The Poetry Corner

My Sort O' Man

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

I don't believe in 'ristercrats An' never did, you see; The plain ol' homelike sorter folks Is good enough fur me. O' course, I don't desire a man To be too tarnal rough, But then, I think all folks should know When they air nice enough. Now there is folks in this here world, From peasant up to king, Who want to be so awful nice They overdo the thing. That's jest the thing that makes me sick, An' quicker 'n a wink I set it down that them same folks Ain't half so good 's you think. I like to see a man dress nice, In clothes becomin' too; I like to see a woman fix As women orter to do; An' boys an' gals I like to see Look fresh an' young an' spry.-- We all must have our vanity An' pride before we die. But I jedge no man by his clothes,-- Nor gentleman nor tramp; The man that wears the finest suit May be the biggest scamp, An' he whose limbs air clad in rags That make a mournful sight, In life's great battle may have proved A hero in the fight. I don't believe in 'ristercrats; I like the honest tan That lies upon the healthful cheek An' speaks the honest man; I like to grasp the brawny hand That labor's lips have kissed, For he who has not labored here Life's greatest pride has missed: The pride to feel that yore own strength Has cleaved fur you the way To heights to which you were not born, But struggled day by day. What though the thousands sneer an' scoff, An' scorn yore humble birth? Kings are but puppets; you are king By right o' royal worth. The man who simply sits an' waits Fur good to come along, Ain't worth the breath that one would take To tell him he is wrong. Fur good ain't flowin' round this world Fur every fool to sup; You 've got to put yore see-ers on, An' go an' hunt it up. Good goes with honesty, I say, To honour an' to bless; To rich an' poor alike it brings A wealth o' happiness. The 'ristercrats ain't got it all, Fur much to their su'prise, That's one of earth's most blessed things They can't monopolize.