African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Benjamin Griffith Brawley, "Paul Lawrence Dunbar" (1906)

And so thou'rt gone, O brother to the night!
After the years of waiting and the pain,
After the striving and the stress thou'rt gone!
After the pulsing heart-throb and the fret,
The quick reward, the sudden voice of fame,
The noisy clamor of a great world's praise,
The great far-sight into the heart of things,
Thou'rt gone, and wilt be with us here no more.

We loved thee, brother, in this nether light,
With hearts more full of love than we did dream;
We loved thy voice, thy work, they heart, thy hope,
Thy aspiration and enlightened view,
We loved thee in the darkness of the year
When thou didst tread the borderland of death;
And love thee now with that far greater love
That beckons us to thy eternal light.

And when in some far-off hereafter day
The voice of Fame shall speak her last decree,
When she shall summon from the wreck of worlds
The names that Time's great movement shall defeat,
And when then she shall stand beside thy tomb,
The laurel in her hand, and think on thee,
Tis then will be thy word upon the scroll:
He voiced the yearning of a people's soul

Published in Voice of the Negro, April 1906

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