By James Edwin Campbell 1867–1896
O, come erlong, come erlong,
      Wut’s de use er hol’in back;
   O, hit it strong, er hit it strong,
      Mek de ol’ flo’ ben’ an’ crack.
O, hoop tee doo, uh, hoop tee doo!
Dat’s de way ter knock it froo.
             Right erlong, right erlong,
         Slide de lef’ foot right erlong.
             Hoop tee doo, O, hoop tee doo,
         See, my lub, I dawnce ter you.
             Ho, boy! Ho, boy!
         Well done, meh lady!

   O, slide erlong, slide erlong—
      Fas’ah wid dat pattin’, Sam!
   Dar’s music in dis lef’ heel’s song,   
      Mis’ah right foot, doan’ you sham!
O, hoop tee doo, oh, hoop tee doo!
Straight erlong I dawnce ter you.
             Slide erlong, slide erlong,
         Mek dat right foot hit it strong.
             Hoop tee do, O, hoop tee doo,
         See, my lub, I dawnce ter you.
             Ho, boy! Ho, boy!
         Well done, meh lady!

Source: African-American Poetry of the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (University of Illinois Press, 1992)

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Poet James Edwin Campbell 1867–1896

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance


Poet, teacher, and journalist James Edwin Campbell wrote poems in authentic dialect. While his contemporary Paul Laurence Dunbar is often credited with popularizing verse in dialect, in fact Campbell had been publishing such poetry for several years prior to Dunbar’s success. Born in Pomeroy, Ohio, Campbell was an 1884 graduate of Pomeroy Academy. He worked first as a teacher in Ohio and then as principal of Langston School in . . .

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Poems by James Edwin Campbell

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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