Lyrics of the Hearthside

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The Lapse

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1913
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
  • Word Count: 261
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Keywords: dream, garden, nature, river, time
  • ✎ Cite This
  • Share |


This poem must be done to–day;
Then, I ‘ll e’en to it.
I must not dream my time away,—
I ‘m sure to rue it.
The day is rather bright, I know
The Muse will pardon
My half–defection, if I go
Into the garden.
It must be better working there,—
I ‘m sure it’s sweeter:
And something in the balmy air
May clear my metre.

[In the Garden.]

Ah this is noble, what a sky!
What breezes blowing!
The very clouds, I know not why,
Call one to rowing.
The stream will be a paradise
To–day, I ‘ll warrant.
I know the tide that’s on the rise
Will seem a torrent;
I know just how the leafy boughs
Are all a–quiver;
I know how many skiffs and scows
Are on the river.
I think I ‘ll just go out awhile
Before I write it;
When Nature shows us such a smile,
We should n’t slight it.
For Nature always makes desire
By giving pleasure;
And so ‘t will help me put more fire
Into my measure.

[On the River.]

The river’s fine, I ‘m glad I came,
That poem ’s teasing;
But health is better far than fame,
Though cheques are pleasing.
I don’t know what I did it for,—
This air ’s a poppy.
I ‘m sorry for my editor,—
He ‘ll get no copy!