“Guinea Negro Song”


A slave's complaint of his capture: (lines from various versions): "The Englie man he [s]teal me, And carry me to Birgimy [Virginee]. The American man he [s]teal me, And give me pretty red coatee, And make me fence rail toatee."


Brown's notes indicate that this came from an ex-slave to whom this originally happened. White objected that this was chronologically impossible. It isn't, quite -- while the English banned the slave trade in the early nineteenth century, and even the Americans eventually stopped it, an Englishman with no morals might have taken a slave and slipped him through American customs.

But I think White is right and the informant didn't suffer this fate. The dialect is just a little too cutesy. - RBW


  1. BrownIII 472, "Guinea Negro Song" (2 short texts, probably from the same informant)
  2. Roud #11800
  3. BI, Br3472


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1922 (Brown)
Found in: US(SE)