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

Gertrude H. Dorsey Brown, "The Untold" (1907)

Gertrude H. Dorsey Brown, "The Untold" (1907)

Respectfully dedicated to the memory of the late Chas. L. Marshall, principal of Christiansburg Industrial Institute, Christiansburg, Va, and Elizabeth Wright-Menafee, principal of Voorhees Industrial School, Denmark, S.C.

There are heroes in the great beyond
Whose names no history tells;
There are many in the vast unknown
Whose praise no charms swells.

There are fathers who have fought alone,
Alone in rain or sun,
But by their toils, which few will own,
Great, victories have been won.

The mothers who have suffered much
That others might be blest,
Yea, legion is the name of such,
Whose deeds are unconfessed.

The mountain cave may be the spot,
The valley hut the place
Where, in the peasant's lodge or cot
Is hid a hero's face.

Beauty has lived whose perfect grace
A Raphael's virgin vied;
No artist drew the lovely face,
His colors lie untried.

Birds and flowers have passed away
Whose matins and whose bloom
No human ear has caught the lay,
No mortal the perfume.

Some one deserved the laurel wreath
Another's brow adorns,
But lo, he fainted in the heath,
Beneath a crown of thorns.

Some one, some where, in times of need
Has righted divers wrongs
No poet words his noble deed,
No minstrel sings his songs.

The songs unsung, and deeds untold,
The beauty still unfound;
The lambs who never knew a fold
The heroes left uncrowned.

They number more than tongue can tell
As each age adds its store,
While years and months the army swell,
And still there's more and more. 

'Tis not the brush, nor verse, nor song,
Nor homage of the clan
That helps humanity along—
The ACTION makes the man.

However secret be the place
Of duties performed well,
God's book of records none erase
Eternity will tell.

Published in Colored American Magazine, September 1907

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