Women of the Early Harlem Renaissance: African American Women Writers 1900-1922

The Dreamers

"The Dreamers are the Saviours of the World."
So ran the legend writ in letters bold,
Upon a page whereon in idle hour,
My listless gaze did chance to rest. Straightway
A magic thrill thro' all my being ran
And all my powers of mind became at once
Instinct with leaping life. Again I gazed —
Again with eagerness the page I scanned:
Unchanged, the words still boldly graven there
"The Dreamers are the Saviours of the World."
"And can it be," I thought, this ancient page
Doth to my own sweet wild imaginings
Lend confirmation strong. Would this bright world
Be but a barren waste, a wilderness;
Its human creatures scarcely one remove
From birds and beasts, and creeping, crawling things
Instead of beings, as great God declared
But little lower than the angels formed.
Did not the Dreamer — Sculptor, Poet, Sage —
Keep ever brightly burning life's ideals
As beacon lights to comfort, cheer and guide
The weary travelers o'er life's rugged way?
Still motionless I sat, still pondered o'er
The words this ancient tome did speak, dramatic
And profound, as 'twere an oracle.
The book, unheeded, fell from my lax hand.
And back with lightning speed my fancy flew
O'er space and time immense and limitless.
Before mine eyes a panorama spread,
Showing the great of earth since time began.
I saw bold Caesar and Napoleon,
St. Francis of Assisi, Socrates,
Shakespeare and Froebel, Michael Angelo
And all the sacred host of mighty dead.
Before me moved the pageant of the years
In ghostly pomp and grandeur. I saw again
The youthful Joseph, Dreamer of Israel;
Despised of his brethren, cursed and roughly used
Because he dreamed the truth they could not grasp.
And then, I saw the dream fulfilled, while they,
The former scoffers, bent the suppliant knee,
In silent tribute to the Dreamer's power.
When busy Martha cumbered with much care
Complained that Mary at the Saviour's feet
In dreamland sat, the gentle Christ replied,
"Mary hath chosen the better part." I saw
Columbus, bold and unafraid, set out
Upon an unknown sea his dream to find
Come true. Douglass, the slave — the martyr, Brown,
And Harriet Beecher Stowe, the prophetess,
Each dreaming of a country free from rule
Of grasping greed and heartless tyranny.
In patience wrought, to bring to pass the dream
Which men derided — called impossible:
When lo! while yet they mocked, it came to pass!
"Dreamers," I thought, whose dreams have changed the world!
So must it ever be. The Dreamer comes
In every age unvalued and condemned.
The Doers trooping come, with boisterous haste
Millions to one lone Dreamer: failing him,
No single revolution of the wheel
Of progress marks advance, for he alone
Can move the world and bring a revelation.
The true Idealist does not spend his time
In vain and idle musings; nor does he flee
Unfavorable conditions, as a slave.
For quarters more secure and genial:
But rather, he is one who patiently
And often painfully his life doth shape
Harmonious with an inward purpose true,
Striving against cold materialism to make
The glorious vision in whose light he lives
Shine strong and bright before the eyes of men
Whose sight less clear discerning is than his.
'Tis true that dreams are but the evidence
Of things unseen — realities which all
Shall one day see and know. Dream lofty dreams.
And as you dream, O, Friend, shall you become
What you desire, you shall obtain; and what
You shall aspire unto you shall achieve.
Your vision is the promise of what you
Shall one day be; your ideal but the prophecy
Of what you shall at last unveil!
Then cherish well your vision, cherish fondly
Your ideals. O great and noble Dreamer!


This page has paths:

This page has tags: