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Learning to Read

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VerysoontheYankeeteachers
Camedownandsetupschool;
But,oh!howtheRebsdidhateit,
Itwasagintheirrule.
Ourmastersalwaystriedtohide
Booklearningfromoureyes;
Knowledgedidntagreewithslavery
Twouldmakeusalltoowise.
Butsomeofuswouldtrytosteal
Alittlefromthebook.
Andputthewordstogether,
Andlearnbyhookorcrook.
IrememberUncleCaldwell,
Whotookpotliquorfat
Andgreasedthepagesofhisbook,
Andhiditinhishat.
Andhadhismastereverseen
Theleavesuponhishead,
Hedhavethoughtthemgreasypapers,
Butnothingtoberead.
AndtherewasMr.TurnersBen,
Whoheardthechildrenspell,
Andpickedthewordsrightupbyheart,
Andlearnedtoreademwell.
Well,theNorthernfolkskeptsending
TheYankeeteachersdown;
Andtheystoodrightupandhelpedus,
ThoughRebsdidsneerandfrown.

AndIlongedtoreadmyBible,
Forpreciouswordsitsaid;
ButwhenIbeguntolearnit,
Folksjustshooktheirheads,
Andsaidthereisnousetrying,
Oh!Chloe,youretoolate;
ButasIwasrisingsixty,
Ihadnotimetowait.
SoIgotapairofglasses,
AndstraighttoworkIwent,
AndneverstoppedtillIcouldread
ThehymnsandTestament.
ThenIgotalittlecabin
Aplacetocallmyown
AndIfeltindependent
Asthequeenuponherthrone.

Annotations