“Sonnet” by Alice Dunbar- Nelson


Sonnet

By Alice Dunbar

I HAD no thought of violets of late,  
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet      
In wistful April days, when lovers mate        
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.     
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,         5
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;         
And garish lights, and mincing little fops     
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.          
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,       
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;             10
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.       
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream      
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

“Evening” by Paul Laurence Dunbar


Evening

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The moon begins her stately ride
Across the summer sky;
The happy wavelets lash the shore,—
The tide is rising high.

Beneath some friendly blade of grass
The lazy beetle cowers;
The coffers of the air are filled
With offerings from the flowers.

And slowly buzzing o’er my head
A swallow wings her flight;
I hear the weary plowman sing
As falls the restful night.

“Night of Love” by Paul Laurence Dunbar


The moon has left the sky, love,

The stars are hiding now,

And frowning on the world, love,

Night bares her sable brow.

The snow is on the ground, love,

And cold and keen the air is.

I’m singing here to you, love;

You’re dreaming there in Paris.

But this is Nature’s law, love,

Though just it may not seem,

That men should wake to sing, love;

While maidens sleep and dream.

Them care may not molest, love,

Nor stir them from their slumbers,

Though midnight find the swain, love.

Still halting o’er his numbers.

I watch the rosy dawn, love,

Come stealing up the east,

While all things round rejoice, love,

That Night her reign has ceased.

The lark will soon be heard, love,

And on his way be winging;

When Nature’s poets, wake, love,

Why should a man be singing?

“Invitation to Love” by Paul Laurence Dunbar


Come when the nights are bright with stars

Or come when the moon is mellow;

Come when the sun his golden bars

Drops on the hay-field yellow.

Come in the twilight soft and gray,

Come in the night or come in the day,

Come, O love, whene’er you may,

And you are welcome, welcome.

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,

You are soft as the nesting dove.

Come to my heart and bring it to rest

As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.

Come when my heart is full of grief

Or when my heart is merry;

Come with the falling of the leaf

Or with the redd’ning cherry.

Come when the year’s first blossom blows,

Come when the summer gleams and glows,

Come with the winter’s drifting snows,

And you are welcome, welcome.

“Morning Song of Love” by Paul Laurence Dunbar


Darling, my darling, my heart is on the wing,
It flies to thee this morning like a bird,
Like happy birds in springtime my spirits soar and sing,
The same sweet song thine ears have often heard.

The sun is in my window, the shadow on the lea,
The wind is moving in the branches green,
And all my life, my darling, is turning unto thee,
And kneeling at thy feet, my own, my queen.

The golden bells are ringing across the distant hill,
Their merry peals come to me soft and clear,
But in my heart’s deep chapel all incense-filled and still
A sweeter bell is sounding for thee, dear.

The bell of love invites thee to come and seek the shrine
Whose altar is erected unto thee,
The offerings, the sacrifice, the prayers, the chants are thine,
And I, my love, thy humble priest will be.

“A Negro Love Song” by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906)


Seen my lady home las’ night,

   Jump back, honey, jump back.
Hel’ huh han’ an’ sque’z it tight,
   Jump back, honey, jump back.
Hyeahd huh sigh a little sigh,
Seen a light gleam f’om huh eye,
An’ a smile go flittin’ by —
   Jump back, honey, jump back.
Hyeahd de win’ blow thoo de pine,
   Jump back, honey, jump back.
Mockin’-bird was singin’ fine,
   Jump back, honey, jump back.
An’ my hea’t was beatin’ so,
When I reached my lady’s do’,
Dat I could n’t ba’ to go —
   Jump back, honey, jump back.
Put my ahm aroun’ huh wais’,
   Jump back, honey, jump back.
Raised huh lips an’ took a tase,
   Jump back, honey, jump back.
Love me, honey, love me true?
Love me well ez I love you?
An’ she answe’d, “‘Cose I do”—
   Jump back, honey, jump back.