I Been ‘Buked an’ I Been Scorned

“I Been ‘Buked an’ I Been Scorned” is a spiritual arrangement for voice and piano by Eva Jessye. The song is the fifth arrangement included in Jessye’s book My Spirituals (1927). In the song’s preface, Jessye describes how she associates this song with Sister Fannie Watts—a beloved and respected woman known for her Christian piety and humility. She was the preacher’s right hand helper, and described as a person who held broad and deep sympathies as a result of her own suffering. Jessye writes, “Born a slave in Saint Augustine, Texas, she was about seventeen years of age when freedom was declared. The indignities heaped upon her girlish shoulders during slavery left wounds that were never healed and to hear her doleful singing of “I Been ‘Buked” was to be haunted for days by the pity of it all.”

Date: 1927Composer: Eva JessyeText: SpiritualSong Collection: My Spirituals

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I been ‘buked an’ I been scorned,

I been ‘buked an’ I been scorned, Chillun

I been ‘buked and I been scorned.

I’se had a hard time sho’s you born.


Talk ‘bout me much as you please,

Talk ‘bout me much as you please, Chillun

Talk ‘bout me much as you please.

Mo’ you talk, gwine ben’ my knees. 


‘Taint but one thing I done wrong

‘Taint but one thing I done wrong Chillun.

‘Taint but one thing I done wrong

Stay’d in my sins jes’ a lil’ too long.


Source: Jessye, Eva. My Spirituals. New York: Robbins-Engel, 1927.

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