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401 Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar

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A Lyric

Story type: Poetry

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My lady love lives far away, And oh my heart is sad by day, And ah my tears fall fast by night, What may I do in such a plight. Why, miles grow few when love is fleet, And love, you know, hath flying feet; Break off thy sighs and witness this, How poor a […]

How shall I woo thee to win thee, mine own? Say in what tongue shall I tell of my love. I who was fearless so timid have grown, All that was eagle has turned into dove. The path from the meadow that leads to the bars Is more to me now than the path of […]

A Madrigal

Story type: Poetry

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Dream days of fond delight and hours As rosy-hued as dawn, are mine. Love’s drowsy wine, Brewed from the heart of Passion flowers, Flows softly o’er my lips And save thee, all the world is in eclipse. There were no light if thou wert not; The sun would be too sad to shine, And all […]

A Starry Night

Story type: Poetry

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A cloud fell down from the heavens, And broke on the mountain’s brow; It scattered the dusky fragments All over the vale below. The moon and the stars were anxious To know what its fate might be; So they rushed to the azure op’ning, And all peered down to see.

(From a Westerner’s Point of View.) No matter what you call it, Whether genius, or art, He sings the simple songs that come The closest to your heart. Fur trim an’ skillful phrases, I do not keer a jot; ‘Tain’t the words alone, but feelin’s, That tech the tender spot. An’ that’s jest why I […]

A Song Poor withered rose, she gave it me, Half in revenge and half in glee; Its petals not so pink by half As are her lips when curled to laugh, As are her cheeks when dimples gay In merry mischief o’er them play. Chorus Forgive, forgive, it seems unkind To cast thy petals to […]

Worn Out

Story type: Poetry

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You bid me hold my peace And dry my fruitless tears, Forgetting that I bear A pain beyond my years. You say that I should smile And drive the gloom away; I would, but sun and smiles Have left my life’s dark day. All time seems cold and void, And naught but tears remain; Life’s […]

On The River

Story type: Poetry

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The sun is low, The waters flow, My boat is dancing to and fro. The eve is still, Yet from the hill The killdeer echoes loud and shrill. The paddles plash, The wavelets dash, We see the summer lightning flash; While now and then, In marsh and fen Too muddy for the feet of men, […]

An Old Memory

Story type: Poetry

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How sweet the music sounded That summer long ago, When you were by my side, love, To list its gentle flow. I saw your eyes a-shining, I felt your rippling hair, I kissed your pearly cheek, love, And had no thought of care. And gay or sad the music, With subtle charm replete; I found […]

A Career

Story type: Poetry

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“Break me my bounds, and let me fly To regions vast of boundless sky; Nor I, like piteous Daphne, be Root-bound. Ah, no! I would be free As yon same bird that in its flight Outstrips the range of mortal sight; Free as the mountain streams that gush From bubbling springs, and downward rush Across […]

Thou arrant robber, Death! Couldst thou not find Some lesser one than he To rob of breath,– Some poorer mind Thy prey to be? His mind was like the sky,– As pure and free; His heart was broad and open As the sea. His soul shone purely through his face, And Love made him her […]

The Old Homestead

Story type: Poetry

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‘Tis an old deserted homestead On the outskirts of the town, Where the roof is all moss-covered, And the walls are tumbling down; But around that little cottage Do my brightest mem’ries cling, For ’twas there I spent the moments Of my youth,–life’s happy spring. I remember how I used to Swing upon the old […]

Love’s Pictures

Story type: Poetry

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Like the blush upon the rose When the wooing south wind speaks, Kissing soft its petals, Are thy cheeks. Tender, soft, beseeching, true, Like the stars that deck the skies Through the ether sparkling, Are thine eyes. Like the song of happy birds, When the woods with spring rejoice, In their blithe awak’ning, Is thy […]

Nutting Song

Story type: Poetry

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The November sun invites me, And although the chill wind smites me, I will wander to the woodland Where the laden trees await; And with loud and joyful singing I will set the forest ringing, As if I were king of Autumn, And Dame Nature were my mate,– While the squirrel in his gambols Fearless […]

The sun hath shed its kindly light, Our harvesting is gladly o’er Our fields have felt no killing blight, Our bins are filled with goodly store. From pestilence, fire, flood, and sword We have been spared by thy decree, And now with humble hearts, O Lord, We come to pay our thanks to thee. We […]

In Summer Time

Story type: Poetry

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When summer time has come, and all The world is in the magic thrall Of perfumed airs that lull each sense To fits of drowsy indolence; When skies are deepest blue above, And flow’rs aflush,–then most I love To start, while early dews are damp, And wend my way in woodland tramp Where forests rustle, […]

It took something just short of a revolution to wake up the sleepy little town of Miltonville. Through the slow, hot days it drowsed along like a lazy dog, only half rousing now and then to snap at some flying rumour, and relapsing at once into its pristine somnolence. It was not a dreamless sleep, […]

A Matter of Doctrine

Story type: Literature

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There was great excitement in Miltonville over the advent of a most eloquent and convincing minister from the North. The beauty about the Rev. Thaddeus Warwick was that he was purely and simply a man of the doctrine. He had no emotions, his sermons were never matters of feeling; but he insisted so strongly upon […]

Old Abe’s Conversion

Story type: Literature

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The Negro population of the little Southern town of Danvers was in a state of excitement such as it seldom reached except at revivals, baptisms, or on Emancipation Day. The cause of the commotion was the anticipated return of the Rev. Abram Dixon’s only son, Robert, who, having taken up his father’s life-work and graduated […]

Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes, Which all the day with ceaseless care have sought The magic gold which from the seeker flies; Ere dreams put on the gown and cap of thought, And make the waking world a world of lies,– Of lies most palpable, uncouth, forlorn, That say life’s full […]

One Christmas at Shiloh

Story type: Literature

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Martha Maria Mixon was a “widder lady.” So she described herself whenever anyone asked her as to her status in life. To her more intimate friends she confided that she was not a “weed widder,” but one of the “grass” variety. The story of how her husband, Madison, had never been “No ‘count, even befo’ […]

The Wisdom of Silence

Story type: Literature

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Jeremiah Anderson was free. He had been free for ten years, and he was proud of it. He had been proud of it from the beginning, and that was the reason that he was one of the first to cast off the bonds of his old relations, and move from the plantation and take up […]

Between the two women, the feud began in this way: When Ann Pease divorced her handsome but profligate spouse, William, Nancy Rogers had, with reprehensible haste, taken him for better or for worse. Of course, it proved for worse, but Ann Pease had never forgiven her. “‘Pears lak to me,” she said, “dat she was […]

Gordon Fairfax’s library held but three men, but the air was dense with clouds of smoke. The talk had drifted from one topic to another much as the smoke wreaths had puffed, floated, and thinned away. Then Handon Gay, who was an ambitious young reporter, spoke of a lynching story in a recent magazine, and […]

A Defender Of The Faith

Story type: Literature

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There was a very animated discussion going on, on the lower floor of the house Number Ten “D” Street. House Number Ten was the middle one of a row of more frames, which formed what was put down on the real estate agent’s list as a coloured neighbourhood. The inhabitants of the little cottages were […]

Cahoots

Story type: Literature

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In the centre of the quaint old Virginia grave-yard stood two monuments side by side–two plain granite shafts exactly alike. On one was inscribed the name Robert Vaughan Fairfax and the year 1864. On the other was the simple and perplexing inscription, “Cahoots.” Nothing more. The place had been the orchard of one of the […]

The Promoter

Story type: Literature

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Even as early as September, in the year of 1870, the newly emancipated had awakened to the perception of the commercial advantages of freedom, and had begun to lay snares to catch the fleet and elusive dollar. Those controversialists who say that the Negro’s only idea of freedom was to live without work are either […]

The Race Question

Story type: Literature

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Scene–Race track. Enter old coloured man, seating himself. “Oomph, oomph. De work of de devil sho’ do p’ospah. How ‘do, suh? Des tol’able, thankee, suh. How you come on? Oh, I was des a-sayin’ how de wo’k of de ol’ boy do p’ospah. Doesn’t I frequent the racetrack? No, suh; no, suh. I’s Baptis’ myse’f, […]

Patsy Ann Meriweather would have told you that her father, or more properly her “pappy,” was a “widover,” and she would have added in her sad little voice, with her mournful eyes upon you, that her mother had “bin daid fu’ nigh onto fou’ yeahs.” Then you could have wept for Patsy, for her years […]

There was a great commotion in that part of town which was known as “Little Africa,” and the cause of it was not far to seek. Contrary to the usual thing, this cause was not an excursion down the river, nor a revival, baptising, nor an Emancipation Day celebration. None of these was it that […]

The Boy and the Bayonet

Story type: Literature

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It was June, and nearing the closing time of school. The air was full of the sound of bustle and preparation for the final exercises, field day, and drills. Drills especially, for nothing so gladdens the heart of the Washington mother, be she black or white, as seeing her boy in the blue cadet’s uniform, […]

There is no adequate reason why Schwalliger’s name should appear upon the pages of history. He was decidedly not in good society. He was not even respectable as respectability goes. But certain men liked him and certain women loved him. He is dead. That is all that will be said of the most of us […]

Ballade

Story type: Poetry

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By Mystic’s banks I held my dream.(I held my fishing rod as well,)The vision was of dace and bream,A fruitless vision, sooth to tell.But round about the sylvan dellWere other sweet Arcadian shrines,Gone now, is all the rural spell,Arcadia has trolley lines. Oh, once loved, sluggish, darkling stream,For me no more, thy waters swell,Thy music […]

Some folks t’inks hit’s right an’ p’opah,Soon ez bedtime come erroun’,Fu’ to scramble to de kiver,Lak dey ‘d hyeahed de trumpet soun’.But dese people dey all missesWhut I mos’ly does desiah;Dat ‘s de settin’ roun’ an’ dozin’,An’ a-noddin’ by de fiah. When you ‘s tiahed out a-hoein’,Er a-followin’ de plough,Whut’s de use of des a-fallin’On […]

Love’s Castle

Story type: Poetry

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Key and bar, key and bar,Iron bolt and chain!And what will you do when the King comesTo enter his domain? Turn key and lift bar,Loose, oh, bolt and chain!Open the door and let him in,And then lock up again. But, oh, heart, and woe, heart,Why do you ache so sore?Never a moment’s peace have youSince […]

Darling, my darling, my heart is on the wing,It flies to thee this morning like a bird,Like happy birds in springtime my spirits soar and sing,The same sweet song thine ears have often heard. The sun is in my window, the shadow on the lea,The wind is moving in the branches green,And all my life, […]

On A Clean Book

Story type: Poetry

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TO F. N. Like sea-washed sand upon the shore,So fine and clean the tale,So clear and bright I almost see,The flashing of a sail. The tang of salt is in its veins,The freshness of the sprayGod give you love and lore and strength,To give us such alway.

Do’ a-stan’in’ on a jar, fiah a-shinin’ thoo,Ol’ folks drowsin’ ‘roun’ de place, wide awake is Lou,W’en I tap, she answeh, an’ I see huh ‘mence to grin,“Howdy, honey, howdy, won’t you step right in?” Den I step erpon de log layin’ at de do’,Bless de Lawd, huh mammy an’ huh pap’s done ‘menced to […]

The Unsung Heroes

Story type: Poetry

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A song for the unsung heroes who rose in the country’s need,When the life of the land was threatened by the slaver’s cruel greed,For the men who came from the cornfield, who came from the plough and the flail,Who rallied round when they heard the sound of the mighty man of the rail. They laid […]

I ‘s feelin’ kin’ o’ lonesome in my little room to-night,An’ my min ‘s done los’ de minutes an’ de miles,Wile it teks me back a-flyin’ to de country of delight,Whaih de Chesapeake goes grumblin’ er wid smiles.Oh, de ol’ plantation ‘s callin’ to me, Come, come back,Hyeah ‘s de place fu’ you to labouh […]

The Pool

Story type: Poetry

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By the pool that I see in my dreams, dear love,I have sat with you time and again;And listened beneath the dank leaves, dear love,To the sibilant sound of the rain. And the pool, it is silvery bright, dear love,And as pure as the heart of a maid,As sparkling and dimpling, it darkles and shinesIn […]

Possession

Story type: Poetry

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Whose little lady is you, chile,Whose little gal is you?What’s de use o’ kiver’n up yo’ face?Chile, dat ain’t de way to do.Lemme see yo’ little eyes,Tek yo’ little han’s down nice,Lawd, you wuff a million bills,Huh uh, chile, dat ain’t yo’ price. Honey, de money ain’t been madeDat dey could pay fu’ you;‘T ain’t […]

W’en daih ‘s chillun in de house,Dey keep on a-gittin’ tall;But de folks don’ seem to seeDat dey ‘s growin’ up at all,‘Twell dey fin’ out some fine dayDat de gals has ‘menced to grow,Wen dey notice as dey passDat de front gate ‘s saggin’ low. Wen de hinges creak an’ cry,An’ de bahs go […]

In the east the morning comes,Hear the rollin’ of the drumsOn the hill.But the heart that beat as they beatIn the battle’s raging day heatLieth still.Unto him the night has come,Though they roll the morning drum. What is in the bugle’s blast?It is: “Victory at last!Now for rest.”But, my comrades, come behold him,Where our colors […]

A Florida Night

Story type: Poetry

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Win’ a-blowin’ gentle so de san’ lay low,San’ a little heavy f’om de rain,All de pa’ms a-wavin’ an’ a-weavin’ slow,Sighin’ lak a sinnah-soul in pain.Alligator grinnin’ by de ol’ lagoon,Mockin’-bird a-singin’ to be big full moon.‘Skeeter go a-skimmin’ to his fightin’ chune(Lizy Ann’s a-waitin’ in de lane!). Moccasin a-sleepin’ in de cyprus swamp;Need n’t wake […]

Differences

Story type: Poetry

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My neighbor lives on the hill,And I in the valley dwell,My neighbor must look down on me,Must I look up?–ah, well,My neighbor lives on the hill,And I in the valley dwell. My neighbor reads, and prays,And I–I laugh, God wot,And sing like a bird when the grass is greenIn my small garden plot;But ah, he […]

A Frolic

Story type: Poetry

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Swing yo’ lady roun’ an’ roun’,Do de bes’ you know;Mek yo’ bow an’ p’omenadeUp an’ down de flo’;Mek dat banjo hump huhse’f.Listen at huh talk:Mastah gone to town to-night;‘T ain’t no time to walk. Lif yo’ feet an’ flutter thoo,Run, Miss Lucy, run;Reckon you ‘ll be cotched an’ kissed‘Fo’ de night is done.You don’t need […]

De trees is bendin’ in de sto’m,De rain done hid de mountain’s fo’m,I ‘s ‘lone an’ in distress.But listen, dah ‘s a voice I hyeah,A-sayin’ to me, loud an’ cleah,“Lay low in de wildaness.” De lightnin’ flash, de bough sway low,My po’ sick hea’t is trimblin’ so,It hu’ts my very breas’.But him dat give de […]

A Spiritual

Story type: Poetry

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De ‘cession’s stahted on de gospel way,De Capting is a-drawin’ nigh:Bettah stop a-foolin’ an’ a-try to pray;Lif’ up yo’ haid w’en de King go by! Oh, sinnah mou’nin’ in de dusty road,Hyeah ‘s de minute fu’ to dry yo’ eye:Dey ‘s a moughty One a-comin’ fu’ to baih yo’ load;Lif’ up yo’ haid w’en de […]

Out in de night a sad bird moans,An’, oh, but hit ‘s moughty lonely;Times I kin sing, but mos’ I groans,Fu’ oh, but hit ‘s moughty lonely!Is you sleepin’ well dis evenin’, Marfy, deah?W’en I calls you fom de cabin, kin you hyeah?‘T ain’t de same ol’ place to me,Nuffin’ ‘s lak hit used to […]

It’s moughty tiahsome layin’ ‘roun’Dis sorrer-laden earfly groun’,An’ oftentimes I thinks, thinks I,‘T would be a sweet t’ing des to die,An’ go ‘long home. Home whaih de frien’s I loved ‘ll say,“We’ve waited fu’ you many a day,Come hyeah an’ res’ yo’se’f, an’ knowYou’s done wid sorrer an’ wid woe,Now you’s at home.” W’en I […]

Daih ‘s a moughty soothin’ feelin’Hits a dahky man,‘Long to’ds night.W’en de row is mos’ nigh ended,Den he stops to fan,‘Long to’ds night.De blue smoke f’om his cabin is a-callin’ to him “Come;”He smell de bacon cookin’, an’ he hyeah de fiah hum;An’ he ‘mence to sing, ‘dough wo’kin’ putty nigh done made him dumb,‘Long […]

A Grievance

Story type: Poetry

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Wen de snow ‘s a-fallin’An’ de win’ is col’.Mammy ‘mence a-callin’,Den she ‘mence to scol’,“Lucius Lishy Brackett,Don’t you go out do’s,Button up yo’ jacket,Les’n you ‘ll git froze.” I sit at de windahLookin’ at de groun’,Nuffin nigh to hindah,Mammy ain’ erroun’;Wish ‘t she would n’ mek meSet down in dis chaih;Pshaw, it would n’t tek […]

I have seen full many a sightBorn of day or drawn by night:Sunlight on a silver stream,Golden lilies all a-dream,Lofty mountains, bold and proud,Veiled beneath the lacelike cloud;But no lovely sight I knowEquals Dinah kneading dough. Brown arms buried elbow-deepTheir domestic rhythm keep,As with steady sweep they goThrough the gently yielding dough.Maids may vaunt their […]

Dear critic, who my lightness so deplores,Would I might study to be prince of bores,Right wisely would I rule that dull estate–But, sir, I may not, till you abdicate.

Want to trade me, do you, mistah? Oh, well, now, I reckon not,W’y you could n’t buy my Sukey fu’ a thousan’ on de spot.Dat ol’ mare o’ mine?Yes, huh coat ah long an’ shaggy, an’ she ain’t no shakes to see;Dat’s a ring-bone, yes, you right, suh, an’ she got a on’ry knee,But dey […]

The Boogah Man

Story type: Poetry

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W’en de evenin’ shaddersCome a-glidin’ down,Fallin’ black an’ heavyOvah hill an’ town,Ef you listen keerful,Keerful ez you kin,So ‘s you boun’ to noticeDes a drappin’ pin;Den you ‘ll hyeah a funnySoun’ ercross de lan’;Lay low; dat’s de callin’Of de Boogah Man! Woo-oo woo-oo!Hyeah him ez he go erlong de way;Woo-oo, woo-oo!Don’ you wish de night […]

In The Morning

Story type: Poetry

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‘Lias! ‘Lias! Bless de Lawd!Don’ you know de day’s erbroad?Ef you don’ git up, you scamp,Dey ‘ll be trouble in dis camp.T’ink I gwine to let you sleepW’ile I meks yo’ boa’d an’ keep?Dat’s a putty howdy-do–Don’ you hyeah me, ‘Lias–you? Bet ef I come crost dis flo’You won’ fin’ no time to sno’.Daylight all […]

The Wraith

Story type: Poetry

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Ah me, it is cold and chillAnd the fire sobs low in the grate,While the wind rides by on the hill,And the logs crack sharp with hate. And she, she is cold and sadAs ever the sinful are,But deep in my heart I am gladFor my wound and the coming scar. Oh, ever the wind […]

Slow de night ‘s a-fallin’,An’ I hyeah de callin,Out erpon de lonesome hill;Soun’ is moughty dreary,Solemn-lak an’ skeery,Sayin’ fu’ to “whip po’ Will.” Now hit ‘s moughty tryin’,Fu’ to hyeah dis cryin’,‘Deed hit ‘s mo’ den I kin stan’;Sho’ wid all our slippin’,Dey ‘s enough of whippin’‘Dout a bird a’visin’ any man. In de noons […]

Ain’t nobody nevah tol’ you not a wo’d a-tall,‘Bout de time dat all de critters gin dey fancy ball?Some folks tell it in a sto’y, some folks sing de rhyme,‘Peahs to me you ought to hyeahed it, case hit ‘s ol’ ez time. Well, de critters all was p’osp’ous, now would be de chanceFu’ to […]

Dey was talkin’ in de cabin, dey was talkin’ in de hall;But I listened kin’ o’ keerless, not a-t’inkin’ ’bout it all;An’ on Sunday, too, I noticed, dey was whisp’rin’ mighty much,Stan’in’ all erroun’ de roadside w’en dey let us out o’ chu’ch.But I did n’t t’ink erbout it ‘twell de middle of de week,An’ […]

Lincoln

Story type: Poetry

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Hurt was the nation with a mighty wound,And all her ways were filled with clam’rous sound.Wailed loud the South with unremitting grief,And wept the North that could not find relief.Then madness joined its harshest tone to strife:A minor note swelled in the song of life.‘Till, stirring with the love that filled his breast,But still, unflinching […]

Encouragement

Story type: Poetry

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Who dat knockin’ at de do’?Why, Ike Johnson,–yes, fu’ sho!Come in, Ike. I ‘s mighty gladYou come down. I t’ought you ‘s madAt me ’bout de othah night,An’ was stayin’ ‘way fu’ spite.Say, now, was you mad fu’ trueWen I kin’ o’ laughed at you?Speak up, Ike, an’ ‘spress yo’se’f. ‘T ain’t no use a-lookin’ […]

Inspiration

Story type: Poetry

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At the golden gate of songStood I, knocking all day long,But the Angel, calm and cold,Still refused and bade me, “Hold.” Then a breath of soft perfume,Then a light within the gloom;Thou, Love, camest to my side,And the gates flew open wide. Long I dwelt in this domain,Knew no sorrow, grief, or pain;Now you bid […]

Gray is the palace where she dwells,Grimly the poplars standThere by the window where she sits,My Lady of Castle Grand. There does she bide the livelong day,Grim as the poplars are,Ever her gaze goes reaching out,Steady, but vague and far. Bright burn the fires in the castle hall,Brightly the fire-dogs stand;But cold is the body […]

Drizzle

Story type: Poetry

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Hit ‘s been drizzlin’ an’ been sprinklin’,Kin’ o’ techy all day long.I ain’t wet enough fu’ toddy,I ‘s too damp to raise a song,An’ de case have set me t’inkin’,Dat dey ‘s folk des lak de rain,Dat goes drizzlin’ w’en dey’s talkin’,An’ won’t speak out flat an’ plain. Ain’t you nevah set an’ listenedAt a […]

Spring Fever

Story type: Poetry

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Grass commence a-comin’Thoo de thawin’ groun’,Evah bird dat whistlesKeepin’ noise erroun’;Cain’t sleep in de mo’nin’,Case befo’ it ‘s lightBluebird an’ de robin,Done begun to fight. Bluebird sass de robin,Robin sass him back,Den de bluebird scol’ him‘Twell his face is black.Would n’ min’ de quoilin’All de mo’nin’ long,‘Cept it wakes me early,Case hit ‘s done in […]

The Visitor

Story type: Poetry

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Little lady at de do’,W’y you stan’ dey knockin’?Nevah seen you ac’ befo’In er way so shockin’.Don’ you know de sin it isFu’ to git my temper rizWen I ‘s got de rheumatizAn’ my jints is lockin’? No, ol’ Miss ain’t sont you down,Don’ you tell no story;I been seed you hangin’ ‘roun’Dis hyeah te’itory.You […]

Wintah, summah, snow er shine,Hit’s all de same to me,Ef only I kin call you mine,An’ keep you by my knee. Ha’dship, frolic, grief er caih,Content by night an’ day,Ef only I kin see you whaihYou wait beside de way. Livin’, dyin’, smiles er teahs,My soul will still be free,Ef only thoo de comin’ yeahsYou […]

The Colored Band

Story type: Poetry

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Wen de colo’ed ban’ comes ma’chin’ down de street,Don’t you people stan’ daih starin’; lif yo’ feet!Ain’t dey playin’? Hip, hooray!Stir yo’ stumps an’ cleah de way,Fu’ de music dat dey mekin’ can’t be beat. Oh, de major man’s a-swingin’ of his stick,An’ de pickaninnies crowdin’ roun’ him thick;In his go’geous uniform,He ‘s de lightnin’ […]

Hain’t you see my Mandy Lou,Is it true?Whaih you been f’om day to day,Whaih, I say?Dat you say you nevah seenDis hyeah queenWalkin’ roun’ f’om fiel’ to streetSmilin’ sweet? Slendah ez a saplin’ tree;Seems to meWen de win’ blow f’om de bayShe jes’ swayLak de reg’lar saplin’ doEf hit’s grewStraight an’ graceful, ‘dout a limb,Sweet […]

Belated wanderer of the ways of spring,Lost in the chill of grim November rain,Would I could read the message that you bringAnd find in it the antidote for pain. Does some sad spirit out beyond the day,Far looking to the hours forever dead,Send you a tender offering to layUpon the grave of us, the living […]

De win’ is hollahin’ “Daih you” to de shuttahs an’ de fiah,De snow’s a-sayin’ “Got you” to de groun’,Fu’ de wintah weathah ‘s come widout a-askin’ ouah desiah,An’ he ‘s laughin’ in his sleeve at whut he foun’;Fu’ dey ain’t nobody ready wid dey fuel er dey food,An’ de money bag look timid lak, fu’ […]

The Valse

Story type: Poetry

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When to sweet music my lady is dancingMy heart to mild frenzy her beauty inspires.Into my face are her brown eyes a-glancing,And swift my whole frame thrills with tremulous fires.Dance, lady, dance, for the moments are fleeting,Pause not to place yon refractory curl;Life is for love and the night is for sweeting;Dreamily, joyously, circle and […]

Reponse

Story type: Poetry

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When Phyllis sighs and from her eyesThe light dies out; my soul repliesWith misery of deep-drawn breath,E’en as it were at war with death. When Phyllis smiles, her glance beguilesMy heart through love-lit woodland aisles,And through the silence high and clear,A wooing warbler’s song I hear. But if she frown, despair comes down,I put me […]

The Dance

Story type: Poetry

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Heel and toe, heel and toe,That is the song we sing;Turn to your partner and curtsey low,Balance and forward and swing.Corners are draughty and meadows are white,This is the game for a winter’s night. Hands around, hands around,Trip it, and not too slow;Clear is the fiddle and sweet its sound,Keep the girls’ cheeks aglow.Still let […]

W’en de clouds is hangin’ heavy in de sky,An’ de win’s ‘s a-taihin’ moughty vig’rous by,I don’ go a-sighin’ all erlong de way;I des’ wo’k a-waitin’ fu’ de close o’ day. Case I knows w’en evenin’ draps huh shadders down,I won’ care a smidgeon fu’ de weathah’s frown;Let de rain go splashin’, let de thundah […]

Dey ‘s a so’t o’ threatenin’ feelin’ in de blowin’ of de breeze,An’ I ‘s feelin’ kin’ o’ squeamish in de night;I ‘s a-walkin’ ‘roun’ a-lookin’ at de diffunt style o’ trees,An’ a-measurin’ dey thickness an’ dey height.Fu’ dey ‘s somep’n mighty ‘spicious in de looks de da’kies give,Ez dey pass me an’ my fambly […]

Fishing

Story type: Poetry

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Wen I git up in de mo’nin’ an’ de clouds is big an’ black,Dey’s a kin’ o’ wa’nin’ shivah goes a-scootin’ down my back;Den I says to my ol’ ooman ez I watches down de lane,“Don’t you so’t o’ reckon, Lizy, dat we gwine to have some rain?” “Go on, man,” my Lizy answah, “you […]

A Plea

Story type: Poetry

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Treat me nice, Miss Mandy Jane,Treat me nice.Dough my love has tu’ned my brain,Treat me nice.I ain’t done a t’ing to shame,Lovahs all ac’s jes’ de same;Don’t you know we ain’t to blame?Treat me nice! Cose I know I ‘s talkin’ wild;Treat me nice;I cain’t talk no bettah, child,Treat me nice;Whut a pusson gwine to […]

The Dove

Story type: Poetry

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Out of the sunshine and out of the heat,Out of the dust of the grimy street,A song fluttered down in the form of a dove,And it bore me a message, the one word–Love! Ah, I was toiling, and oh, I was sad:I had forgotten the way to be glad.Now, smiles for my sadness and for […]

“Sunshine on de medders,Greenness on de way;Dat ‘s de blessed reasonI sing all de day.”Look hyeah! Whut you axin’?Whut meks me so merry?‘Spect to see me sighin’W’en hit’s wa’m in Febawary? ‘Long de stake an’ riderSeen a robin set;W’y hit ‘mence a-thawin’,Groun’ is monst’ous wet.Den you stan’ dah wond’rin’,Lookin’ skeert an’ stary;I’s a right to […]

Snowin’

Story type: Poetry

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Dey is snow upon de meddahs, dey is snow upon de hill,An’ de little branch’s watahs is all glistenin’ an’ still;De win’ goes roun’ de cabin lak a sperrit wan’erin’ ‘roun’.An’ de chillen shakes an’ shivahs as dey listen to de soun’.Dey is hick’ry in de fiahplace, whah de blaze is risin’ high,But de heat […]

Two Little Boots

Story type: Poetry

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Two little boots all rough an’ wo’,Two little boots!Law, I ‘s kissed ’em times befo’,Dese little boots!Seems de toes a-peepin’ thooDis hyeah hole an’ sayin’ “Boo!”Evah time dey looks at you–Dese little boots. Membah de time he put ’em on,Dese little boots;Riz an’ called fu’ ’em by dawn,Dese little boots;Den he tromped de livelong day,Laffin’ […]

Oh, de clouds is mighty heavyAn’ de rain is mighty thick;Keep a song up on de way.An’ de waters is a rumblin’On de boulders in de crick,Keep a song up on de way.Fu’ a bird ercross de roadIs a-singin’ lak he knowedDat we people did n’t daihFu’ to try de rainy aihWid a song up […]

Woman’s sho’ a cur’ous critter, an’ dey ain’t no doubtin’ dat.She’s a mess o’ funny capahs f’om huh slippahs to huh hat.Ef you tries to un’erstan’ huh, an’ you fails, des’ up an’ say:“D’ ain’t a bit o’ use to try to un’erstan’ a woman’s way.” I don’ mean to be complainin’, but I ‘s […]

To The Road

Story type: Poetry

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Cool is the wind, for the summer is waning,Who ‘s for the road?Sun-flecked and soft, where the dead leaves are raining,Who ‘s for the road?Knapsack and alpenstock press hand and shoulder,Prick of the brier and roll of the boulder;This be your lot till the season grow older;Who ‘s for the road? Up and away in […]

A Spring Wooing

Story type: Poetry

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Come on walkin’ wid me, Lucy; ‘t ain’t no time to mope erroun’Wen de sunshine ‘s shoutin’ glory in de sky,An’ de little Johnny-Jump-Ups ‘s jes’ a-springin’ f’om de groun’,Den a-lookin’ roun’ to ax each othah w’y.Don’ you hyeah dem cows a-mooin’? Dat ‘s dey howdy to de spring;Ain’ dey lookin’ most oncommon satisfied?Hit ‘s […]

Joggin’ Erlong

Story type: Poetry

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De da’kest hour, dey allus say,Is des’ befo’ de dawn,But it’s moughty ha’d a-waitin’W’ere de night goes frownin’ on;An’ it’s moughty ha’d a-hopin’W’en de clouds is big an’ black,An’ all de t’ings you ‘s waited fu’Has failed, er gone to wrack–But des’ keep on a-joggin’ wid a little bit o’ song,De mo’n is allus brightah […]

In May

Story type: Poetry

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Oh to have you in May,To talk with you under the trees,Dreaming throughout the day,Drinking the wine-like breeze, Oh it were sweet to thinkThat May should be ours again,Hoping it not, I shrink,Out of the sight of men. May brings the flowers to bloom,It brings the green leaves to the tree,And the fatally sweet perfume,Of […]

What dreams we have and how they flyLike rosy clouds across the sky;Of wealth, of fame, of sure success,Of love that comes to cheer and bless;And how they wither, how they fade,The waning wealth, the jilting jade–The fame that for a moment gleams,Then flies forever,–dreams, ah–dreams! O burning doubt and long regret,O tears with which […]

The Tryst

Story type: Poetry

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De night creep down erlong de lan’,De shadders rise an’ shake,De frog is sta’tin’ up his ban’,De cricket is awake;My wo’k is mos’ nigh done, Celes’,To-night I won’t be late,I ‘s hu’yin’ thoo my level bes’,Wait fu’ me by de gate. De mockin’-bird ‘ll sen’ his gleeA-thrillin’ thoo and thoo,I know dat ol’ magnolia-treeIs smellin’ […]

Hunting Song

Story type: Poetry

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Tek a cool night, good an’ cleah,Skiff o’ snow upon de groun’;Jes’ ’bout fall-time o’ de yeahW’en de leaves is dry an brown;Tek a dog an’ tek a axe,Tek a lantu’n in yo’ han’,Step light whah de switches cracks,Fu’ dey ‘s huntin’ in de lan’.Down thoo de valleys an’ ovah de hills,Into de woods whah […]

Bones a-gittin’ achy,Back a-feelin’ col’,Han’s a-growin’ shaky,Jes’ lak I was ol’.Fros’ erpon de meddahLookin’ mighty white;Snowdraps lak a feddahSlippin’ down at night.Jes’ keep t’ings a-hummin’Spite o’ fros’ an’ showahs,Chrismus is a-comin’An’ all de week is ouahs. Little mas’ a-axin’,“Who is Santy Claus?”Meks it kin’ o’ taxin’Not to brek de laws.Chillun ‘s pow’ful tryin’To a pusson’s […]

A Cabin Tale

Story type: Poetry

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THE YOUNG MASTER ASKS FOR A STORY Whut you say, dah? huh, uh! chile,You ‘s enough to dribe me wile.Want a sto’y; jes’ hyeah dat!Whah’ ‘ll I git a sto’y at?Di’n’ I tell you th’ee las’ night?Go ‘way, honey, you ain’t right.I got somep’n’ else to do,‘Cides jes’ tellin’ tales to you.Tell you jes’ one? […]

When I come in f’om de co’n-fiel’ aftah wo’kin’ ha’d all day,It ‘s amazin’ nice to fin’ my suppah all erpon de way;An’ it ‘s nice to smell de coffee bubblin’ ovah in de pot,An’ it ‘s fine to see de meat a-sizzlin’ teasin’-lak an’ hot. But when suppah-time is ovah, an’ de t’ings is […]

Whistling Sam

Story type: Poetry

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I has hyeahd o’ people dancin’ an’ I ‘s hyeahd o’ people singin’.An’ I ‘s been ‘roun’ lots of othahs dat could keep de banjo ringin’;But of all de whistlin’ da’kies dat have lived an’ died since Ham,De whistlin’est I evah seed was ol’ Ike Bates’s Sam.In de kitchen er de stable, in de fiel’ […]

How Lucy Backslid

Story type: Poetry

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De times is mighty stirrin’ ‘mong de people up ouah way,Dey ‘sputin’ an’ dey argyin’ an’ fussin’ night an’ day;An’ all dis monst’ous trouble dat hit meks me tiahed to tellIs ’bout dat Lucy Jackson dat was sich a mighty belle. She was de preachah’s favoured, an’ he tol’ de chu’ch one nightDat she travelled […]

Jealous

Story type: Poetry

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Hyeah come Caesar Higgins,Don’t he think he ‘s fine?Look at dem new riggin’sAin’t he tryin’ to shine?Got a standin’ collarAn’ a stove-pipe hat,I ‘ll jes’ bet a dollarSome one gin him dat. Don’t one o’ you mention,Nothin’ ’bout his cloes,Don’t pay no attention,Er let on you knowsDat he ‘s got ’em on him,Why, ‘t ‘ll […]

De breeze is blowin’ ‘cross de bay.My lady, my lady;De ship hit teks me far away,My lady, my lady;Ole Mas’ done sol’ me down de stream;Dey tell me ‘t ain’t so bad ‘s hit seem,My lady, my lady. O’ co’se I knows dat you ‘ll be true,My lady, my lady;But den I do’ know whut […]

Temptation

Story type: Poetry

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I done got ‘uligion, honey, an’ I ‘s happy ez a king;Evahthing I see erbout me ‘s jes’ lak sunshine in de spring;An’ it seems lak I do’ want to do anothah blessid thingBut jes’ run an’ tell de neighbours, an’ to shout an’ pray an’ sing. I done shuk my fis’ at Satan, an’ […]

Possum Trot

Story type: Poetry

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I ‘ve journeyed ‘roun’ consid’able, a-seein’ men an’ things,An’ I ‘ve learned a little of the sense that meetin’ people brings;But in spite of all my travelling an’ of all I think I know,I ‘ve got one notion in my head, that I can’t git to go;An’ it is that the folks I meet in […]

Dely

Story type: Poetry

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Jes’ lak toddy wahms you thoo’Sets yo’ haid a reelin’,Meks you ovah good and new,Dat ‘s de way I ‘s feelin’.Seems to me hit ‘s summah time,Dough hit ‘s wintah reely,I ‘s a feelin’ jes’ dat prime–An’ huh name is Dely. Dis hyeah love ‘s a cu’rus thing,Changes ‘roun’ de season,Meks you sad or meks […]

Caught Susanner whistlin’; well,It’s most nigh too good to tell.‘Twould ‘a’ b’en too good to seeEf it had n’t b’en fur me,Comin’ up so soft an’ slyThat she didn’ hear me nigh.I was pokin’ ’round that day,An’ ez I come down the way,First her whistle strikes my ears,–Then her gingham dress appears;So with soft step […]

Angelina

Story type: Poetry

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When de fiddle gits to singin’ out a ol’ Vahginny reel,An’ you ‘mence to feel a ticklin’ in yo’ toe an’ in yo’ heel;Ef you t’ink you got ‘uligion an’ you wants to keep it, too,You jes’ bettah tek a hint an’ git yo’self clean out o’ view.Case de time is mighty temptin’ when de […]

Seems lak folks is mighty curusIn de way dey t’inks an’ ac’s.Dey jes’ spen’s dey days a-mixin’Up de t’ings in almanacs.Now, I min’ my nex’ do’ neighbour,–He’s a mighty likely man,But he nevah t’inks o’ nuffin‘Ceptin’ jes’ to plot an’ plan. All de wintah he was plannin’How he ‘d gethah sassafrasJes’ ez soon ez evah […]

My Sort O’ Man

Story type: Poetry

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I don’t believe in ‘ristercratsAn’ never did, you see;The plain ol’ homelike sorter folksIs good enough fur me.O’ course, I don’t desire a manTo be too tarnal rough,But then, I think all folks should knowWhen they air nice enough. Now there is folks in this here world,From peasant up to king,Who want to be so […]

Possum

Story type: Poetry

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Ef dey ‘s anyt’ing dat riles meAn’ jes’ gits me out o’ hitch,Twell I want to tek my coat off,So ‘s to r’ar an’ t’ar an’ pitch,Hit’s to see some ign’ant white man‘Mittin’ dat owdacious sin–Wen he want to cook a possumTekin’ off de possum’s skin. W’y dey ain’t no use in talkin’,Hit jes’ hu’ts […]

On The Road

Story type: Poetry

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I ‘s boun’ to see my gal to-night–Oh, lone de way, my dearie!De moon ain’t out, de stars ain’t bright–Oh, lone de way, my dearie!Dis hoss o’ mine is pow’ful slow,But when I does git to yo’ do’Yo’ kiss ‘ll pay me back, an’ mo’,Dough lone de way, my dearie. De night is skeery-lak an’ […]

A Death Song

Story type: Poetry

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Lay me down beneaf de willers in de grass,Whah de branch ‘ll go a-singin’ as it pass.An’ w’en I ‘s a-layin’ low,I kin hyeah it as it goSingin’, “Sleep, my honey, tek yo’ res’ at las’.” Lay me nigh to whah hit meks a little pool,An’ de watah stan’s so quiet lak an’ cool,Whah de […]

A Back-Log Song

Story type: Poetry

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De axes has been ringin’ in de woods de blessid day,An’ de chips has been a-fallin’ fa’ an’ thick;Dey has cut de bigges’ hick’ry dat de mules kin tote away,An’ dey’s laid hit down and soaked it in de crik.Den dey tuk hit to de big house an’ dey piled de wood erroun’In de fiah-place […]

Protest

Story type: Poetry

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Who say my hea’t ain’t true to you?Dey bettah heish dey mouf.I knows I loves you thoo an’ thooIn watah time er drouf.I wush dese people ‘d stop dey talkin’,Don’t mean no mo’ dan chicken’s squawkin’:I guess I knows which way I’s walkin’,I knows de norf f’om souf. I does not love Elizy Brown,I guess […]

O li’l’ lamb out in de col’,De Mastah call you to de fol’,O li’l’ lamb!He hyeah you bleatin’ on de hill;Come hyeah an’ keep yo’ mou’nin’ still,O li’l’ lamb! De Mastah sen’ de Shepud fo’f;He wandah souf, he wandah no’f,O li’l’ lamb!He wandah eas’, he wandah wes’;De win’ a-wrenchin’ at his breas’,O li’l’ lamb! Oh, […]

Little Brown Baby

Story type: Poetry

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Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes,Come to yo’ pappy an’ set on his knee.What you been doin’, suh–makin’ san’ pies?Look at dat bib–you’s ez du’ty ez me.Look at dat mouf–dat’s merlasses, I bet;Come hyeah, Maria, an’ wipe off his han’s.Bees gwine to ketch you an’ eat you up yit,Bein’ so sticky an sweet–goodness lan’s! Little […]

Summah ‘s nice, wif sun a-shinin’,Spring is good wif greens and grass,An’ dey ‘s some t’ings nice ’bout wintah,Dough hit brings de freezin’ blas;But de time dat is de fines’,Whethah fiel’s is green er brown,Is w’en de rain ‘s a-po’in’An’ dey ‘s time to tinker ‘roun. Den you men’s de mule’s ol’ ha’ness,An’ you men’s […]

The Real Question

Story type: Poetry

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Folks is talkin’ ’bout de money, ’bout de silvah an’ de gold;All de time de season ‘s changin’ an’ de days is gittin’ cold.An’ dey ‘s wond’rin’ ’bout de metals, whethah we’ll have one er two.While de price o’ coal is risin’ an’ dey ‘s two months’ rent dat ‘s due. Some folks says dat […]

Jilted

Story type: Poetry

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Lucy done gone back on me,Dat’s de way wif life.Evaht’ing was movin’ free,T’ought I had my wife.Den some dahky comes along,Sings my gal a little song,Since den, evaht’ing’s gone wrong,Evah day dey ‘s strife. Did n’t answeh me to-day,Wen I called huh name,Would you t’ink she ‘d ac’ dat wayWen I ain’t to blame?Dat ‘s […]

The News

Story type: Poetry

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Whut dat you whisperin’ keepin’ f’om me?Don’t shut me out ’cause I ‘s ol’ an’ can’t see.Somep’n’s gone wrong dat ‘s a-causin’ you dread,–Don’t be afeared to tell–Whut! mastah dead? Somebody brung de news early to-day,–One of de sojers he led, do you say?Did n’t he foller whah ol’ mastah lead?How kin he live w’en […]

It was Chrismus Eve, I mind hit fu’ a mighty gloomy day–Bofe de weathah an’ de people–not a one of us was gay;Cose you ‘ll t’ink dat ‘s mighty funny ‘twell I try to mek hit cleah,Fu’ a da’ky ‘s allus happy when de holidays is neah. But we wasn’t, fu’ dat mo’nin’ Mastah ‘d […]

A Choice

Story type: Poetry

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They please me not–these solemn songsThat hint of sermons covered up.‘Tis true the world should heed its wrongs,But in a poem let me sup,Not simples brewed to cure or easeHumanity’s confessed disease,But the spirit-wine of a singing line,Or a dew-drop in a honey cup!

When first of wise old Johnson taught,My youthful mind its homage brought,And made the pond’rous crusty sageThe object of a noble rage. Nor did I think (How dense we are!)That any day, however far,Would find me holding, unrepelled,The place that Doctor Johnson held! But change has come and time has moved,And now, applauded, unreproved,I hold, […]

My Corn-Cob Pipe

Story type: Poetry

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Men may sing of their Havanas, elevating to the starsThe real or fancied virtues of their foreign-made cigars;But I worship Nicotina at a different sort of shrine,And she sits enthroned in glory in this corn-cob pipe of mine. It ‘s as fragrant as the meadows when the clover is in bloom;It ‘s as dainty as […]

In August

Story type: Poetry

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When August days are hot an’ dry,When burning copper is the sky,I ‘d rather fish than feast or flyIn airy realms serene and high. I ‘d take a suit not made for looks,Some easily digested books,Some flies, some lines, some bait, some hooks,Then would I seek the bays and brooks. I would eschew mine every […]

The Disturber

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, what shall I do? I am wholly upset;I am sure I ‘ll be jailed for a lunatic yet.I ‘ll be out of a job–it’s the thing to expectWhen I ‘m letting my duty go by with neglect.You may judge the extent and degree of my plightWhen I ‘m thinking all day and a-dreaming all […]

Lover’s Lane

Story type: Poetry

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Summah night an’ sighin’ breeze,‘Long de lovah’s lane;Frien’ly, shadder-mekin’ trees,‘Long de lovah’s lane.White folks’ wo’k all done up gran’–Me an’ ‘Mandy han’-in-han’Struttin’ lak we owned de lan’,‘Long de lovah’s lane. Owl a-settin’ ‘side de road,‘Long de lovah’s lane,Lookin’ at us lak he knowedDis uz lovah’s lane.Go on, hoot yo’ mou’nful tune,You ain’ nevah loved in […]

A Winter’s Day

Story type: Poetry

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Across the hills and down the narrow ways,And up the valley where the free winds sweep,The earth is folded in an ermined sleepThat mocks the melting mirth of myriad Mays.Departed her disheartening duns and grays,And all her crusty black is covered deep.Dark streams are locked in Winter’s donjon-keep,And made to shine with keen, unwonted rays.O […]

Come to the pane, draw the curtain apart,There she is passing, the girl of my heart;See where she walks like a queen in the street,Weather-defying, calm, placid and sweet.Tripping along with impetuous grace,Joy of her life beaming out of her face,Tresses all truant-like, curl upon curl,Wind-blown and rosy, my little March girl. Hint of the […]

Remembered

Story type: Poetry

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She sang, and I listened the whole song thro’.(It was sweet, so sweet, the singing.)The stars were out and the moon it grewFrom a wee soft glimmer way out in the blueTo a bird thro’ the heavens winging. She sang, and the song trembled down to my breast,–(It was sweet, so sweet the singing.)As a […]

The Lapse

Story type: Poetry

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This poem must be done to-day;Then, I ‘ll e’en to it.I must not dream my time away,–I ‘m sure to rue it.The day is rather bright, I knowThe Muse will pardonMy half-defection, if I goInto the garden.It must be better working there,–I ‘m sure it’s sweeter:And something in the balmy airMay clear my metre. [In […]

Long since, in sore distress, I heard one pray,“Lord, who prevailest with resistless might,Ever from war and strife keep me away,My battles fight!” I know not if I play the Pharisee,And if my brother after all be right;But mine shall be the warrior’s plea to thee–Strength for the fight. I do not ask that thou […]

With sombre mien, the Evening grayComes nagging at the heels of Day,And driven faster and still fasterBefore the dusky-mantled Master,The light fades from her fearful eyes,She hastens, stumbles, falls, and dies. Beside me Amaryllis weeps;The swelling tears obscure the deepsOf her dark eyes, as, mistily,The rushing rain conceals the sea.Here, lay my tuneless reed away,–I […]

In a small and lonely cabin out of noisy traffic’s way,Sat an old man, bent and feeble, dusk of face, and hair of gray,And beside him on the table, battered, old, and worn as he,Lay a banjo, droning forth this reminiscent melody: “Night is closing in upon us, friend of mine, but don’t be sad;Let […]

The Stirrup Cup

Story type: Poetry

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Come, drink a stirrup cup with me,Before we close our rouse.You ‘re all aglow with wine, I know:The master of the house,Unmindful of our revelry,Has drowned the carking devil care,And slumbers in his chair. Come, drink a cup before we start;We ‘ve far to ride to-night.And Death may take the race we make,And check our […]

Confessional

Story type: Poetry

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Search thou my heart;If there be guile,It shall departBefore thy smile. Search thou my soul;Be there deceit,‘T will vanish wholeBefore thee, sweet. Upon my mindTurn thy pure lens;Naught shalt thou findThou canst not cleanse. If I should pray,I scarcely knowIn just what wayMy prayers would go. So strong in meI feel love’s leaven,I ‘d bow […]

Misapprehension

Story type: Poetry

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Out of my heart, one day, I wrote a song,With my heart’s blood imbued,Instinct with passion, tremulously strong,With grief subdued;Breathing a fortitudePain-bought.And one who claimed much love for what I wrought,Read and considered it,And spoke:“Ay, brother,–‘t is well writ,But where’s the joke?”

Prometheus

Story type: Poetry

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Prometheus stole from Heaven the sacred fireAnd swept to earth with it o’er land and sea.He lit the vestal flames of poesy,Content, for this, to brave celestial ire. Wroth were the gods, and with eternal hatePursued the fearless one who ravished HeavenThat earth might hold in fee the perfect leavenTo lift men’s souls above their […]

Love’s Phases

Story type: Poetry

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Love hath the wings of the butterfly,Oh, clasp him but gently,Pausing and dipping and fluttering byInconsequently.Stir not his poise with the breath of a sigh;Love hath the wings of the butterfly. Love hath the wings of the eagle bold,Cling to him strongly–What if the look of the world be cold,And life go wrongly?Rest on his […]

The world is a snob, and the man who winsIs the chap for its money’s worth:And the lust for success causes half of the sinsThat are cursing this brave old earth.For it ‘s fine to go up, and the world’s applauseIs sweet to the mortal ear;But the man who fails in a noble causeIs a […]

She told the story, and the whole world weptAt wrongs and cruelties it had not knownBut for this fearless woman’s voice alone.She spoke to consciences that long had slept:Her message, Freedom’s clear reveille, sweptFrom heedless hovel to complacent throne.Command and prophecy were in the toneAnd from its sheath the sword of justice leapt.Around two peoples […]

Emblem of blasted hope and lost desire,No finger ever traced thy yellow pageSave Time’s. Thou hast not wrought to noble rageThe hearts thou wouldst have stirred. Not any fireSave sad flames set to light a funeral pyreDost thou suggest. Nay,–impotent in age,Unsought, thou holdst a corner of the stageAnd ceasest even dumbly to aspire. How […]

Vagrants

Story type: Poetry

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Long time ago, we two set out,My soul and I.I know not why,For all our way was dim with doubt.I know not whereWe two may fare:Though still with every changing weather,We wander, groping on together. We do not love, we are not friends,My soul and I.He lives a lie;Untruth lines every way he wends.A scoffer […]

On The Sea Wall

Story type: Poetry

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I sit upon the old sea wall,And watch the shimmering sea,Where soft and white the moonbeams fall,Till, in a fantasy,Some pure white maiden’s funeral pallThe strange light seems to me. The waters break upon the shoreAnd shiver at my feet,While I dream old dreams o’er and o’er,And dim old scenes repeat;Tho’ all have dreamed the […]

Thy tones are silver melted into sound,And as I dreamI see no walls around,But seem to hearA gondolierSing sweetly down some slow Venetian stream. Italian skies–that I have never seen–I see above.(Ah, play again, my queen;Thy fingers whiteFly swift and lightAnd weave for me the golden mesh of love.) Oh, thou dusk sorceress of the […]

How’s a man to write a sonnet, can you tell,–How’s he going to weave the dim, poetic spell,–When a-toddling on the floorIs the muse he must adore,And this muse he loves, not wisely, but too well? Now, to write a sonnet, every one allows,One must always be as quiet as a mouse;But to write one […]

Distinction

Story type: Poetry

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“I am but clay,” the sinner plead,Who fed each vain desire.“Not only clay,” another said,“But worse, for thou art mire.”

The Sum

Story type: Poetry

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A little dreaming by the way,A little toiling day by day;A little pain, a little strife,A little joy,–and that is life. A little short-lived summer’s morn,When joy seems all so newly born,When one day’s sky is blue above,And one bird sings,–and that is love. A little sickening of the years,The tribute of a few hot […]

Round the wide earth, from the red field your valour has won,Blown with the breath of the far-speaking gun,Goes the word.Bravely you spoke through the battle cloud heavy and dun.Tossed though the speech toward the mist-hidden sun,The world heard. Hell would have shrunk from you seeking it fresh from the fray,Grim with the dust of […]

Back to the breast of thy mother,Child of the earth!E’en her caress can not smotherWhat thou hast done.Follow the trail of the westering sunOver the earth.Thy light and his were as one–Sun, in thy worth.Unto a nation whose sky was as night,Camest thou, holily, bearing thy light:And the dawn came,In it thy fameFlashed up in […]

When All Is Done

Story type: Poetry

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When all is done, and my last word is said,And ye who loved me murmur, “He is dead,”Let no one weep, for fear that I should know,And sorrow too that ye should sorrow so. When all is done and in the oozing clay,Ye lay this cast-off hull of mine away,Pray not for me, for, after […]

In this old garden, fair, I walk to-dayHeart-charmed with all the beauty of the scene:The rich, luxuriant grasses’ cooling green,The wall’s environ, ivy-decked and gray,The waving branches with the wind at play,The slight and tremulous blooms that show between,Sweet all: and yet my yearning heart doth leanToward Love’s Egyptian fleshpots far away. Beside the wall, […]

The Knight

Story type: Poetry

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Our good knight, Ted, girds his broadsword on(And he wields it well, I ween);He ‘s on his steed, and away has goneTo the fight for king and queen.What tho’ no edge the broadsword hath?What tho’ the blade be made of lath?‘T is a valiant handThat wields the brand,So, foeman, clear the path! He prances off […]

Thou Art My Lute

Story type: Poetry

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Thou art my lute, by thee I sing,–My being is attuned to thee.Thou settest all my words a-wing,And meltest me to melody. Thou art my life, by thee I live,From thee proceed the joys I know;Sweetheart, thy hand has power to giveThe meed of love–the cup of woe. Thou art my love, by thee I […]

The Phantom Kiss

Story type: Poetry

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One night in my room, still and beamless,With will and with thought in eclipse,I rested in sleep that was dreamless;When softly there fell on my lips A touch, as of lips that were pressingMine own with the message of bliss–A sudden, soft, fleeting caressing,A breath like a maiden’s first kiss. I woke-and the scoffer may […]

Communion

Story type: Poetry

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In the silence of my heart,I will spend an hour with thee,When my love shall rend apartAll the veil of mystery: All that dim and misty veilThat shut in between our soulsWhen Death cried, “Ho, maiden, hail!”And your barque sped on the shoals. On the shoals? Nay, wrongly said.On the breeze of Death that sweepsFar […]

The Gourd

Story type: Poetry

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In the heavy earth the minerToiled and laboured day by day,Wrenching from the miser mountainBrilliant treasure where it lay.And the artist worn and wearyWrought with labour manifoldThat the king might drink his nectarFrom a goblet made of gold. On the prince’s groaning tableMid the silver gleaming brightMirroring the happy facesGiving back the flaming light,Shine the […]

The King Is Dead

Story type: Poetry

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Aye, lay him in his grave, the old dead year!His life is lived–fulfilled his destiny.Have you for him no sad, regretful tearTo drop beside the cold, unfollowed bier?Can you not pay the tribute of a sigh? Was he not kind to you, this dead old year?Did he not give enough of earthly store?Enough of love, […]

Theology

Story type: Poetry

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There is a heaven, for ever, day by day,The upward longing of my soul doth tell me so.There is a hell, I ‘m quite as sure; for pray,If there were not, where would my neighbours go?

Precedent

Story type: Poetry

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The poor man went to the rich man’s doors,“I come as Lazarus came,” he said.The rich man turned with humble head,–“I will send my dogs to lick your sores!”

She told her beads with down-cast eyes,Within the ancient chapel dim;And ever as her fingers slimSlipt o’er th’ insensate ivories,My rapt soul followed, spaniel-wise.Ah, many were the beads she wore;But as she told them o’er and o’er,They did not number all my sighs.My heart was filled with unvoiced criesAnd prayers and pleadings unexpressed;But while I […]

Oh, the day has set me dreamingIn a strange, half solemn wayOf the feelings I experiencedOn another long past day,–Of the way my heart made musicWhen the buds began to blow,And o’ little Lucy LandmanWhom I loved long years ago. It ‘s in spring, the poet tells us,That we turn to thoughts of love,And our […]

Pray, what can dreams availTo make love or to mar?The child within the cradle railLies dreaming of the star.But is the star by this beguiledTo leave its place and seek the child? The poor plucked rose within its glassStill dreameth of the bee;But, tho’ the lagging moments pass,Her Love she may not see.If dream of […]

The snow lies deep upon the ground,And winter’s brightness all aroundDecks bravely out the forest sere,With jewels of the brave old year.The coasting crowd upon the hillWith some new spirit seems to thrill;And all the temple bells achime.Ring out the glee of Christmas time. In happy homes the brown oak-boughVies with the red-gemmed holly now;And […]

The Right To Die

Story type: Poetry

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I have no fancy for that ancient cantThat makes us masters of our destinies,And not our lives, to hold or give them upAs will directs; I cannot, will not thinkThat men, the subtle worms, who plot and planAnd scheme and calculate with such shrewd wit,Are such great blund’ring fools as not to knowWhen they have […]

In Summer

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, summer has clothed the earthIn a cloak from the loom of the sun!And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue,And a belt where the rivers run. And now for the kiss of the wind,And the touch of the air’s soft hands,With the rest from strife and the heat of life,With the freedom of […]

The Mystic Sea

Story type: Poetry

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The smell of the sea in my nostrils,The sound of the sea in mine ears;The touch of the spray on my burning face,Like the mist of reluctant tears. The blue of the sky above me,The green of the waves beneath;The sun flashing down on a gray-white sailLike a scimitar from its sheath. And ever the […]

A Sailor’s Song

Story type: Poetry

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Oh for the breath of the briny deep,And the tug of the bellying sail,With the sea-gull’s cry across the skyAnd a passing boatman’s hail.For, be she fierce or be she gay,The sea is a famous friend alway. Ho! for the plains where the dolphins play,And the bend of the mast and spars,And a fight at […]

The Bohemian

Story type: Poetry

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Bring me the livery of no other man.I am my own to robe me at my pleasure.Accepted rules to me disclose no treasure:What is the chief who shall my garments plan?No garb conventional but I ‘ll attack it.(Come, why not don my spangled jacket?)

The Paradox

Story type: Poetry

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I am the mother of sorrows,I am the ender of grief;I am the bud and the blossom,I am the late-falling leaf. I am thy priest and thy poet,I am thy serf and thy king;I cure the tears of the heartsick,When I come near they shall sing. White are my hands as the snowdrop;Swart are my […]

Love me. I care not what the circling yearsTo me may do.If, but in spite of time and tears,You prove but true. Love me–albeit grief shall dim mine eyes,And tears bedew,I shall not e’en complain, for then my skiesShall still be blue. Love me, and though the winter snow shall pile,And leave me chill,Thy passion’s […]

Over The Hills

Story type: Poetry

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Over the hills and the valleys of dreamingSlowly I take my way.Life is the night with its dream-visions teeming,Death is the waking at day. Down thro’ the dales and the bowers of loving,Singing, I roam afar.Daytime or night-time, I constantly roving,–Dearest one, thou art my star.

With The Lark

Story type: Poetry

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Night is for sorrow and dawn is for joy,Chasing the troubles that fret and annoy;Darkness for sighing and daylight for song,–Cheery and chaste the strain, heartfelt and strong.All the night through, though I moan in the dark,I wake in the morning to sing with the lark. Deep in the midnight the rain whips the leaves,Softly […]

Lonesome

Story type: Poetry

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Mother ‘s gone a-visitin’ to spend a month er two,An’, oh, the house is lonesome ez a nest whose birds has flewTo other trees to build ag’in; the rooms seem jest so bareThat the echoes run like sperrits from the kitchen to the stair.The shetters flap more lazy-like ‘n what they used to do,Sence mother […]

Growin’ Gray

Story type: Poetry

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Hello, ole man, you ‘re a-gittin’ gray,An’ it beats ole Ned to see the way‘At the crow’s feet’s a-getherin’ aroun’ yore eyes;Tho’ it ought n’t to cause me no su’prise,Fur there ‘s many a sun ‘at you ‘ve seen riseAn’ many a one you ‘ve seen go downSence yore step was light an’ yore hair […]

G’way an’ quit dat noise, Miss Lucy–Put dat music book away;What’s de use to keep on tryin’?Ef you practise twell you ‘re gray,You cain’t sta’t no notes a-flyin’Lak de ones dat rants and ringsF’om de kitchen to be big woodsWhen Malindy sings. You ain’t got de nachel o’gansFu’ to make de soun’ come right,You ain’t […]

God has his plans, and what if weWith our sight be too blind to seeTheir full fruition; cannot he,Who made it, solve the mystery?One whom we loved has fall’n asleep,Not died; although her calm be deep,Some new, unknown, and strange surpriseIn Heaven holds enrapt her eyes. And can you blame her that her gazeIs turned […]

My soul, lost in the music’s mist,Roamed, rapt, ‘neath skies of amethyst.The cheerless streets grew summer meads,The Son of Phoebus spurred his steeds,And, wand’ring down the mazy tune,December lost its way in June,While from a verdant vale I heardThe piping of a love-lorn bird. A something in the tender strainRevived an old, long-conquered pain,And as […]

Why fades a dream?An iridescent rayFlecked in between the trystOf night and day.Why fades a dream?–Of consciousness the shadeWrought out by lack of light and madeUpon life’s stream.Why fades a dream? That thought may thrive,So fades the fleshless dream;Lest men should learn to trustThe things that seem.So fades a dream,That living thought may growAnd like […]

Breezes blowin’ middlin’ brisk,Snow-flakes thro’ the air a-whisk,Fallin’ kind o’ soft an’ light,Not enough to make things white,But jest sorter siftin’ downSo ‘s to cover up the brownOf the dark world’s rugged ways‘N’ make things look like holidays.Not smoothed over, but jest specked,Sorter strainin’ fur effect,An’ not quite a-gittin’ throughWhat it started in to do.Mercy […]

One Life

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, I am hurt to death, my Love;The shafts of Fate have pierced my striving heart,And I am sick and weary ofThe endless pain and smart.My soul is weary of the strife,And chafes at life, and chafes at life. Time mocks me with fair promises;A blooming future grows a barren past,Like rain my fair full-blossomed […]

The Meadow Lark

Story type: Poetry

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Though the winds be dank,And the sky be sober,And the grieving DayIn a mantle grayHath let her waiting maiden robe her,–All the fields alongI can hear the songOf the meadow lark,As she flits and flutters,And laughs at the thunder when it mutters.O happy bird, of heart most gayTo sing when skies are gray! When the […]

Changing Time

Story type: Poetry

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The cloud looked in at the window,And said to the day, “Be dark!”And the roguish rain tapped hard on the pane,To stifle the song of the lark. The wind sprang up in the tree topsAnd shrieked with a voice of death,But the rough-voiced breeze, that shook the trees,Was touched with a violet’s breath.

Love Despoiled

Story type: Poetry

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As lone I sat one summer’s day,With mien dejected, Love came by;His face distraught, his locks astray,So slow his gait, so sad his eye,I hailed him with a pitying cry: “Pray, Love, what has disturbed thee so?”Said I, amazed. “Thou seem’st bereft;And see thy quiver hanging low,–What, not a single arrow left?Pray, who is guilty […]

Phyllis

Story type: Poetry

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Phyllis, ah, Phyllis, my life is a gray day,Few are my years, but my griefs are not few,Ever to youth should each day be a May-day,Warm wind and rose-breath and diamonded dew–Phyllis, ah, Phyllis, my life is a gray day. Oh for the sunlight that shines on a May-day!Only the cloud hangeth over my life.Love […]

A Confidence

Story type: Poetry

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Uncle John, he makes me tired;Thinks ‘at he’s jest so all-firedSmart, ‘at he kin pick up, so,Ever’thing he wants to know.Tried to ketch me up last night,But you bet I would n’t bite.I jest kep’ the smoothes’ face,But I led him sich a chase,Could n’t corner me, you bet–I skipped all the traps he set.Makin’ […]

If

Story type: Poetry

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If life were but a dream, my Love,And death the waking time;If day had not a beam, my Love,And night had not a rhyme,–A barren, barren world were thisWithout one saving gleam;I ‘d only ask that with a kissYou ‘d wake me from the dream. If dreaming were the sum of days,And loving were the […]

What if the wind do howl without,And turn the creaking weather-vane;What if the arrows of the rainDo beat against the window-pane?Art thou not armored strong and fastAgainst the sallies of the blast?Art thou not sheltered safe and wellAgainst the flood’s insistent swell? What boots it, that thou stand’st alone,And laughest in the battle’s faceWhen all […]

We Wear The Mask

Story type: Poetry

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We wear the mask that grins and lies,It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,–This debt we pay to human guile;With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,And mouth with myriad subtleties. Why should the world be over-wise,In counting all our tears and sighs?Nay, let them only see us, whileWe wear the mask. We smile, but, […]

Dawn

Story type: Poetry

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An angel, robed in spotless white,Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.

When storms ariseAnd dark’ning skiesAbout me threat’ning lower,To thee, O Lord, I raise mine eyes,To thee my tortured spirit fliesFor solace in that hour. The mighty armWill let no harmCome near me nor befall me;Thy voice shall quiet my alarm,When life’s great battle waxeth warm–No foeman shall appall me. Upon thy breastSecure I rest,From sorrow […]

A Drowsy Day

Story type: Poetry

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The air is dark, the sky is gray,The misty shadows come and go,And here within my dusky roomEach chair looks ghostly in the gloom.Outside the rain falls cold and slow–Half-stinging drops, half-blinding spray. Each slightest sound is magnified,For drowsy quiet holds her reign;The burnt stick in the fireplace breaks,The nodding cat with start awakes,And then […]

Preparation

Story type: Poetry

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The little bird sits in the nest and singsA shy, soft song to the morning light;And it flutters a little and prunes its wings.The song is halting and poor and brief,And the fluttering wings scarce stir a leaf;But the note is a prelude to sweeter things,And the busy bill and the flutter slightAre proving the […]

The Secret

Story type: Poetry

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What says the wind to the waving trees?What says the wave to the river?What means the sigh in the passing breeze?Why do the rushes quiver?Have you not heard the fainting cryOf the flowers that said “Good-bye, good-bye”? List how the gray dove moans and grievesUnder the woodland cover;List to the drift of the falling leaves,List […]

Oh, de grubbin’-hoe ‘s a-rustin’ in de co’nah,An’ de plow ‘s a-tumblin’ down in de fiel’,While de whippo’will ‘s a-wailin’ lak a mou’nahWhen his stubbo’n hea’t is tryin’ ha’d to yiel’. In de furrers whah de co’n was allus wavin’,Now de weeds is growin’ green an’ rank an’ tall;An’ de swallers roun’ de whole place […]

Riding To Town

Story type: Poetry

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When labor is light and the morning is fair,I find it a pleasure beyond all compareTo hitch up my nag and go hurrying downAnd take Katie May for a ride into town;For bumpety-bump goes the wagon,But tra-la-la-la our lay.There’s joy in a song as we rattle alongIn the light of the glorious day. A coach […]

I stood by the shore at the death of day,As the sun sank flaming red;And the face of the waters that spread awayWas as gray as the face of the dead. And I heard the cry of the wanton seaAnd the moan of the wailing wind;For love’s sweet pain in his heart had he,But the […]

Come when the nights are bright with starsOr when the moon is mellow;Come when the sun his golden barsDrops on the hay-field yellow.Come in the twilight soft and gray,Come in the night or come in the day,Come, O love, whene’er you may,And you are welcome, welcome. You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,You are soft […]

Yes, my ha’t ‘s ez ha’d ez stone–Go ‘way, Sam, an’ lemme ‘lone.No; I ain’t gwine change my min’–Ain’t gwine ma’y you–nuffin’ de kin’. Phiny loves you true an’ deah?Go ma’y Phiny; whut I keer?Oh, you need n’t mou’n an’ cry–I don’t keer how soon you die. Got a present! Whut you got?Somef’n fu’ de […]

He Had His Dream

Story type: Poetry

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He had his dream, and all through life,Worked up to it through toil and strife.Afloat fore’er before his eyes,It colored for him all his skies:The storm-cloud darkAbove his bark,The calm and listless vault of blueTook on its hopeful hue,It tinctured every passing beam–He had his dream. He labored hard and failed at last,His sails too […]

Nora: A Serenade

Story type: Poetry

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Ah, Nora, my Nora, the light fades away,While Night like a spirit steals up o’er the hills;The thrush from his tree where he chanted all day,No longer his music in ecstasy trills.Then, Nora, be near me; thy presence doth cheer me,Thine eye hath a gleam that is truer than gold. I cannot but love thee; […]

Mortality

Story type: Poetry

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Ashes to ashes, dust unto dust,What of his loving, what of his lust?What of his passion, what of his pain?What of his poverty, what of his pride?Earth, the great mother, has called him again:Deeply he sleeps, the world’s verdict defied.Shall he be tried again? Shall he go free?Who shall the court convene? Where shall it […]

Dream on, for dreams are sweet:Do not awaken!Dream on, and at thy feetPomegranates shall be shaken. Who likeneth the youthOf life to morning?‘Tis like the night in truth,Rose-coloured dreams adorning. The wind is soft above,The shadows umber.(There is a dream called Love.)Take thou the fullest slumber! In Lethe’s soothing stream,Thy thirst thou slakest.Sleep, sleep; ‘t […]

Ah, yes, the chapter ends to-day;We even lay the book away;But oh, how sweet the moments spedBefore the final page was read! We tried to read between the linesThe Author’s deep-concealed designs;But scant reward such search secures;You saw my heart and I saw yours. The Master,–He who penned the pageAnd bade us read it,–He is […]

The Dreamer

Story type: Poetry

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Temples he built and palaces of air,And, with the artist’s parent-pride aglow,His fancy saw his vague ideals growInto creations marvellously fair; He set his foot upon Fame’s nether stair.But ah, his dream,–it had entranced him soHe could not move. He could no farther go;But paused in joy that he was even there! He did not […]

Sympathy

Story type: Poetry

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I know what the caged bird feels, alas!When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,And the river flows like a stream of glass;When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,And the faint perfume from its chalice steals–I know what the caged bird feels! I […]

Love And Grief

Story type: Poetry

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Out of my heart, one treach’rous winter’s day,I locked young Love and threw the key away.Grief, wandering widely, found the key,And hastened with it, straightway, back to me,With Love beside him. He unlocked the doorAnd bade Love enter with him there and stay.And so the twain abide for evermore.

To E. H. K

Story type: Poetry

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ON THE RECEIPT OF A FAMILIAR POEM To me, like hauntings of a vagrant breathFrom some far forest which I once have known,The perfume of this flower of verse is blown.Tho’ seemingly soul-blossoms faint to death,Naught that with joy she bears e’er withereth.So, tho’ the pregnant years have come and flown,Lives come and gone and […]

In the forenoon’s restful quiet,When the boys are off at school,When the window lights are shadedAnd the chimney-corner cool,Then the old man seeks his armchair,Lights his pipe and settles back;Falls a-dreaming as he draws itTill the smoke-wreaths gather black. And the tear-drops come a-tricklingDown his cheeks, a silver flow–Smoke or memories you wonder,But you never […]

When I was young I longed for Love,And held his glory far aboveAll other earthly things. I cried:“Come, Love, dear Love, with me abide;”And with my subtlest art I wooed,And eagerly the wight pursued.But Love was gay and Love was shy,He laughed at me and passed me by. Well, I grew old and I grew […]

A Bridal Measure

Story type: Poetry

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Come, essay a sprightly measure,Tuned to some light song of pleasure.Maidens, let your brows be crownedAs we foot this merry round. From the ground a voice is singing,From the sod a soul is springing.Who shall say ‘t is but a clodQuick’ning upward toward its God? Who shall say it? Who may know it,That the clod […]

Just whistle a bit, if the day be dark,And the sky be overcast:If mute be the voice of the piping lark,Why, pipe your own small blast. And it’s wonderful how o’er the gray sky-trackThe truant warbler comes stealing back.But why need he come? for your soul’s at rest,And the song in the heart,–ah, that is […]

AFTER READING “LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT.” Lead gently, Lord, and slow,For oh, my steps are weak,And ever as I go,Some soothing sentence speak; That I may turn my faceThrough doubt’s obscurityToward thine abiding-place,E’en tho’ I cannot see. For lo, the way is dark;Through mist and cloud I grope,Save for that fitful spark,The little flame of hope. […]

The Barrier

Story type: Poetry

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The Midnight wooed the Morning-Star,And prayed her: “Love come nearer;Your swinging coldly there afarTo me but makes you dearer!” The Morning-Star was pale with doleAs said she, low replying:“Oh, lover mine, soul of my soul,For you I too am sighing. “But One ordained when we were born,In spite of Love’s insistence,That Night might only view […]

Absence

Story type: Poetry

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Good-night, my love, for I have dreamed of theeIn waking dreams, until my soul is lost–Is lost in passion’s wide and shoreless sea,Where, like a ship, unruddered, it is tostHither and thither at the wild waves’ will.There is no potent Master’s voice to stillThis newer, more tempestuous Galilee! The stormy petrels of my fancy flyIn […]

The gray of the sea, and the gray of the sky,A glimpse of the moon like a half-closed eye.The gleam on the waves and the light on the land,A thrill in my heart,–and–my sweetheart’s hand. She turned from the sea with a woman’s grace,And the light fell soft on her upturned face,And I thought of […]

The night is dewy as a maiden’s mouth,The skies are bright as are a maiden’s eyes,Soft as a maiden’s breath the wind that fliesUp from the perfumed bosom of the South.Like sentinels, the pines stand in the park;And hither hastening, like rakes that roam,With lamps to light their wayward footsteps home,The fireflies come stagg’ring down […]

Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing;I look far out into the pregnant night,Where I can hear a solemn booming gunAnd catch the gleaming of a random light,That tells me that the ship I seek is passing, passing. My tearful eyes my soul’s deep hurt are glassing;For I would hail and check […]

The Delinquent

Story type: Poetry

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Goo’-by, Jinks, I got to hump,Got to mek dis pony jump;See dat sun a-goin’ down‘N’ me a-foolin’ hyeah in town!Git up, Suke–go long! Guess Mirandy’ll think I’s tight,Me not home an’ comin’ on night.What ‘s dat stan’in’ by de fence?Pshaw! why don’t I lu’n some sense?Git up, Suke–go long! Guess I spent down dah at […]

Merry Autumn

Story type: Poetry

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It’s all a farce,–these tales they tellAbout the breezes sighing,And moans astir o’er field and dell,Because the year is dying. Such principles are most absurd,–I care not who first taught ’em;There’s nothing known to beast or birdTo make a solemn autumn. In solemn times, when grief holds swayWith countenance distressing,You’ll note the more of black […]

Ballad

Story type: Poetry

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I know my love is true,And oh the day is fair.The sky is clear and blue,The flowers are rich of hue,The air I breathe is rare,I have no grief or care;For my own love is true,And oh ‘the day is fair. My love is false I find,And oh the day is dark.Blows sadly down the […]

Dey is times in life when NatureSeems to slip a cog an’ go,Jes’ a-rattlin’ down creation,Lak an ocean’s overflow;When de worl’ jes’ stahts a-spinnin’Lak a picaninny’s top,An’ yo’ cup o’ joy is brimmin’‘Twell it seems about to slop,An’ you feel jes’ lak a racah,Dat is trainin’ fu’ to trot–When yo’ mammy says de blessin’An’ de […]

Comparison

Story type: Poetry

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The sky of brightest gray seems darkTo one whose sky was ever white.To one who never knew a spark,Thro’ all his life, of love or light,The grayest cloud seems over-bright. The robin sounds a beggar’s noteWhere one the nightingale has heard,But he for whom no silver throatIts liquid music ever stirred,Deems robin still the sweetest […]

The change has come, and Helen sleeps–Not sleeps; but wakes to greater deepsOf wisdom, glory, truth, and light,Than ever blessed her seeking sight,In this low, long, lethargic night,Worn out with strifeWhich men call life. The change has come, and who would say“I would it were not come to-day”?What were the respite till to-morrow?Postponement of a […]

Discovered

Story type: Poetry

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Seen you down at chu’ch las’ night,Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.What I mean? oh, dat ‘s all right,Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.You was sma’t ez sma’t could be,But you could n’t hide f’om me.Ain’t I got two eyes to see!Nevah min’, Miss Lucy. Guess you thought you’s awful keen;Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.Evahthing you done, I seen;Nevah min’, […]

A Corn-Song

Story type: Poetry

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On the wide veranda white,In the purple failing light,Sits the master while the sun is lowly burning;And his dreamy thoughts are drownedIn the softly flowing soundOf the corn-songs of the field-hands slow returning. Oh, we hoe de co’nSince de ehly mo’n;Now de sinkin’ sunSays de day is done. O’er the fields with heavy tread,Light of […]

Disappointed

Story type: Poetry

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An old man planted and dug and tended,Toiling in joy from dew to dew;The sun was kind, and the rain befriended;Fine grew his orchard and fair to view.Then he said: “I will quiet my thrifty fears,For here is fruit for my failing years.” But even then the storm-clouds gathered,Swallowing up the azure sky;The sweeping winds […]

He scribbles some in prose and verse,And now and then he prints it;He paints a little,–gathers someOf Nature’s gold and mints it. He plays a little, sings a song,Acts tragic roles, or funny;He does, because his love is strong,But not, oh, not for money! He studies almost everythingFrom social art to science;A thirsty mind, a […]

A Negro Love Song

Story type: Poetry

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Seen my lady home las’ night,Jump back, honey, jump back.Hel’ huh han’ an’ sque’z it tight,Jump back, honey, jump back.Hyeahd huh sigh a little sigh,Seen a light gleam f’om huh eye,An’ a smile go flittin’ by–Jump back, honey, jump back. Hyeahd de win’ blow thoo de pine,Jump back, honey, jump back.Mockin’-bird was singin’ fine,Jump back, […]

By The Stream

Story type: Poetry

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By the stream I dream in calm delight, and watch as in a glass,How the clouds like crowds of snowy-hued and white-robed maidens pass,And the water into ripples breaks and sparkles as it spreads,Like a host of armored knights with silver helmets on their heads.And I deem the stream an emblem fit of human life […]

Long years ago, within a distant clime,Ere Love had touched me with his wand sublime,I dreamed of one to make my life’s calm MayThe panting passion of a summer’s day.And ever since, in almost sad suspense,I have been waiting with a soul intenseTo greet and take unto myself the beams,Of her, my star, the lady […]

She gave a rose,And I kissed it and pressed it.I love her, she knows,And my action confessed it.She gave me a rose,And I kissed it and pressed it. Ah, how my heart glows,Could I ever have guessed it?It is fair to supposeThat I might have repressed it:She gave me a rose,And I kissed it and […]

I The young queen Nature, ever sweet and fair,Once on a time fell upon evil days.From hearing oft herself discussed with praise,There grew within her heart the longing rareTo see herself; and every passing airThe warm desire fanned into lusty blaze.Full oft she sought this end by devious ways,But sought in vain, so fell she […]

If the muse were mine to tempt itAnd my feeble voice were strong,If my tongue were trained to measures,I would sing a stirring song.I would sing a song heroicOf those noble sons of Ham,Of the gallant colored soldiersWho fought for Uncle Sam! In the early days you scorned them,And with many a flip and floutSaid […]

The Ol’ Tunes

Story type: Poetry

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You kin talk about yer anthemsAn’ yer arias an’ sich,An’ yer modern choir-singin’That you think so awful rich;But you orter heerd us youngstersIn the times now far away,A-singin’ o’ the ol’ tunesIn the ol’-fashioned way. There was some of us sung trebleAn’ a few of us growled bass,An’ the tide o’ song flowed smoothlyWith its […]

After While

Story type: Poetry

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A POEM OF FAITH I think that though the clouds be dark,That though the waves dash o’er the bark,Yet after while the light will come,And in calm waters safe at homeThe bark will anchor.Weep not, my sad-eyed, gray-robed maid,Because your fairest blossoms fade,That sorrow still o’erruns your cup,And even though you root them up,The weeds […]

Melancholia

Story type: Poetry

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Silently without my window,Tapping gently at the pane,Falls the rain.Through the trees sighs the breezeLike a soul in pain.Here alone I sit and weep;Thought hath banished sleep. Wearily I sit and listenTo the water’s ceaseless drip.To my lipFate turns up the bitter cup,Forcing me to sip;‘T is a bitter, bitter drink,Thus I sit and think,– […]

The Wooing

Story type: Poetry

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A youth went faring up and down,Alack and well-a-day.He fared him to the market town,Alack and well-a-day.And there he met a maiden fair,With hazel eyes and auburn hair;His heart went from him then and there,Alack and well-a-day. She posies sold right merrily,Alack and well-a-day;But not a flower was fair as she,Alack and well-a-day.He bought a […]

Beyond The Years

Story type: Poetry

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I Beyond the years the answer lies,Beyond where brood the grieving skiesAnd Night drops tears.Where Faith rod-chastened smiles to riseAnd doff its fears,And carping Sorrow pines and dies–Beyond the years. II Beyond the years the prayer for restShall beat no more within the breast;The darkness clears,And Morn perched on the mountain’s crestHer form uprears–The day […]

Curtain

Story type: Poetry

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Villain shows his indiscretion,Villain’s partner makes confession.Juvenile, with golden tresses,Finds her pa and dons long dresses.Scapegrace comes home money-laden,Hero comforts tearful maiden,Soubrette marries loyal chappie,Villain skips, and all are happy.

After A Visit

Story type: Poetry

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I be’n down in ole KentuckyFur a week er two, an’ say,‘T wuz ez hard ez breakin’ oxenFur to tear myse’f away.Allus argerin’ ’bout fren’shipAn’ yer hospitality–Y’ ain’t no right to talk about itTell you be’n down there to see. See jest how they give you welcomeTo the best that’s in the land,Feel the sort […]

Once Love grew bold and arrogant of air,Proud of the youth that made him fresh and fair;So unto Grief he spake, “What right hast thouTo part or parcel of this heart?” Grief’s browWas darkened with the storm of inward strife;Thrice smote he Love as only he might dare,And Love, pride purged, was chastened all his […]

I never shall furgit that night when father hitched up Dobbin,An’ all us youngsters clambered in an’ down the road went bobbin’To school where we was kep’ at work in every kind o’ weather,But where that night a spellin’-bee was callin’ us together.‘Twas one o’ Heaven’s banner nights, the stars was all a glitter,The moon […]

Night Of Love

Story type: Poetry

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The moon has left the sky, love,The stars are hiding now,And frowning on the world, love,Night bares her sable brow.The snow is on the ground, love,And cold and keen the air is.I ‘m singing here to you, love;You ‘re dreaming there in Paris. But this is Nature’s law, love,Though just it may not seem,That men […]

I ‘ve a humble little mottoThat is homely, though it ‘s true,–Keep a-pluggin’ away.It’s a thing when I ‘ve an objectThat I always try to do,–Keep a-pluggin’ away.When you ‘ve rising storms to quell,When opposing waters swell,It will never fail to tell,–Keep a-pluggin’ away. If the hills are high beforeAnd the paths are hard to […]

A Border Ballad

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, I have n’t got long to live, for we allDie soon, e’en those who live longest;And the poorest and weakest are taking their chanceAlong with the richest and strongest.So it’s heigho for a glass and a song,And a bright eye over the table,And a dog for the hunt when the game is flush,And the […]

Columbian Ode

Story type: Poetry

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I Four hundred years ago a tangled wasteLay sleeping on the west Atlantic’s side;Their devious ways the Old World’s millions tracedContent, and loved, and labored, dared and died,While students still believed the charts they conned,And revelled in their thriftless ignorance,Nor dreamed of other lands that lay beyondOld Ocean’s dense, indefinite expanse. II But deep within […]

Ther’ ain’t no use in all this strife,An’ hurryin’, pell-mell, right thro’ life.I don’t believe in goin’ too fastTo see what kind o’ road you ‘ve passed.It ain’t no mortal kind o’ good,‘N’ I would n’t hurry ef I could.I like to jest go joggin’ ‘long,To limber up my soul with song;To stop awhile ‘n’ […]

A lover whom duty called over the wave,With himself communed: “Will my love be trueIf left to herself? Had I better not sueSome friend to watch over her, good and grave?But my friend might fail in my need,” he said,“And I return to find love dead.Since friendships fade like the flow’rs of June,I will leave […]

The Rivals

Story type: Poetry

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‘T was three an’ thirty year ago,When I was ruther young, you know,I had my last an’ only fightAbout a gal one summer night.‘T was me an’ Zekel Johnson; Zeke‘N’ me ‘d be’n spattin’ ’bout a week,Each of us tryin’ his best to showThat he was Liza Jones’s beau.We could n’t neither prove the thing,Fur […]

Ione

Story type: Poetry

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I Ah, yes, ‘t is sweet still to remember,Though ’twere less painful to forget;For while my heart glows like an ember,Mine eyes with sorrow’s drops are wet,And, oh, my heart is aching yet.It is a law of mortal painThat old wounds, long accounted well,Beneath the memory’s potent spell,Will wake to life and bleed again. So […]

“Good-bye,” I said to my conscience–“Good-bye for aye and aye,”And I put her hands off harshly,And turned my face away;And conscience smitten sorelyReturned not from that day. But a time came when my spiritGrew weary of its pace;And I cried: “Come back, my conscience;I long to see thy face.”But conscience cried: “I cannot;Remorse sits in […]

Alice

Story type: Poetry

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Know you, winds that blow your courseDown the verdant valleys,That somewhere you must, perforce,Kiss the brow of Alice?When her gentle face you find,Kiss it softly, naughty wind. Roses waving fair and sweetThro’ the garden alleys,Grow into a glory meetFor the eye of Alice;Let the wind your offering bearOf sweet perfume, faint and rare. Lily holding […]

I ‘ve been watchin’ of ’em, parson,An’ I ‘m sorry fur to say‘At my mind is not contentedWith the loose an’ keerless way‘At the young folks treat the music;‘T ain’t the proper sort o’ choir.Then I don’t believe in ChristunsA-singin’ hymns for hire. But I never would ‘a’ murmuredAn’ the matter might ‘a’ goneEf it […]

After The Quarrel

Story type: Poetry

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So we, who ‘ve supped the self-same cup,To-night must lay our friendship by;Your wrath has burned your judgment up,Hot breath has blown the ashes high.You say that you are wronged–ah, well,I count that friendship poor, at bestA bauble, a mere bagatelle,That cannot stand so slight a test. I fain would still have been your friend,And […]

Done are the toils and the wearisome marches,Done is the summons of bugle and drum.Softly and sweetly the sky over-arches,Shelt’ring a land where Rebellion is dumb.Dark were the days of the country’s derangement,Sad were the hours when the conflict was on,But through the gloom of fraternal estrangementGod sent his light, and we welcome the dawn.O’er […]

Retrospection

Story type: Poetry

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When you and I were young, the daysWere filled with scent of pink and rose,And full of joy from dawn till close,From morning’s mist till evening’s haze.And when the robin sung his songThe verdant woodland ways along,We whistled louder than he sung.And school was joy, and work was sportFor which the hours were all too […]

Song Of Summer

Story type: Poetry

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Dis is gospel weathah sho’–Hills is sawt o’ hazy.Meddahs level ez a flo’Callin’ to de lazy.Sky all white wif streaks o’ blue,Sunshine softly gleamin’,D’ain’t no wuk hit’s right to do,Nothin’ ‘s right but dreamin’. Dreamin’ by de rivah sideWif de watahs glist’nin’,Feelin’ good an’ satisfiedEz you lay a-list’nin’To the little nakid boysSplashin’ in de watah,Hollerin’ […]

Unexpressed

Story type: Poetry

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Deep in my heart that aches with the repression,And strives with plenitude of bitter pain,There lives a thought that clamors for expression,And spends its undelivered force in vain. What boots it that some other may have thought it?The right of thoughts’ expression is divine;The price of pain I pay for it has bought it,I care […]

To Louise

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, the poets may sing of their Lady Irenes,And may rave in their rhymes about wonderful queens;But I throw my poetical wings to the breeze,And soar in a song to my Lady Louise.A sweet little maid, who is dearer, I ween,Than any fair duchess, or even a queen.When speaking of her I can’t plod in […]

The Master-Player

Story type: Poetry

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An old, worn harp that had been playedTill all its strings were loose and frayed,Joy, Hate, and Fear, each one essayed,To play. But each in turn had foundNo sweet responsiveness of sound. Then Love the Master-Player cameWith heaving breast and eyes aflame;The Harp he took all undismayed,Smote on its strings, still strange to song,And brought […]

Not They Who Soar

Story type: Poetry

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Not they who soar, but they who plodTheir rugged way, unhelped, to GodAre heroes; they who higher fare,And, flying, fan the upper air,Miss all the toil that hugs the sod.‘Tis they whose backs have felt the rod,Whose feet have pressed the path unshod,May smile upon defeated care,Not they who soar. High up there are no […]

The Mystery

Story type: Poetry

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I was not; now I am–a few days henceI shall not be; I fain would look beforeAnd after, but can neither do; some PowerOr lack of power says “no” to all I would.I stand upon a wide and sunless plain,Nor chart nor steel to guide my steps aright.Whene’er, o’ercoming fear, I dare to move,I grope […]

Two Songs

Story type: Poetry

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A bee that was searching for sweets one dayThrough the gate of a rose garden happened to stray.In the heart of a rose he hid away,And forgot in his bliss the light of day,As sipping his honey he buzzed in song;Though day was waning, he lingered long,For the rose was sweet, so sweet. A robin […]

Whittier

Story type: Poetry

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Not o’er thy dust let there be spentThe gush of maudlin sentiment;Such drift as that is not for thee,Whose life and deeds and songs agree,Sublime in their simplicity. Nor shall the sorrowing tear be shed.O singer sweet, thou art not dead!In spite of time’s malignant chill,With living fire thy songs shall thrill,And men shall say, […]

The Path

Story type: Poetry

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There are no beaten paths to Glory’s height,There are no rules to compass greatness known;Each for himself must cleave a path alone,And press his own way forward in the fight.Smooth is the way to ease and calm delight,And soft the road Sloth chooseth for her own;But he who craves the flower of life full-blown,Must struggle […]

A Banjo Song

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, dere ‘s lots o’ keer an’ troubleIn dis world to swaller down;An’ ol’ Sorrer ‘s purty livelyIn her way o’ gittin’ roun’.Yet dere’s times when I furgit em,–Aches an’ pains an’ troubles all,–An’ it’s when I tek at ebenin’My ol’ banjo f’om de wall. ‘Bout de time dat night is fallin’An’ my daily wu’k […]

I ‘ve been list’nin’ to them lawyersIn the court house up the street,An’ I ‘ve come to the conclusionThat I’m most completely beat.Fust one feller riz to argy,An’ he boldly waded inAs he dressed the tremblin’ pris’nerIn a coat o’ deep-dyed sin. Why, he painted him all overIn a hue o’ blackest crime,An’ he smeared […]

Passion And Love

Story type: Poetry

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A maiden wept and, as a comforter,Came one who cried, “I love thee,” and he seizedHer in his arms and kissed her with hot breath,That dried the tears upon her flaming cheeks.While evermore his boldly blazing eyeBurned into hers; but she uncomfortedShrank from his arms and only wept the more. Then one came and gazed […]

Fulfilment

Story type: Poetry

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I grew a rose once more to please mine eyes.All things to aid it–dew, sun, wind, fair skies–Were kindly; and to shield it from despoil,I fenced it safely in with grateful toil.No other hand than mine shall pluck this flower, said I,And I was jealous of the bee that hovered nigh.It grew for days; I […]

The Seedling

Story type: Poetry

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As a quiet little seedlingLay within its darksome bed,To itself it fell a-talking,And this is what it said: “I am not so very robust,But I ‘ll do the best I can;”And the seedling from that momentIts work of life began. So it pushed a little leafletUp into the light of day,To examine the surroundingsAnd show […]

We is gathahed hyeah, my brothahs,In dis howlin’ wildaness,Fu’ to speak some words of comfo’tTo each othah in distress.An’ we chooses fu’ ouah subjic’Dis–we’ll ‘splain it by an’ by;“An’ de Lawd said, ‘Moses, Moses,’An’ de man said, ‘Hyeah am I.’” Now ole Pher’oh, down in Egypt,Was de wuss man evah bo’n,An’ he had de Hebrew […]

My heart to thy heart,My hand to thine;My lip to thy lips,Kisses are wineBrewed for the lover in sunshine and shade;Let me drink deep, then, my African maid. Lily to lily,Rose unto rose;My love to thy loveTenderly grows.Rend not the oak and the ivy in twain,Nor the swart maid from her swarthier swain.

When the corn ‘s all cut and the bright stalks shineLike the burnished spears of a field of gold;When the field-mice rich on the nubbins dine,And the frost comes white and the wind blows cold;Then it’s heigho! fellows and hi-diddle-diddle,For the time is ripe for the corn-stalk fiddle. And you take a stalk that is […]

Ode To Ethiopia

Story type: Poetry

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O Mother Race! to thee I bringThis pledge of faith unwavering,This tribute to thy glory.I know the pangs which thou didst feel,When Slavery crushed thee with its heel,With thy dear blood all gory. Sad days were those–ah, sad indeed!But through the land the fruitful seedOf better times was growing.The plant of freedom upward sprung,And spread […]

Retort

Story type: Poetry

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“Thou art a fool,” said my head to my heart,“Indeed, the greatest of fools thou art,To be led astray by the trick of a tress,By a smiling face or a ribbon smart;”And my heart was in sore distress. Then Phyllis came by, and her face was fair,The light gleamed soft on her raven hair;And her […]

A hush is over all the teeming lists,And there is pause, a breath-space in the strife;A spirit brave has passed beyond the mistsAnd vapors that obscure the sun of life.And Ethiopia, with bosom torn,Laments the passing of her noblest born. She weeps for him a mother’s burning tears–She loved him with a mother’s deepest love.He […]

Accountability

Story type: Poetry

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Folks ain’t got no right to censuah othah folks about dey habits;Him dat giv’ de squir’ls de bushtails made de bobtails fu’ de rabbits.Him dat built de gread big mountains hollered out de little valleys,Him dat made de streets an’ driveways wasn’t shamed to make de alleys. We is all constructed diff’ent, d’ain’t no two […]

The Lesson

Story type: Poetry

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My cot was down by a cypress grove,And I sat by my window the whole night long,And heard well up from the deep dark woodA mocking-bird’s passionate song. And I thought of myself so sad and lone,And my life’s cold winter that knew no spring;Of my mind so weary and sick and wild,Of my heart […]

Life

Story type: Poetry

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A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,And never a laugh but the moans come double;And that is life! A crust and a corner that love makes precious,With a smile to warm and the tears to […]

There’s a memory keeps a-runnin’Through my weary head to-night,An’ I see a picture dancin’In the fire-flames’ ruddy light;‘Tis the picture of an orchardWrapped in autumn’s purple haze,With the tender light about itThat I loved in other days.An’ a-standin’ in a cornerOnce again I seem to seeThe verdant leaves an’ branchesOf an old apple-tree. You perhaps […]

The lake’s dark breastIs all unrest,It heaves with a sob and a sigh.Like a tremulous bird,From its slumber stirred,The moon is a-tilt in the sky. From the silent deepThe waters sweep,But faint on the cold white stones,And the wavelets flyWith a plaintive cryO’er the old earth’s bare, bleak bones. And the spray upspringsOn its ghost-white […]

A song is but a little thing,And yet what joy it is to sing!In hours of toil it gives me zest,And when at eve I long for rest;When cows come home along the bars,And in the fold I hear the bell,As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars,I sing my song, and all is well. There […]

To The Miami

Story type: Poetry

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Kiss me, Miami, thou most constant one!I love thee more for that thou changest not.When Winter comes with frigid blast,Or when the blithesome Spring is pastAnd Summer’s here with sunshine hot,Or in sere Autumn, thou has still the pow’rTo charm alike, whate’er the hour. Kiss me, Miami, with thy dewy lips;Throbs fast my heart e’en […]

A Summer Pastoral

Story type: Poetry

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It’s hot to-day. The bees is buzzin’Kinder don’t-keer-like aroun’An’ fur off the warm air dancesO’er the parchin’ roofs in town.In the brook the cows is standin’;Childern hidin’ in the hay;Can’t keep none of ’em a workin’,‘Cause it’s hot to-day. It’s hot to-day. The sun is blazin’Like a great big ball o’ fire;Seems as ef instead […]

Thou art the soul of a summer’s day,Thou art the breath of the rose.But the summer is fledAnd the rose is deadWhere are they gone, who knows, who knows? Thou art the blood of my heart o’ hearts,Thou art my soul’s repose,But my heart grows numbAnd my soul is dumbWhere art thou, love, who knows, […]

The Capture

Story type: Poetry

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Duck come switchin’ ‘cross de lotHi, oh, Miss Lady!Hurry up an’ hide de potHi, oh, Miss Lady!Duck’s a mighty ‘spicious fowl,Slick as snake an’ wise as owl;Hol’ dat dog, don’t let him yowl!Hi, oh, Miss Lady! Th’ow dat co’n out kind o’ slowHi, oh, Miss Lady!Keep yo’se’f behin’ de do’Hi, oh, Miss Lady!Lots o’ food’ll […]

When winter covering all the groundHides every sign of Spring, sir.However you may look around,Pray what will then you sing, sir? The Spring was here last year I know,And many bards did flute, sir;I shall not fear a little snowForbid me from my lute, sir. If words grow dull and rhymes grow rare,I’ll sing of […]

I stand above the city’s rush and din,And gaze far down with calm and undimmed eyes,To where the misty smoke wreath grey and dimAbove the myriad roofs and spires rise; Still is my heart and vacant is my breath–This lovely view is breath and life to me,Why I could charm the icy soul of deathWith […]

Equipment

Story type: Poetry

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With what thou gavest me, O Master,I have wrought.Such chances, such abilities,To see the end was not for my poor eyes,Thine was the impulse, thine the forming thought. Ah, I have wrought,And these sad hands have right to tell their story,It was no hard up striving after glory,Catching and losing, gaining and failing,Raging me back […]

To Pfrimmer

Story type: Poetry

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(Lines on reading “Driftwood.”) Driftwood gathered here and thereAlong the beach of time;Now and then a chip of truth‘Mid boards and boughs of rhyme;Driftwood gathered day by day,–The cypress and the oak,–Twigs that in some former timeFrom sturdy home trees broke.Did this wood come floating thickAll along down “Injin Crik?”Or did kind tides bring it […]

Liza May

Story type: Poetry

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Little brown face full of smiles,And a baby’s guileless wiles,Liza May, Liza May. Eyes a-peeping thro’ the fenceWith an interest intense,Liza May. Ah, the gate is just ajar,And the meadow is not far,Liza May, Liza May. And the road feels very sweet,To your little toddling feet,Liza May. Ah, you roguish runaway,What will toiling mother say,Liza […]

The Masters

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, who is the Lord of the land of life,When hotly goes the fray?When, fierce we smile in the midst of strifeThen whom shall we obey? Oh, Love is the Lord of the land of lifeWho holds a monarch’s sway;He wends with wish of maid and wife,And him you must obey. Then who is the […]

Dey was oncet a awful quoil ‘twixt de skillet an’ de pot;De pot was des a-bilin’ an’ de skillet sho’ was hot.Dey slurred each othah’s colah an’ dey called each othah names,Wile de coal-oil can des gu-gled, po’in oil erpon de flames. De pot, hit called de skillet des a flat, disfiggered t’ing,An’ de skillet […]

Roses And Pearls

Story type: Poetry

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Your spoken words are roses fine and sweet,The songs you sing are perfect pearls of sound.How lavish nature is about your feet,To scatter flowers and jewels both around. Blushing the stream of petal beauty flows,Softly the white strings trickle down and shine.Oh! speak to me, my love, I crave a rose.Sing me a song, for […]

Rain-Songs

Story type: Poetry

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The rain streams down like harp-strings from the sky;The wind, that world-old harpist sitteth by;And ever as he sings his low refrain,He plays upon the harp-strings of the rain.

At Sunset Time

Story type: Poetry

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Adown the west a golden glowSinks burning in the sea,And all the dreams of long agoCome flooding back to me.The past has writ a story strangeUpon my aching heart,But time has wrought a subtle change,My wounds have ceased to smart. No more the quick delight of youth,No more the sudden pain,I look no more for […]

A Lost Dream

Story type: Poetry

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Ah, I have changed, I do not knowWhy lonely hours affect me so.In days of yore, this were not wont,No loneliness my soul could daunt. For me too serious for my age,The weighty tome of hoary sage,Until with puzzled heart astir,One God-giv’n night, I dreamed of her. I loved no woman, hardly knewMore of the […]

At Loafing-Holt

Story type: Poetry

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Since I left the city’s heatFor this sylvan, cool retreat,High upon the hill-side hereWhere the air is clean and clear,I have lost the urban ways.Mine are calm and tranquil days,Sloping lawns of green are mine,Clustered treasures of the vine;Long forgotten plants I know,Where the best wild berries grow,Where the greens and grasses sprout,When the elders […]

W’en us fellers stomp around, makin’ lots o’ noise,Gramma says, “There’s certain times come to little boysW’en they need a shingle or the soft side of a plank;”She says “we’re a-itchin’ for a right good spank.”An’ she says, “Now thes you wait,It’s a-comin’–soon or late,W’en a feller’s itchin’ fer a spank.” W’en a feller’s out […]

The River Of Ruin

Story type: Poetry

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Along by the river of ruinThey dally–the thoughtless ones,They dance and they dreamBy the side of the stream,As long as the river runs. It seems all so pleasant and cheery–No thought of the morrow is theirs,And their faces are brightWith the sun of delight,And they dream of no night-brooding cares. The women wear garlanded tresses,The […]

To Her

Story type: Poetry

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Your presence like a benison to meWakes my sick soul to dreamful ecstasy,I fancy that some old Arabian nightSaw you my houri and my heart’s delight. And wandering forth beneath the passionate moon,Your love-strung zither and my soul in tune,We knew the joy, the haunting of the painThat like a flame thrills through me now […]

Suppose

Story type: Poetry

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If ’twere fair to supposeThat your heart were not taken,That the dew from the rosePetals still were not shaken,I should pluck you,Howe’er you should thorn me and scorn me,And wear you for life as the green of the bower. If ’twere fair to supposeThat that road was for vagrants,That the wind and the rose,Counted all […]

A Love Letter

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, I des received a letter f’om de sweetest little gal;Oh, my; oh, my.She’s my lovely little sweetheart an’ her name is Sal:Oh, my; oh, my.She writes me dat she loves me an’ she loves me true,She wonders ef I’ll tell huh dat I loves huh, too;An’ my heaht’s so full o’ music dat I […]

Cover him over with daisies whiteAnd eke with the poppies red,Sit with me here by his couch to-night,For the First-Born, Love, is dead. Poor little fellow, he seemed so fairAs he lay in my jealous arms;Silent and cold he is lying thereStripped of his darling charms. Lusty and strong he had grown forsooth,Sweet with an […]

Bein’ Back Home

Story type: Poetry

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Home agin, an’ home to stay–Yes, it’s nice to be away.Plenty things to do an’ see,But the old place seems to meJest about the proper thing.Mebbe ‘ts ’cause the mem’ries clingCloser ’round yore place o’ birth‘N ary other spot on earth. W’y it’s nice jest settin’ here,Lookin’ out an’ seein’ clear,‘Thout no smoke, ner dust, […]

The Old Cabin

Story type: Poetry

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In de dead of night I sometimes,Git to t’inkin’ of de pas’An’ de days w’en slavery helt meIn my mis’ry–ha’d an’ fas’.Dough de time was mighty tryin’,In dese houahs somehow hit seemDat a brightah light come slippin’Thoo de kivahs of my dream. An’ my min’ fu’gits de whuppinsDraps de feah o’ block an’ lashAn’ flies […]

Tim Murphy’s gon’ walkin’ wid Maggie O’Neill,O chone!If I was her muther, I’d frown on sich foolin’,O chone!I’m sure it’s unmutherlike, darin’ an’ wrongTo let a gyrul hear tell the sass an’ the songOf every young felly that happens along,O chone! An’ Murphy, the things that’s be’n sed of his doin’,O chone!‘Tis a cud that […]

Oh the breeze is blowin’ balmyAn the sun is in a haze;There’s a cloud jest givin’ coolnessTo the laziest of days.There are crowds upon the lakeside,But the fish refuse to bite,So I’ll wait and go a-fishin’When the wind gets right. Now my boat tugs at her anchor,Eager now to kiss the spray,While the little waves […]

Anchored

Story type: Poetry

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If thro’ the sea of night which here surrounds me,I could swim out beyond the farthest star,Break every barrier of circumstance that bounds me,And greet the Sun of sweeter life afar, Tho’ near you there is passion, grief, and sorrow,And out there rest and joy and peace and all,I should renounce that beckoning for to-morrow,I […]

Yesterday I held your hand,Reverently I pressed it,And its gentle yieldingnessFrom my soul I blessed it. But to-day I sit alone,Sad and sore repining;Must our gold forever knowFlames for the refining? Yesterday I walked with you,Could a day be sweeter?Life was all a lyric songSet to tricksy meter. Ah, to-day is like a dirge,–Place my […]

The Chase

Story type: Poetry

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The wind told the little leaves to hurry,And chased them down the way,While the mother tree laughed loud in glee,For she thought her babes at play,The cruel wind and the rain laughed loudly,We’ll bury them deep, they said,And the old tree grieves, and the little leavesLie low, all chilled and dead.

Dreamin’ Town

Story type: Poetry

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Come away to dreamin’ town,Mandy Lou, Mandy Lou,Whaih de skies don’ nevah frown,Mandy Lou;Whaih he streets is paved with gol’,Whaih de days is nevah col’,An’ no sheep strays f’om de fol’,Mandy Lou. Ain’t you tiahed of every day,Mandy Lou, Mandy Lou,Tek my han’ an’ come away,Mandy Lou,To the place whaih dreams is King,Whaih my heart […]

At Night

Story type: Poetry

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Whut time ‘d dat clock strike?Nine? No–eight;I didn’t think hit was so late.Aer chew! I must ‘a’ got a cough,I raally b’lieve I did doze off–Hit’s mighty soothin’ to de tiah,A-dozin’ dis way by de fiah;Oo oom–hit feels so good to stretchI sutny is one weary wretch! Look hyeah, dat boy done gone to sleep!He […]

Kidnaped

Story type: Poetry

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I held my heart so far from harm,I let it wander far and freeIn mead and mart, without alarm,Assured it must come back to me. And all went well till on a day,Learned Dr. Cupid wandered byA search along our sylvan wayFor some peculiar butterfly. A flash of wings, a hurried dive,A flutter and a […]

De sun hit shine an’ de win’ hit blow,Ol’ Brer Rabbit be a-layin’ low,He know dat de wintah time a-comin’,De huntah man he walk an’ wait,He walk right by Brer Rabbit’s gate–He know– De dog he lick his sliverin’ chop,An’ he tongue ‘gin’ his mouf go flop, flop–He–He rub his nose fu’ to clah his […]

The Unlucky Apple

Story type: Poetry

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‘Twas the apple that in EdenCaused our father’s primal fall;And the Trojan War, remember–‘Twas an apple caused it all.So for weeks I’ve hesitated,You can guess the reason why,For I want to tell my darlingShe’s the apple of my eye.

The Awakening

Story type: Poetry

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I did not know that life could be so sweet,I did not know the hours could speed so fleet,Till I knew you, and life was sweet again.The days grew brief with love and lack of pain– I was a slave a few short days ago,The powers of Kings and Princes now I know;I would not […]

Love’s Draft

Story type: Poetry

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The draft of love was cool and sweetYou gave me in the cup,But, ah, love’s fire is keen and fleet,And I am burning up. Unless the tears I shed for youShall quench this burning flame,It will consume me through and through,And leave but ash–a name.

A Musical

Story type: Poetry

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Outside the rain upon the street,The sky all grim of hue,Inside, the music-painful sweet,And yet I heard but you. As is a thrilling violin,So is your voice to me,And still above the other strains,It sang in ecstasy.

All de night long twell de moon goes down,Lovin’ I set at huh feet,Den fu’ de long jou’ney back f’om de town,Ha’d, but de dreams mek it sweet. All de night long twell de break of de day,Dreamin’ agin in my sleep,Mandy comes drivin’ my sorrers away,Axin’ me, “Wha’ fu’ you weep?” All de day […]

To Dan

Story type: Poetry

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Step me now a bridal measure,Work give way to love and leisure,Hearts be free and hearts be gay–Doctor Dan doth wed to-day. Diagnosis, cease your squalling–Check that scalpel’s senseless bawling,Put that ugly knife away–Doctor Dan doth wed to-day. ‘Tis no time for things unsightly,Life’s the day and life goes lightly;Science lays aside her sway–Love rules […]

What’s The Use

Story type: Poetry

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What’s the use o’ folks a-frownin’When the way’s a little rough?Frowns lay out the road fur smilin’You’ll be wrinkled soon enough.What’s the use? What’s the use o’ folks a-sighin’?It’s an awful waste o’ breath,An’ a body can’t stand wastin’What he needs so bad in death.What’s the use? What’s the use o’ even weepin’?Might as well […]

A Lazy Day

Story type: Poetry

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The trees bend down along the stream,Where anchored swings my tiny boat.The day is one to drowse and dreamAnd list the thrush’s throttling note.When music from his bosom bleedsAmong the river’s rustling reeds. No ripple stirs the placid pool,When my adventurous line is cast,A truce to sport, while clear and cool,The mirrored clouds slide softly […]

Advice

Story type: Poetry

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W’en you full o’ worry‘Bout yo’ wo’k an’ sich,W’en you kind o’ botheredCase you can’t get rich,An’ yo’ neighboh p’ospahPast his jest desu’ts,An’ de sneer of comerdsStuhes yo’ heaht an’ hu’ts,Des don’ pet yo’ worries,Lay ’em on de she’f,Tek a little troubleBrothah, wid yo’se’f. Ef a frien’ comes mou’nin’‘Bout his awful case,You know you don’ […]

Limitations

Story type: Poetry

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Ef you’s only got de powah fe’ to blow a little whistle,Keep ermong de people wid de whistles.Ef you don’t, you’ll fin’ out sho’tly dat you’s th’owed yo’ fines’ feelin’In a place dat’s all a bed o’ thistles.‘Tain’t no use a-goin’ now, ez sho’s you bo’n,A-squeakin’ of yo’ whistle ‘g’inst a gread big ho’n. Ef […]

A Golden Day

Story type: Poetry

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I found you and I lost you,All on a gleaming day.The day was rilled with sunshine,And the land was full of May. A golden bird was singingIts melody divine,I found you and I loved you,And all the world was mine. I found you and I lost you,All on a golden day,But when I dream of […]

Oh, the little bird is rocking in the cradle of the wind,And it’s bye, my little wee one, bye;The harvest all is gathered and the pippins all are binned;Bye, my little wee one, bye;The little rabbit’s hiding in the golden shock of corn,The thrifty squirrel’s laughing bunny’s idleness to scorn;You are smiling with the angels […]

There’s a fabulous storyFull of splendor and glory,That Arabian legends transcends;Of the wealth without measure,The coffers of treasure,At the place where the rainbow ends. Oh, many have sought it,And all would have bought it,With the blood we so recklessly spend;But none has uncovered,The gold, nor discoveredThe spot at the rainbow’s end. They have sought it […]

Appreciation

Story type: Poetry

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My muvver’s ist the nicest one‘At ever lived wiz folks;She lets you have ze mostes’ fun,An’ laffs at all your jokes. I got a ol’ maid auntie, too,The worst you ever saw;Her eyes ist bore you through and through,–She ain’t a bit like ma. She’s ist as slim, as slim can be,An’ when you want […]

On a summer’s day as I sat by a stream,A dainty maid came by,And she blessed my sight like a rosy dream,And left me there to sigh, to sigh,And left me there to sigh, to sigh. On another day as I sat by the stream,This maiden paused a while,Then I made me bold as I […]

Day

Story type: Poetry

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The gray dawn on the mountain topIs slow to pass away.Still lays him by in sluggish dreams,The golden God of day. And then a light along the hills,Your laughter silvery gay;The Sun God wakes, a bluebird trills,You come and it is day.

Eight of ’em hyeah all tol’ an’ yetDese eyes o’ mine is wringin’ wet;My haht’s a-achin’ ha’d an’ so’,De way hit nevah ached befo’;My soul’s a-pleadin’, “Lawd, give backDis little lonesome baby black,Dis one, dis las’ po’ he’pless oneWhose little race was too soon run.” Po’ Little Jim, des fo’ yeahs ol’A-layin’ down so still […]

The wind is out in its rage to-night,And your father is far at sea.The rime on the window is hard and whiteBut dear, you are near to me.Heave ho, weave low,Waves of the briny deep;Seethe low and breathe low,But sleep you, my little one, sleep, sleep. The little boat rocks in the cove no more,But […]

Wintah time hit comin’Stealin’ thoo de night;Wake up in the mo’nin’Evah t’ing is white;Cabin lookin’ lonesomeStannin’ in de snow,Meks you kin’ o’ nervous,Wen de win’ hit blow. Trompin’ back from feedin’,Col’ an’ wet an’ blue,Homespun jacket ragged,Win’ a-blowin’ thoo.Cabin lookin’ cheerful,Unnerneaf de do’,Yet you kin’ o’ keerfulWen de win’ hit blow. Hickory log a-blazin’Light a-lookin’ […]

Twilight

Story type: Poetry

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‘Twixt a smile and a tear,‘Twixt a song and a sigh,‘Twixt the day and the dark,When the night draweth nigh. Ah, sunshine may fadeFrom the heavens above,No twilight have weTo the day of our love.

Curiosity

Story type: Poetry

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Mammy’s in de kitchen, an’ de do’ is shet;All de pickaninnies climb an’ tug an’ sweat,Gittin’ to de winder, stickin’ dah lak flies,Evah one ermong us des all nose an’ eyes. “Whut’s she cookin’, Isaac?”“Whut’s she cookin’, Jake?”“Is it sweet pertaters? Is hit pie er cake?”But we couldn’t mek out even whah we stoodWhut was […]

She wrapped her soul in a lace of lies,With a prime deceit to pin it;And I thought I was gaining a fearsome prize,So I staked my soul to win it. We wed and parted on her complaint,And both were a bit of barter,Tho’ I’ll confess that I’m no saint,I’ll swear that she’s no martyr.

The Quilting

Story type: Poetry

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Dolly sits a-quilting by her mother, stich by stitch,Gracious, how my pulses throb, how my fingers itch,While I note her dainty waist and her slender hand,As she matches this and that, she stitches strand by strand.And I long to tell her Life’s a quilt and I’m a patch;Love will do the stitching if she’ll only […]

Scamp

Story type: Poetry

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Ain’t it nice to have a mammyW’en you kin’ o’ tiahed outWid a-playin’ in de meddah,An’ a-runnin’ roun’ aboutTill hit’s made you mighty hongry,An’ yo’ nose hit gits to knowWhat de smell means dat ‘s a-comin’F’om de open cabin do’?She wash yo’ face,An’ mek yo’ place,You’s hongry as a tramp;Den hit’s eat you suppah right […]

Days git wa’m an’ wa’mah,School gits mighty dull,Seems lak dese hyeah teachahsMus’ feel mussiful.Hookey’s wrong, I know itAin’t no gent’man’s trick;But de aih’s a-callin’,“Come on to de crick.” Dah de watah’s gu’glin’Ovah shiny stones,Des hit’s ve’y singin’Seems to soothe yo’ bones.Wat’s de use o’ waitin’Go on good an’ quick:Dain’t no fun lak dis hyeahWadin’ in […]

To J. Q

Story type: Poetry

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What are the things that make life bright?A star gleam in the night.What hearts us for the coming fray?The dawn tints of the day.What helps to speed the weary mile?A brother’s friendly smile.What turns o’ gold the evening gray?A flower beside the way.

Diplomacy

Story type: Poetry

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Tell your love where the roses blow,And the hearts of the lilies quiver,Not in the city’s gleam and glow,But down by a half-sunned river.Not in the crowded ball-room’s glare,That would be fatal, Marie, Marie,How can she answer you then and there?So come then and stroll with me, my dear,Down where the birds call, Marie, Marie.

De win’ is blowin’ wahmah,An hit’s blowin’ f’om de bay;Dey’s a so’t o’ mist a-risin’All erlong de meddah way;Dey ain’t a hint o’ frostin’On de groun’ ner in de sky,An’ dey ain’t no use in hopin’Dat de snow’ll ‘mence to fly.It’s goin’ to be a green Christmas,An’ sad de day fu’ me.I wish dis was […]

Good hunting!–aye, good hunting,Wherever the forests call;But ever a heart beats hot with fear,And what of the birds that fall? Good hunting!–aye, good hunting,Wherever the north winds blow;But what of the stag that calls for his mate?And what of the wounded doe? Good hunting!–aye, good hunting;And ah! we are bold and strong;But our triumph call […]

Encouraged

Story type: Poetry

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Because you love me I have much achieved,Had you despised me then I must have failed,But since I knew you trusted and believed,I could not disappoint you and so prevailed.

At The Tavern

Story type: Poetry

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A lilt and a swing,And a ditty to sing,Or ever the night grow old;The wine is within,And I ‘m sure ‘t were a sinFor a soldier to choose to be cold, my dear,For a soldier to choose to be cold. We ‘re right for a spell,But the fever is–well,No thing to be braved, at least;So […]

Night, Dim Night

Story type: Poetry

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Night, dim night, and it rains, my love, it rains,(Art thou dreaming of me, I wonder)The trees are sad, and the wind complains,Outside the rolling of the thunder,And the beat against the panes. Heart, my heart, thou art mournful in the rain,(Are thy redolent lips a-quiver?)My soul seeks thine, doth it seek in vain?My love […]

I Love is the light of the world, my dear,Heigho, but the world is gloomy;The light has failed and the lamp down hurled,Leaves only darkness to me. Love is the light of the world, my dear,Ah me, but the world is dreary;The night is down, and my curtain furledBut I cannot sleep, though weary. Love […]

‘Tis fine to playIn the fragrant hay,And romp on the golden load;To ride old JackTo the barn and back,Or tramp by a shady road.To pause and drink,At a mossy brink;Ah, that is the best of joy,And so I sayOn a summer’s day,What’s so fine as being a boy?Ha, Ha! With line and hookBy a babbling […]

The Sand-Man

Story type: Poetry

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I know a manWith face of tan,But who is ever kind;Whom girls and boysLeaves games and toysEach eventide to find. When day grows dim,They watch for him,He comes to place his claim;He wears the crownOf Dreaming-town;The sand-man is his name. When sparkling eyesTroop sleepywiseAnd busy lips grow dumb;When little headsNod toward the beds,We know the […]

Johnny Speaks

Story type: Poetry

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The sand-man he’s a jolly old fellow,His face is kind and his voice is mellow,But he makes your eyelids as heavy as lead,And then you got to go off to bed;I don’t think I like the sand-man. But I’ve been playing this livelong day;It does make a fellow so tired to play!Oh, my, I’m a-yawning […]

Itching Heels

Story type: Poetry

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Fu’ de peace o’ my eachin’ heels, set down;Don’ fiddle dat chune no mo’.Don’ you see how dat melody stuhs me upAn’ baigs me to tek to de flo’?You knows I ‘s a Christian, good an’ strong;I wusship f’om June to June;My pra’ahs dey ah loud an’ my hymns ah long:I baig you don’ fiddle […]

Winter-Song

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, who would be sad tho’ the sky be a-graying,And meadow and woodlands are empty and bare;For softly and merrily now there come playing,The little white birds thro’ the winter-kissed air. The squirrel’s enjoying the rest of the thrifty,He munches his store in the old hollow tree;Tho’ cold is the blast and the snow-flakes are […]

To An Ingrate

Story type: Poetry

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This is to-day, a golden summer’s dayAnd yet–and yetMy vengeful soul will not forgetThe past, forever now forgot, you say. From that half height where I had sadly climbed,I stretched my hand,I lone in all that land,Down there, where, helpless, you were limed. Our fingers clasped, and dragging me a pace,You struggled up.It is a […]

In the tents of AkbarAre dole and grief to-day,For the flower of all the IndiesHas gone the silent way. In the tents of AkbarAre emptiness and gloom,And where the dancers gather,The silence of the tomb. Across the yellow desert,Across the burning sands,Old Akbar wanders madly,And wrings his fevered hands. And ever makes his moaningTo the […]

All hot and grimy from the road,Dust gray from arduous years,I sat me down and eased my loadBeside the Fount of Tears. The waters sparkled to my eye,Calm, crystal-like, and cool,And breathing there a restful sigh,I bent me to the pool. When, lo! a voice cried: “Pilgrim, rise,Harsh tho’ the sentence be,And on to other […]

Life’s Tragedy

Story type: Poetry

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It may be misery not to sing at allAnd to go silent through the brimming day.It may be sorrow never to be loved,But deeper griefs than these beset the way. To have come near to sing the perfect songAnd only by a half-tone lost the key,There is the potent sorrow, there the grief,The pale, sad […]

De way t’ings come, hit seems to me,Is des’ one monst’ous mystery;De way hit seem to strike a man,Dey ain’t no sense, dey ain’t no plan;Ef trouble sta’ts a pilin’ down,It ain’t no use to rage er frown,It ain’t no use to strive er pray,Hit’s mortal boun’ to come dat way. Now, ef you ‘s […]

Weltschmertz

Story type: Poetry

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You ask why I am sad to-day,I have no cares, no griefs, you say?Ah, yes, ‘t is true, I have no grief–But–is there not the falling leaf? The bare tree there is mourning leftWith all of autumn’s gray bereft;It is not what has happened me,Think of the bare, dismantled tree. The birds go South along […]

Robert Gould Shaw

Story type: Poetry

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Why was it that the thunder voice of FateShould call thee, studious, from the classic groves,Where calm-eyed Pallas with still footstep roves,And charge thee seek the turmoil of the state?What bade thee hear the voice and rise elate,Leave home and kindred and thy spicy loaves,To lead th’ unlettered and despised drovesTo manhood’s home and thunder […]

Roses

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, wind of the spring-time, oh, free wind of May,When blossoms and bird-song are rife;Oh, joy for the season, and joy for the day,That gave me the roses of life, of life,That gave me the roses of life. Oh, wind of the summer, sing loud in the night,When flutters my heart like a dove;One came […]

Love’s Seasons

Story type: Poetry

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When the bees are humming in the honeysuckle vineAnd the summer days are in their bloom,Then my love is deepest, oh, dearest heart of mine,When the bees are humming in the honeysuckle vine. When the winds are moaning o’er the meadows chill and gray,And the land is dim with winter gloom,Then for thee, my darling, […]

To A Dead Friend

Story type: Poetry

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It is as if a silver chordWere suddenly grown mute,And life’s song with its rhythm warredAgainst a silver lute. It is as if a silence fellWhere bides the garnered sheaf,And voices murmuring, “It is well,”Are stifled by our grief. It is as if the gloom of nightHad hid a summer’s day,And willows, sighing at their […]

Heart of the Southland, heed me pleading now,Who bearest, unashamed, upon my browThe long kiss of the loving tropic sun,And yet, whose veins with thy red current run. Borne on the bitter winds from every hand,Strange tales are flying over all the land,And Condemnation, with his pinions foul,Glooms in the place where broods the midnight […]

The Haunted Oak

Story type: Poetry

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Pray why are you so bare, so bare,Oh, bough of the old oak-tree;And why, when I go through the shade you throw,Runs a shudder over me? My leaves were green as the best, I trow,And sap ran free in my veins,But I saw in the moonlight dim and weirdA guiltless victim’s pains. I bent me […]

A Preference

Story type: Poetry

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Mastah drink his ol’ Made’a,Missy drink huh sherry wine,Ovahseah lak his whiskey,But dat othah drink is mine,Des’ ‘lasses an’ watah, ‘lasses an’ watah. Wen you git a steamin’ hoe-cakeOn de table, go way, man!‘D ain but one t’ing to go wid it,‘Sides de gravy in de pan,Dat ‘s ‘lasses an’ watah, ‘lasses an’ watah. W’en […]

The Debt

Story type: Poetry

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This is the debt I payJust for one riotous day,Years of regret and grief,Sorrow without relief. Pay it I will to the end–Until the grave, my friend,Gives me a true release–Gives me the clasp of peace. Slight was the thing I bought,Small was the debt I thought,Poor was the loan at best–God! but the interest!

TUSKEGEE, ALA., APRIL 22, 1901. Not to the midnight of the gloomy past,Do we revert to-day; we look uponThe golden present and the future vastWhose vistas show us visions of the dawn. Nor shall the sorrows of departed yearsThe sweetness of our tranquil souls annoy,The sunshine of our hopes dispels the tears,And clears our eyes […]

A Roadway

Story type: Poetry

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Let those who will stride on their barren roadsAnd prick themselves to haste with self-made goads,Unheeding, as they struggle day by day,If flowers be sweet or skies be blue or gray:For me, the lone, cool way by purling brooks,The solemn quiet of the woodland nooks,A song-bird somewhere trilling sadly gay,A pause to pick a flower […]

By Rugged Ways

Story type: Poetry

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By rugged ways and thro’ the nightWe struggle blindly toward the light;And groping, stumbling, ever prayFor sight of long delaying day.The cruel thorns beside the roadStretch eager points our steps to goad,And from the thickets all aboutDetaining hands reach threatening out. “Deliver us, oh, Lord,” we cry,Our hands uplifted to the sky.No answer save the […]

Love-Song

Story type: Poetry

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If Death should claim me for her own to-day,And softly I should falter from your side,Oh, tell me, loved one, would my memory stay,And would my image in your heart abide?Or should I be as some forgotten dream,That lives its little space, then fades entire?Should Time send o’er you its relentless stream,To cool your heart, […]

Slow moves the pageant of a climbing race;Their footsteps drag far, far below the height,And, unprevailing by their utmost might,Seem faltering downward from each hard won place.No strange, swift-sprung exception we; we traceA devious way thro’ dim, uncertain light,–Our hope, through the long vistaed years, a sightOf that our Captain’s soul sees face to face.Who, […]

Say a mass for my soul’s repose, my brother,Say a mass for my soul’s repose, I need it,Lovingly lived we, the sons of one mother,Mine was the sin, but I pray you not heed it. Dark were her eyes as the sloe and they called me,Called me with voice independent of breath.God! how my heart […]

Douglass

Story type: Poetry

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Ah, Douglass, we have fall’n on evil days,Such days as thou, not even thou didst know,When thee, the eyes of that harsh long agoSaw, salient, at the cross of devious ways,And all the country heard thee with amaze.Not ended then, the passionate ebb and flow,The awful tide that battled to and fro;We ride amid a […]

Hyeah dat singin’ in de meddersWhaih de folks is mekin’ hay?Wo’k is pretty middlin’ heavyFu’ a man to be so gay.You kin tell dey ‘s somep’n specialF’om de canter o’ de song;Somep’n sholy pleasin’ Sam’l,W’en he singin’ all day long. Hyeahd him wa’blin’ ‘way dis mo’nin’‘Fo’ ‘t was light enough to see.Seem lak music in […]

The word is writ that he who runs may read.What is the passing breath of earthly fame?But to snatch glory from the hands of blame–That is to be, to live, to strive indeed.A poor Virginia cabin gave the seed,And from its dark and lowly door there cameA peer of princes in the world’s acclaim,A master […]

The Monk’s Walk

Story type: Poetry

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In this sombre garden closeWhat has come and passed, who knows?What red passion, what white painHaunted this dim walk in vain? Underneath the ivied wall,Where the silent shadows fall,Lies the pathway chill and dampWhere the world-quit dreamers tramp. Just across, where sunlight burns,Smiling at the mourning ferns,Stand the roses, side by side,Nodding in their useless […]

“In the fight at Brandywine, Black Samson, a giant negro armed with a scythe, sweeps his way through the red ranks….” C. M. Skinner’s “Myths and Legends of Our Own Land.” Gray are the pages of record,Dim are the volumes of eld;Else had old Delaware told usMore that her history held.Told us with pride in […]

A Misty Day

Story type: Poetry

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Heart of my heart, the day is chill,The mist hangs low o’er the wooded hill,The soft white mist and the heavy cloudThe sun and the face of heaven shroud.The birds are thick in the dripping trees,That drop their pearls to the beggar breeze;No songs are rife where songs are wont,Each singer crouches in his haunt. […]

Li’l’ Gal

Story type: Poetry

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Oh, de weathah it is balmy an’ de breeze is sighin’ low.Li’l’ gal,An’ de mockin’ bird is singin’ in de locus’ by de do’,Li’l’ gal;Dere ‘s a hummin’ an’ a bummin’ in de lan’ f’om eas’ to wes’,I ‘s a-sighin’ fu’ you, honey, an’ I nevah know no res’.Fu’ dey ‘s lots o’ trouble brewin’ […]

Dey been speakin’ at de cou’t-house,An’ laws-a-massy me,‘T was de beatness kin’ o’ doin’sDat evah I did see.Of cose I had to be dahIn de middle o’ de crowd,An’ I hallohed wid de othahs,Wen de speakah riz and bowed. I was kind o’ disapp’intedAt de smallness of de man,Case I ‘d allus pictered great folksOn […]

Mammy Peggy’s Pride

Story type: Literature

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In the failing light of the midsummer evening, two women sat upon the broad veranda that ran round three sides of the old Virginia mansion. One was young and slender with the slightness of delicate girlhood. The other was old, black and ample,–a typical mammy of the old south. The girl was talking in low, […]

Viney’s Free Papers

Story type: Literature

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Part I There was joy in the bosom of Ben Raymond. He sang as he hoed in the field. He cheerfully worked overtime and his labors did not make him tired. When the quitting horn blew he executed a double shuffle as he shouldered his hoe and started for his cabin. While the other men […]

The Strength Of Gideon

Story type: Literature

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Old Mam’ Henry, and her word may be taken, said that it was “De powerfulles’ sehmont she ever had hyeahd in all huh bo’n days.” That was saying a good deal, for the old woman had lived many years on the Stone place and had heard many sermons from preachers, white and black. She was […]

One Man’s Fortunes

Story type: Literature

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Part I When Bertram Halliday left the institution which, in the particular part of the middle west where he was born, was called the state university, he did not believe, as young graduates are reputed to, that he had conquered the world and had only to come into his kingdom. He knew that the battle […]

His name was Patsy Barnes, and he was a denizen of Little Africa. In fact, he lived on Douglass Street. By all the laws governing the relations between people and their names, he should have been Irish–but he was not. He was colored, and very much so. That was the reason he lived on Douglass […]

The Ingrate

Story type: Literature

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I Mr. Leckler was a man of high principle. Indeed, he himself had admitted it at times to Mrs. Leckler. She was often called into counsel with him. He was one of those large souled creatures with a hunger for unlimited advice, upon which he never acted. Mrs. Leckler knew this, but like the good, […]

The man of the house is about to go into the dining-room when he hears voices that tell him that his wife has gone down to give the “hired help” a threatened going over. He quietly withdraws, closes the door noiselessly behind him and listens from a safe point of vantage. One voice is timid […]

There was great commotion in Zion Church, a body of Christian worshippers, usually noted for their harmony. But for the last six months, trouble had been brewing between the congregation and the pastor. The Rev. Elisha Edwards had come to them two years before, and he had given good satisfaction as to preaching and pastoral […]

It was a beautiful day in balmy May and the sun shone pleasantly on Mr. Cornelius Johnson’s very spruce Prince Albert suit of grey as he alighted from the train in Washington. He cast his eyes about him, and then gave a sigh of relief and satisfaction as he took his bag from the porter […]

An Old-Time Christmas

Story type: Literature

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When the holidays came round the thoughts of ‘Liza Ann Lewis always turned to the good times that she used to have at home when, following the precedent of anti-bellum days, Christmas lasted all the week and good cheer held sway. She remembered with regret the gifts that were given, the songs that were sung […]

Jim’s Probation

Story type: Literature

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For so long a time had Jim been known as the hardest sinner on the plantation that no one had tried to reach the heart under his outward shell even in camp-meeting and revival times. Even good old Brother Parker, who was ever looking after the lost and straying sheep, gave him up as beyond […]

Mr. Marston sat upon his wide veranda in the cool of the summer Sabbath morning. His hat was off, the soft breeze was playing with his brown hair, and a fragrant cigar was rolled lazily between his lips. He was taking his ease after the fashion of a true gentleman. But his eyes roamed widely, […]

The Faith Cure Man

Story type: Literature

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Hope is tenacious. It goes on living and working when science has dealt it what should be its deathblow. In the close room at the top of the old tenement house little Lucy lay wasting away with a relentless disease. The doctor had said at the beginning of the winter that she could not live. […]

The Finding Of Zach

Story type: Literature

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The rooms of the “Banner” Club–an organization of social intent, but with political streaks–were a blaze of light that Christmas Eve night. On the lower floor some one was strumming on the piano, and upstairs, where the “ladies” sat, and where the Sunday smokers were held, a man was singing one of the latest coon […]

Johnsonham, Junior

Story type: Literature

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Now any one will agree with me that it is entirely absurd for two men to fall out about their names; but then, circumstances alter cases. It had its beginning in 1863, and it has just ended. In the first place, Ike and Jim had been good friends on the plantation, but when the time […]

Polly Jackson was a model woman. She was practical and hard-working. She knew the value of a dollar, could make one and keep one, sometimes–fate permitting. Fate was usually Sam and Sam was Polly’s husband. Any morning at six o’clock she might be seen, basket on arm, wending her way to the homes of her […]

It was a drizzly, disagreeable April night. The wind was howling in a particularly dismal and malignant way along the valleys and hollows of that part of Central Kentucky in which the rural settlement of Three Forks is situated. It had been “trying to rain” all day in a half-hearted sort of manner, and now […]

A Mess Of Pottage

Story type: Literature

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It was because the Democratic candidate for Governor was such an energetic man that he had been able to stir Little Africa, which was a Republican stronghold, from centre to circumference. He was a man who believed in carrying the war into the enemy’s country. Instead of giving them a chance to attack him, he […]

A Council Of State

Story type: Literature

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PART I Luther Hamilton was a great political power. He was neither representative in Congress, senator nor cabinet minister. When asked why he aspired to none of these places of honor and emolument he invariably shrugged his shoulders and smiled inscrutably. In fact, he found it both more pleasant and more profitable simply to boss […]

Silas Jackson

Story type: Literature

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I Silas Jackson was a young man to whom many opportunities had come. Had he been a less fortunate boy, as his little world looked at it, he might have spent all his days on the little farm where he was born, much as many of his fellows did. But no, Fortune had marked him […]