Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
Virginia Creepers
By Armistead Churchill Gordon (1855–1931)
[From Befo’ de War. Echoes in Negro Dialect. By A. C. Gordon and T. N. Page. 1888.]


OLE Mistis offen afo’ she died—
  You know how she used ter set
Out dar on de Gre’t House porch, o’ days;
  I thinks I sees her yet—
Offen she said: “You’s good enough—        5
  But Anniky’s pizen mean;
An’ dem chillun o’ her’n an’ yourn’s de scruff
  O’ de y’arth!” Now, y’all done seen
How what she tole me is done come true:
I always knowed it, and said so, too.        10
What is dat sass you’s up ter, now?
  What does you want ter know?
Ef you says one word ’gin ole Mistis, boy,
  I’ll smack you, sartin sho’!
“How come she go call you scruff?” Jes dis:        15
  Y’all was de lazies’ crew
Dat de Lord ever made, in doin’ de work
  Dat she wanted you ter do;
“Ferginyer Creepers!” she used ter say,
When she seen you a-pokin’ along all day.        20
An’ now sence de freedom come, it’s wus’
  Dan ever it was afo’;
You stretches out dar in de sun, an’ sleeps
  An’ sleeps foreber mo’.
Ef you’s got a rag ter yer back, somehow        25
  You thinks dat dat’s enough.
An’, boy, dat’s de reason o’ how come why
  Ole Mistis called you scruff.
You lets me slave fur de grub you eat;
You sleeps while I gethers de bread an’ meat.        30
I’m gittin’ w’ared out wid dis here thing
  O’ t’ilin’ fur all o’ you;
Sometimes I wishes de ole slave ways
  Was back fur a week or two.
“How come?” Jes dis: ter make you work!        35
  De niggers never did lay
Out on a bench in de sunshine den,
  An’ sun deyselves all day.
“Ferginyer Creepers” was bad, at fus’;
“Ferginyer Sleepers” is p’int’ly wus’!        40

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