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

Walter Everette Hawkins, "Ethiopian Maid" (1917)

I MINGLE my goblet with oil of the vine,
And drink to the health of a maid most benign;
No less do I drink to her beauty and youth,
Than to her meek innocence, virtue and truth;
And meekly arrayed in thy modest brocade,
I drink to thy health, Ethiopian maid.
'Mid noon-tide and moon-tide whatever my themes,
Thy vision creeps in the enchantments of dreams;
The pipings of skylarks and trills of the wren
Are mixed in the midst of the melody when
Thy laughter rings out in the vine scented glade,
As I drink to thy health, Ethiopian maid.
When sun of the tropics turns westward and dies,
The magic still lingers in light of thine eyes;
I mingle my goblet with oil of the palm,
Where spices hang over and summer smiles warm,
And there, 'mid the magic of forest and shade,
I drink thy sweet health, Ethiopian maid.

Published in The Crisis, July 1917
Also published in The Dunbar Speaker and Entertainer, 1920

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