ef he refuse to do it,
          I will make him rue de houah,
Fu' I'll empty down on Egypt
          All de vials of my powah."
Yes, he did -- an' Pher'oh's ahmy
          Was n't wuth a ha'f a dime;
Fu' de Lawd will he'p his chillun,
          You kin trust him evah time.

An' yo' enemies may 'sail you
          In de back an' in de front;
But de Lawd is all aroun' you,
          Fu' to ba' de battle's brunt.
Dey kin fo'ge yo' chains an' shackles
          F'om de mountains to de sea;
But de Lawd will sen' some Moses
          Fu' to set his chillun free.

An' de lan' shall hyeah his thundah,
          Lak a blas' f'om Gab'el's ho'n,
Fu' de Lawd of hosts is mighty
          When he girds his ahmor on.
But fu' feah some one mistakes me,
          I will pause right hyeah to say,
Dat I'm still a-preachin' ancient,
          I ain't talkin' 'bout to-day.

But I tell you, fellah christuns,
          Things'll happen mighty strange;
Now, de Lawd done dis fu' Isrul,
          An' his ways don't nevah change,
An, de love he showed to Isrul
          Was n't all on Isrul spent;
Now don't run an' tell yo' mastahs
          Dat I's preachin' discontent.

'Cause I is n't; I'se a-judgin'
          Bible people by deir ac's;
I'se a-givin' you de Scriptuah,
          I'se a-handin' you de fac's.
Cose ole Pher'oh b'lieved in slav'ry,
          But de Lawd he let him see,
Dat de people he put bref in, --
          Evah mothah's son was free.

An' dahs othahs thinks lak Pher'oh,
          But dey calls de Scriptuah liar,
Fu' de Bible says "a servant
          Is a-worthy of his hire."
An' you cain't git roun' nor thoo dat
          An' you cain't git ovah it,
Fu' whatevah place you git in,
          Dis hyeah Bible too 'll fit.

So you see de Lawd's intention,
          Evah sence de worl' began,
Was dat His almighty freedom
          Should belong to evah man,
But I think it would be bettah,
          Ef I'd pause agin to say,
Dat I'm talkin' 'bout ouah freedom
          In a Bibleistic way.

But de Moses is a-comin',
          An' he's comin', suah and fas'
We kin hyeah his feet a-trompin',
          We kin hyeah his trumpit blas'.
But I want to wa'n you people,
          Don't you git too brigity;
An' don't you git to braggin'
          'Bout dese things, you wait an' see.

But when Moses wif his powah
          Comes an' sets us chillun free,
We will praise de gracious Mastah
          Dat has gin us liberty;
An' we'll shout ouah halleluyahs,
          On dat mighty reck'nin' day,
When we'se reco'nised ez citiz'--
          Huh uh! Chillun, let us pray!

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.