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

Lucian B. Watkins, "Ballade to Paul Laurence Dunbar" (1918)

We would not call you, Dunbar, from your rest,
For you were weary when you softly sang
The lullaby that soothed your love-sweet breast,
And o'er the raptured world divinely rang,
Amid the storms of Life's tumultuous clan,
Of battle-thunders in the fateful Night
That hide the smiles of Heaven from our sight;--
Lo, while you sleep the sleep of paradise
We seek the blessed morning and its light
'Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes!'


Ah, Poet Paul! you ang and all is right!
We feel our souls expanding for the flight--
Lord, help us breathe to Thee a prayer and rise
And touch Thy Truth Eternal on the Height.
'Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes!'

Published in The Crisis 17.2 December 1918

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