Paul Laurence Dunbar

A Plantation Portrait

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HAIN'T you see my Mandy Lou,
Is it true?
Whaih you been f'om day to day,
Whaih, I say?
Dat you say you nevah seen
Dis hyeah queen
Walkin' roun' f'om fiel' to street
Smilin' sweet?
Slendah ez a saplin' tree;
Seems to me
W'en de win' blow f'om de bay
She jes' sway
Lak de reg'lar saplin' do
Ef hit's grew
Straight an' graceful, 'dout a limb,
Sweet an' slim.
Browner den de frush's wing,
An' she sing
Lak he mek his wa'ble ring
In de spring;
But she sholy beat de frush,
Hyeah me, hush:
W'en she sing, huh teef kin show
White ez snow.
Eyes ez big an' roun' an' bright
Ez de light
Whut de moon gives in de prime
Harvest time.
An' huh haih a woolly skein,
Black an' plain,
Hol's you wid a natchul twis'
Close to bliss.
Tendah han's dat mek yo' own
Feel lak stone;
Easy steppin', blessid feet,
Small an' sweet.
Hain't you seen my Mandy Lou,
Is it true?
Look at huh befo' she's gone,
Den pass on!

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Paul Laurence Dunbar