Frederick Douglass

Paul Laurence Dunbar

 
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 mists
   And 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 was her champion thro' direful years,
   And held her weal all other ends above.
When Bondage held her bleeding in the dust,
He raised her up and whispered, "Hope and Trust."
For her his voice, a fearless clarion, rung
   That broke in warning on the ears of men;
For her the strong bow of his power he strung,
   And sent his arrows to the very den
Where grim Oppression held his bloody place
And gloated o'er the mis'ries of a race.
And he was no soft-tongued apologist;
   He spoke straightforward, fearlessly uncowed;
The sunlight of his truth dispelled the mist,
   And set in bold relief each dark hued cloud;
To sin and crime he gave their proper hue,
And hurled at evil what was evil's due.
Through good and ill report he cleaved his way.
   Right onward, with his face set toward the heights,
Nor feared to face the foeman's dread array,--
   The lash of scorn, the sting of petty spites.
He dared the lightning in the lightning's track,
And answered thunder with his thunder back.
When men maligned him, and their torrent wrath
   In furious imprecations o'er him broke,
He kept his counsel as he kept his path;
   'Twas for his race, not for himself he spoke.
He knew the import of his Master's call,
And felt himself too mighty to be small.
No miser in the good he held was he,--
   His kindness followed his horizon's rim.
His heart, his talents, and his hands were free
   To all who truly needed aught of him.
Where poverty and ignorance were rife,
He gave his bounty as he gave his life.
The place and cause that first aroused his might
   Still proved its power until his latest day.
In Freedom's lists and for the aid of Right
   Still in the foremost rank he waged the fray;
Wrong lived; his occupation was not gone.
He died in action with his armor on!
We weep for him, but we have touched his hand,
   And felt the magic of his presence nigh,
The current that he sent throughout the land,
   The kindling spirit of his battle-cry.
O'er all that holds us we shall triumph yet,
And place our banner where his hopes were set!
Oh, Douglass, thou hast passed beyond the shore,
   But still thy voice is ringing o'er the gale!
Thou'st taught thy race how high her hopes may soar,
   And bade her seek the heights, nor faint, nor fail.
She will not fail, she heeds thy stirring cry,
She knows thy guardian spirit will be nigh,
And, rising from beneath the chast'ning rod,
She stretches out her bleeding hands to God!
 

Poems by This Author

A Negro Love Song by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Seen my lady home las' night,
Beyond the Years by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Beyond the years the answer lies
In Summer by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In Summer Time by Paul Laurence Dunbar
When summer time has come, and all
Invitation to Love by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Come when the nights are bright with stars
Phyllis by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Ships That Pass in the Night by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing
Signs of the Times by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Air a-gittin' cool an' coolah
Summer in the South by Paul Laurence Dunbar
The oriole sings in the greening grove
Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar
I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
The Debt by Paul Laurence Dunbar
This is the debt I pay
We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar
We wear the mask that grins and lies
When Malindy Sings by Paul Laurence Dunbar
G'way an' quit dat noise, Miss Lucy--


Further Reading

Black History
A Negro Love Song
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
A Song for Many Movements
by Audre Lorde
American History
by Michael S. Harper
Believing in Iron
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Black Woman
by Georgia Douglas Johnson
Derrick Poem (The Lost World)
by Terrance Hayes
Dreams
by Langston Hughes
For the Confederate Dead
by Kevin Young
Haircut
by Elizabeth Alexander
Harriet Tubman
by Eloise Greenfield
homage to my hips
by Lucille Clifton
I'm A Fool To Love You
by Cornelius Eady
La Vie C'est La Vie
by Jessie Redmon Fauset
Langston Blue
by Jericho Brown
Lift Every Voice and Sing
by James Weldon Johnson
Quatrains
by Gwendolyn Bennett
Reunion 2005
by Rita Dove
Song of the Son
by Jean Toomer
Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou
The Day I Saw Barack Obama Reading Derek Walcott's Collected Poems
by Yusef Komunyakaa
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
by Langston Hughes
The Spring Cricket Considers the Question of Negritude
by Rita Dove
The White House
by Claude McKay
We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks
We Wear the Mask
by Paul Laurence Dunbar