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

To Phyllis Wheatley (First African Poetess)

No! Not like the lark, didst thou circle and sing,
High in the heavens on morn's merry wing,
But hid in the depths of the forest's dense shade,
There where the homes of the lowly were made,
Thou nested! Though fettered, thou frail child of night,
Thy melody trilled forth with naive delight;
And all through the throes of the night dark and long,
Earth's favored ones harkened thy ravishing song,
So plaintive and wild, touched with Africa's lilt;
Of wrong small complaint, sweet forgiveness of guilt--
Oh, a lyric of love and a paean of praise,
Didst thou at thy vespers, Dark Nightingale, raise;
So sweet was the hymn rippling out of the dark,
It rivalled the clear morning song of the lark. 

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