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

C. Henry Holmes, "A Memorial of Frederick Douglass" (1900)


He was a noble hero, born in an humble state,
But with a will like Nero, his cruel chains did break.
If in the glorious transept, worth and fitness reign,
If in the unknown regions, all are rewarded the same,
If to the hero modern, honor is rightly given,
His is a sapphired crown in the bright kingdom of heaven.

Tell of sagacious raids on the black tiller of soil,
Bringing from under-byways
Into freedom's sunshine and joy.
Tell of the noble plea the companion of martyred John Brown,
Earth but records - heaven rewards
The worthy with worthy renown.

Tell of the noble traits of character true as steel,
Tell of the fear-fraught days which every true patriot feels.
Tell of the powerful mind that forces the just decree,
Fair Ethiope placed with thee her hopes in blessed security.

Wet are the cheeks of millions; loudly do they lament,
Whence thou art swiftly riven from the mundane transient.
Death- unsatiable devourer thou checkmate of good men's deeds,
Visiting earth each hour, unmindful of worldly needs,
But to thy name and prestige, posterity ever lauds,
Honor in life, happy in death, near the throne of the living God.

Published in Colored American Magazine, September 1900

This page has tags: