African American Poetry (1870-1926): A Digital Anthology

The Negro Singer by James D. Corrothers

    O’er all my song the image of a face
    Lieth, like shadow on the wild, sweet flowers.
    The dream, the ecstasy that prompts my powers,
    The golden lyre’s delights, bring little grace
    To bless the singer of a lowly race.
    Long hath this mocked me: aye, in marvelous hours,
    When Hera’s gardens gleamed, or Cynthia’s bowers,
    Or Hope’s red pylons, in their far, hushed place!
    But I shall dig me deeper to the gold;
    Fetch water, dripping, over desert miles
    From clear Nyanzas and mysterious Niles
    Of love; and sing, nor one kind act withhold.
    So shall men know me, and remember long,
    Nor my dark face dishonor any song.

[From Negro Poets and their Poems]

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