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

Elliott Blaine Henderson, "In Memoriam (Paul Laurence Dunbar)" (1907)

In Memoriam.


God from His glorious throne looked down,
And plucked him as the blushing flower;
Solemn as death, grieveous and awed,
Was made a grateful race that hour.
This is a debt we all must pay—
The rich, the high, the low—
The exit from this world to that
Of happiness or woe.
'Tis for the soul of spotless white,
Cleansed pure as Heaven's holy spheres,
To walk the streets beyond the void
Bereft of sighs, bereft of tears.
Brilliance of mind beyond discount,
The birthright of this noble son,
Forged verse which moved the hearts of men,
And brought him laurels truly won.

Deeds of potency and power
Wrought he 'mid clouds of dire dispair,
Upon successes sun kissed heights
He found at last a welcome there.
Verse flowed as magic from his pen,
Encouching sweet and beauteous thought,
Of negro life before the days
When struggling men for freedom fought.
As long as history endures
He there shall find abiding place;
Plaudits and honor e'er for him—
The greatest poet of his race.
Not in monumental stone,
Not in history alone,
But in our loving, grateful hearts,
He there shall live—shall find a throne.
Bury him in a hallowed spot,
Where devastation cometh not,
In a picturesque vale where nature in sublimity
Stands out in wondrous bold relief,
The enshinement of him
Whose life was brief.

Published in The Soliloquy of Satan: And Other Poems, 1907

This page has tags: