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.
 
The Negro Singer
 
James D. Corrothers
 
 
O’ER all my song the image of a face
  Lieth, like shadow on the wild sweet flowers.
  The dream, the ecstasy that prompts my powers;
  The golden lyre’s delights bring little grace
To bless the singer of a lowly race.        5
  Long hath this mocked me: aye in marvelous hours,
  When Hera’s gardens gleamed, or Cynthia’s bowers,
  Or Hope’s red pylons, in their far, hushed place!
But I shall dig me deeper to the gold;
  Fetch water, dripping, over desert miles,        10
  From clear Nyanzas and mysterious Niles
Of love; and sing, nor one kind act withhold.
  So shall men know me, and remember long,
  Nor my dark face dishonor any song.
 

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