Possum Up a Gum Tree
(Alternately: Opossum Up a Gum Tree)

For information on this song as part of the blackface minstrel tradition, please see
its page in The Juba Project's Minstrelsy Database.


Art Babayants, piano; Alison Jutzi, vocals; Dennis Patrick, sound technician.


Prefatory Note
The burden of this little ballad is founded on a Circumstance in Zoology reported by Naturalists, _The Oppossum climbs a Tree, the hollow of which is occupied by the Racoon, He seizes the tail of the Oppossum as he ascends, who loudly exclaims against this unjust invasion of his property, but is notwithstanding too slothful to quit the vicinity of his Oppressor.

Image c. British Library, all rights reserved. Further reproduction is prohibited
Possum Up a Gum Tree Sheet Music

Verse 1
Possum up a Gum Tree
Up he go up he go
Racoon in the hollow
Down below down below
Him pull him by hims long tail
Pully hawl, pully hawl
Then how him whoop and hallow
Scream and bawl, scream and bawl.

Verse 2

Massa send we Negro Boy
Board a ship board a shop
There we work and cry “Ye hoy”
Cowskin whip cowskin whip
Negro he work all de day
Night get groggy night get groggy
But if Negro he go play
Massa floggy Massa floggy.

Verse 3
Caesar steal him Massa’s boots
Last whitsunday whitsunday
’Cause him marry Polly Cootes
Look fine and gay fine and gay
Caesar all day walk in pain
Boot so tight boot so tight
He no get them off again
All de night all de night.

Verse 4
Miss Polly say “You nasty brute
“Get out of bed get out of bed
“If you come near me wid de boot
“I break your head I break your head.”
Caesar he no more entreats him
He quite dummy he quite dummy
Massa see his boots and beat him
All to mummy all to mummy

Possum up a Gum Tree
Racoon in the hollow
Him pull him by him’s long tail
Then how him whoop and hallow.

Publication Information

Published by I. Willis & Co., location unknown.

British Library Shelf Number: H.2815.f(40)