Paul Laurence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar Poems
- We Wear The Mask We wear the mask that grins and lies, It ...
- Life's Tragedy It may be misery not to sing at all, And to ...
- A Golden Day I Found you and I lost you, All on a gleaming ...
- Sympathy I know what the caged bird feels, alas! When the ...
- Summer In The South The Oriole sings in the greening grove ...
- If I Could But Forget If I could but forget The fullness of...
- Morning The mist has left the greening plain, The dew-drops...
Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio to parents who had escaped from slavery; his father was a veteran of the American Civil War, having served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment. His parents instilled in him a love of learning and history. He was a student at an all-white high school, Dayton Central High School, and he participated actively as a student. During high school, he was both the editor of the school newspaper and class president, as well as the president of the school literary society. Dunbar had also started the first African-American newsletter in Dayton.
He wrote his first poem at age 6 and gave his first public... more »
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We Wear The Mask
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!