“The Gift to Sing” by James Weldon Johnson (1871 – 1938)


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.

God Looked Down


God Looked Down by Teyuna T. Darris

This Life is a Good Life


This Life is a Good Life by Teyuna T. Darris

“An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penetential Cries” by Jupiter Hammon


Jupiter Hammon

Salvation comes by Jesus Christ alone,

    The only Son of God;
Redemption now to every one,
    That love his holy Word.
Dear Jesus we would fly to Thee,
    And leave off every Sin,
Thy Tender Mercy well agree;
    Salvation from our King.

“Sonnet 106: When in the chronicle of wasted time” by William Shakespeare


640px-ShakespeareWhen in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty’s best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have express’d
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And, for they look’d but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.

“A Poem for Children with Thoughts on Death” by Jupiter Hammon


                              

Jupiter Hammon

                             

                               I

O Ye young and thoughtless youth,
   Come seek the living God,
The scriptures are a sacred truth,
   Ye must believe the word.
                                               Eccl. xii. 1.


                              II
Tis God alone can make you wise,
   His wisdom’s from above,
He fills the soul with sweet supplies
   By his redeeming love.
                                                   Prov. iv. 7.


                              III
Remember youth the time is short,
   Improve the present day
And pray that God may guide your thoughts,
   And teach your lips to pray.
                                                 Psalm xxx. 9.


                              IV
To pray unto the most high God,
   And beg restraining grace,
Then by the power of his word
   You’l see the Saviour’s face.
                              V
Little children they may die,
   Turn to their native dust,
Their souls shall leap beyond the skies,
   And live among the just.
                              VI


Like little worms they turn and crawl,
   And gasp for every breath.
The blessed Jesus sends his call,
   And takes them to his rest.
                              VII


Thus the youth are born to die,
   The time is hastening on,
The Blessed Jesus rends the sky,
   And makes his power known.
                                            Psalm ciii. 15.


                              VIII
Then ye shall hear the angels sing
   The trumpet give a sound,
Glory, glory to our King,
   The Saviour’s coming down.
                                          Matth. xxvi. 64.
                              IX


Start ye saints from dusty beds,
   And hear a Saviour call,
Twas a Jesus Chirst that died and bled,
   And thus preserv’d thy soul.
                             X


This the portion of the just,
   Who lov’d to serve the Lord,
Their bodies starting from the dust,
   Shall rest upon their God.
                              XI


They shall join that holy word,
   That angels constant sing,
Glory, glory to the Lord,
   Hallelujahs to our King.
                              XII


Thus the Saviour will appear,
   With guards of heavenly host,
Those blessed Saints, shall then declare,
   Tis Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
                                              Rev. i. 7, 8.


                              XIII


Then shall ye hear the trumpet sound,
   The graves give up their dead,
Those blessed saints shall quick awake,
   And leave their dusty beds.
                                    Matth. xxvii. 51, 52.


                              XIV
Then shall you hear the trumpet sound,
   And rend the native sky,
Those bodies starting from the ground,
   In the twinkling of an eye.
                             I Cor. xv. 51, 52, 53, 54.


                              XV
There to sing the praise of God,
   And join the angelic train,
And by the power of his word,
   Unite together again.
                              XVI


Where angels stand for to admit
   Their souls at the first word,
Cast sceptres down at Jesus feet
   Crying holy holy Lord.
                              XVII


Now glory be unto our God
   All praise be justly given,
Ye humble souls that love the Lord
   Come seek the joys of Heaven.
Hartford, January 1, 1782.

“To S. M. A Young African Painter, On Seeing His Works” by Phillis Wheatley


Phyllis WheatleyTO show the lab’ring bosom’s deep intent,
And thought in living characters to paint,
When first thy pencil did those beauties give,
And breathing figures learnt from thee to live,
How did those prospects give my soul delight,
A new creation rushing on my sight?
Still, wond’rous youth! each noble path pursue,
On deathless glories fix thine ardent view:
Still may the painter’s and the poet’s fire
To aid thy pencil, and thy verse conspire!

Continue reading “To S. M. A Young African Painter, On Seeing His Works” by Phillis Wheatley

“On Virtue” by Phillis Wheatley


Phyllis Wheatley

O Thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.
I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
Thine height t’ explore, or fathom thy profound.
But, O my soul, sink not into despair,
Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand

Continue reading “On Virtue” by Phillis Wheatley

“An Hymn to Evening” by Phillis Wheatley


Phyillis Wheatley

SOON as the sun forsook the eastern main
The pealing thunder shook the heav’nly plain;
Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr’s wing,
Exhales the incense of the blooming spring.
Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes,
And through the air their mingled music floats.
Through all the heav’ns what beauteous dies are
spread!
But the west glories in the deepest red:
So may our breasts with ev’ry virtue glow,
The living temples of our God below!
Fill’d with the praise of him who gives the light,
And draws the sable curtains of the night,
Let placid slumbers sooth each weary mind,
At morn to wake more heav’nly, more refin’d;
So shall the labours of the day begin
More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.
Night’s leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes,

“I had no time to hate, because” by Emily Dickinson (December 10th, 1830 – May 15th, 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)


Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson (Photo credit: Amherst College Archives)

I had no time to hate, because

The grave would hinder me,

And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.