The Lawyers' Ways

Original Text: 
The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1913), Facsimile in The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, ed. Joanne M. Braxton (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1993), p. 22. PS 1556 AI 1993 Robarts Library.
1I've been list'nin' to them lawyers
2    In the court house up the street,
3An' I've come to the conclusion
4    That I'm most completely beat.
6    An' he boldly waded in
7As he dressed the tremblin' pris'ner
8    In a coat o' deep-dyed sin.
9Why, he painted him all over
10    In a hue o' blackest crime,
11An' he smeared his reputation
12    With the thickest kind o' grime,
14    In a misty way and dim,
15How the Lord had come to fashion
16    Sich an awful man as him.
17Then the other lawyer started,
18    An' with brimmin', tearful eyes,
19Said his client was a martyr
20    That was brought to sacrifice.
21An' he give to that same pris'ner
22    Every blessed human grace,
23Tell I saw the light o' virtue
24    Fairly shinin' from his face.
25Then I own 'at I was puzzled
26    How sich things could rightly be;
28    Seems to keep a-puzzlin' me.
29So, will some one please inform me,
30    An' this mystery unroll--
31How an angel an' a devil


5] First one fellow rose to argue. Back to Line
13] Tell: till. Back to Line
27] aggervatin': aggravating. Back to Line
32] persess: possess. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.