The Poetry Corner

The Disturber

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Oh, what shall I do? I am wholly upset; I am sure I 'll be jailed for a lunatic yet. I 'll be out of a job--it's the thing to expect When I 'm letting my duty go by with neglect. You may judge the extent and degree of my plight When I 'm thinking all day and a-dreaming all night, And a-trying my hand at a rhyme on the sly, All on account of a sparkling eye. There are those who say men should be strong, well-a-day! But what constitutes strength in a man? Who shall say? I am strong as the most when it comes to the arm. I have aye held my own on the playground or farm. And when I 've been tempted, I haven't been weak; But now--why, I tremble to hear a maid speak. I used to be bold, but now I 've grown shy, And all on account of a sparkling eye. There once was a time when my heart was devout, But now my religion is open to doubt. When parson is earnestly preaching of grace, My fancy is busy with drawing a face, Thro' the back of a bonnet most piously plain; 'I draw it, redraw it, and draw it again.' While the songs and the sermon unheeded go by,-- All on account of a sparkling eye. Oh, dear little conjurer, give o'er your wiles, It is easy for you, you're all blushes and smiles: But, love of my heart, I am sorely perplexed; I am smiling one minute and sighing the next; And if it goes on, I 'll drop hackle and flail, And go to the parson and tell him my tale. I warrant he 'll find me a cure for the sigh That you 're aye bringing forth with the glance of your eye.