The Mississippi Witness

by Irwin Russell

Irwin Russell

Y OAH HONAH, AN' DE JURY : Ef you'll listen, now, to me,
I's gwine to straighten up dis case jes like it ought to be.
Dis heah's a case ob stealin' hogs — a mighty scr'ous 'fense —
An' you'll know all about it, when I gibs my ebbydence.

Dis Peter Jones, de plainter, is a member ob de chu'ch,
But Thomas Green, de tender, goodness knows he's nuffin much;
A lazy, triflin' nigger is dat berry Thomas Green —
Dese is de dif'rent parties you is called to jedge atween.

Now gib me stric' contention while I 'lucidates de lac';
Dere's two whole sides to eberyt'ing, — de front one an' de back, —
What's dat de little lawyer say? To talk about de case?
Dat's jes what I wuz comin' to; you makes me lose de place.

Whar wuz I? Oh! I 'members; I wuz jes about to say,
I heered a disputation 'bout a p'int of law today;
'Bout how to turn State's ebbydence — dat's what dey's dribin' at —
Now ain't it strange some niggers is so ignorant as dat?

Why, when you wants to turn it, you jes has to come to town,
An' fin' de Deestric Turner — he'll be somewhar loafin' " roun" —
An' den sez you, " Mahsr Turner, sah, I zires my compliments;
I's come in town to see you, fur to turn State's ebbydence. "

As soon's you tells him dat, he knows perzackly what you mean.
An' takes you to his office, whar he's got a big mersheen,
An' dar you cotches hol' de crank, an' den you turns away,
Unter at las' dar's somefin clicks, an' den you's come to A.

" Is dat de letter ob de thing de feller done? " sez he;
Ef you sez no, you turns ag'in untel you comes to B;
An' so you keeps a-turnin', tell de right one gits aroun',
An' dar de Deestric Turner looks, an' dar de law is foun'.

An' den you gibs de fac's, an' den he reads the law to you,
An' axes you to 'vise him what you t'ink he ought to do;
An' den he say " good-mornin', " an' he gibs you fifty cents,
An' dat's de way you has to do to turn State's ebbydence.

Well, gemmen ob de jury, dis heah case is understood.
I doesn't know de hog wuz stole, but Peter's word is good.
He up an' sesso manfully, dout makin' any bones;
An' darfore, sahs, ef I wuz you, I t'ink I'd 'cide for jones.

Last updated September 05, 2017