Ol' Egyp' 

Found in Spirituals of the South Carolina Low Country, available from the Avery Institute in Charleston, SC. 
Recorded on Bound to Go

Much is made of the use of "coded spirituals" on the Underground Railroad, often too much much. The spirituals are what they seem for the most part— the greatest religious folksongs in the world. But this really is a rare and powerful fugitive song. "Egypt" was the enslaved Africans' literal term for the South and the system of slavery, here personified as a bloodhound. Freedom seekers often hid in graveyards. Harriet Tubman carried a rifle with her and offered to shoot runaways who wanted to turn back. "Ol' Egyp'" is the song equivalent of that rifle. 

Keep a-runnin', keep a-runnin', fire gonna overtake you 
Keep a-runnin' keep a-runnin', fire gonna overtake you 
Keep a-runnin', keep a-runnin', fire gonna overtake you 
Way down yonder in that lonesome graveyard 

Keep a-runnin', keep a-runnin', hear ol' Egyp' a-howling 
Keep a-runnin', keep a-runnin' hear ol' Egyp' a-howling' 
Keep a-runnin', keep a-runnin', hear ol' Egyp' a-howling 
Way down yonder in that lonesome graveyard 

Brother, brother, don't let your sister condemn you 
Brother, brother don't let your sister condemn you 
Brother, brother, don't let you sister condemn you 
Way down yonder in that lonesome graveyard 

Mother, don't let your daughter condemn you 
Mother, don't let your daughter condemn you 
Mother, don't let your daughter condemn you 
Way down yonder in that lonesome graveyard 

Mmm, mmm, hear ol' Egyp' a-howling 
Mmm, mmm, hear ol' Egyp' a-howling 
Mmm, mmm, hear ol' Egyp' a-howling 
Way down yonder in that lonesome graveyard 

Ah-hoo, ah-hoo, hear ol' Egyp' a-howling 
Ah-hoo, ah-hoo, hear ol' Egyp' a-howling 
Ah-hoo, ah-hoo, hear ol' Egyp' a-howling 
Way down yonder in that lonesome graveyard

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