Constab Ballads (1912)

De Dog-Driver’s Frien’

STAY your hasty hands, my comrades,
I must speak to you again ;
For you beat de dog ‘dout mussy,
An’ dey are we night-time frien’.
Treat dem kindly, treat dem kindly,
For dey are God’s creatures too ;
You have no more claim, dear comrades,
On de earth dan what dey do.

‘Cos you locked him up in barracks
T’rough some failin’ point o’ his,
You mus’ beatin’ him so badly
For de little carelessness ?
Treat dem kindly, etc.

When de hours are cold an’ dreary,
An’ I’m posted on me beat,
An’ me tired heavy body
Weighs upon me weary feet;

When I think of our oppressors
Wid mixed hatred an’ don’-care,
An’ de ugly miau of torn-puss
Rings out sharply on de air,

Oftentimes dem come aroun’ me
Wid dem free an’ trusting soul,
Lying do’n or gambolling near me
Wid a tender sort o’ gro’l :

An’ I snap my fingers at them,
While dey wag dem tail at me;
Can you wonder dat I love dem,
Dem, me night-time company?
Treat dem kindly, etc.

Sometimes dey’re a bit too noisy
Wid deir long leave-taking bark;[1]
But I tell you what, it cheers me
When de nights are extra dark.

So, dear comrades, don’t ill-treat him,
You won’t mek me talk in vain;
‘Member, when de hours are dreary,
He’s de poor dog-driver’s frien’.
Treat dem kindly, etc.

  1. This is a trick of the dogs when they want to leave their master's yard. They set up a great barking about 11 p.m., as if they were on the alert, and soon after they are all gone.


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This work (Poems by Claude McKay by Claude McKay) is free of known copyright restrictions.