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By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Thou art my lute, by thee I sing,—

     My being is attuned to thee.

Thou settest all my words a-wing,

     And meltest me to melody.

 

Thou art my life, by thee I live,

     From thee proceed the joys I know;

Sweetheart, thy hand has power to give

     The meed of love—the cup of woe.

 

Thou art my love, by thee I lead

     My soul the paths of light along,

From vale to vale, from mead to mead,

     And home it in the hills of song.

 

My song, my soul, my life, my all,

     Why need I pray or make my plea,

Since my petition cannot fall;

     For I’m already one with thee!


  • Arts & Sciences
  • Love
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Paul Laurence Dunbar
The son of former slaves, Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet to reach a wide audience, publishing prolifically before his early death. His use of both dialect and standard English to portray his culture’s folkways, joys, and travails distinguishes him from other writers of the time. He also spoke out against racism and injustice in essays that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Saturday Evening Post, and other mainstream publications.

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