Poets' Corner - Paul Laurence Dunbar - The Lesson
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- MY cot was down by a cypress grove,
- And I sat by my window the whole night long,
- And heard well up from the deep dark wood
- A mocking-bird's passionate song.
- And I thougt of myself so sad and lone,
- And my life's cold winter that knew no spring;
- Of my mind so weary and sick and wild,
- Of my heart too sad to sing.
- But e'en as I listened the mock-bird's song,
- A thought stole into my saddened heart,
- And I said, "I can cheer some other soul
- By a carol's simple art."
- For oft from the darkness of hearts and lives
- Come songs that brim with joy and light,
- As out of the gloom of the cypress grove
- The mocking-bird sings at night.
- So I sang a lay for a brother's ear
- In a strain to soothe his bleeding heart,
- And he smiled at the sound of my voice and lyre,
- Though mine was a feeble art.
- But at his smile I smiled in turn,
- And into my soul there came a ray:
- In trying to soothe another's woes
- Mine own had passed away.
- Paul Laurence Dunbar
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