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By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

“Light! more light! the shadows deepen,

        And my life is ebbing low,

Throw the windows widely open:

        Light! more light! before I go.


“Softly let the balmy sunshine

        Play around my dying bed,

E’er the dimly lighted valley

        I with lonely feet must tread.


“Light! more light! for Death is weaving

        Shadows ‘round my waning sight,

And I fain would gaze upon him

        Through a stream of earthly light.”


Not for greater gifts of genius;

        Not for thoughts more grandly bright,

All the dying poet whispers

        Is a prayer for light, more light.


Heeds he not the gathered laurels,

        Fading slowly from his sight;

All the poet’s aspirations

        Centre in that prayer for light.


Gracious Saviour, when life’s day-dreams

        Melt and vanish from the sight,

May our dim and longing vision

        Then be blessed with light, more light.

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living

Poet Bio

Born in Baltimore, poet, fiction writer, journalist, and activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, was the only child of free African American parents. She became a traveling speaker on the abolitionist circuit and she also helped slaves escape through Underground Railroad and wrote frequently for anti-slavery newspapers, earning her reputation as the mother of African-American journalism. During Reconstruction, Harper was an activist for civil rights, women's rights, and educational opportunity for all. She was superintendent of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, co-founder and vice-president of the National Association of Colored Women, and a member of the American Women's Suffrage Association. Harper was also the director of the American Association of Colored Youth.

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