Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

The Ol' Tunes


YOU kin talk about yer anthems
An' yer arias an' sich,
An' yer modern choir-singin'
That you think so awful rich;
But you orter heerd us youngsters
In the times now far away,
A-singin' o' the ol' tunes
In the ol'-fashioned way.
There was some of us sung treble
An' a few of us growled bass,
An' the tide o' song flowed smoothly
With its 'comp'niment o' grace;
There was spirit in that music,
An' a kind o' solemn sway,
A-singin' o' the ol' tunes
In the ol'-fashioned way.
I remember oft o' standin'
In my homespun pantaloons—
On my face the bronze an' freckles
O' the suns o' youthful Junes—
Thinkin' that no mortal minstrel
Ever chanted sich a lay
As the ol' tunes we was singin'
In the ol'-fashioned way.
The boys 'ud always lead ,as,
An' the girls 'ud all chime in,
Till the sweetness o' the singin'
Robbed the list'nin' soul o' sin;
An' I used to tell the parson
'Twas as good to sing as pray,
When the people sung the ol' tunes
In the ol'-fashioned way.
How I long ag'in to hear 'em
Pourin' forth from soul to soul,
With the treble high an' meller,
An' the bass's mighty roll;
But the times is very diff'rent,
An' the music heerd to-day
Ain't the singin' o' the ol' tunes
In the ol'-fashioned way.
Little screechin' by a woman,
Little squawkin' by a man,
Then the organ's twiddle-twaddle,
Jest the empty space to span, —
An' ef you should even think it,
'T isn't proper fur to say
That you want to hear the ol' tunes
In the ol'-fashioned way.
But I think that some bright mornin',
When the toils of life air o'er,
An' the sun o' heaven arisin'
Glads with light the happy shore,
I shall hear the angel chorus,
In the realms of endless day,
A-singin' o' the ol' tunes
In the ol'-fashioned way.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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