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The Congo: A Study Of The Negro Race
by [?]

[# With overwhelming assurance, good cheer, and pomp. #]

Just then from the doorway, as fat as shotes,
Came the cake-walk princes in their long red coats,
Canes with a brilliant lacquer shine,
And tall silk hats that were red as wine.

[# With growing speed and sharply marked dance-rhythm. #]

And they pranced with their butterfly partners there,
Coal-black maidens with pearls in their hair,
Knee-skirts trimmed with the jassamine sweet,
And bells on their ankles and little black feet.
And the couples railed at the chant and the frown
Of the witch-men lean, and laughed them down.
(O rare was the revel, and well worth while
That made those glowering witch-men smile.)

The cake-walk royalty then began
To walk for a cake that was tall as a man
To the tune of “Boomlay, boomlay, BOOM,”

[# With a touch of negro dialect, and
as rapidly as possible toward the end. #]

While the witch-men laughed, with a sinister air,
And sang with the scalawags prancing there:–
“Walk with care, walk with care,
Or Mumbo-Jumbo, God of the Congo,
And all of the other
Gods of the Congo,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you.
Beware, beware, walk with care,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay,

[# Slow philosophic calm. #]

Oh rare was the revel, and well worth while
That made those glowering witch-men smile.

III. The Hope of their Religion

[# Heavy bass. With a literal imitation
of camp-meeting racket, and trance. #]

A good old negro in the slums of the town
Preached at a sister for her velvet gown.
Howled at a brother for his low-down ways,
His prowling, guzzling, sneak-thief days.
Beat on the Bible till he wore it out
Starting the jubilee revival shout.
And some had visions, as they stood on chairs,
And sang of Jacob, and the golden stairs,
And they all repented, a thousand strong
From their stupor and savagery and sin and wrong
And slammed with their hymn books till they shook the room
With “glory, glory, glory,”
And “Boom, boom, BOOM.”

[# Exactly as in the first section.
Begin with terror and power, end with joy. #]

And the gray sky opened like a new-rent veil
And showed the apostles with their coats of mail.
In bright white steele they were seated round
And their fire-eyes watched where the Congo wound.
And the twelve Apostles, from their thrones on high
Thrilled all the forest with their heavenly cry:–

[# Sung to the tune of “Hark, ten
thousand harps and voices”. #]

“Mumbo-Jumbo will die in the jungle;
Never again will he hoo-doo you,
Never again will he hoo-doo you.”

[# With growing deliberation and joy. #]

Then along that river, a thousand miles
The vine-snared trees fell down in files.
Pioneer angels cleared the way
For a Congo paradise, for babes at play,
For sacred capitals, for temples clean.
Gone were the skull-faced witch-men lean.

[# In a rather high key–as delicately as possible. #]

There, where the wild ghost-gods had wailed
A million boats of the angels sailed
With oars of silver, and prows of blue
And silken pennants that the sun shone through.
‘Twas a land transfigured, ’twas a new creation.
Oh, a singing wind swept the negro nation
And on through the backwoods clearing flew:–

[# To the tune of “Hark, ten thousand harps and voices”. #]

“Mumbo-Jumbo is dead in the jungle.
Never again will he hoo-doo you.
Never again will he hoo-doo you.”

Redeemed were the forests, the beasts and the men,
And only the vulture dared again
By the far, lone mountains of the moon
To cry, in the silence, the Congo tune:–

[# Dying down into a penetrating, terrified whisper. #]

“Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you.
Mumbo… Jumbo… will… hoo-doo… you.”

This poem, particularly the third section, was suggested by an allusion in a sermon by my pastor, F. W. Burnham, to the heroic life and death of Ray Eldred. Eldred was a missionary of the Disciples of Christ who perished while swimming a treacherous branch of the Congo. See “A Master Builder on the Congo”, by Andrew F. Hensey, published by Fleming H. Revell.