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

Eloise A. Bibb, "In Memoriam Frederick Douglass" (1895)


O Death! why dost thou steal the great,
With grudging like to strongest hate,
And rob the world of giant minds,
For whom all nature mourns and pines.

So few have we upon the earth,
Whom God ennobled at their birth,
With genius stamped upon their souls,
That guides, directs, persuades, controls.

So few who scorn the joys of life,
And labor in contending strife,
With Zeal increased and strength of ten,
To ameliorate the ills of men.

So few who keep a record clean,
Amid temptations strong and keen;
Who live laborious days and nights,
And shun the storms of passion's blights.

O, why cannot these linger here,
As lights upon this planet drear;
Forever in the public sight,
To lead us always to the right?

O Douglass! thou wert 'mong the few
Who struggles and temptations knew,
Yet bravely mounted towering heights,
Amazing both to blacks and whites.

The Sons of Ham feel desolate
Without thee, O Douglass the Great;
A nation's tears fall now with mine,
While mourning at thy sacred shrine.

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