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

Countee Cullen, "Song of the Rejected Lover" (1927)

Song of the Rejected Lover

WITH silver bell scarce sounding at the pace,
Slow riding down from courtly Camelot,
Roused from the splendor of her escort’s grace,
Queen Guinevere turns cold to Lancelot.

For love of me Elaine has kissed Death’s face,
For love of me is grief in Astolat,
While for the warm delight of my embrace
Queen Guinevere turns cold to Lancelot.

Thou slender cruelty and slim distress,
Let each to each forgetful and forgot
Abide; for me, a dream-dark loveliness,
Queen Guinevere turns cold to Lancelot.