by Paul Laurence Dunbar
[from Lyrics of Lowly Life, 1896]
Not o’er thy dust let there be spent
The gush of maudlin sentiment;
Such drift as that is not for thee,
Whose life and deeds and songs agree,
Sublime in their simplicity.
Nor shall the sorrowing tear be shed.
O singer sweet, thou art not dead!
In spite of time’s malignant chill,
With living fire thy songs shall thrill,
And men shall say, “He liveth still!”
Great poets never die, for Earth
Doth count their lives of too great worth
To lose them from her treasured store;
So shalt thou live for evermore–
Though far thy form from mortal ken–
Deep in the hearts and minds of men.
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