Paul Laurence Dunbar
The Colored Band
W'EN de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street,
Don't you people stan' daih starin'; lif' yo' feet!
Ain't dey playin'? Hip, hooray!
Stir yo' stumps an' cleah de way,
Fu' de music dat dey mekin' can't be beat.
Oh, de major man's a-swingin' of his stick,
An' de pickaninnies crowdin' roun' him thick;
In his go'geous uniform,
He's de lightnin' of de sto'm,
An' de little clouds erroun' look mighty slick.
You kin hyeah a fine perfo'mance w'en de white ban's serenade,
An' dey play dey high-toned music mighty sweet,
But hit's Sousa played in rag-time, an' hit's Rastus'on Parade,
W'en de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street.
W'en de colo'ed ban' comes ma'chin' down de street
You kin hyeah de ladies all erroun' repeat:
'Ain't dey handsome? Ain't dey gran'?
Ain't dey splendid? Goodness, lan'!
W'y dey's pu'fect f'om dey fo'heads to dey feet!'
An' sich steppin' to de music down de line,
'T ain't de music by itself dat meks it fine,
Hit's de walkin', step by step,
An' de keepin' time wid 'Hep,'
Dat it mek a common ditty soun' divine.
Oh, de white ban' play hits music, an' hit's mighty good to hyeah,
An' it sometimes leaves a ticklin' in yo' feet;
But de hea't goes into bus'ness fu' to he'p erlong de eah,
W'en de colo'ed ban' goes marchin' down de street.
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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