Published on Academy of American Poets (

Signing the Pledge

To comfort hearts that sigh and break,
   To dry the falling tear,
Wilt thou forego the music sweet
   Entrancing now thy ear?
I must return, I firmly said,
   The strugglers in that sea
Shall not reach out beseeching hands
   In vain for help to me.
I turned to go; but as I turned
   The gloomy sea grew bright,
And from my heart there seemed to flow
   Ten thousand cords of light.
And sin-wrecked men, with eager hands
   Did grasp each golden cord;
And with my heart I drew them on
   To see my gracious Lord.
Again I stood beside the gate.
   My heart was glad and free;
For with me stood a rescued throng
   The Lord had given me.


This poem is in the public domain. 


Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was born on September 24, 1825, in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a prominent abolitionist and temperance and women's suffrage activist, as well as a poet. She authored numerous books, including the poetry collections Forest Leaves (1845) and Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects (1854). She worked at Union Seminary in Ohio, and died on February 22, 1911 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Date Published: 1895-01-01

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