A Death Song by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Lay me down beneaf de willers in de grass,
Whah de branch ‘ll go a-singin’ as it pass.
An’ w’en I’s a-layin’ low,
I kin hyeah it as it go
Singin’, ‘Sleep, my honey, tek yo’ res’ at las’.’

Lay me nigh to whah hit meks a little pool,
An’ de watah stan’s so quiet lak an’ cool,
Whah de little birds in spring,
Ust to come an’ drink an’ sing,
An’ de chillen waded on dey way to school.

Let me settle w’en my shouldahs draps dey load
Nigh enough to hyeah de noises in de road;
Fu’ I t’ink de las’ long res’
Gwine to soothe my sperrit bes’
Ef I’s layin’ ‘mong de t’ings I’s allus knowed

Poet: Paul Laurence Dunbar
Born: 27 June 1872, Ohio, USA
Died: 9 February 1906, Ohio, USA

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a poet, novelist and playwright. He began to write stories and verse as a child and published his first poems in a local newspaper when he was 16. In his lifetime his most popular work was written in the Negro dialect of the antebellum South. Dunbar died at the age of 33 from tuberculosis which had no cure at the time.