On de Ohio bluff, in de state ob Indianna,
Dars where I used to live, chock up in de Habaur;
Ebery morning early massa gibs me liquor,
Take my net an paddle, and I put out quicker,
An I jump in de kiff, den I row de riber driff,
An I kotch as many turopin as we two niggers liff.
Wonce pon a driff log tink I see an alligator,
Skull my boat round, den I chuck em swete pertator,
I hit him on de hed, an try for to wix it,
Couldn’t fool em bad no how I could fix it,
So I up wid a brick, and I fotch him sich a lick,
An’t was nothing but a pine knot pon a big stick.
Wen de sun gwan down, an my day’s work ober,
Ole Gumbo Chaff, he tinks he libs in clobber;
I gwan aboard de boat, wid my ole temborena,
Dey shub de boat ort an gwan to Orlena,
An de captain, odd rotem, oh, I neber will forget em,
For he put me on de Lebee dare to roll a bale ob cotton.
Wen I kotch hole on bale, den yew ort to seen us,
Furst time dis child gan to show his genus;
I grab hole a bale, an I gub em such a hug,
An I lit upon em like a hawk upon a June bug,
Den de genus gin to peep, which been a long time asleep,
So dey sent me to Kalypoose dat for to keep.
Jist at day break, wen de cock was a crowin,
Ole missus tought me in de field a mowin;
I took de gray horse widout any saddle,
An lumber ober de fields like a steam bote paddle.
An we travelled both alone, till de night was kummin on,
So I slept in bee gum till de next morn.
I turned my head round, an saw de white man a kummin,
Close upon my heels, there was no time for runnin,
I jump of my horse, trow my coat across my shoulder,
An keep just as still as an ole malicious soldier;
An he pass like a hound, and he sight all round,
An he tool me for mile stone stickin in de ground.
He tie his ole horse to de fence wid de bridle,
An he says ole Chaff, I’m gwan to hab you put in Bridewell
He lumbered to de inn to get de mornin bitter,
I jump upon his horse, an say, “go you bully crittur.’
An when he cum back he found good luck,
Dat de horse had run away, wide mile stone pon he back.
I jump aboard de bote, oh, urly in de mornin,
An I libe Orleans jist as de day was dawnin,
I hide under wood war de niggas jist hab toss em,
An lay like de coon wen he went to skare de possum,
An I keep so still doe, ‘twas rather differkill,
An dey didn’t find me till I came to Louisvill.
Jim beats de drum, an big Bill’s de fifer,
But I’m de ting wot can read, write an cifer,
Twice one is five, carry four is seben,
Twice six is twenty-nine, and eighteen’s eleben,
An between you an me, it’s bery plain to see,
I can play de banjo by de double rule ob three.
I bid farewell to de wild goose nation,
Whar dey make de nigga work pon de plantation;
When be tired ob sweets, he only look sour,
Dey fetch emptin, oh, ebery half hour,
An dat’s de way dey sarves me night an day,
Dats de berry reason makes me say wot I say.
Ole massa build a barn, for to put in all de fodder,
Dar was dis ting, an dat ting, an one ting anodder,
One forty- ninth ob winter time cum de rain ob water,
Which carry de ole barn much furder than it oughter,
Den ole massa jump and swear, an he rip an pull he hair,
To see de barn an fodder gwanin he don’t care where.
Den my ole massa die on de lebenteenth of April,
So I put’em in a troff, wot cotch’d de sugar maple:
I digg’d a big hole right upon de lebel,
An I verily believe dat he gwoin to de debil,
For you all do know, he us’d to lite upon me so,
Now he got to top de wood an fire down below.
Den my ole missus took an she marry Will de weber,
But little did she tink, dat he was de gay deceiber;
He grappled all her cash, an jinked it his pocket,
An de way he fool her bad was a sin to Davy Crockett,
An he bid her good by, den my ole missus cry,
An he gwan forever on to Fillermerdelfy.