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Henry
John Henry - US Folksong
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Hg.: The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. S. 45-48 – Henry LinksHenry Literatur
When John Henry was a little fellow,
   You could hold him in the palm of your hand,
He said to his pa, "When I grow up
   I'm gonna be a steel-driving man.
      Gonna be a steel-driving man."
When John Henry was a little baby,
   Setting on his mammy's knee,
He said "The Big Bend Tunnel on the C. & O. Road
   Is gonna be the death of me,
      Gonna be the death of me."
One day his captain told him,
   How he had bet a man
That John Henry would beat his steam-drill down,
   Cause John Henry was the best in the land,
      John Henry was the best in the land.
John Henry kissed his hammer,
   White man turned on steam,
Shaker held John Henry's trusty steel,
   Was the biggest race the world had ever seen,
      Lord, biggest race the world ever seen.
John Henry on the right side
   The steam drill on the left,
"Before I'll let your steam drill beat me down,
   I'll hammer my fool self to death,
      Hammer my fool self to death."
John Henry walked in the tunnel,
   His captain by his side,
The mountain so tall, John Henry so small,
   He laid down his hammer and he cried,
      Laid down his hammer and he cried.
Captain heard a mighty rumbling,
   Said "The mountain must be caving in,"
John Henry said to the captain,
   "It's my hammer swinging in de wind,
      "My hammer swinging in de wind."
John Henry said to his shaker,
   "Shaker, you'd better pray;
For if ever I miss this piece of steel,
   Tomorrow'll be your burial day,
      Tomorrow'll be your burial day."
John Henry said to his shaker,
   "Lordy, shake it while I sing,
I'm pulling my hammer from my shoulders down,
   Great Gawdamighty, how she ring,
      Great Gawdamighty, how she ring!"
John Henry said to his captain,
   "Before I ever leave town,
Gimme one mo' drink of dat tom-cat gin,
   And I'll hammer dat steam driver down,
      I'll hammer dat steam driver down."
John Henry said to his captain,
   "Before I ever leave town,
Gimme a twelve-pound hammer wid a whale-bone handle,
   And I'll hammer dat steam driver down,
      I'll hammer dat steam drill on down."
John Henry said to his captain,
   "A man ain't nothin but a man,
But before I'll let dat steam drill beat me down,
   I'll die wid my hammer in my hand,
      Die wid my hammer in my hand."
The man that invented the steam drill
   He thought he was mighty fine,
John Henry drove down fourteen feet,
   While the steam drill only made nine,
      Steam drill only made nine.
"Oh, lookaway over yonder, captain,
   You can't see like me,"
He gave a long and loud and lonesome cry,
   "Lawd, a hammer be the death of me,
      A hammer be the death of me!"
John Henry had a little woman,
   Her name was Polly Ann,
John Henry took sick, she took his hammer,
   She hammered like a natural man,
      Lawd, she hammered like a natural man.
John Henry hammering on the mountain
   As the whistle blew for half-past two,
The last words his captain heard him say,
   "I've done hammered my insides in two,
      Lawd, I've hammered my insides in two."
The hammer that John Henry swung
   It weighed over twelve pound,
He broke, a rib in his left hand side
   And his intrels fell on the ground,
      And his intrels fell on the ground.
John Henry, O, John Henry,
   His blood is running red,
Fell right down with his hammer to the ground,
   Said, "I beat him to the bottom but I'm dead, 47 so
      Lawd, beat him to the bottom but I'm dead."
When John Henry was laying there dying,
   The people all by his side,
The very last words they heard him say,
   "Give me a cool drink of water 'fore I die,
      Cool drink of water 'fore I die."
John Henry had a little woman,
   The dress she wore was red,
She went down the track, and she never looked back,
   Going where her man fell dead,
      Going where her man fell dead.
John Henry had a little woman,
   The dress she wore was blue,
De very last words she said to him,
   "John Henry, I'll be true to you,
      John Henry, I'll be true to you."
"Who's gonna shoes yo' little feet,
   Who's gonna glove yo' hand,
Who's gonna kiss yo' pretty, pretty cheek,
   Now you done lost yo man?
      Now you done lost yo' man?"
"My mammy's gonna shoes my little feet,
   Pappy gonna glove my hand,
My sister's gonna kiss my pretty, pretty cheek,
   Now I done lost my man,
      Now I done lost my man."
They carried him down by the river,
   And buried him in the sand,
And everybody that passed that way,
   Said, "There lies that steel-driving man,
      There lies a steel-driving man."
They took Johnn Henry to the river,
   And buried him in the sand,
And every locomotive come-a-roaring by,
   Says "There lies that steel-drivin' man,
      Lawd, there lies a steel-drivin man."
Some say he came from Georgia,
   And some from Alabam,
But its wrote on the rock at the Big Bend Tunnel,
   That he was an East Virginia man,
      Lord, Lord, an East Virginia man.
Links
HenryJohn Henry Legend
HenryThe Legend of John Henry
HenryJohn Henry at npr
HenryJohn Henry retold by S. E. Schlosser
 
Henry Anfang

Henry
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© by Herbert Huber, Am Fröschlanger 15, 83512 Wasserburg, Germany, 26.5.2006