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

Olivia Ward Bush-Banks, "To the Memory of Paul Laurence Dunbar" (1914)

To the Memory of Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Dunbar is dead! O Grief, thy cloud of gloom
Hangs o'er his race! They sorely needed him,
That he should pass from them in his bright bloom
Hath sorrowed deep; and troubled eyes are dim
With tears. To hear no more the voice that thrilled;
To know his pen lies useless, undisturbed;
To know that evermore his songs are stilled,
Hath filled their hearts with mournings, yet unheard.
O Singer-Artist, thy sweet tuneful lays
Shall live, e'en though thy spirit swift hath flown
Back to its Maker; still we prize and praise
The picture that thy skillful hand has thrown
Upon Life's canvass, that so well portrays
The lot of him who close to Nature clings;
The joy, the pain, the pleasure of his days
In field and cabin, where he weeps or sings;
It must be that thy soul-inspired Art
Hath found, at last, in a diviner sphere
Its proper place, from earthly ills apart,
To make complete its rare beginning here.

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