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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938). The Book of American Negro Poetry. 1922.


GONE are the sensuous stars, and manifold,

Clear sunbeams burst upon the front of night;

Ten thousand swords of azure and of gold

Give darkness to the dark and welcome light;

Across the night of ages strike the gleams,

And leading on the gilded host appears

An old man writing in a book of dreams,

And telling tales of lovers for the years;

Still Troilus hears a voice that whispers, Stay;

In Nature’s garden what a mad rout sings!

Let’s hear these motley pilgrims wile away

The tedious hours with stories of old things;

Or might some shining eagle claim

These lowly numbers for the House of Fame!