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Lyrics of Love and Sorrow

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Lyrics of Love and Sorrow

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: 378

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I

Love is the light of the world, my dear,
Heigho, but the world is gloomy;
The light has failed and the lamp down hurled,
Leaves only darkness to me.

Love is the light of the world, my dear,
Ah me, but the world is dreary;
The night is down, and my curtain furled
But I cannot sleep, though weary.

Love is the light of the world, my dear,
Alas for a hopeless hoping,
When the flame went out in the breeze that swirled,
And a soul went blindly groping.

II

The light was on the golden sands,
A glimmer on the sea;
My soul spoke clearly to thy soul,
Thy spirit answered me.

Since then the light that gilds the sands,
And glimmers on the sea,
But vainly struggles to reflect
The radiant soul of thee.

III

The sea speaks to me of you
All the day long;
Still as I sit by its side
You are its song.

The sea sings to me of you
Loud on the reef;
Always it moans as it sings,
Voicing my grief.

IV

My dear love died last night;
Shall I clothe her in white?
My passionate love is dead,
Shall I robe her in red?
But nay, she was all untrue,
She shall not go drest in blue;
Still my desolate love was brave,
Unrobed let her go to her grave.

V

There are brilliant heights of sorrow
That only the few may know;
And the lesser woes of the world, like waves,
Break noiselessly, far below.
I hold for my own possessing,
A mount that is lone and still—
The great high place of a hopeless grief,
And I call it my “Heart–break Hill.”
And once on a winter’s midnight
I found its highest crown,
And there in the gloom, my soul and I,
Weeping, we sat us down.

But now when I seek that summit
We are two ghosts that go;
Only two shades of a thing that died,
Once in the long ago.
So I sit me down in the silence,
And say to my soul, “Be still,”
So the world may not know we died that night,
From weeping on “Heart–break Hill.”