Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Majors and Minors (1895)

Majors and Minors

First published by Hadley & Hadley, Printers and Binders, Toledo, Ohio

Copyright 1895

The Lesson

My cot was down by a cypress grove,
And I sat by my window the whole night long,
And heard well up from the deep dark wood
A mocking bird's passionate song.

And I thought of myself so sad and lone,
And my ]ife's cold winter that knew no spring;
Of my mind so weary and sick and wild,
Of my heart too sad to sing.

But e'en as I listened the mock-bird's song,
A thought stole into my saddened heart,
And I said, "I can cheer some other soul
By a carol's simple art."

For oft from the darkness of hearts and lives
Come songs that brim with joy and light,
As out of the gloom of the cypress grove
The mocking-bird sings at night.

So I sang a lay for a brother's ear
In a strain to soothe his bleeding heart,
And he smiled at the sound of my voice and lyre,
Tho' mine was a feeble art.

But at his smile, I smiled in turn
And into my soul there came a ray:
In trying to soothe another's woes
Mine own had passed away.

This poem appears in the following book(s):

Lyrics of Lowly Life, Majors and Minors

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