Lines from “The Vision of Lazarus”

Another sate near him, whose harp of gold
Had sounded in the tents of Israel,
His robes were woven from the cloth of Tyre
And golden sandals bound his olive feet.
“I am that David, he whose psalms ye sing
When sounds the timbrel in the plains of Gad.
My garments, washed of every crimson stain,
I am a wearer of the laurel wreath,
My heart as free as when in Bethlehem
I caused the blades of grass to dance with glee;
My soul each eventide goes forth with God,
A humble servant to His mystic will;
And in the morning do I wander wide,
Along the cool of every haunt and vale.
There lies a still brook deep in Heaven’s land
Where milk-white sheep may stray and quench their thirst,
And there I nurse my memories of one
I wooed when in the house of lordly Saul.
A virgin like the rose when glides the wind
From out the Southland in the old year’s noon.”

From The Book of American Negro Poetry (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922), edited by James Weldon Johnson. This poem is in the public domain.