Ole Noah once he built de ark
Dar's one more rib-ber for to cross;
And patched it up wid hickory bark;
Dar's one more ribber for to cross.
One more ribber, an' dat old ribber am Jordan,
Dar's one more ribber,
Dar's one more ribber for to cross .
De animals went in one by one,
De elephant chewin' a caraway bun.
De animals went in two by two,
De rhinoceros an' de Kangaroo,
De animal went in three by three
De bear, de flea, an' de humble bee.
De animals went in four by four,
Ole Noah got mad an' holler'd for more,
De animals went in six by six,
De hyena laughed at de monkeys' tricks.
De animals went in eight by eight,
Dey came wid a rush cause 'twas so late.
De animals went in nine by nine,
Ole Noah shouted, ;cut dat line'.
De animals went in ten by ten,
De ark she blow'd her whistle then.
abc | midi | pdf
Source: Singing Together, BBC Broadcasts to Schools, Autumn Term, 1958
It is with some reluctance I add this song. It is certainly of some age, being in the Lester S Levy collection. On Mudcat it is thought to be circa 1870-80. Even in the Levy edition the spelling is distorted to try to represent the speech 'Dem, ribber, Dars' and so forth. But I have to say I find that extremely uncomfortable. I find it awkward enough when an attempt is made to represent an English dialect (and in my view it renders some quite famous books near unreadable); when used in connection with Spirituals I frankly squirm.
But reality must be faced, and that's how the song was presented to the schools in 1958, so here it is unvarnished.