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Chorus Po' Mona, you shall be free, Gooba-looba, Nigger, you shall be free. Keep a-shoutin', Nigger, you shall be free, When the good Lawd sets you free.
Some folks say that Niggers don't steal,
But — I found three in my cornfield; One had a shovel and one had a bell,
And t'other little Nigger went runnin' like------
A more proper version of the last two lines runs:
One had a shovel and one had a hoe,
And if that ain't stealing well, I don't know!
If you want to go to Heb'n, I tell you what to do,
Jes' grease yo' feet with mutton soo\ When the devil gets after you with them greasy hands,
Jes' slip right over in the Promised Lan'!
Mrs. Bartlett says: "I suppose 'Mona' should be more correctly 'Mourner,' but I spell phonetically."
John Trotwood Moore, of Nashville, librarian of the State Library of Tennessee, contributes a slightly different stanza, wherein the victim of fate appears as one Bre'r Washington.
My ole marster promised me
Ef I broke de record he'd set me free.
My ole marster dead and gone,
He lef' Bre'r Washington hillin' up corn.
A somewhat sentimentalized reflection of slavery, stressing both work and food as the Negro viewed them, is in an old-time song sent in by Mrs. Bartlett, in the old days. Virginia, it will be remembered, was considered a happier, more considerate setting for slavery than certain other states. To be sold from Virginia and taken "down south" was considered a cruel blow.
'Way Down in Ole Virginia
'Way down in ole Virginia Where I was bred and born, On the sunny side of that country I used to hoe the corn.