The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #12846 Message #717762
Posted By: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
26-May-02 - 09:26 PM
Thread Name: Conversation With Death
Subject: Lyr Add: CONVERSATION WITH DEATH (from V Randolph)
A "Holy Roller" song, this version collected in 1941, with added or variant verses to "O Death" as sung by Dock Boggs, in the DT.
Lyr. Add: CONVERSATION WITH DEATH
Oh what is this I cannot see,
With icy hands taking hold of me.
Oh I am Death, none can excel,
I open the doors of Heaven and Hell.
Oh death, oh death how can it be
That I must come and go with thee.
Oh death, oh death, how can it be. I'm unprepared for eternity.
Yes, I have come to get your soul,
To leave your body and leave it cold,
To drop the flesh from off your frame,
The earth and worms both have their claim.
Now death, now death, if this be true,
Please give me time to reason with you.
From time to time you heard and saw
I will close your eyes and lock your jaws.
I'll lock your jaws so you can't talk,
I'll fix your feet so you can't walk,
I'll dim your eyes so you can't see,
This very hour now come with me.
Now death, now death, consider my age
And don't take me in this stage,
My wealth now is all at your command
If you will only move your icy hand.
The old, the young, the rich, the pore,
They like you will have to go,
No age, no wealth, no silver, no gold,
Nothing satisfies me but your poor soul.
Now death, now death, please let me see
If Christ has turned his back on me.
Then you were called and asked to bow,
You would not heed and it's too late now.
Now death, now death, please give me time
To fix my heart and change my mind.
Your heart is fixed, your mind is bound.
I have the shackles to drag you down.
Too late, too late, to all farewell,
My doom is fixed, I'm summoned to Hell,
As long as God in Heaven shall dwell
My pore soul shall burn in Hell.
Sung by Arlie Freeman, Arkansas, 1941, learned from singers near his home. His wife sang it at "Holy Roller" meetings. Randolph says "A recent "Holy Roller' song, doubtless found in some of the printed songbooks."
Vance Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, 1946-50, rep. 1980, Vol. 4, pp. 98-99. This version adds a couple of verses not in the Dock Boggs or Bill Stanley versions and some lines are different. It has a chorus. Thus far, no book has been pointed out that had this song in 1941 or earlier. A similar Negro song is probably from the same source.