James Edwin Campbell

The Church Rally

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Hi! yi! Now ain' I s'prise 'em -- you Mistah Mule, git up!
Prince ob de Tribe of Zeb'lon, an' win de silbah cup!


Go long, you long-yurd debbil, an' le' dem weeds urlone,
Urfo' I tek dis blacksnaik an' wa'r you ter de bone.


W'y honey chile, you skyurd me; you did, sah, fur ur fac';
I'se tol'bul well, I tanks you, urscusin' dis ol' back.


You see, de che'ch am raisin' some money fer ter 'rec'
Ur mighty fine new buildin'; nuffin' but pride, I 'spec'.


Dats wut I tell de eldah w'en he come trapesin' 'roun'
Ur axin', "How much money you gwi' gib, Bru'r Brown?"


I des right up an' tells him 'twan' nuffin' 'tall but pride,
Ur t'arin' down de ol' che'ch -- de scriptur's on my side.


He mighty awgmendashus, an' use dem big wu'ds free,
But dar wuz only one t'ing dat settled hit wid me.


He said ez how dem Mefdis', up dar on Mayho's creek,
Hed laid de cornah stone ob dey fine new che'ch las' week.


I ain' gwi' hab no Mef'dis' waship in ur che'ch,
Wid ur great sky-pintin' steeple, ur westerbule an' sech,


Wile Ise ur prayin' membah ob ur che'ch, doan' you know,
Wid ur little mouse-trap balfry an' no glass 'bove de do'.


So dats de how-come-howdy, wen de meetin' come ur 'roun',
De motion fur new buildin' wuz med by Deacon Brown!


Dars twelb ob us ol' membahs fur heads ob tribes put up;
De one whar raise mos' money gwi' git ur silbah cup.


Dey med me Prince ob Zeb'lon, Bru'r Thomas, Prince ob Dan;
Bru'r Moses, Prince ob Reuben, an' Judah's Prince, Bru'r Mann.


De Reubites gin ur fes'bul, Ashies ur bobbycue;
De Gaddites gin ur fan drill an' Simyun gin one, too;


Naptolly gin ur foot race, an' Leebi, big cakewalk,
You orto seed dem niggahs -- go 'way, now, doan' you talk!


De prize dat Leebi offe'd wuz fine young Bucksheah shote;
He des ez fat ez buttah, an' right sha'p load ter tote.


De prize wuz won by Nimrod, whar lib on Mill Creek Dam --
Some niggahs said he won hit 'caze he promised me ur ham!


You see, I one de jedges, de contes' mighty close --
De niggahs fell to quawlin' an' lak to fit, nigh mos';


Dars fibe ob us wuz jedgin'; I hel' de 'cidin' vote;
I cas' my voice fur Nimrod -- so, cose, he got de shote.


Naix day dat wife ob Johnsings des wen' de roun's an' sed:
(Ef 'twan' dat Ise ur Deacon, I'd bruk dat niggah's head)


Dat Nimrod secon' cousin ter Susan's sistah's son,
An' dat wuz one de reasons de shote by him wuz won;


Dat she come in ter borry some sody fur herse'f
An' seed ur ham ur layin', shote size, dar on our she'f!


Er -- wut ur 'bout de ham, sah? Well, now, I des do 'clar,
I ain' gwine mek no 'niance -- de ham wuz sholy dar.


Not 'caze hit wuz ur bawgin, but allus on de Dam
Wen dey kills hawgs dey sen's us some sparribs an' ur ham.


My tribe gin 'possum suppah -- good Lawd, hit mek me smile --
De niggahs come ur flockin' fur mo' 'an twenty mile;


De princes ob dem ur tribes, dey call fur 'possum roas',
Dey almos' bus' wid eatin', an' me wid larfin' mos'.


Bru'r Mann, de Prince ob Judah, he eat ur 'possum whole --
Dat niggah's stummick rubbah -- hit mus' be, bress my soul!


I knowed dem niggahs spen'in' de quarters an' de dimes
Dey raise at cake-walks, fes'buls, dem fan-drills an' sich times;


Fur wen ur man am hongry he hab no fuchah plan;
Hit allus so, from Esau cla'r down ter Brudder Mann.


W'en on de Rallyin' Sunday Mount Zion rocked wid song,
An' de Princes ob ol' Iz'zul wen' ma'chin right urlong,


Ur bringin' up de money dat ebbry tribe done raise,
Dey foun' de Tribe ob Zeb'lon -- de Lawd ob hosts be praise --


Hed brung de mostes' money -- de eldah call me up,
An' fo' de congregation gin me de silbah cup.


Right dar de Prince ob Judah, he med ur awful fuss --
He spoke right out in meetin' -- he mad ur 'nuff ter cuss,


"Bru'r Brown, he needn' swell out lak ur pa'tridge wen dey call:
He didn' raise de money -- dat 'possum done hit all."

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James Edwin Campbell