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

Paul Laurence Dunbar, "John Greenleaf Whittier" (1896)

Not o'er thy dust let there be spent
The gush of maudlin sentiment;
Such drift as that is not for thee,
Whose life and deeds and songs agree,
Sublime in their simplicity.

Nor shall the sorrowing tear be shed.
O singer sweet, thou art not dead!
In spite of time's malignant chill,
With living fire thy songs shall thrill,
And men shall say, "He liveth still!"

Great poets never die, for Earth
Doth count their lives of too great worth
To lose them from her treasured store:
So shalt thou live for evermore
Though far thy form from mortal ken
Deep in the hearts and minds of men.

Published in "Lyrics of Lowly Life," 1896
Also published in Colored American Magazine, December 1907

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