20+ Best James Weldon Johnson You Must Read

James Weldon Johnson was an American author and civil rights activist. He was married to civil rights activist Grace Nail Johnson. Johnson was a leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, where he started working in 1917.

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Famous James Weldon Johnson

Down By The Carib Sea

I

Sunrise in the Tropics

Sol, Sol, mighty lord of the tropic zone,
Here I wait with the trembling stars
To see thee once more take thy throne.

There the patient palm tree watching
Waits to say, ‘Good morn’ to thee,
And a throb of expectation
Pulses through the earth and me.

Now, o’er nature falls a hush,
Look! the East is all a-blush;
And a growing crimson crest
Dims the late stars in the west;
Now, a flood of golden light
Sweeps acress the silver night,
Swift the pale moon fades away
Before the light-girt King of Day,
See! the miracle is done!
Once more behold! The Sun!

II

Los Cigarillos

This is the land of the dark-eyed
gente,

Of the
dolce far niente,

Where we dream away
Both the night and day,
At night-time in sleep our dreams we invoke,
Our dreams come by day through the redolent smoke,
As it lazily curls,
And slowly unfurls
From our lips,
And the tips
Of our fragrant cigarillos.
For life in the tropics is only a joke,
So we pass it in dreams, and we pass it in smoke,
Smoke — smoke — smoke.

Tropical constitutions
Call for occasional revolutions;
But after that’s through,
Why there’s nothing to do
But smoke — smoke;
For life in the tropics is only a joke,
So we pass it in dreams, and we pass it in smoke,
Smoke — smoke — smoke.

III

Teestay

Of tropic sensations, the worst
Is,
sin duda,
the tropical thirst.

When it starts in your throat and constantly grows,
Till you feel that it reaches down to your toes,
When your mouth tastes like fur
And your tongue turns to dust,
There’s but one thing to do,
And do it you must,
Drink
teestay.

Teestay, a drink with a history,
A delicious, delectable mystery,

‘Cinco centavos el vaso, señor,’

If you take one, you will surely want more.

Teestay, Teestay,

The national drink on a feast day;
How it coolingly tickles,
As downward it trickles,

Teestay, teestay.

And you wish, as you take it down at a quaff,
That your neck was constructed à la giraffe.

Teestay, teestay.

IV

The Lottery Girl

‘Lottery, lottery,
Take a chance at the lottery?
Take a ticket,
Or, better, take two;
Who knows what the future
May hold for you?
Lottery, lottery,
Take a chance at the lottery?’

Oh, limpid-eyed girl,
I would take every chance,
If only the prize
Were a love-flashing glance
From your fathomless eyes.

‘Lottery, lottery,
Try your luck at the lottery?
Consider the size
Of the capital prize,
And take tickets
For the lottery.
Tickets,
señor?
Tickets,
señor?

Take a chance at the lottery?’

Oh, crimson-lipped girl,
With the magical smile,
I would count that the gamble
Were well worth the while,
Not a chance would I miss,
If only the prize
Were a honey-bee kiss
Gathered in sips
From those full-ripened lips,
And a love-flashing glance
From your eyes.

V

The Dancing Girl

Do you know what it is to dance?
Perhaps, you do know, in a fashion;
But by dancing I mean,
Not what’s generally seen,
But dancing of fire and passion,
Of fire and delirious passion.

With a dusky-haired
señorita,

Her dark, misty eyes near your own,
And her scarlet-red mouth,
Like a rose of the south,
The reddest that ever was grown,
So close that you catch
Her quick-panting breath
As across your own face it is blown,
With a sigh, and a moan.
Ah! that is dancing,
As here by the Carib it’s known.

Now, whirling and twirling
Like furies we go;
Now, soft and caressing
And sinuously slow;
With an undulating motion,
Like waves on a breeze-kissed ocean:—
And the scarlet-red mouth
Is nearer your own,
And the dark, misty eyes
Still softer have grown.
Ah! that is dancing, that is loving,
As here by the Carib they’re known.

VI

Sunset in the Tropics

A silver flash from the sinking sun,
Then a shot of crimson across the sky
That, bursting, lets a thousand colors fly
And riot among the clouds; they run,
Deepening in purple, flaming in gold,
Changing, and opening fold after fold,
Then fading through all of the tints of the rose into gray,
Till, taking quick fright at the coming night,
They rush out down the west,
In hurried quest
Of the fleeing day.

Now above where the tardiest color flares a moment yet,
One point of light, now two, now three are set
To form the starry stairs, —
And, in her fire-fly crown,
Queen Night, on velvet slippered feet, comes softly down.

The Awakening

I dreamed that I was a rose
That grew beside a lonely way,
Close by a path none ever chose,
And there I lingered day by day.
Beneath the sunshine and the show’r
I grew and waited there apart,
Gathering perfume hour by hour,
And storing it within my heart,
Yet, never knew,
Just why I waited there and grew.

I dreamed that you were a bee
That one day gaily flew along,
You came across the hedge to me,
And sang a soft, love-burdened song.
You brushed my petals with a kiss,
I woke to gladness with a start,
And yielded up to you in bliss
The treasured fragrance of my heart;
And then I knew
That I had waited there for you.

Prayer At Sunrise

O mighty, powerful, dark-dispelling sun,
Now thou art risen, and thy day begun.
How shrink the shrouding mists before thy face,
As up thou spring’st to thy diurnal race!
How darkness chases darkness to the west,
As shades of light on light rise radiant from thy crest!
For thee, great source of strength, emblem of might,
In hours of darkest gloom there is no night.
Thou shinest on though clouds hide thee from sight,
And through each break thou sendest down thy light.

O greater Maker of this Thy great sun,
Give me the strength this one day’s race to run,
Fill me with light, fill me with sun-like strength,
Fill me with joy to rob the day its length.
Light from within, light that will outward shine,
Strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine,
Joy to make glad each soul that feels its touch;
Great Father of the sun, I ask this much.

The Suicide

For fifty years,
Cruel, insatiable Old World.
You have punched me over the heart
Till you made me cough blood.
The few paltry things I gathered
You snatched out of my hands.
You have knocked the cup from my thirsty lips.
You have laughed at my hunger of body and soul.

You look at me now and think,
‘He is still strong,
There ought to be twenty more years of good punching there.
At the end of that time he will be old and broken,
Not able to strike back,
But cringing and crying for leave
To live a little longer.’

Those twenty, pitiful, extra years
Would please you more than the fifty past,
Would they not, Old World?
Well, I hold them up before your greedy eyes,
And snatch them away as I laugh in your face,
Ha! Ha!
Bang —!

The Temptress

Old Devil, when you come with horns and tail,
With diabolic grin and crafty leer;
I say, such bogey-man devices wholly fail
To waken in my heart a single fear.

But when you wear a form I know so well,
A form so human, yet so near divine;
‘Tis then I fall beneath the magic of your spell,
‘Tis then I know the vantage is not mine.

Ah! when you take your horns from off your head,
And soft and fragrant hair is in their place;
I must admit I fear the tangled path I tread
When that dear head is laid against my face.

And at what time you change your baleful eyes
For stars that melt into the gloom of night,
All of my courage, my dear fellow, quickly flies;
I know my chance is slim to win the fight.

And when, instead of charging down to wreck
Me on a red-hot pitchfork in your hand,
You throw a pair of slender arms about my neck,
I dare not trust the ground on which I stand.

Whene’er in place of using patent wile,
Or trying to frighten me with horrid grin,
You tempt me with two crimson lips curved in a smile;
Old Devil, I must really own, you win.

The Young Warrior

Mother, shed no mournful tears,
But gird me on my sword;
And give no utterance to thy fears,
But bless me with thy word.

The lines are drawn! The fight is on!
A cause is to be won!
Mother, look not so white and wan;
Give Godspeed to thy son.

Now let thine eyes my way pursue
Where’er my footsteps fare;
And when they lead beyond thy view,
Send after me a prayer.

But pray not to defend from harm,
Nor danger to dispel;
Pray, rather, that with steadfast arm
I fight the battle well.

Pray, mother of mine, that I always keep
My heart and purpose strong,
My sword unsullied and ready to leap
Unsheathed against the wrong.

The Rivals

Look heah! Is I evah tole you ’bout de curious way I won
Anna Liza? Say, I nevah? Well heah’s how de thing wuz done.

Lize, you know, wuz mighty purty —dat’s been forty yeahs ago —
‘N ‘cos to look at her dis minit, you might’n spose dat it wuz so.

She wuz jes de greates’ ‘traction in de county, ‘n bless de lam’!
Eveh darkey wuz a-co’tin, but it lay ‘twix me an’ Sam.

You know Sam. We both wuz wukin’ on de ole John Tompkin’s place.
‘N evehbody wuz a-watchin’ t’ see who’s gwine to win de race.

Hee! hee! hee! Now you mus’ raley ‘scuse me fu’ dis snickering,
But I jes can’t he’p f’om laffin’ eveh time I tells dis thing.

Ez I wuz a-sayin’, me an’ Sam wuked daily side by side,
He a-studyin’, me a-studyin’, how to win Lize fu’ a bride.

Well, de race was kinder equal. Lize wuz sorter on de fence;
Sam he had de mostes dollars, an’ I had de mostes sense.

Things dey run along ’bout eben tel der come Big Meetin’ day;
Sam den thought, to win Miss Liza, he had foun’ de shoest way.

An’ you talk about big meetin’s! None been like it ‘fore nor sence;
Der wuz sich a crowd o’ people dat we had to put up tents.

Der wuz preachers f’om de Eas’, an’ ‘der wuz preachers f’om de Wes’;
Folks had kilt mos’ eveh chicken, an’ wuz fattenin’ up de res’.

Gals had all got new w’ite dresses, an’ bought ribbens fu’ der hair,
Fixin’ fu’ de openin’ Sunday, prayin’ dat de day’d be fair.

Dat de Reveren’ Jasper Jones of Mount Moriah, it wuz ‘low’d,
Wuz to preach de openin’ sermon; so you know der wuz a crowd.

Fu’ dat man wuz sho a preacher; had a voice jes like a bull;
So der ain’t no use in sayin’ dat de meetin’ house wuz full.

Folks wuz der f’om Big Pine Hollow, some come ‘way f’om Muddy Creek,
Some come jes to stay fu’ Sunday, but de crowd stay’d thoo de week.

Some come ridin’ in top-buggies wid de w’eels all painted red,
Pulled by mules dat run like rabbits, each one tryin’ to git ahead.

Othah po’rer folks come drivin’ mules dat leaned up ‘ginst de shaf’,
Hitched to broke-down, creaky wagons dat looked like dey’d drap in half.

But de bigges’ crowd come walkin’, wid der new shoes on der backs;
‘Scuse wuz dat dey couldn’t weah em ’cause de heels wuz full o’ tacks.

Fact is, it’s a job for Job, a-trudgin’ in de sun an’ heat,
Down a long an’ dusty clay road wid yo’ shoes packed full o’ feet.

‘Cose dey stopt an’ put dem shoes on w’en dey got mos’ to de do’;
Den dey had to grin an’ bear it; dat tuk good religion sho.

But I mos’ forgot ma story,—well at las’ dat Sunday came
And it seemed dat evehbody, blin’ an’ deef, an’ halt an’ lame,

Wuz out in de grove a-waitin’ fu’ de meetin’ to begin;
Ef dat crowd had got converted ‘twould a been de end o’ sin.

Lize wuz der in all her glory, purty ez a big sunflowah,
I kin ‘member how she looked jes same ez ‘twuz dis ve’y houah.

But to make ma story shorter, w’ile we wuz a-waitin’ der,
Down de road we spied a cloud o’ dus’ dat filled up all de air.

An’ ez we kep’ on a-lookin’, out f’om ‘mongst dat ve’y cloud,
Sam, on Marse John’s big mule, Cæsar, rode right slam up in de crowd.

You jes oughtah seed dat darkey, ‘clar I like tah loss ma bref;
Fu’ to use a common ‘spression, he wuz ’bout nigh dressed to def.

He had slipped to town dat Sat’day, didn’t let nobody know,
An’ had car’yd all his cash an’ lef’ it in de dry goods sto’.

He had on a bran’ new suit o’ sto’-bought clo’es, a high plug hat;
He looked ‘zactly like a gen’man, tain’t no use d’nyin’ dat.

W’en he got down off dat mule an’ bowed to Liza I could see
How she looked at him so ‘dmirin’, an’ jes kinder glanced at me.

Den I know’d to win dat gal, I sho would need some othah means
‘Sides a-hangin’ ’round big meetin’ in a suit o’ homespun jeans.

W’en dey blow’d de ho’n fu’ preachin’, an’ de crowd all went inside,
I jes felt ez doh I’d like tah go off in de woods an’ hide.

So I stay’d outside de meetin’, set’n underneat’ de trees,
Seemed to me I sot der ages, wid ma elbows on ma knees.

W’en dey sung dat hymn, ‘Nobody knows de trouble dat I see,’
Seem’d to me dat dey wuz singin’ eveh word o’ it fu’ me.

Jes how long I might ha’ sot der, actin’ like a cussed fool,
I don’t know, but it jes happen’d dat I look’d an’ saw Sam’s mule.

An’ de thought come slowly tricklin’ thoo ma brain right der an’ den,
Dat, perhaps, wid some persuasion, I could make dat mule ma fren’.

An’ I jes kep’ on a-thinkin’, an’ I kep’ a-lookin’ ‘roun’,
Tel I spied two great big san’ spurs right close by me on de groun’.

Well, I took dem spurs an’ put em underneat’ o’ Cæsar’s saddle,
So dey’d press down in his backbone soon ez Sam had got a-straddle.

‘Twuz a pretty ticklish job, an’ jes ez soon ez it wuz done,
I went back w’ere I wuz set’n fu’ to wait an’ see de fun.

Purty soon heah come de people, jes a-swa’min’ out de do’,
Talkin’ ’bout de ‘pow’ful sermon’—’nevah heah’d de likes befo’.’

How de ‘monahs fell convicted’ jes de same ez lumps o’ lead,
How dat some wuz still a-layin’ same es if dey’d been struck dead.

An’ to rectly heah come Liza, Sam a-strollin’ by her side,
An’ it seem’d to me dat darky’s smile wuz ’bout twelve inches wide.

Look to me like he had swelled up to ’bout twice his natchul size,
An’ I heah’d him say, ‘I’d like to be yo’ ‘scort to-night, Miss Lize.’

Den he made a bow jes like he’s gwine to make a speech in school,
An’ walk’d jes ez proud ez Marse John over to untie his mule,

W’en Sam’s foot fust touched de stirrup he know’d der wuz sump’n wrong;
‘Cuz de mule begin to tremble an’ to sorter side along.

W’en Sam raised his weight to mount him, Cæsar bristled up his ear,
W’en Sam sot down in de saddle, den dat mule cummenced to rear.

An’ he reared an’ pitched an’ caper’d, only ez a mule kin pitch,
Tel he flung Sam clean f’om off him, landed him squar’ in a ditch.

W’en dat darky riz, well raly, I felt kinder bad fu’ him;
He had bust dem cheap sto’ britches f’um de center to de rim.

All de plug hat dat wuz lef’ him wuz de brim aroun’ his neck,
Smear’d wid mud f’om top to bottom, well, he wuz a sight, I’speck.

Wuz de folks a-laffin’? Well, su’, I jes sholy thought dey’d bus’;
Wuz Sam laffin’? ‘Twuz de fus’ time dat I evah heah’d him cuss.

W’ile Sam slink’d off thoo de backwoods I walk’d slowly home wid Lize,
W’en I axed her jes one question der wuz sump’n in her eyes

Made me know der wuz no need o’ any answer bein’ said,
An’ I felt jes like de whole world wuz a-spinnin’ ‘roun’ ma head.

So I said, ‘Lize, w’en we marry, mus’ I weah some sto’-bought clo’es?’
She says, ‘Jeans is good enough fu’ any po’ folks, heaben knows!’

Nobody’s Lookin’ But De Owl An’ De Moon

(A Negro Serenade)

De river is a-glistenin’ in de moonlight,
De owl is set’n high up in de tree;
De little stars am twinklin’ wid a sof’ light,
De night seems only jes fu’ you an’ me.
Thoo de trees de breezes am a-sighin’,
Breathin’ out a sort o’ lover’s croon,
Der’s nobody lookin’ or a-spyin’,
Nobody but de owl an’ de moon.

Nobody’s lookin’ but de owl an’ de moon,
An’ de night is balmy; fu’ de month is June;
Come den, Honey, won’t you? Come to meet me soon,
W’ile nobody’s lookin’ but de owl an’ de moon.

I feel so kinder lonely all de daytime,
It seems I raly don’t know what to do;
I jes keep sort a-longin’ fu’ de night-time,
‘Cause den I know dat I can be wid you.
An’ de thought jes sets my brain a-swayin’,
An’ my heart a-beatin’ to a tune;
Come, de owl won’t tell w’at we’s a-sayin’,
An’ cose you know we kin trus’ de moon.

The Gift To Sing

Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day —
I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.

The Seasons

W’en de leaves begin to fall,
An’ de fros’ is on de ground,
An’ de ‘simmons is a-ripenin’ on de tree;
W’en I heah de dinner call,
An’ de chillen gadder ’round,
‘Tis den de ‘possum is de meat fu’ me.

W’en de wintertime am pas’
An’ de spring is come at las’,
W’en de good ole summer sun begins to shine;
Oh! my thoughts den tek a turn,
An’ my heart begins to yearn
Fo’ dat watermelon growin’ on de vine.

Now, de yeah will sholy bring
‘Round a season fu’ us all,
Ev’y one kin pick his season f’om de res’;
But de melon in de spring,
An’ de ‘possum in de fall,
Mek it hard to tell which time o’ year am bes’.

Life

Out of the infinite sea of eternity
To climb, and for an instant stand
Upon an island speck of time.
From the impassible peace of the darkness
To wake, and blink at the garish light
Through one short hour of fretfulness.

Sonnet

My heart be brave, and do not falter so,
Nor utter more that deep, despairing wail.
Thy way is very dark and drear I know,
But do not let thy strength and courage fail;
For certain as the raven-winged night
Is followed by the bright and blushing morn,
Thy coming morrow will be clear and bright;
’Tis darkest when the night is furthest worn.
Look up, and out, beyond, surrounding clouds,
And do not in thine own gross darkness grope,
Rise up, and casting off thy hind’ring shrouds,
Cling thou to this, and ever inspiring hope:
Tho’ thick the battle and tho’ fierce the fight,
There is a power making for the right.

Sleep

O Sleep, thou kindest minister to man,
Silent distiller of the balm of rest,
How wonderful thy power, when naught else can,
To soothe the torn and sorrow-laden breast!
When bleeding hearts no comforter can find,
When burdened souls droop under weight of woe,
When thought is torture to the troubled mind,
When grief-relieving tears refuse to flow;
‘Tis then thou comest on soft-beating wings,
And sweet oblivion’s peace from them is shed;
But ah, the old pain that the waking brings!
That lives again so soon as thou art fled!
Man, why should thought of death cause thee to weep;
Since death be but an endless, dreamless sleep?

To Horace Bumstead

Have you been sore discouraged in the fight,
And even sometimes weighted by the thought
That those with whom and those for whom you fought
Lagged far behind, or dared but faintly smite?
And that the opposing forces in their might
Of blind inertia rendered as for naught
All that throughout the long years had been wrought,
And powerless each blow for Truth and Right?

If so, take new and greater courage then,
And think no more withouten help you stand;
For sure as God on His eternal throne
Sits, mindful of the sinful deeds of men,
–The awful Sword of Justice in His hand,–
You shall not, no, you shall not, fight alone.

Omar

Old Omar, jolly sceptic, it may be
That, after all, you found the magic key
To life and all its mystery, and I
Must own you have almost persuaded me.

Ma Lady’s Lips Am Like De Honey

(Negro Love Song)

Breeze a-sighin’ and a-blowin’,
Southern summer night.
Stars a-gleamin’ and a-glowin’,
Moon jes shinin’ right.

Strollin’, like all lovers do,
Down de lane wid Lindy Lou;
Honey on her lips to waste;
‘Speck I’m gwine to steal a taste.

Oh, ma lady’s lips am like de honey,
Ma lady’s lips am like de rose;
An’ I’m jes like de little bee a-buzzin’
‘Round de flower wha’ de nectah grows.

Ma lady’s lips dey smile so temptin’,
Ma lady’s teeth so white dey shine,
Oh, ma lady’s lips so tantalizin’,
Ma lady’s lips so close to mine.

Bird a-whistlin’ and a-swayin’
In de live-oak tree;
Seems to me he keeps a-sayin’,
‘Kiss dat gal fo’ me.’

Look heah, Mister Mockin’ Bird,
Gwine to take you at yo’ word;
If I meets ma Waterloo,
Gwine to blame it all on you.

Oh, ma lady’s lips am like de honey,
Ma lady’s lips am like de rose;
An’ I’m jes like de little bee a-buzzin’
‘Round de flower wha’ de nectah grows.

Ma lady’s lips dey smile so temptin’,
Ma lady’s teeth so white dey shine,
Oh, ma lady’s lips so tantalizin’,
Ma lady’s lips so close to mine.

Honey in de rose, I spose, is
Put der fo’ de bee;
Honey on her lips, I knows, is
Put der jes fo’ me.

Seen a sparkle in her eye,
Heard her heave a little sigh;
Felt her kinder squeeze ma han’,
‘Nuff to make me understan’.

O Southland!

O Southland! O Southland!
Have you not heard the call,
The trumpet blown, the word made known
To the nations, one and all?
The watchword, the hope-word,
Salvation’s present plan?
A gospel new, for all-for you
Man shall be saved by man.

O Southland! O Southland!
Do you not hear to-day
The mighty beat of onward feet,
And know you not their way?
‘Tis forward, ’tis upward,
On to the fair white arch
Of Freedom’s dome, and there is room
For each man who would march.

O Southland, fair Southland!
Then why do you still cling
To an idle age and a musty page,
To a dead and useless thing?
‘Tis springtime! ‘Tis work-time!
The world is young again!
And God’s above, and God is love,
And men are only men.

O Southland! my Southland!
O birthland! do not shirk
The toilsome task, nor respite ask,
But gird you for the work.
Remember, remember
That weakness stalks in pride;
That he is strong who helps along
The faint one at his side.

Vashti

I sometimes take you in my dreams to a far-off land I used to know,
Back in the ages long ago; a land of palms and languid streams.

A land, by night, of jeweled skies, by day, of shores that glistened bright,
Within whose arms, outstretched and white, a sapphire sea lay crescent-wise.

Where twilight fell like silver floss, where rose, the golden moon half-hid
Behind a shadowy pyramid; a land beneath the Southern Cross.

And there the days dreamed in their flight, each one a poem chanted through,
Which at its close was merged into the muted music of the night.

And you were a princess in those days. And I — I was your serving lad.
But who ever served with heart so glad, or lived so for a word of praise?

And if that word you chanced to speak, how all my senses swayed and reeled,
Till low beside your feet I kneeled, with happiness o’erwrought and weak.

If, when your golden cup I bore, you deigned to lower your eyes to mine,
Eyes cold, yet fervid, like the wine, I knew not how to wish for more.

I trembled at the thought to dare to gaze upon, to scrutinize
The deep-sea mystery of your eyes, the sun-lit splendor of your hair.

To let my timid glances rest upon you long enough to note
How fair and slender was your throat, how white the promise of your breast.

But though I did not dare to chance a lingering look, an open gaze
Upon your beauty’s blinding rays, I ventured many a stolen glance.

I fancy, too, (but could not state what trick of mind the fancy caused)
At times your eyes upon me paused, and marked my figure lithe and straight.

Once when my eyes met yours it seemed that in
your cheek, despite your pride,
A flush arose and swiftly died; or was it something that I dreamed?

Within your radiance like the star of morning, there I stood and served,
Close by, unheeded, unobserved. You were so near, and, yet, so far.

Ah! just to stretch my hand and touch the musky sandals on your feet!—
My breaking heart! of rapture sweet it never could have held so much.

Oh, beauty-haunted memory! Your face so proud, your eyes so calm,
Your body like a slim young palm, and sinuous as a willow tree.

Caught up beneath your slender arms, and girdled ’round your supple waist,
A robe of curious silk that graced, but only scarce concealed your charms.

A golden band about your head, a crimson jewel at your throat
Which, when the sunlight on it smote, turned to a living heart and bled.

But, oh, that mystic bleeding stone, that work of Nature’s magic art,
Which mimicked so a wounded heart, could never bleed as did my own!

Now after ages long and sad, in this stern land we meet anew;
No more a princess proud are you, and I — I am no serving lad.

And yet, dividing us, I meet a wider gulf than that which stood
Between a princess of the blood and him who served low at her feet.

Venus In The Garden

‘Twas at early morning,
The dawn was blushing in her purple bed,
When in a sweet, embowered garden
She, the fairest of the goddesses,
The lovely Venus,
Roamed amongst the roses white and red.
She sought for flowers
To make a garland
For her golden head.

Snow-white roses, blood-red roses,
In that sweet garden close,
Offered incense to the goddess:
Both the white and the crimson rose.

White roses, red roses, blossoming:
But the fair Venus knew
The crimson roses had gained their hue
From the hearts that for love had bled;
And the goddess made a garland
Gathered from the roses red.

Possum Song

(A Warning)

‘Simmons ripenin’ in de fall,
You better run,
Brudder ‘Possum, run!
Mockin’ bird commence to call,
You better run, Brudder ‘Possum, git out de way!
You better run, Brudder’Possum, git out de way!
Run some whar an’ hide!
Ole moon am sinkin’
Down behin’ de tree.
Ole Eph am thinkin’
An’ chuckelin’ wid glee.
Ole Tige am blinkin’
An’ frisky as kin be,
Yo’ chances, Brudder ‘Possum,
Look mighty slim to me.

Run, run, run, I tell you,
Run, Brudder ‘Possum, run!
Run, run, run, I tell you,
Ole Eph’s got a gun.
Pickaninnies grinnin’
Waitin’ fu’ to see de fun.
You better run, Brudder ‘Possum, git out de way!
Run, Brudder ‘Possum, run!
Brudder ‘Possum take a tip;
You better run,
Brudder ‘Possum, run!
‘Tain’t no use in actin’ flip,
You better run, Brudder ‘Possum, git out de way!
You better run, Brudder ‘Possum, git out de way!
Run some whar an’ hide.
Dey’s gwine to houn’ you
All along de line,
W’en dey done foun’ you,
Den what’s de use in sighin’?
Wid taters roun’ you.
You sholy would tase fine—
So listen, Brudder ‘Possum,
You better be a-flyin’.

Run, run, run, I tell you,
Run, Brudder ‘Possum, run!
Run, run, run, I tell you,
Ole Eph’s got a gun.
Pickaninnies grinnin’
Waitin’ fu’ to see de fun.
You better run, Brudder ‘Possum, git out de way!
Run, Brudder ‘Possum, run!

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