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Darius the Mede
Posted by: Ann Massey (---.roh.cox.rr.com)
Date: April 19, 2002 12:35PM

Does anyone remember the poem that begins "Darius the Mede was a king and a wonder, and he spoke, when he spoke, in a voice like thunder."?

Do you have any idea who wrote it?

Ann Massey


Re: Darius the Mede
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: April 19, 2002 12:45PM

Actually, Ilza gets the credit for this one, since I found where she'd posted it in response to someone else on a 'lost quotations' site.

pam

THE DANIEL JAZZ

Darius the Mede was a king and a wonder.
His eye was proud, and his voice was thunder.
He kept bad lions in a monstrous den.
He fed up the lions on Christian men.


Danile was the chief hired man of the land.
He stirred up the jazz in the palace band.
He whitewashed the cellar. He shovelled in the coal.
And Daniel kept a-praying:--"Lord save my soul."


Daniel was the butler, swagger and swell.
He ran up stairs. He answered the bell.
And he would let in whoever came a-calling:--
Saints so holy, scamps so appalling.
"Old man Ahab leaves his card.
Elisha and the bears are a-waiting in the yard.
Here comes Pharaoh and his snakes a-calling.


Here comes Cain and his wife a-calling.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego for tea.
Here comes Jonah and the whale,
And the Sea!
Here comes St. Peter and his fishing pole.


Here comes Judas and his silver a-calling.
Here comes old Beelzebub a-calling."
And Daniel kept a-praying:--"Lord save my soul."
Daniel kept a-praying:--"Lord save my soul."
Daniel kept a-praying:--"Lord save my soul."


His sweetheart and his mother were Christian and meek.
They washed and ironed for Darius every week.
One Thursdy he met them at the door:--
Paid them as usual, but acted sore.


He said:--"Your Daniel is a dead little pigeon.
He's a good hard worker, but he talks religion."
And he showed them Daniel in the lions' cage.
His good old mother cried:--
"Lord save him."
And Daniel's tender sweetheart cried:--
"Lord save him."


And she was a golden lily in the dew.
And she was as sweet as an apple on the tree
And she was as fine as a melon in the corn-field,
Gliding and lovely as a ship on the sea,
Gliding and lovely as a ship on the sea.


And she prayed to the Lord:--
"Send Gabriel. Send Gabriel."


King Darius said to the lions:--
"Bite Daniel. Bite Daniel.
Bite him. Bite him. Bite him!"


Thus roared the lions:--
"We want Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,
Wewant Daniel, Daniel, Daniel.
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"


Here the audience roars


Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


And Daniel did not frown,
Daniel did not cry.


He kept on looking at the sky.
And the Lord said to Gabriel:--


The audience sings this with the leader, in the old negro tune.


"Go chain the lions down,
Go chain the lions down.
Go chain the lions down."


And Gabriel chained the lions,
And Gabriel chained the lions,
And Gabriel chained the lions,
And Daniel got out of the den,
And Daniel got out of the den,
And Daniel got out of the den.
And Darius said:--"You're a Chrisitian child,"
Darius said:--"You're a Chrisitian child,"
Darius said:--"You're a Chrisitian child,"
And gave him his job again,
And gave him his job again,
And gave him his job again.


Re: Darius the Mede
Posted by: Paulette Plummer (---.travelers.com)
Date: September 09, 2004 12:29PM

I have been trying to get a copy of this poem for years. People only remember the first couple lines. Hope we'll get lucky soon. I am still trying.


Re: Darius the Mede
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: September 09, 2004 01:16PM

Paulette,

Click on Flat View, and look at the response above yours. Otherwise, look at my previous response.

pam


Re: Darius the Mede
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: September 09, 2004 08:43PM

The author was Vachel Lindsay.

In his Collected Poems, published by Macmillan in 1927, the title is given as just 'Daniel'. I don't know where 'The Daniel Jazz' comes from but IMO it's catchier and better. Lindsay intended this poem for live performance with audience participation, accompanied by strains of various melodies including 'Dixie' and 'Alexander's Ragtime Band'.

Errors creep into versions on the Internet. In the Collected, Poems, in the 6th line it is 'music' not 'jazz'; and the first 'And Daniel kept a-praying:-"Lord save my soul"' is repeated (without the 'And') twice; and there's another line: 'Daniel standing quietly, the lions in a rage.' before 'His good old mother cried'; and Go chain the lions down' is said four (not three) times in succession; and some of the breaks between stanzas are in different places. Otherwise, apart from a few typos, the version posted above seems accurate. Textually, that is, not historically! Darius the Mede and Daniel lived a long time before the Christian era, so only surrealism can account for St Peter and Judas and Christians having roles in the poem!



Post Edited (09-11-04 21:32)




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