Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
 
Compensation
 
James Edwin Campbell
 
 
O, RICH young lord, thou ridest by
With looks of high disdain;
It chafes me not thy title high,
Thy blood of oldest strain.
The lady riding at thy side        5
Is but in name thy promised bride,
    Ride on, young lord, ride on!
 
Her father wills and she obeys,
The custom of her class;
’Tis Land not Love the trothing sways—        10
For Land he sells his lass.
Her fair white hand, young lord, is thine,
Her soul, proud fool, her soul is mine,
    Ride on, young lord, ride on!
 
No title high my father bore;        15
The tenant of thy farm,
He left me what I value more:
Clean heart, clear brain, strong arm
And love for bird and beast and bee
And song of lark and hymn of sea,        20
    Ride on, young lord, ride on!
 
The boundless sky to me belongs,
The paltry acres thine;
The painted beauty sings thy songs,
The lavrock lilts me mine;        25
The hot-housed orchid blooms for thee,
The gorse and heather bloom for me,
    Ride on, young lord, ride on!
 

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