College of Arts and Sciences
Dunbar Music Archive
The Poet and His Song
Paul Laurence Dunbar
published in Lyrics of a Lowly Life (1896).
A song is but a little thing, And yet what joy it is to sing! In hours of toil it gives me zest, And when at eve I long for rest; When cows come home along the bars, And in the fold I hear the bell, As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars, I sing my song, and all is well. There are no ears to hear my lays, No lips to lift a word of praise; But still, with faith unfaltering, I live and laugh and love and sing. What matters yon unheeding throng? They cannot feel my spirit's spell, Since life is sweet and love is long, I sing my song, and all is well. My days are never days of ease; I till my ground and prune my trees. When ripened gold is all the plain, I put my sickle to the grain. I labor hard, and toil and sweat, While others dream within the dell; But even while my brow is wet, I sing my song, and all is well. Sometimes the sun, unkindly hot, My garden makes a desert spot; Sometimes a blight upon the tree Takes all my fruit away from me; And then with throes of bitter pain Rebellious passions rise and swell; But—life is more than fruit or grain, And so I sing, and all is well.
Dunbar, Paul Laurence, "The Poet and His Song" (1896). Dunbar Music Archive. 250.