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

James Weldon Johnson, "To Horace Bumstead" (1917)


    Have you been sore discouraged in the fight,
      And even sometimes weighted by the thought
      That those with whom and those for whom you fought
    Lagged far behind, or dared but faintly smite?
    And that the opposing forces in their might
      Of blind inertia rendered as for naught
      All that throughout the long years had been wrought,
    And powerless each blow for Truth and Right?

    If so, take new and greater courage then,
      And think no more withouten help you stand;
        For sure as God on His eternal throne
    Sits, mindful of the sinful deeds of men,
    --The awful Sword of Justice in His hand,--
        You shall not, no, you shall not, fight alone.

Published in Fifty Years and Other Poems (1917)

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