Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)
A life was mine full of the close concern
Of many-voiced affairs. The world sped fast;
Behind me, ever rolled a pregnant past.
A present came equipped with lore to learn.
Art, science, letters, in their turn,
Each one allured me with its treasures vast;
And I staked all for wisdom, till at last
Thou cam'st and taught my soul anew to yearn.
I had not dreamed that I could turn away
From all that men with brush and pen had wrought;
But ever since that memorable day
When to my heart the truth of love was brought,
I have been wholly yielded to its sway,
And had no room for any other thought.
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