Paul Laurence Dunbar
Prometheus stole from Heaven the sacred fire
And swept to earth with it o'er land and sea.
He lit the vestal flames of poesy,
Content, for this, to brave celestial ire.
Wroth were the gods, and with eternal hate
Pursued the fearless one who ravished Heaven
That earth might hold in fee the perfect leaven
To lift men's souls above their low estate.
But judge you now, when poets wield the pen,
Think you not well the wrong has been repaired?
'Twas all in vain that ill Prometheus fared:
The fire has been returned to Heaven again!
We have no singers like the ones whose note
Gave challenge to the noblest warbler's song.
We have no voice so mellow, sweet, and strong
As that which broke from Shelley's golden throat.
The measure of our songs is our desires:
We tinkle where old poets used to storm.
We lack their substance tho' we keep their form:
We strum our banjo-strings and call them lyres.
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Comments about this poem (Prometheus by Paul Laurence Dunbar )
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
Percy Bysshe Shelley
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)
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