The Book of American Negro Poetry eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 148 pages of information about The Book of American Negro Poetry.


From this low-lying valley; Oh, how sweet
And cool and calm and great is life, I ween,
There on yon mountain-throne—­that sun-gold crest!

From this uplifted, mighty mountain-seat: 
How bright and still and warm and soft and green
Seems yon low lily-vale of peace and rest!


We’ve kept the faith.  Our souls’ high dreams
  Untouched by bondage and its rod,
Burn on! and on! and on!  It seems
  We shall have FRIENDS—­while God is God!

    Benjamin Brawley


(To Robert Gould Shaw)

Flushed with the hope of high desire,
  He buckled on his sword,
To dare the rampart ranged with fire,
  Or where the thunder roared;
Into the smoke and flame he went,
  For God’s great cause to die—­
A youth of heaven’s element,
  The flower of chivalry.

This was the gallant faith, I trow,
  Of which the sages tell;
On such devotion long ago
  The benediction fell;
And never nobler martyr burned,
  Or braver hero died,
Than he who worldly honor spurned
  To serve the Crucified.

And Lancelot and Sir Bedivere
  May pass beyond the pale,
And wander over moor and mere
  To find the Holy Grail;

But ever yet the prize forsooth
  My hero holds in fee;
And he is Blameless Knight in truth,
  And Galahad to me.


Gone are the sensuous stars, and manifold,
Clear sunbeams burst upon the front of night;
Ten thousand swords of azure and of gold
Give darkness to the dark and welcome light;
Across the night of ages strike the gleams,
And leading on the gilded host appears
An old man writing in a book of dreams,
And telling tales of lovers for the years;
Still Troilus hears a voice that whispers, Stay;
In Nature’s garden what a mad rout sings! 
Let’s hear these motley pilgrims wile away
The tedious hours with stories of old things;
Or might some shining eagle claim
These lowly numbers for the House of Fame!

    Joshua Henry Jones, Jr.


Ghastly, ghoulish, grinning skull,
Toothless, eyeless, hollow, dull,
Why your smirk and empty smile
As the hours away you wile? 
Has the earth become such bore
That it pleases nevermore? 
Whence your joy through sun and rain? 
Is ’t because of loss of pain? 
Have you learned what men learn not
That earth’s substance turns to rot? 
After learning now you scan
Vain endeavors man by man? 
Do you mind that you as they
Once was held by mystic sway;
Dreamed and struggled, hoped and prayed,

Project Gutenberg
The Book of American Negro Poetry from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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