James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

The Chant Of The Cross-Bearing Child - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

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I bear dis cross dis many a mile.
O de cross-bearin' chile--
De cross-bearin' chile!

I bear dis cross 'long many a road
Wha' de pink ain't bloom' an' de grass done mowed.
O de cross-bearin' chile--
De cross-bearin' chile!

Hits on my conscience all dese days
Fo' ter bear de cross ut de good Lord lays
On my po' soul, an' ter lif my praise.
O de cross-bearin' chile--
De cross-bearin' chile!

I 's nigh-'bout weak ez I mos' kin be,
Yit de Marstah call an' He say,--'You 's free
Fo' ter 'cept dis cross, an' ter cringe yo' knee
To no n'er man in de worl' but me!'
O de cross-bearin' chile--
De cross-bearin' chile!

Says you guess wrong, ef I let you guess--
Says you 'spec' mo', an'-a you git less:--
Says you go eas', says you go wes',
An' whense you fine de road ut you like bes'
You betteh take ch'ice er any er de res'!
O de cross-bearin' chile--
De cross-bearin' chile!

He build my feet, an' He fix de signs
Dat de shoe hit pinch an' de shoe hit bines
Ef I on'y w'ah eights an-a wanter w'ah nines;
I hone fo' de rain, an' de sun hit shines,
An' whilse I hunt de sun, hits de rain I fines.--
O-a trim my lamp, an-a gyrd my lines!
O de cross-bearin' chile--
De cross-bearin' chile!

I wade de wet, an' I walk de dry:
I done tromp long, an' I done clim high;
An' I pilgrim on ter de jasper sky,
An' I taken de resk fo' ter cas' my eye
Wha' de Gate swing wide an' de Lord draw nigh,
An' de Trump hit blow, an' I hear de cry,--
'You lay dat cross down by an' by!--
O de Cross-bearin' Chile--
Do Cross-bearin' Chile!'


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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