The Lawyers' Ways

I've been list'nin' to them lawyers
    In the court house up the street,
An' I've come to the conclusion
    That I'm most completely beat.
Fust one feller riz to argy,
    An' he boldly waded in
As he dressed the tremblin' pris'ner
    In a coat o' deep-dyed sin.

Why, he painted him all over
    In a hue o' blackest crime,
An' he smeared his reputation
    With the thickest kind o' grime,
Tell I found myself a-wond'rin',
    In a misty way and dim,
How the Lord had come to fashion
    Sich an awful man as him.

Then the other lawyer started,
    An' with brimmin', tearful eyes,
Said his client was a martyr
    That was brought to sacrifice.
An' he give to that same pris'ner
    Every blessed human grace,
Tell I saw the light o' virtue
    Fairly shinin' from his face.

Then I own 'at I was puzzled
    How sich things could rightly be;
An' this aggervatin' question
    Seems to keep a-puzzlin' me.
So, will some one please inform me,
    An' this mystery unroll–
How an angel an' a devil
    Can persess the self-same soul?


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem

"The Lawyers' Ways" appeared in The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1913).