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

Islay Walden, "Walden's Miscellaneous Poems" (full text) (1873)


WASHINGTON, D. C., JULY 26, 1872.
I believe the facts as stated in the following Introduction
to be strictly true, and take pleasure in commending ISLAY
WALDEN to a generous public for such aid as can be given
him, in his effort to obtain an education.
Prof. Nat. Phil. and Prin. Nor. Dept. H. U.

Washington, August 1, 1872.

I take pleasure in commending to the reading public the
author of this work, Mr. ISLAY WALDEN, now of this city. Of
the worth of his writings I leave careful readers to judge; of
his own worth-his perseverance, integrity and Christian
character-I can speak in terms of praise, after years of careful
observation. From the time of his coming to Washington, in
the winter of 1867-'68, up to the present date, I have watched
with interest and pride his steady growth in grace, his rapid
mental development, his unceasing devotion to principle, and
his earnest labors in behalf of the poor of his race, who surely
will, in days to come, remember and bless him for his coun-
sels. His work in organizing Sabbath Schools among the poor
colored children of this city, as well as his labors among
those who could not thus be reached, by reason of their in-
firmities, we know and cannot too highly approve. And all
this persevering study, this devotion to duty, is the more to
be commended, as we remember his affliction, a defective
vision-at times almost blindness-which alone would have
served to keep a less devoted servant in the background.
I trust this his first venture will meet with the success it
deserves; that his quaint rhymes may please and profit all
who read them; that, whatever may be the faults of metre,
critics will not lose sight of the eloquence, originality and
real beauty of thought that are found in his work.

Introductory Verses
The Danger.
To S. S. N..
Doubts and Fears
Jesus, my Friend.
Eulogy on a Classmate.
Prayer for the School.
My Refuge.
Letter to Miss Smitherman.
One to Love.
The Sacred Stream..
The Nation's Friend
The Little Helper
Love's Soliloquy.
Our May-Day Walk.
The Young Man's Comforter.
Consecration of Self..
To my Benefactor, Dr. D. B. N
To M. W. W., on Her First Effort at Shirt-making.
Inquiry, N. N. Gray.
Grace at Table.
Ode to General O. O. Howard
The Prince of Peace.
Letter to Dr. See..
To a Friend.
On a Seamstress.
Call to Sabbath-School.
To the Graduating Class.
On a Friend..
A Lady Friend.
Introductory to Additional Poems

To the Faculty of Howard University..
To Alfred Horner
To Miss Crane..
Letter to Rev. Mr. Hartraught
To John K. Smith, of Trenton, N. J.
Dedicated to a Young Lady
Wish for an Overcoat.
To Hon. Senator Pomeroy.
To Miss N. J..
To Professor Atherton.
The Golden Rule: Its Introduction at the University.
To Miss W*****.
Ode to Mr. Dunlap and Family.
The Widow..
An Address to Dixie.
The Icy Poem..
Dedicated to the Junior Society.
The Hand of Death Invisible.
Correspondent Solicited..
In honor of Dr. Jos. Taber Johnson.
Place Thy Trust in God..


ISLAY WALDEN was born a slave in Randolph County North
Carolina. His master died when he was an infant, and he
was sold twice in his mother's arms. When eight or ten years
old he attracted a good deal of attention by his ingenuity in
the use of carpenter's tools, and for great aptness in reckon-
ing. His master would take him to market to make his calcu-
lations for him, and bets were frequently made by himself and
friends on Islay's being able to perform certain difficult cal-
culations in three minutes time. These calculations were all
mental; he never had the least training from books.
His master learned to value his services in keeping things
in order about the place, making little repairs, etc., so that
he was never put to hard work.

From the failure of his owners, he changed hands several
times. His mother died when he was about eight years old.
When about eighteen years old he was engaged at a gold
mine in driving oxen. The owner* was a very passionate man,
and was 30 angry one day that he was about to strike an ox
to the ground with a mattock. Walden remonstrated, saying,
"The ox will die." It fell dead in a few moments. They
threw its body into a pit where a shaft had been sunk,
and while they were standing over it Walden made and re-
cited impromptu his first verses—

*Of this gentleman, [Mr. JOHN MERTON,] and his estimable family,
Isley Walden speaks in warm terms of commendation, a rivalry seeming
to exist among them as to who could do the most to contribute to his gen-
eral comfort, whether at his labors as a slave, or as careful and sympa
thizing attendants in sickness.


''Poor Old Dick,
He died quick!
He died all in a minute.
Here is a shaft thirty feet,
And we have thrown him in it.
He was red,
And he is dead!
The buzzards may forsake him;
For he is buried thirty feet,
Where they can never get him."
After he had repeated this the man says, "Walden, you are
a poet." Walden asked, "What is a poet?" He replied,
"One who writes poetry." "What is poetry?" asked Walden.
The man explained by asking him if he did not know what
hymns are? &c.
From this time he was running over rhymes in his head,
and longing to learn.
The second poem was composed on the occasion of his
being attacked by a drunken man. A mob collected, and he
was in danger of being killed if caught. While hiding from
them under a tree he composed the lines beginning-
"Now here I lie upon the ground."
The surrender of General Lee occurred while he was at the
mine. He left there soon after, and went from one mine to
another, in North Carolina, until he came to Washington,
searching for glasses to enable him to study.
He came on foot, the snow falling during part of the jour-
ney. He was told by some he was too old to learn; by others
that his eyes were so poor he could never study.
After a good deal of wandering about he met Dr. Nichols
at a preaching service at Howard University. He gave him
the first real encouragement.
He composed some political ballads, which he had printed
and went about the street selling them-all the time trying
to find some help for his eyes, or some school where they

would teach him. He lived in this way three years, extending
his travels through parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
While in New Jersey he attracted the attention of the Second
Reformed Church in New Brunswick, which, through Professor
Atherton, pledged one hundred and fifty dollars a year to-
wards his school expenses until he should graduate.
Dr. Nichols was still his friend, and when he made applica-
tion to enter Howard University a year ago his daughter
taught him, patiently and faithfully, for three weeks. At the
end of that time he was able to write something which re-
sembled his name, read pretty well in the Second Reader, and
worked examples in long division. He entered the lowest
class three months behind it. At the end of six months he
skipped a class, and joined another a year in advance of the
one which he first entered.

Since he has been in the University he has composed a
number of pieces suggested by passing events characteristic
of school matters, &c., which he has collected in this little
book. He wishes to sell them during his vacation, to make
a sum sufficient for extra expenses during another year.
We do not claim great poetical merit, but think the effort
worthy of encouragement. His stock of words is necessarily
small, as he had no knowledge of books until within the past

C. C. H.

[NOTE--The proper name of the author of this little volume
is Alfred Islay Walden, but, for the reason that when but a
young lad a man was hung, in the same County in which he
resided, with the surname of Alfred the name become repul-
sive to the ear of the unlettered boy, and he mentally resolved
to abjure the name. Since that time he has been known only
by the name of Islay Walden.]



I WILL record each little rhyme,
Although it may not be sublime,
Shall I despise the day though small?
Can I forget my Saviour's call?
Help me to love each little thing
From which the great and noble spring!
It's very true, yet it can be,
That drops of water fill the sea?
The mustard seed is very small;
The tree it brings is great and tall,
It spreads its branches far around,
Among its boughs the birds abound.
I then may do some noble deeds,
When I have sown these little seeds,
If one should fall in some one's heart,
And give to him an upward start.
Unseen the sparrow does not fall,
For Jesus Christ takes note of all.

The little ant is smaller yet,
And we may go and learn of it.
A single tear from weeping eyes,
Is like the rain drops from the skies,
For each one does its office fill,
And I should do my Saviour's will.
Now if the spiders were to say,
Just take these little webs away,
Would they succeed in catching flies,
Or would the Bible call them wise?
The locusts are without a king,
And yet they make the forest ring!
The coney I will not omit,
Because 'tis small and full of wit.
When Jesus left the shining sky,
And came on earth, for man to die,
He gave His life upon the tree,
That he might make sin's captive free.
He did not seek to dwell with kings,
Nor did he slight the minor things;
I know that he was meek and mild,
And sought to bless each little child.
And when he said, Go forth and preach,
Did he not also bid to teach?
Although my talent may be small,
My Saviour will require it all.


Now here I lie upon the ground,
I wonder if I shall be found,
There's nothing but this little pine
By which in safety to recline.
Now it is standing on this hill,
And if I'm safe it is God's will;
But should I now be called to die,
On wings of love I soon would fly.
I hear the crew, now passing by,
And wonder if they 'll me descry;
For I can hear them loud proclaim,
While swearing vengeance on my name.
I see them going hand in hand,
And hear them in their noisy band,
I hear their guns and pistols crack,
As though they were returning back.
Jesus, to Thee I lift my prayer,
That Thou would'st save me from despair;
For they are drawing near the place
Where I have sought to hide my face.
For now they pass and do not see,
And surely I shall soon be free,
So, let me rise upon my feet;
It may be that I can retreat.

The little ant is smaller yet,
And we may go and learn of it.
A single tear from weeping eyes,
Is like the rain drops from the skies,
For each one does its office fill,
And I should do my Saviour's will.
Now if the spiders were to say,
Just take these little webs away,
Would they succeed in catching flies,
Or would the Bible call them wise?
The locusts are without a king,
And yet they make the forest ring!
The coney I will not omit,
Because 'tis small and full of wit.
When Jesus left the shining sky,
And came on earth, for man to die,
He gave His life upon the tree,
That he might make sin's captive free.
He did not seek to dwell with kings,
Nor did he slight the minor things;
I know that he was meek and mild,
And sought to bless each little child.
And when he said, Go forth and preach,
Did he not also bid to teach?
Although my talent may be small,
My Saviour will require it all.


Now here I lie upon the ground,
I wonder if I shall be found,
There's nothing but this little pine
By which in safety to recline.
Now it is standing on this hill,
And if I'm safe it is God's will
But should I now be called to die,
On wings of love I soon would fly.
I hear the crew, now passing by,
And wonder if they 'll me descry;
For I can hear them loud proclaim,
While swearing vengeance on my name.
I see them going hand in hand,
And hear them in their noisy band,
I hear their guns and pistols crack,
As though they were returning back.
Jesus, to Thee I lift my prayer,
That Thou would'st save me from despair;
For they are drawing near the place
Where I have sought to hide my face.
For now they pass and do not see,
And surely I shall soon be free,
So, let me rise upon my feet;
It may be that I can retreat.

How near they came unto the pine
By which, in fear, I did recline;
The distance measured in good fix,
The feet were number thirty-six.
TO S. S. N.
ARAH, thy name shall ever live!
Shall have the best place in my heart,
For the instruction thou didst give,
When others bade me to depart.
Stretch forth thy loving, gentle hands,
And bid the needy come to thee,
For there are many in the land,
Who gladly seek to learn of thee.
Thy gentle hand shalt bless the poor,
Shall wipe away the tears they shed;
And from thy bounty I am sure,
The poor and needy shall have bread.
Thy steadfast feet shall tread the way,
That saints and angels long have trod
If thou wilt only watch and pray,
And seek to serve the living God.


T WAS the time of fear and dread,
I looked to Calvary;
I had not where to lay my head,
My Saviour pitied me.
He seemed to speak in words unknown,
Looking from Calvary;
He seemed to say, why weep and moan
Oh! why not come to me?
My answer was, I could not come
With sins so much oppressed;
While they were rising, one by one,
Upon my weary breast.
Jesus, the Son of God, still lives,
And scatters doubts and fear;
His power the sins of all forgives,
And bids them disappear.
ESUS, thy love did leave its charms
Engraved upon my heart;
Thou bad'st me fly unto thine arms,
And from my sins depart.

It was the time I came to thee,
With sin so much oppressed,
It was thy love that rescued me,
And gave my spirit rest.
But since that time I've gone astray,
My love is cold to Thee,
And I am in the crooked way,
Thy light I cannot see.
O could I see thy love again,
Come beaming from the sky,
And know that I am free from sin,
And feel that thou art nigh!
I would no longer linger here,
And sink with fear and shame,
But I would seek the cross to bear,
And own my Saviour's name.
Now let me to my Saviour go,
And lean upon his breast,
Where peace and love forever flow,
In heaven, among the blest.
[The above lines are the second religious ones ever com
posed by me, and these were suggested to me on a pleasant
Sabbath day, when returning from Sabbath school; and, mu-
sing on my soul's welfare, both in time and in eternity, I was
suddenly aroused by some very wicked boys who were
spending the Lord's day in idle sport, smoking and swearing,
thus profaning God's name and day. I wondered how long
man will be permitted to disregard the Bible, and violate the
laws of the land!--How long he will shut himself out from
good society, and bind himself in fetters of sin and death?-the
death that never dies! May they soon hear, turn and ive.]

TO E. E. S.
WEET and pleasant are thy features,
Kind, and lovely are thy ways,
Fairer than ten thousand creatures,
The brightest vision of my days!
I mark thy steps from day to day,
And know that they are firm and true,
I only wish a word to say;
Take heed to all you speak or do.
From thy door a glancing look,
Upon my heart what wonders wrought!
Thy smiles from me my sorrows took.
Oh, how I felt! Oh, what I thought!
Now let me to yon garden go,
Where flowers bloom so fair and gay,
There I shall find some one I know,
Who will entice me there to stay.
Among the flowers, great and small,
The sweetness I will much admire;
Till one I find amidst them all,
That I may pick, and then retire.
Art thou not in gorgeous green,
Where all the living flowers grow,

How is it that thou art the queen
Of all who see, and all who know?
But for myself, let me employ,
Ten thousand tongues, this one to aid,
That I may speak my inward joy,
When thee I see, thou pretty maid.
Kind Miss, I thee must bid adieu,
To thee, and all who thee surround;
But let me say, there's none like thee,
In all the world, that I have found.
ESUS, my Saviour, and my King,
Oh, grant this school a song to sing,
That we together here may meet,
And bow and worship at thy feet.
And when we shall have left this place,
Then give us of thy richest grace,
And lead each one unto his home,
That we may praise thee on thy throne!
And if we here shall meet no more,
Then let us meet on Canaan's shore,
Where we may walk the streets around,
And wear a robe, and starry crown.


TRETCH forth thy loving gentle hand
And raise thy banner to the sky,
Go, save the drunkards of the land,
When others shall have passed them by.
Oh, stretch thy net across the sea,
And gather in both great and small,
Yes, bid the drunkards come to thee,
And save them from the dreadful fall.
Thy ship is anchored near the shore,
Ten thousand stand upon her deck,
And she can carry thousands more.
Fearless of winds, or storms, or wreck.
How millions gather thick around,
With each eye fixed upon her sails,
To see her venture o'er the sound,
Moved onward by the gentle gales.
She soon will reach the happy land,
And gently touch the blissful shore,
Where millions round their Saviour stand,
Who'll sail this temperance boat no more.
This was composed during the Congressional Temperance
Meeting held at Howard University, at which Dr. Chickering
presided, and Senator Pomeroy, and others made speeches.


WHY do I doubt and tremble here,
Beneath this load of sin I bear?
Is there no one to pity me,
In all this grief and misery?
Why do I shrink with fear and shame,
And dare to own my Saviour's name?
Did He not die upon the tree,
That sinful man might thus be free?
Is there no room upon His breast,
Where I may lay my head to rest?
Did He not die a death of shame,
And bear for man the dreadful pain?
THIS letter was written to a little child living in North
Carolina, that I used to tend and pet. The first word she
spoke was my name:
Washington, D. C., May 8, 1872.
While sitting in my room thinking to whom my first May
letter should be addressed, I thought of you as the one I
should most like to honor, knowing that you will receive it
with pleasure, as it comes from one whom you have not seen
for five years.
I am living in the City of Washington, and am a student
at Howard University. I am making rapid progress in my
studies, having overtaken a class that was a year ahead of me.
I have followed the precepts of your father and mother,
and for this reason I have run the road of wisdom without
getting discouraged.
As a Christian, I endeavor to do all I can for Christ; as
a student, to compete with my class-mates; as a politician,
to prove true to my country; as a citizen, to be law-abiding
I am very busy at this time preparing for our annual
Some say that I am a poet, because I sometimes write a
verse or two. The following lines I have dedicated to you:

MISS Nancy Jane, I long to see
HH Those golden charms of thine,
While standing in a garden green,
Where nature is sublime.
Within the place where flowers bloom,
Around thy head so gay,
Where birds and bees do loud proclaim
Thou art the queen of May.
Oh, could I see thy piercing eyes,
As they reflect the light
Which drives away thy midnight dreams,
And makes thy visions bright
I long to see thy tender smiles,
So gentle and so gay,
That drive away the cares of life,
And make life's darkness day.

While thou art in that tranquil place,
Let evening shades draw nigh,
Where thou may'st in the moonbeams stand,
And view the starry sky.
Then cast thine eyes around about,
And view the willow tree,
And when thou dost recall the past,
Oh, then remember me!
I left the South, and journeyed East,
This goodly land to see;
But I have never found a child
That I could love like thee.
When thou was't in thy mother's arms,
Those arms so dear to thee,
I saw thee when thou sweetly smiled,
And then thou called'st for me.
So much surprised thy mother was,
She quickly did exclaim,
"My little daughter, though so young,
Has plainly called thy name!"
I hastened to that tranquil place,
And took thee in my arms,
I smiled and kissed thy dimpled cheeks,
And looked upon thy charms.
And now I look upon the arm
On which thy head did rest,

And well remember how thou slept,
When leaning on my breast.
I cannot tell your pa and ma
How I esteem those days;
Nor can I tell them how I love
Their kind and pleasant ways.
My little friend, I'd like to ask,
Art thou a child of God?
And do you walk the narrow path
That saints and angels trod?
It is a straight and shining road,
And leads through wisdom's ways,
And if you'd be a child of God,
Oh, start in early days!
Now, if we never meet again
About the old home place,
Then may we meet in heaven above,
Around God's throne of grace.
Remember me to all my friends,
In words which I proclaim;
Then give my love to all thy house,
And thou accept the same.


OH, where 's the maid that I can love,
With love which I have never told?
Where is the one that I would like
To comfort me when I am old?
Do I not see before my face,
A mate prepared for every one?
Then sure there's one prepared for me,
Nor need I trudge the road alone.
Now who is he that speaks to me
Of Mormons and of Mormonhood?
While this you know, the Lord has said,
They twain shall be one flesh, one blood!
Come listen, then, to what I say
Before this evening's work is done,
That you can do as you may please,
But I'd be satisfied with one.


JESUS, that stream shall ever flow
That washed my sins away;
That made my heart as white as snow,
And moved me then to pray.

It is a stream of pure delight,
Flowing both deep and wide;
Each ripple doth reflect the light,
Proceeding from Thy side.
It is a stream where all can meet
And drink a full supply;
Can bow and worship at Thy feet,
And praise Thy name most high.
There millions in Thy presence stand,
They bid us welcome home;
They tell us of that happy land,
Where all in Christ are one.
And if we will consent to go,
We there shall bathe again
In waters bright that can, we know,
Cleanse from the foulest stain.
HIS nation has a faithful friend,
T In whom she may confide;
Whose influence is like a sea,
Flowing both deep and wide.
Let us behold the sea, how calm-
What ships her billows float,

Come let us hasten to the shore,
And get on freedom's boat.
Upon her deck the nations meet;
The white and colored there,
Where no first place nor second known,
No difference in the fare,
I saw her raise her banner high,
And cast it to the breeze,
While tempests raged and billows rolled
She sailed through gulfs and seas.
Through smoke and fog she onward went
This nation to defend,
When Dixie cried, "Take her last son,
And her last dollar spend."
When hissing shot around her fell,
From rebel cannon's mouth,
She stood the storm, the rain, the hail,
And now can stand the drouth.
I heard her cry, white sailing on-
And Justice is her name—
Grant equal rights to every man,
And amnesty the same.
soon will land her noble crew
Within a city bright,
Where nations in one brotherhood
Drink national delight.

Where we may have our public schools,
With open doors displayed;
Where all may drink at wisdom's fount
With none to make afraid.
Young friends, I know you will be there
Bright, shining, as the sun;
With equal rights secured to all,
When Sumner's work is done.
The nation's friend! still firm he stands,
With neither sleep nor slumber,
Come every Freedman in this land
And hail the name of Sumner.


I PLANT this tree to try thy faith,
And, if thou only wilt obey,
Thou shalt ever see my face,
And I will bless thee day by day.
The good of life I'll not withhold,
Nor kindred pleasures will deny,
But thou shalt walk in streets of gold,
And thou shalt never, never die.
Thy days and years shall have no end;
Šickness nor sorrow shalt thou know;

And in old age thou shalt not bend,
Except thou yield unto the foe.
Go, freely drink from every fount,
From streams as they go laughing on,
Proceeding down from every mount,
Singing their merry, merry song.
It is not well to be alone;
There should be one to comfort thee;
And from thy side I'll take a bone,
And soon in one thy twain shalt be.
In yonder place I think I see
Adam reclining in the shade,
Rejoicing near the green bay tree,
E'en in the place where Eve was made.
List ye to what this man will say,
This man who never spake before;
And see how wise, though made of clay,
Now he has some one to adore.
Bone of my bone, I know thou art,
And Eve thy name shall ever be ;
I'll wear thine image in my heart,
And thou shalt ever cleave to me!


[The day of the celebration of the Fifteenth Amendment
I was passing through the crowd in the street when a little
girl, CLARA SAUNDERS, (whom I knew not at the time, but is a
student at Howard University,) noticed my eyes, and thinking
I could not see and would be run over, took me by the hand
and lead me to a place of safety. The kindness made such an
impression, I was moved to write this little poem.]

BEHOLD the great and swelling crowd,
While thronging through the street,
And then behold the hand that keeps
Me from the horses feet.
The great and small have passed me by,
And here unseen I stand;
I have no sympathy, no help,
Except this little hand.
And now I bless this little hand,
Which gently takes my arm;
Kind Jesus, guide this little child,
And keep her from all harm.
The proud and gay are passing by,
And foolishly have scorned,
When they have met me on the street
Afflicted as when born.
But now and then I meet a child
As harmless as a dove,

Who tells me by its little deeds,
That God alone is love.
Dear Saviour, bless this little child,
Whate'er her name may be;
Dost Thou not see her little heart,
How kind she's been to me!


H. why have I thus failed to write
A line upon my heart's delight?
The reason why I cannot tell,
For it, I think, is known too well.
I need not say that she is pretty;
But I am sure she is quite witty,
She is both comely to behold,
And, in my sight, as pure as gold.
I like the style in which she's dressed,
And place her now among the blessed;
There is no one more neat than she
Among the fairer ones I see.
It's true I take a complex view,
Instead of one, I look at two;
The one, because she's neat and trim,
The other one is fair and slim.

'Tis very true, one has a beau,
The other one has none I know:
The one may dwell e'en near my heart,
The other one must then depart.
There's only one that I can love,
And she's as harmless as a dove;
She is not drifted by the tide
With twenty beaux around her side.
I have seen one all dressed in green;
The other one may be a queen:
I think one has a pleasant mother,
The other one a handsome brother.
Now, shall I tell the first one's name,
For fear that you may think in vain?
Shall I record on history's page,
The other one is not of age?
When you have seen the other oue,
Then think of mother's only son,
To her be kind, be just and true,
That she may thus confide in you.
And when you have been kind to her,
A favor you will then confer,
I hope that you will never slight
The one who is my heart's delight.


WE went out to the Soldiers' Home,
W With happy hearts and free,
And as we stepped within the grove
All eyes were fixed on me.
They seemed to speak in words like these:
"Will he not write a poem ?
"Does he not feel the gentle breeze
"On which our thoughts are borne."
And as they range through worlds unknown,
I thought I heard them say:
That" WALDEN ought to write a verse,

'Upon the first of May !"
Let nature in sublimity,
With golden rays of light,
Loan him a pen with diamond point,
And tell him what to write.
Let May put on her coat of green
And bid him freely speak,
That we may have a word or two
Before we stop to eat.
We cannot feel the hidden spark
That burns within his breast;

Nor can we tell him what to say,
For nature's thoughts are best.
I hope he'll think upon the bridge,
And of the willow tree;
I hope he'll think of every one,
And then he 'll think of me."
Depart from me all cares of life,
And let me here compose
A line or two upon this place
In verses or in prose.
This is a fair and pleasant place,
And lovely to behold;
The place where aged soldiers live,
I often have been told.
Now let the soldier cast his eye
Upon the fields of green,
And I am sure he will proclaim
The MATRON is the queen!
Then let the Captain take a view,
Although he is afar,
And with the soldiers he 'll proclaim,
Each lady is a star.
Here while I view the tender leaves,
And hear the gay birds sing,
My thoughts are borne upon the breeze,
That kindly welcomes Spring.

They swiftly fly to nature's arms,
And in her bosom rest,
"Till she unfolds her richest charms,
Close hid within her breast.
And then they will return again,
As constant as the dove,
And join the angels when they sing,
That God is only love.
Now while I'm in this tranquil place,
The evening shades appear,
Where I can view the landscape o'er
And none but I am here.
With love and kindness one comes down,
And by me takes her seat,
And kindly asks me to accept
A piece of bread and meat.
Of course I will accept of it,
And glad to eat I am,
And think within my heart there is
A Mary in this land.
Yet let me speak of one more friend,
I should not slight her name,
Whom I have found both just and true-
It is Miss E. L. Crane!
Young friends, if we no more shall meet
Within the Soldier's Home,

Oh! may we meet in Heaven above
Around God's brilliant throne.
May 1, 1872.


THERE is not one that can be found
More happy than the man unbound,
If he will not himself engage
To any one of any age.
He then can live a single life;
When free from wed and free from wife
There'd be no one that could control
Nor disregard him when he's old.
According to the lines above
There is no one that he should love;
But if he thinks this is not right,
Then let him seek his heart's delight.
ESUS, I feel the quickening spark,
O how it burns within!
'Tis love that purifics the heart,
And cleanses from all sin.
And now I stretch my hands to Thee;
Dear Saviour bid me fly,

That I may in thy presence be,
And reign above the sky.
Where I may wear a starry crown,
Through ceaseless years to come,
And in the city I'll be found,
Around thy dazzling throne.


IT's true I have a friend, indeed,
Whom I can safely trust and heed;
He's been to me a shining light,
And seeks to guide my feet aright.
When doubt and fear shall cloud my skies,
Then he will come and sympathize;
He found me in a seeking state,
And placed me here among the great.
Will he not lead me with his hand
Toward Canaan's fair and happy land?
Will he not mark each step I take,
Or mend each sacred link I break?
I came to him when much oppressed,
And soon he eased my troubled breast;
And now I bless the way he led,
When all my sorrows quickly fled.


I LOVE to look on thee kind friend,
Would like to ask thy name.
My leisure hours with thee I'd spend,
And learn from whence thou came.
I'd gather wisdom from your voice,
Advancing day by day,
Please gratify my ardent choice,
Thy name! what is it? pray.


MARY, my shirt is neatly made,
Each stitch is in its proper place;
There's not a wrinkle to be seen.
Nor basting thread that will deface.
I've criticised with all my might;
I thought the button holes were shirked,
But I was struck with much surprise
To find they all were neatly worked.
I turned it in and turned it out,
I sought to find some fault with it;
I tried it on, and tried it off,
I never had so neat a fit.

I think I see within it stitched,
A figure of your daily life;
It surely tells that you will make,
Some happy man a thrifty wife.
And now I speak unto the hand
That never made a shirt beföre :-
Work hard to cultivate the mind,
Then arduous task's will soon be o'er.


BLESS us as we together meet,
And sanctify the food we eat;
Blest be the God who wisdom gives,
The food by which the spirit lives.
And when we shall have left this place,
Lord, give us of Thy richest grace,
Help us to love Thee now-and then,
Forever and ever-and Amen.
IND Saviour, hear the voice of prayer,
And do thou bless this sacred hour,
May peace and comfort now be sent,
Upon our loving President.

Its true he 's in a heathen land,
Where red-men may around him stand,
With tomahawk and scalping knife,
And threaten vengeance on his life.
While he is in the distant West,
May all he docs be for the best,
Be Thou his shield both day and night,
And ever guide his feet aright.
We know his trust is in Thy name,
And in Thy love he doth remain,
For he did prove himself most true,
When fighting by the starry blue.
O lead him o'er the Rocky Mounts!
And let him drink from sparkling founts;
And when he 's where the water gleams,
Then let him bathe in crystal streams.
And when he hears the wild beast moan,
Then let him think of friends at home;
For there does dwell his loving wife,
Who comforts him mid earthly strife.
Let birds and bees both sing his praise,
To lighten up his dreary days;
Let nature in her beauty shine,
Teaching that all things are divine.
Another word I should have said-
I'd like to ask, has he a bed?

A shelter where within to rest,
While he is in the distant West?
O grant me words that I may write,
More on the President to night,
The words I need I do not know,
Except they shall from Webster flow.
Congress of power has given a lease,
Oh, aid him Lord, in making peace!
And guide him with thy sacred hand,
That he may bless his native land.
Yes, bless it in Thy sacred name,
And break each link in error's chain;
For in this land there's hardly one,
So many generous deeds has done.
Will Thou return him home again,
Both free from sorrow and from pain;
That we may see his loving face,
All lighted with Thy richest grace.
And when he turns to East or West,
He'll view his labor Thou hast blessed;
Or turns to either North or South
He'll bless the poor by word of mouth.
And when he comes within the school,
He'll see how well we keep each rule.
Although to us they may seem tight,
Yet we believe that they are right.

And when from scenes like these we go,
To journey on with friend or foe,
May happy thoughts around be showered,
When we recall the name of Howard!
T is the King, the Prince of Peace,
Who holds the reins of time;
Who sits upon His Father's throne,
And rides upon the wind.
"Tis He, whom angels do adore,
And praise His name most high,
He walks upon the mighty deep,
And reigns with God on high.
He spreads the clouds beneath the sky,
And bids them disappear,
He guides the pilgrim with His eye
And scatters doubt and fear.
He holds the lightning in His hand,
Till he shall bid it fly,
And then it darts from East to West,
Athwart the cloudy sky.
"Tis he who is the sinner's friend,
And only such can be,
He bled and died, that all might live,
When nailed upon the tree.

This letter was written to the Secretary of the Reformed
Church of America.
Washington, D. C., June 4, 1872.
Dear Friend: I should have written you before, but being
very busy in my studies, I have been putting it off until
should have time.
We are preparing for examination, and my idle momenta
sro all passed.
I am doing very well in my studies, and have found time,
in connection with them, to attend about half of the Theo-
logical lectures. During this year I have composed about
thirty poems. I am going to have a book published this sum-
mer, which I hope will meet a favorable consideration from
the reading public.
DOCTOR, I love the great Reformed,
And pause within her arms;
I dare not scorn her day when small,
Nor trifle with her charms.
How long she stood within God's sight,
Pure and undefiled?
How long has it been her delight
To save each little child?
Oh! when did she His banner raise,
And cast it to the breeze?
How long will she be tossed upon
This world's tempestuous seas.

Her millions she has landed safe,
Upon fair Canaan's shore;
There 're millions yet within her arms,
And room for millions more.
Now let me praise the great Reformed,
And magnify her name,
For all the kindness she has shown,
Since from the South I came.
She did not turn away from me
But bade me go in peace,
And kindly asked me to accept
A place among the least.
Dear Saviour, bless the great Reformed,
And keep her in thy care,
And when she trembles in the storm,
Then scatter doubt and fear!


WHY thus I write I cannot tell,
I cannot give the reason why,
Except it is because thou hast
Become the apple of mine eye,
I cannot speak the words I wish,
However true they all may be,
Because I know the gay and vain
Have placed their longing eyes on thee.

Shall I betray the noble thoughts
Which guard thine image day and night?
Or shall I speak of Mr. A**,
Who seeks to put those thoughts to flight?
A** thy beauty doth admire,
B** thy kind and loving ways,
And C** because thou sheddest light
To cheer and bless his dreary days.
But for myself, intelligence,
Beauty and meekness reign alone;
And she must love the Son of God
Who sits upon His Father's throne.
I will not write another line
Lest critics say I flatter you;
And they would say I prove unkind
And you might think I am untrue.


MY shirt is truly neat and strong
Although for it I waited long;
I know Miss S**** will never slight,
Nor sew on shirts by candle light.
I long have known this one who sews,
And now commend her to her beaux,
She has no artificial ways
To cause young men on her to gaze.


I hark unto this liberal call;
For you are all invited,
And if you stay away I know,
The children will be slighted.
Oh! why not come into the school-
For you may be a teacher;
Of all the beauties of the day,
This is the brightest feature.
The President will sure be there,
And that will be exciting,
And a short lecture I will give,
If you will be confiding.
The children will together meet,
They'll look to see your coming,
While birds and bees within the grove,
Will greet you with their humming.
The school will meet at three o'clock,
A pleasant time to spend,
And when we hear the clock strike five,
Our exercise will end.

OUNG men, there is one honor yet,
One I'm sure each one can get;
An honor that is tried and true,
One that will ever stand by you.
When entering on the field of life,
Each graduate should have a wife,
One who will guide his feet aright,
And ever be his heart's delight.
"Tis true, quite true, you 're leaving college,
With minds well stored with useful knowledge;
But oh, all this will prove in vain,
Except some lady's heart you gain.
"Tis true you stood upon the stage,
Examples of the modern age;
But life is vain if you are wise
If there's no star in all your skies.
But if each one will still live single,
I'm sure your pockets cannot jingle;
I care not who may be your choice,
If you'll obey this warning voice.
Go forth, therefore, in all the land,
And reap success on every hand ;
Go make yourselves a shining name,
Then you'll deserve eternal fame.

IND friend why dost thou look so sad?
What may thy troubles be?
Oh dost thou fear some one will take
The one so kind to thee?
She is a fair and charming one
She dazzles every eye,
It is enough to make thee weep,
Enough to make thee sigh.


o tell Miss V** to quickly come,
And bring her pen and ink,
That she may write each word I speak
Or each one that I think.
She can unfold my darkest thoughts
And make them plain to me,
I know not one so full of art
No one so apt as she.
She was with me on first of May;
For me she then did write
With little kind and gentle deeds,
She 's like my heart's delight.

MY book is largely growing;
MUCH Its leaves are multiplied;
Its pages are much longer,
And nearly twice as wide.
At first I thought the reader
Had not the time to spare,
To hail my little volume
As it floated in the air.
I thought perhaps while floating
Away through empty space,
Perchance would there discover
Some long forgotten race.
I knew not it would mingle
Among the great and wise,
Or that it would be subject
Unto the critic's eyes.
I thought it was inferior,
And of the minor class,
I knew not how the ladies
Would read it as they pass..

But now I find it's useful,
And laden every page,
For truly it must mingle
With those of every age.
Therefore I should have measured;
Should not have thought it vain
To make its little mysteries
Unto the reader plain.
But surely there's no secret
Where thought is not sublime,
That I have thus destroyed
By keeping up my rhyme.
But if I should in future
Find this to be the case,
I'd take my silver pencil
And all these lines erase.
I'd rather use a license,
Or grammar's laws dispense,
Than for to let my metre
Or rhythm govern sense.
The reader will remember
My chances are but slim,
Or else this little volume
Would be in better trim.
Remember, too, in Dixie
That I was born a slave.
And all my early genius.
Was locked within the grave.

Remember my condition-
A mark within my eyes-
And all my inspirations
Are showered from the skies.
I cannot read of authors,
Nor those of noble fame,
For I'm just a learning
The author, Milton's, name.
I cannot borrow subjects,
Nor rob them of their style,
My book amid their volumes,
Like me, is but a child.
Therefore, I bless this volume,
And send with it my heart,
That it may to the critic
My better thoughts impart.
Go forth, then, little volume,
Much good from thee may spring,
If thou continueth pleading
The merits of thy King.
And others yet may follow,
All changed within their scale,
But thou, upon thy mission,
I am sure ean never fail.


GENTLEMEN, I my pen have raised,
The one by which your Board I've praised;
It is a pen of noble deeds,
By which I have sown wisdom's seeds.
It is a pen I long have trained.
By it a thousand hearts I 've gained,
For it was truly made of steel,
Therefore to it your hearts will yield.
For truly it does speak to-day,
As did it on the first of May;
For then I know it did record
Your little and your great reward.
Remember that its highest aim
Is much like yours-is much the same;
For you will heal the wounded heart,
And give the young an upward start.
Therefore I place upon its wings
The name of her who plays and sings,
And all thy honors I 'Il extend
If you will be this singer's friend.
And then in every swelling note,
Arising from the singer's throat,

In every song your name she 'll praise,
If you will crown her student days.
I hope that you 'll accept of me,
Not only one, but names of three;
And then excuse these lines I write,
For one is dark and two are white.
Behold their names I did omit,
For them there is no place as yet,
Therefore it's well that each one knows,
That I can send their names in prose.
Kind friends, I know you 've not the time
To bother with each little rhyme,
Therefore you 'll look beyond each link,
And judge from what you know I think.
I hope that you will keep for me.
The room I think is number three,
For there my things are put away,
Within that room, I long to stay.
For you I have an," areolite'
Which I shall send when you shall write,
And it I know will please you well,
To know the land in which it fell.
Ten catalogues I hope you'll send
For here four days I have to spend,
To me send them by the Express,
For now I have not my address.

There's other things I'd like to say,
But I have not the time to-day,
I've not the time to longer write,
For evening's shades foretell the night.
When in Philadelphia lately, loosing my ticket, my funds
being at the ebb, I took the following method to secure trans-
portation at reduced rates; remembering the old adage,
Where there is a will there is a way."

IF you to me a pass will give,
I'll cause your name in time to live,
It in my book I will record
Which will be for your own reward.
You may not know what I will gain,
Except you send me on your train,
Nor do you know what I will loose
If you to me a pass refuse.
I would address the President
But here my time is quite near spent.
A man whose heart is without bound
The dearest friend the needy's found.

Washington, D. C., Aug. 23, 1872.
THY pen, dear friend, is made of gold,
It always tells the truth,
It serves me now while I am old,
As well as when a youth,
It often guides my thoughts aright,
When they would go astray,
It is my body-guard by night,
As well as in the day.
I look on it as would I thee,
Its worth I 've never told,
For all the kindness shown to me,
Its value 's more than gold.
Its gold to me like ancient dross,
Compared with all her wealth,
Like thee it helps to bear the cross
In sickness and in health.
For me new friends it makes each day,
New lines it does record,
It causes me to watch and pray,
And trust upon the Lord.
It often pleads the needy's case,
It makes his troubles known;
It puts him in his proper place,
And points him to God's throne.

It knows a maid both just and true,
One weighed in virtue's scale,
Whom I will now present to you,
Whose deeds can never fail.
A student she would gladly be,
She has no means nor friend
Who freely would, that she can see,
For her a dollar spend.
Oh! lay her case before the east,
Or thy own native State,
That they may take her from the least,
And place her with the great.
Tell them, for me, their name shall live
With thine on history's page,
If they Miss Johnson aid will give,
The fair one of this age.
No one his dollar will withhold,
From such a worthy girl;
The miser, too, will bring his gold-
His treasures he 'll unfurl.
Remember, that her parents died
When she was but a child.
She has no lovers by her side,
Though she is meek and mild.
Kind Miss, to you no more I'll say,
I'll leave you in God's care,

I hope you have a pleasant day,
For such an one is here.

Washington, D. C., October 19, 1872.
Dear Sir: I would have gladly remained in New Bruns-
wick longer last summer; but, as you know, my vacation was
nearly spent when I reached there, and being anxious to get
back to Washington by the opening of the term, I departed
thence. I was much strengthened while there by your Sab-
bath school, prayer meetings, and other religious worship,
and would like very much to be with you to-day-if it were
BECAUSE it is the Sabbath day,
A day of rest provided ;
Upon this day, in every church,
Our God has long presided.
When first I came unto thy church,
I heard sweet voices singing-
From God I thought the angels were
To thee glad tidings bringing.
I sure was there to hear thee pray-
Was there whilst thou was't preaching;
How precious did the gospel sound,
Which thou to us was't teaching.
The Lord will blest thy day and age,
Give souls to thee for hire,

When thou wilt with thy little flock,
To brighter fields aspire.
Remember, there 's a rising up
Of all the friends of Jesus;
Remember, too, there is a God,
An eye that ever sees us.
Are we not marching onward to
"Eternal weights" of Glory?
Did not the prophets and the saints
Before us tell the story?
Is there not love for us unseen,
Where we shall live forever?
Is there an end to life unknown?
The answer comes, "No, never!"
Then let us strive with all our might,
Exerting every power;
That we may rest in Heaven above,
Through one eternal hour.

THESE many years my pen
has sped,
These many years to duty led;
And now it bends unto my will,
As though it were an eagle's quill.

For days and years it has been tried,
Nor to me has it ever lied;
Therefore its worth is more than gold,
For it the truth has ever told.
And now it does record for thee,
How very kind thou art to me;
It tells me that thou art my friend,
And dost for me thy money spend.
And it would truly speak the fruth,
Were it to trace thee to thy youth.
And it would fill my heart with joy,
To hear of thee when but a boy.
But, oh, it's called to other things,
To lead me to life's gushing springs,
Where I may drink a full supply,
And write on man, on earth, and sky,
It's called to guide my hand aright,
To lead me into wisdom's light;
It's moved to point me to the Lord,
For He the faithful will reward.


Washington, D. C., October 11, 1872.
The reason of my writing this poem is, that in every paper I read, this question repeatedly presents itself:

According to my experience with them in the University,
I think it properly answered by saying "Yes."
We have a young lady to whom this poem is dedicated,
who is my table-mate. She is bright and intelligent; and I
am sure any one coming into her presence, and conversing
with her, or, if circumstances permit, hearing her read some
of her essays, cannot return without feeling that he had been
in company with one who represents her race honorably.
I have often thought from her punctuality in attendance
at church, that every one might learn a lesson, which no one
can teach, only those who practice the same.
Now, I regard those questions as did I those frequently
asked in our late war, "If the colored people could bear arms
and fight for their country?" "Could they be made loyal
citizens, or lifted from a state of degradation, from under the
scales in which men are weighed, and put upon the platform
of common manhood?" We answered those questions with
the sword and by the ballot; and, likewise, the Indians will
answer these important questions in perhaps twenty years to
come, if they are justly dealt with. They only ask our Gov-
ernment to give them good and true men, and they will do
their part.

WHILE sitting in my room kind Miss,
I thought I'd sing a praise,
But now I think I'll write a word,
To lighten up thy days.
It's true I often write on Queens,
And those of noble fame;
But now I seek to write a line
Upon thy honored name.
What's in thy name moves me to write,
This little verse on thee?
Perhaps it is thy pleasant ways,
And cheering looks to me.

How oft I think of thee, kind Miss,
And oft admire thy grace,
Because I know that thou art of
Another noble race!
When by the bells to meals we're called,
Or round the table meet,
With anxious eye I look to see
If thou art in thy seat.
And then I cast my eyes around,
Through hall, though long and wide,
And then I quickly look to see
Thy tea-mate by thy side.
But first of all the bell is rung,
And each within his place,
In silence each one bows his head,
"Till some one asks the grace.
Then each in seat with upturned plates,
And scarce a word is said,
Until we have a full supply
Of meats and baker's bread.
And dishes, too, are passing round
About from you and me;
And Clara she looks up and asks-
Pray, sir, what can it be?
It 's pork, of course, or else it 's beef;
Perchance it may be ham-

Except the baker cooked a goose,
And passed it off for lamb.
And if he has a cut will tell,
If round about its swallow,
For surely it is not so dead,
That it would fail to halloo.
While all of this is going on,
There 're other things in view;
For oft I catch myself, dear Miss,
Exchanging looks with you.
But soon we 're through, the bell does ring,
We 're called by duty's 'larms;
Nor can I longer sit and look
Upon thy brilliant charms.
I'd speak of all my table mates
Had I another pen,
For surely we 're as happy guests
As here have ever been.
H! had I now an overcoat,
For I am nearly freezing;
My head and lungs are stopped with cold,
And often I am sneezing.

And, too, while passing through the street,
Where merchants all are greeting,
They say, young man this is the coat
That you should wear to meeting.
Then, looking down upon my feet,
For there my boots are bursting,
With upturned heels and grinning toes,
With tacks which long were rusting.
Ah! how they view my doeskin pants
With long and crooked stitches,
They say, young man would you not like
To have some other breeches ?
My head is also hatless too,
The wind is swiftly blowing,
They say, young man will you not freeze?
See ye not how it 's snowing?
And now they take me by the hand,
And lead me toward the store,
And some are pulling down the coats
Before I reach the door.
So walk I in, their goods to price,
To quench a thirst that's burning,
And freely would I buy a coat,
But nothing I am earning.
They say to me, I should have known,
That winter time was coming,

When I was roaming through the park,
With birds around me humming.
Their logic's true, I must confess,
And all they say is pleasant;
But did I know that I would have
No overcoat at present?
To satisfy these craving Jews,
To buy I am not able,
For it is more than I can do
To meet my wants at table.
Therefore my skin will toughly grow,
Will grant to me this favor,
That I may learn to stand as much
As little Jack, the sailor.
And if I live till winter's passed,
Though nature's harps unstringing,
I then will fly to yon woodland
To hear the oak trees singing.
Then I will not on hero's fame,
Ride swiftly on to victory,
Although my saddle may be made
Of cotton sacks or hickory.
But if I die, farewell to all,
Oh! who will tell the story,
That I have lived a noble life.
And now gone home to glory?

Yes, who will chant a song of praise
For me who will be weeping—
When I have yielded to the grave,
And 'mid the dead am sleeping?
But some will ask, "how did he die?
It was without my knowing;
Was it because he caught a cold,
Last year when it was snowing?"
The answer now comes hurling back,
In words I cannot utter,
It was not by a cold alone,
But partly bread and butter.
[This poem is dedicated to my own necessities and wants.]

[These lines were written in honor of the above gentleman,
to whom the temperance cause is so much indebted.]

HY name, within my book,
Is like an eagle's wing,
It bears each rhyme unto the prince,
And onward to the king.
And also shines on history's page,
It dazzles every eye,

Because it's like a twinkle from
A rainbow in the sky.
And now its light reflects upon
Thy many honored deeds,
On all my race by thee bestowed,
In shape of wisdom's seeds.
Thy country, sir, has read this book,
And looked upon thy name;
No anger burned within her breast,
On cheek no blush of shame.
And, too, she 's also proud of thee-
She want's ten thousand more,
Whose hand is open like the king's-
Extended to the poor.
She blessed the day that gave thee birth-
Will multiply thy days,
Of all her bright and rising sons,
Kind friend thou hast the praise.

Washington, D. C., August 19, 1872.

MISS N. J**, I my pen have taken,
The one that is so just and kind,
And all the fair ones I 've forsaken,
Because thou hast my heart and mind.

To thee these lines may be surprising,
Because they're of an early date;
But would'st thou be more sympathizing
If I to write should longer wait?
On thee I look with much compassion,
Tender, O, I know thou art;
I like thy style and love the fashion-
Thine image dwells within my heart.
Thy little hand is yonng and tender,
Arduous tasks it should not know;
Thy graceful form is neat and slender,
Like lilies that in gardens grow.
Behold for thee there is a calling,
Within the land among the free;
For there the wise in sin are falling,
How would'st thou like to be with me?
O wilt thou try to come to college,
Where wisdom teacher's do impart,
And here partake of richest knowledge,
Overflowing mind and heart?
Arise! come up a little higher,
Do never stop beneath thy grade,
To higher ranks why not aspire?
Pray tell me why hast thou delayed?
There's been no gentle hand to lead me,
Not since my pa and ma have died,

Nor one so kind to clothe and feed me—
No one the task has ever tried.
Kind Miss, I spoke as would a brother-
As one whose heart beats firm and true;
Because I knew thou hadst no other
To kindly tell thee what to do.
And now to thee I 'd tell a mystery,
Although in it myself I'd praise,
Therefore leave it to other history,
To speak of all my happy days.
I might tell thee my heart is willing
That I should be thy guide through life,
But while I am not worth a shilling,
Why should I seek thee for a wife?
My friend I know that I 'm a student
Preparing for some distant land;
Pray tell me if it would be prudent,
Were I to ask thee for thy hand?
For I can see stamped in thy features
What never living man has seen,
That thou wouldst make a handsome creature,
And also me a loving queen.
To thee, kind Miss, I 'll write no longer.
For evening shades are drawing nigh;
Perhaps thy love is growing stronger,
The moments whisper, passing by.


To the President and Members of the Christian Association:
Having learned that my resignation was reconsidered by
you, and having been treated with such brotherly love, I am
constrained to express my gratitude to you in an humble

FOR when I heard this glorious news,
It filled my heart with joy,
And quickly to my pen I sprang,
As though I were a boy.
Indeed it did remove all doubt,
And filled my heart with pleasure,
And now I write regardless of
My rhythm or my measure.
I must confess in words of truth,
I found myself in danger,
And when I came within your court,
I felt as would a stranger.
I listened long to hear your call-
In this way long was waiting;
But soon I heard a shepherd's voice,
And with him lambs were bleating.
I thought, perhaps, it was my chance,
Perhaps it was a warning,
Perhaps I would not live to see
The light of day when dawning.

And, too, the road on which I trod,
Was dark and much descending,
And all I met within that way,
Were quarrelling and contending.
And oft I tried to bow and pray-
To pray I was not able;
For all my supplications were
As but an empty fable.
I gladly did embrace this chance,
And quickly came to Jesus;
When I remembered that there was
A God that ever sees us.
Washington, D. C., Dec. 12, 1872.
DEAR SIR: Two years will soon have passed since my con-
nection with this University, and I am happy to say I am pro-
gressing finely; and am rapidly approaching my sixth exami-
nation, at which time every energy shall be bent to its utmost
extreme. I have been making out my expenses which I find
to be very heavy, though not to be compared with the small
amount of knowledge which I have gained; and, too, when I
consider that these privileges of going to school have par-
tially grown out of your influence, I am constrained to express
my gratitude to you. I should have made an acknowledgment
ere this, but thought it best to wait until I am sufficiently
competent; and would still wait longer-

BUT this my pen is getting old,
Its noble limbs are dull and cold,
Therefore to thee I write in praise,
In honor of its active days.

My hand no longer will it serve,
Nor will it on my paper curve;
For it is robed in shrouds of death-
Without a pulse, without a breath.
On lines no longer will it slide,
Nor will it over paper glide;
No longer will it lead the youth
In ways of virtue and of truth.
Nor will it longer honor thee
For kindness thou hast shown to me,
Nor will it longer thus record
A line of praise unto the Lord.
No longer will I doubt and shake,
For fear its limber legs will break;
Nor will it longer shiver names,
Nor turn my paper into flames.
No longer will it hop and skip,
Recording thoughts expressed by lip;
Nor will its little wiry toes
Transcribe my poetry into prose.
This little pen no more will write,
For it will pass away this night;
No longer will it sing a praise
In honor of its youthful days.
Wilt thou accept this line or two,
That's written by a friend so true;
Accept it in the writer's name,
Who's free from sorrow and from shame.

[This rhetorical poem was written in honor of Prof. A. L.
Barber, who was the principal on my entering school.]
HEN first we came unto this school,
They introduced the golden rule,
And put us in the narrow way
In which we journey on to-day.
How precious did that rule appear
To us who had assembled here;
And in that road a shining light
To guide each student's feet aright.
But soon new laws were multiplied,
And roads branched out on either side;
A law applied to every case,
A road prepared for every race.
And we with not a word to say,
Except those laws we should obey,
Nor did a foot once turn aside,
To tread the way both rough and wide.
But blended laws and roads in one,
That we no duty thus might shun;
Unto God's sceptre bowed and prayed
That we might never be dismayed.

As soon as classes were assigned
And teachers given, much refined;
Each heart was filled with many joys
Among the girls, among the boys.
Now looking back upon the past,
To view the ranks where we were classed,
And each one's friend will quickly see,
That we were placed within Class D.
With energy we sought to rise,
To mingle with the great and wise;
In ways unknown we do succeed,
And now we bear the highest meed.
Another thought I may unfurl,
Because we represent the world;
Of every tribe and every race,
And each one in his proper place.
Like yonder Sun, his highest rays,
The nation's eyes will on us gaze,
And she will mark the way we tread
When we to higher ranks have fled.
And when you 've left the shores of time
I'll weave your footprints up in rhyme;
And change my verses to a song
When you those pearly gates shall throng.
And when I come I 'll look to see
The one so kind to you and me;

And there together we will sing,
And make the heavenly echoes ring.
Teacher, I would not flatter you,
To say that you are just and true,
Nor prove unkind to my class-mate,
To say he often calls you great.
But speaking for myself alone,
Have you not to me pity shown?
Your ways e'er long have been my guide-
To you a thousand hearts have tied.
And now we step upon the boat,
Which will on higher billows float;
And onward she will cast her sail,
When driven by the nightly gale.
And had we now an ounce of time,
We would on higher ladders climb;
The gates of college we would raise,
And then on deeper mysteries gaze.
But, ah! the day is growing late,
To hear my song you cannot wait
But had my harp another string,
This song I then would play and sing.

TO MISS W * * * * *

Will you accept of an apology for my not seeing you safely
to Minor Hall last evening, with my umbrella, whilst raining.
I did not mean to leave you exposed, but another young lady
said that "We would not get wet," and I thought she had ref
erence to you and herself, though she meant another person.

HEREFORE you were not slighted,
Not in the least degree;
Although, when not a thinking,
I turned aside from thee.
I thought it was a token
That A. G. spoke for all,
And feared myself to ask your
Permission to the hall.
Then I, with this impression,
Kind Miss, what could I do?
Could I escort you safely,
Without consent from you?
And then, too, shamed to venture
Or linger by your side,
And this explains the reason
Why thus I turned aside.
Therefore, you will excuse me,
For I have made it plain,
And sorry that I left you,
Last night within the rain.
Now, when the night grows darker,
And rain shall harder fall,
Then you shall have my presence
From prayer to Miner Hall.
Or when the moon is shining,
And stars shall fill the sky,
I will not then forsake you,
Nor let you pass me by.

Much honor is due Mr. Dunlap and family, both from my-
self and race. He was one of the leading men of Philadelphia
in the anti-slavery movement, and a just man. I went to
Philadelphia with soldiers and sailors from Washington in
1866, to celebrate the nomination of U.S. Grant. Before I
was ready to return I lost my ticket. I was left by my com-
panions without any means for securing another, for I did not
have enough money to hire a night's lodging, and every per-
son whom I met rejected me on that account. Coming down
Broad street about eight o'clock in the night I was interrupted
by two gentlemen, who, on seeing me, said: "There goes a
carpet-bagger." I replied that carpet-baggers do not come
from the South.
"Where are you from?" asked Mr. William Dunlap. "I
am from North Carolina, but from Washington here." After
questioning me closely, "Take my card," said he, "and go
to my house, tell my wife to give you a good supper and bed,
and I hope you will remain with us until Monday." I thanked
him and started. On reaching the door I at first hesitated to
ring the bell; finally I pulled the knob which brought Mrs.
Dunlap to the door. She is a generous lady and had a pro-
found reverence for the words of her husband. After pre-
senting Mr. Dunlap's card, she politely invited me into the
parlor. In a short time Mr. Dunlap came in and inquired for
the stranger. "He is in the parlor," said Mrs. Dunlap. Iwas
soon surrounded by all the members of that happy because a
good family. After receiving an introduction to them all,
supper was prepared; and although Mr. and Mrs. Dunlap had
eaten before, they sat down and took tea with myself. Now,
after supper, Mr. Dunlap requested me to give a brief sketch
of my life, which I gladly did. The whole family seemed to
me to be exceedingly interested in my story, but little Wil-
liam and Eliza, although very young, looked upon me-with
purely angelic faces, and before the evening passed I became
the centre of attraction. At last the clock struck ten. Mr.
Dunlap took down his bible and read a chapter. The family
sang a hymn and I was invited to lead in prayer. It was, of
course, an arduous task, but I performed it to the best of my

I was then directed to a well arranged bed-chamber, where
I enjoyed sweet repose from the fatiguing scenes of the day.
On awaking in the morning I found myself in so different a
place from what I had anticipated, that I was at a loss to de-
termine whether I was awake or dreaming. You will readily
believe that this beautiful apartment was a striking contrast
to the coal-box I was about to seek shelter for the night on
one of the wharves of that great city. The floor was nicely
carpeted; the bed made of feathers, and dressed with rose-
bordered blankets, and a snow-ball counterpane, with pillows
as soft as downy pillows are. There was a large spring-bot-
tomed rocking-chair, a bowl and pitcher, a bureau with a large
mirror on it, and many other things which augmented the
comfort and happiness of its fortunate occupant. I remained
with them until Wednesday, at which time, being supplied
with passage money, I left for Washington. At the reception
given General Grant in Philadelphia, Eliza Dunlap was the
only child our great President kissed, and I have dedicated
the following lines to her:
H! thou my pen with sacred fame;
Canst thou record Eliza's name?
For she 's both gentle, meek and mild,
A happy little loving child,
Come view the ground on which she 'll tread,
Go bless the crown upon her head;
For tranquil lights spring from her eyes,
Like rainbows mid the bending skies.
She 's quite as lovely to be seen,
As any earth or Heavenly queen,
With rosy cheek and slender span;
With curly hair and timid hand.
My pen, I'd freely bid thee sing
Her name unto the proudest king;

But ah! I know thou would'st impart
The dearest secrets of my heart.
But soon from me thou shalt be sent
Unto U. S., the President;
'Mid wise men there, her praises chant,
In honor of Ulysses Grant.
Go sing them softly, sing them well,
For she 's the child we called the belle,
I bid thee linger there and stay
Until she 's crowned the queen of May.
On eagles' wing I bid thee fly,
Aloft beyond the fleeting sky,
And then on wheels of swiftest speed,
Among my pens go take the lead.
Thy way is straight, O do not miss,
For she's the child he gave a kiss,
And from that cheek did spring a rose,
Which I have better told in prose.
One very cold morning I met a widow at the depot whom
the train had left. Wishing to comfort her, I introduced
myself as follows:
ADY, excuse me if you please,
Your infant looks as it would freeze,
And you as one in great distress,
Why do you wear this mourning dress?

She seems to pause before she speaks,
With fading colors on her cheeks,
Within her heart she deeply sighed,
To tell me that her husband died.
Think not the train will long delay,
Or critics will their art display;
Or you shall tread this lonely street,
Without a lamp unto your feet.
Please tell me, Ma'm, where yon reside,
And of the one who lately died,
And then perhaps I will impart
The better feelings of my heart.
"Kind friend, I know you've not the time
To weave my language up in rhyme,
Nor am I able to express
The reason why I wear this dress.
"But I'm a widow thus you see,
With not a heart to pity me,
And I am destined thus to roam
Two thousand miles or more from home.
"My dear was wounded in the head,
It was a shot that killed him dead;
And thus was wafted from my side
A heart to me so closely tied.
"Can I forget his dying groans,
Which round me fell in mournful tones?

Can I forget his dying sigh,
That onward bore him to the sky?
"O, no, forget I never can,
The traitor shot, the blood that ran;
I can't forget the mournful day
When he was placed within the clay.
"Now all I wish while here below
Is for a robe as white as snow;
That when I shall be called to die.
Like him on wings of love I 'll fly,
"But hark! I heard the whistle blow,
Soon on my journey I must go ;
Good-by, remember me kind sir,
That I may neither doubt nor fear."
O heaven give a gentle smile,
And bless the widow and her child,
Let friends and strangers be her guide
In honor of the one who died.
To MRS. N. Z.
H! Dixie in thy wounded station,
Thou canst not be a separate nation,
Nor canst thou break the cord that's binding,
Nor set confederate mills to grinding.
I saw thee when both young and tender,
All lifted up with pomp and splendor,

And then thy chariots rolled in grandeur,
While I was picking on my "banjo."
But since that time I saw thee falling,
When North and South for troops were calling,
Each nation from a place of resting,
Unto the fields of great contesting.
How soon I saw the battle raging,
With heroes in the strife engaging;
I heard the swords and sabres clashing
With horse and rider onward dashing.
'Twas o'er the dead and on the dying,
While shot and shell through air were flying,
Unto their groans I paused and hearkened
To see the elements were darkened.
But, first to me it was surprising,
To see my noble friends arising,
A million flags the troops were raising,
The nation's eyes were on them gazing,
From pole to pole I saw them leaping,
While Sherman through the South was sweeping,
I saw their crimson colors fading,
While northern land Lee was invading.
Went Sheridan through the South abouding,
And many troops he was surrounding;
O how the widows' hearts were breaking
When Lee and Davis calls were making.

I saw thy rosy cheeks as changing,
While mighty guns Grant was arranging.
Nor could they longer bloom in flowers,
Nor stand against the Northern powers.
But now I see the war is ended,
And all thy anger is suspended;
Peace I think I hear thee crying,
As thou art to the Union flying.
And Hallelujahs I am singing,
To see my race from bonds are springing,
For sure a better time is coming,
The insects whisper through their humming.
So now farewell to plough and hoeing,
For I to Yankee town am going;
No longer will I drive this wagon,
Nor under slavery's chains be swagging,
But Dixie, oh, the land of cotton,
Let slavery die and be forgotten;
And we will turn unto each nation
With greater zeal for education.
Although thou long hath been mistaken
And of the right thou hast forsaken;
But yet I see within thee planted
The love to thee thy fathers granted.
Therefore, thou shouldst be more inspired
When father's love in youth is fired,

Be lifted from thy degradation
Above the bonds of long probation.
O like the mighty swelling ocean,
Whose billows roll with great commotion,
The races yet will come together,
In ties of love that none can sever.
Dedicated to the good will of all persons towards the pros-
perity of the South.
What gave rise to this little poem was, that a party of stu-
dents went out on a skating expedition on a pond near the
University, and the ice not being sufficiently strong, it gave
way with them. I imagined myself there, and the following
lines suggested themselves to my mind about the hour of 12
o'clock p. m.
E still! I thought I heard it cracking
Around on every side,
And soon they will be driven by
The wind upon the tide.
It breaks, it bends, and shivers now
Around about their feet,
And every nerve is standing still,
And hearts refuse to beat.
Behold I see them standing on
A little icy isle,
Pray, who will bring the hero forth,
Or save the loving child.

Look, look, I see them whirling round,
All hurried by the gale,
And not a breath I breathed on land,
For fear their hearts will fail.
But Hollingsworth is speaking now
Unto the little dove,
He says, "If you will trust in me
I'll prove to you my love.
"While secret shouts are coming forth,
Think not they do resound,
Remember, I am present now,
And you shalt ne'er be drowned,
"Therefore be calm, be well composed,
Although within the tide,
Then if you have to suffer here,
I'll linger by your side."
Dear sir, I cannot feel alarmed,
Not in the least degree,
When I remember heaven smiles,
And Jesus looks on me.
Nor can I ever be dismayed,
While angels gather nigh,
But if I have to perish here,
On wings of love I 'll fly.
Now all is calm on isle and land,
And not a word is said,

I cannot hear my own heart beat,
Nor foot, if one should tread.
Ten thousand swelling thoughts arise,
From heart to heart they leap;
Pray tell me who will trust himself
Upon the mighty deep?
New plans by Simmons now are made,
Whose heart can never fail,
He quickly comes to her relief,
And with him brings a rail.
But first of all a bridge he builds,
From floating isle to land.
And first to step upon the rail
To offer her his hand.
Then bless the one who saves my friend,
To him I will impart
The richest treasures of my soul,
And dearest of my heart.
Now turning I from such a scene,
To one that's more severe,
A greater accident than this
Have we among us here.
Behold! another 's breaking through,
And downward she is sent,
So Shadd he comes by double quick,
To save her he is bent.

'Tis in the deep and takes her up,
And holds her in his arms,
With fading cheek and throbbing heart,
He looks upon her charms.
God bless these men who saved my friends,
Grant each a happy life;
O grant them health, O grant them wealth,
And each a loving wife.
But where am I 'midst all of this,
Why do I from them stay;
Is it because I take no part
Within their icy play?
O, no, my soul is with them now,
And with them do abound,
And stand between the icy cliffs
That neither one should drown.
Behold I stand with outstretched arms,
Come hither! is my cry,
Unto the right, unto the left,
To either one I fly.
Dear friends this sight is hard to see;
Can angels bear the scene?
For yonder sank my heart's delight,
And floated there my queen.
I shut my eyes and wring my hands,
O whither shall I go

Shall I launch out upon the deep,
Where billows ebb and flow?
O then forbid that I should see
Another icy day,
If it must nip the buds which else
Would bloom so fair in May.
Young friends, from this a warning take,
This thought do not erase,
But never hop and skip upon
The deep's cold, icy face.
But first of all go bless the Son
Of God, who ever reigns,
Who sent his angel of the sea,
To break these icy chains.
Then go and bring my swiftest steed,
Convey them to the hall,
And tell for me the matron dear,
About their icy fall.
O that her hand would be their guide,
For such a hand must be,
They should not trifle with the ice,
Nor with the laughing sea.
How glad I am and proud to say
No damage has been done
To you young men like heroes stood,
Till you the victory won.

So fare you well my playful friends,
And weeping as we part,
But may each one to each confide
Through time, in each one's heart.
HINK not I come to curry favor,
For that would be beneath my aim,
And I would crucify my honor,
And put my manhood thus to shame.
I merely come to right the crooked,
To make amends where I was wrong,
I will not trifle with your follies,
Nor raise my hand against the strong.
I must confess through heat of passion,
Your president I did offend,
Pray tell me does he reign supremely?
One uncondemned can he suspend?
You, ravenous, wolf like, would devour
And swallow me up heels and head,
If not by a quick and sudden spring,
The victim of your venom fled.
Your nets my feet shall never tangle,
Nor will I tread your winding way,
Wrongward, downward, deep descending,
Oh, vote him out I heard you say.

Whose thoughts should be both high and lofty,
With upturned eyes towards the sky,
You should not treat an humble member,
That he might from your colors fly.
True courtesy among you Juniors
Is what I long have sought to gain,
In spite of all my humble efforts,
My work to me seems all in vain.
Therefore, it's best that we should sever,
Before another rising sun,
That each may in this fleeting contest
Think that he has the victory won.
I'd freely give up my tuition,
Or give to you my heart and hand,
If we could live in union severed,
Or else within this happy band.
It's hard to sever ties of friendship,
Or cords of love which closely bind,
Perhaps from this we 'll take a warning,
May learn to be both just and kind.
Therefore, I bid you happy Juniors,
A mournful, long and last farewell,
There 're other things around us rising
Which I have not the time to tell.
May luck and friendship guard your future,
My prayers shall follow you till death,

While still my pulse continues beating,
Or I may beat a fleeting breath.
HAT hand is this that leads me on?
Shall I refuse to go-
To my eternal destiny,
Of happiness or woe?
Invisible it does appear,
Unseen by mortal eye,
I cannot turn to right nor left,
Nor can I from it fly.
"Tis nature's voice that speaks within,
That skakes this mortal frame,
"Tis justice making her demand,
And death presents her claim.
This hand will ever lead me on
From childhood to the grave—
Will break the chain that holds me fast,
Emancipate the slave.
Therefore my thoughts should upward tend,
To realms of bliss above,
Where heavenly hosts beyond the clouds
Will greet my soul in love.

Washington, D. C., April 17, 1873.
Dear Miss: If not mistaken in the person whom I think you
are, which can hardly be so, I would like very much to create
a correspondence between us, if it would be in accordance
with your wishes.
Please consider this proposal and give me an answer at
your pleasure.
OR thls my pen has long displayed,
E'er long its been delighted,
To know thou art a fair young maid
Whom no one yet has slighted.
From year to year it onward glides,
I glory in its winging;
It whispers through the graceful slides
Virginia oft is singing.
Will it not gladden every heart,
Through rhythm and its measure,
And give the young an upward start,
And thrill each nerve with pleasure?
Therefore, if thou'll accept this line-
Think not that I am hasty;
For had I now a second's time,
I'd say that I am tasty.
Remember that I 'm full of pride,
Of pity and compassion,

And she who lingers by my side
Should like my style and fashion.
My pride will never lead to shame,
Nor down to degradation,
While it shall be my highest aim
To elevate my nation.
For thou canst see the stars are bright,
And worlds around are swelling,
Therefore it will be thy delight
To overlook my spelling.
Therefore, unfold each fleeting thought,
Seek well for the intention,
Which nature's hand alone has wrought
In words I need not mention.
Kind Miss, to thee no more I'll say,
Nor add unto my measure,
Except to write without delay
When it may be your pleasure.

MAY 1, 1873.

'Twas on the first of May of last year in our rambles about
the vicinity of the Soldiers' Home that I indited "The May
Walk," a small poem to be found in the preceding pages of
this volume. This year, on the same day, I was wending my
way in an opposite direction-to the Congregational Church-
where my esteemed friend, the doctor, was to be married to
his now lovely wife. Whilst stopping for a moment to assist

a friend in moving some articles of furniture from the pave.
ment to his house, the bridal party passed on their way to the
Church. However, although I missed the wished for oppor-
tunity to witness the ceremonies, the muse of poetry suggested
thoughts, as they passed by, which I hope the doctor will find
no fault in my embodying them with my other collections.

COME, idle pen, and let us sing

To May, the flowery month of spring,
And, too, with gladsome voice, we 'll hail
The May queen with the bridal veil.
Sweet month, one year ago our roam-
The hills and vales 'round Soldiers' Home-
Was bright with flowers and verdure green,
Fit tributes to thy fairy queen.
The scene has changed: for you, kind friend,
We'll garlands with our poesy blend,
And humbly at your feet now lay
Our offerings to YOUR Queen of May.
The happy bridegroom and the bride
In blissful love sit side by side,
Whilst twit'ring birds, with swelling throats,
Are caroling their matin notes.
Go, loved ones, meet the waiting group
Of anxious friends, who fondly hope
That each recurring first of May
May prove a golden wedding day.
O many, prosperous years be thine;
And may angelic hosts entwine
A wreath for each, of faith and love-
A fadeless crown in Heaven above.

Washington, D. C., April 15, 1872.

Dear Niece: I received yours a few days ago, and was glad
to learn that you were all well and anxious to see me return
home next Christmas, which I hope to be able to do. I was
more than gratified to know that the letter which you sent me
was written by your own dear little hand. I did not read very
many lines before I was lead to weep to hear you say that you,
your mother and your aunt had professed religion, and had
joined the church at the old " Quaker Meeting House." Your
beautiful letter carried me back to the old Meeting House.
Ah! I imagine that many of the brethren who were accustomed
to meet there have fallen asleep and have been long since
gathered to their fathers. I am glad to know that the children
are seeking their Saviour, and are thus preparing themselves
to occupy the positions in the church which their parents must
soon vacate.

There is another very striking passage in your epistle, in
which you say that the Lord has wonderfully blessed me in
taking me from home and placing me in an institution of
learning where I may be educated. I would to the Lord that
there was a school in your neighborhood, so that instead of
learning to read and write in the Sabbath school you could
learn more about our blessed Redeemer. You asked me if it
is wrong to spend your time this way on the Sabbath. It is a
question hard to be answered by myself; but if you were in
Washington I suppose I would think it wrong, for here we have
both Sabbath and every day schools. But situated as you are,
I think it no harm, provided it does not lead to anything more;
for it is not so much what one does, but the motive which
prompts the act. You also said you wish you had such privi-
leges as I enjoy, that you might study and do more good for
the poor children in your neighborhood in the way of teaching
them. I sympathize with you much, and were I able you
should not pant for learning any longer, but should come even

here and drink from the same well of knowledge out of which
I draw daily. But I can continue to pray for you. I was ac-
custamed to pray that the Lord would convert your soul, and
your mother's and Aunt Lucy Jane's, and you have all been
converted. In a like manner will He again hear my prayer,
and provide a manner by which you may be educated, if He
so wills it. You well know how I have worked to enjoy the
advantages of education, but on account of being near sighted
(and it was supposed I could not study) I was rejected even
by Christian teachers, and particularly by one Christian insti-
tution; and when all had forsaken me the Lord took me up
from a state of degradation and ignorance and placed me even
here through the great Reform Church of America. But
first Dr. Turner, who died with one hand upon the lever
which helps to move the great educational machinery of this
country-and particularly among our race-and the other
setting forth truths of the Bible in their purity, opened the
door of his institution for me, and I entered there, and would
have gone to school there, but I found it much to my advan-
tage to come to Howard University. In conclusion allow me
to say, that I first put my trust in man because he would talk
very pleasantly to me, pat me on the back, and say in an in-
direct manner, "Depart, and be ye educated; a young man
like you is worthy of an education." My experience has
taught me this lesson, that it is better to trust in God than in
the promises of mankind, though some men are really instru-
ments for good in His hands, all along the winding ways of
life, to point us to a higher station than that in which we are
placed, even by circumstances.

When I was about giving up all hopes of getting an educa-
tion I visited President Grant, and after talking to him a while
I pulled out a copy of a little poem which I composed, which
I presented to him on bidding him good bye. He gave me a
warm shake of that heroic hand which so materially aided in
emancipating four millions of slaves, crushing the rebellion,
and is now so successfully binding the heart of every Ameri-
can to his country's cause, and said, "Never pause until you
become educated." Such words, coming from such a source,
to an uncultivated mind, indeed left impressions that time only
can efface. But after all I found it was better to trust in God
and myself, for there are things which man cannot belp us to
do, neither can we ask him.

I have written a long letter to you that I might tell you of
a Friend to whom you can make all your necessities known;
for you will find that there are very dark times in life, and
what I have said is true; and when you shall have experi-
enced the truthfulness of it you will exclaim--
E truly need a friend below,
Who may our wants and troubles know;
There 're always times when sorrows press:
How dear a friend amid distress.

The Lord to us a friend will be,
Even to all eternity,
If we within his love confide,
And haven near his bleeding side.
What peace, what joy and delight,
How angels guard my soul by night,
How happy must my station be
When Christ the Lord remembers me.
This life within its brightest ray,
An emblem of an endless day;
Should I not count each moment dross,
When I behold my Saviour's cross?
Then help me, Lord, my cross to take,
And all my sinful ways forsake.
That when I shall be called to die,
On wings of love to thee I 'll fly.
I remain your affectionate uncle,


This page has tags: