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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938). The Book of American Negro Poetry. 1922.

Little Brown Baby

LITTLE brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes,

Come to yo’ pappy an’ set on his knee.

What you been doin’, suh—makin’ san’ pies?

Look at dat bib—You’s ez du’ty ez me.

Look at dat mouf—dat’s merlasses, I bet;

Come hyeah, Maria, an’ wipe off his han’s.

Bees gwine to ketch you an’ eat you up yit,

Bein’ so sticky an’ sweet—goodness lan’s!

Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes

Who’s pappy’s darlin’ an’ who’s pappy’s chile?

Who is it all de day nevah once tries

Fu’ to be cross, er once loses dat smile?

Whah did you git dem teef? My, you’s a scamp!

Whah did dat dimple come f’om in yo’ chin?

Pappy do’ know you—I b’lieves you’s a tramp;

Mammy, dis hyeah’s some ol’ straggler got in!

Let’s th’ow him outen de do’ in de san’,

We do’ want stragglers a-layin’ ’roun’ hyeah;

Let’s gin him ’way to de big buggah-man;

I know he’s hidin’ erroun’ hyeah right neah.

Buggah-man, buggah-man, come in de do’,

Hyeah’s a bad boy you kin have fu’ to eat.

Mammy an’ pappy do’ want him no mo’,

Swaller him down f’om his haid to his feet!

Dah, now, I t’ought dat you’d hug me up close.

Go back, ol’ buggah, you sha’n’t have dis boy.

He ain’t no tramp, ner no straggler, of co’se;

He’s pappy’s pa’dner an’ playmate an’ joy.

Come to you’ pallet now—go to you’ res’;

Wisht you could allus know ease an’ cleah skies;

Wisht you could stay jes’ a chile on my breas’—

Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes!