Skip to main content

Full text of "Walden's miscellaneous poems .."

See other formats

r PS 


/'. ;■ 



I Imp- -L- |op S ti 9 w jo. 

l — '' 1^ 3 





,mmm& aioiaas 







Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1873, by 

Islat Walden, in the office of the Librarian of 

Congress, at Washington. 

Washington, D. C, July 26, 1872, 
I believe the facts as stated in the following Introduction 
to be strictly true, and take pleasure in commending Islat 
Walden to a generous public for such aid as can be given 
him, in his effort to obtain an education. 

Prtf. Nat, Phil and Priiu Nor. Dept. H, £T. 


Paymaster General's Office, 

Washington, August 1, 1872. 

I take pleasure in commending to the reading public the 
author of this work, Mr. Islat Waldbn, now of this city. Of 
the worth of his writings I leave careful readers to judge ; of 
his own worth — his perseverance, integrity and Christian 
character — I can speak in terms of praise, after years of careful 
observation. From the time of his coming to Washington, in 
tho winter of 1867-'G8.up to the present date, I have watched 
with interest and pride his steady growth in grace, his rapid 
mental development, his unceasing devotion to principle, and 
his earnest labors in behalf of the poor of his race, who surely 
will, in days to come, remember and bless him for his coun- 
sels. His work in organizing Sabbath Schools among the poor 
colored children of this city, as well as hia labors among 
those who could not thus be reached, by reason of their in- 
firmities, we know and cannot too highly approve. And all 
this persevering study, this devotion to duty, is the more to 
be commended, as we remember his affliction, a defective 
vision — at times almost blindness — which alone would have 
served to keep a less devoted servant in the background. 

I trust this his first venture will meet with the success it 
deserves ; that his quaint rhymes may please and profit all 
who read them ; that, whatever may be the faults of metre, 
critics will not lose sight of the eloquence, originality and 
real beauty of thought that are found in his work. 

J. L. H. W1NF1ELD. 



Introduction -.., -.-.-. 7 

Introductory Verses .... ...... -. 11 

The Daneer 13 

ToS. 3. N 14 

Doubt 15 

Jesus. . . 15 

Eulogy on a Classmate . 17 

Prayer for the School 13 

Temperance 19 

MyRe:-^: ... 1 1 

Letter to Miss Smitherman . 20 

One to L - . 24- 

The Sa .... 24 

The X 25 

Eden .27 

The L ; 

Love's 3 30 

OurM Ok 32 

The Yg - i'a Comforter 35 

. of Self ... 35 

To my Benefactor, Dr. D. B. N . 3n 

To Ml Her First Effort at Shirt-making 37 

Inquirv . N. N. Gray 37 

Grace' 33 

Ode to General O. 0. Howard 38 

The Prince of Peace 41 

Letter to Dr. See. . . . 42 

To a Friend 43 

On a S 

Call to -School 45 

To tho Graduating Class 46 

On a Friend ^~ 

A Lady Friend ^* 

Introd Additional Poems 


To the Faculty of Howard University 52 

To Alfred Horner , *-. 54 

To Miss Crane 56 

Letter to Rev. Mr. Hartraught . . . ., 57 

To John K. Smith, of Trenton, N. J 58 

Dedicated to a Young Lady 59 

Wish for an Overcoat 62 

To Hon. Senator Pomeroy 66 

To Miss N. J 67 

Gratitude 70 

To Professor Atherton .' 71 

The Golden Rule : Its Introduction at the University. ... 73 

To Miss W***** 75 

Ode to Mr. Dunlap and Family 76 

The Widow 78 

An Address to Dixie 80 

The Icy Poem 83 

Dedicated to the Junior Society 88 

The Hand of Death Invisible 90 

Correspondent Solicited 91 

In honor of Dr. Jos. Taber Johnson , 92 

Place Thy Trust in God 94 


Isiay Walden was bora a slave in Randolph County North 
Carolina. His master died when he was tin infant, and he 
was sold twice in his mothers arms. When eight or ten years 
old he attracted a good deal of attention \>j his ingenuity in 
the use of carpenter's tools, and for great aptness in reckon- 
ing. His master would take him to market to mat© "his calcu- 
lations for him, and bets were frequently made by himself and 
friends on May's being able to perform certain difficult cal- 
culations in three minutes time. These calculations were all 
mental ; he never had the least training from books. 

His master learned to value his services in keeping things 
in order about the place, making little repairs, etc., so that 
he was never put to hard work. 

From the failure of his owners, he changed hands several 
times. His mother died when he was about eight years old. 

When about eighteen years old he was engaged at a gold 
mine in driving oxen. The owner* was a very passionate man, 
and was so angry one day that he was about to strike an ox 
to the ground with a mattock. Walden remonstrated, saying, 
" The ox will die. :? It fell dead in a few moments. They 
threw its body into a pit where a shaft had been &unk, 
and while they were standing over it Walden made and re- 
cited impromptu his first verses — 

* Of this gentleman, [Mr. John MerTon,] and his estimable family, 
Isley Walden speaks in warm terms of commendation, a rivalry seeming 
to exist among them as to who could do the most to contribute to his gen- 
eral comfort, whether at his labors as a slaye, or aa careful and sympa- 
thizing attendants in sickness. 


"Poor Old Dick, 
He died qnick ! 
He died all in a minute. 
Here is a shaft thirty feet, 
And we have thrown him in it. 

He was red, 

And he is dead ! 
The buzzards may forsake him; 
For he is buried thirty feet, 
Where they can never get him." 

After he had repeated this the mail says, " Walden, you are 
a poet." Walden asked, "What is a poet?" He replied, 
" One who writes poetry." " What is poetry ?" asked Walden. 
The man explained by asking him if he did not know what 
hymns are ? &c. 

From this time he was running over rhymes in his head, 
and longing to learn. 

The second poem was composed on the occasion of his 
being attacked by a drunken man. A mob collected, and he 
was in danger of being killed if caught. While hiding from 
them under a tree he composed the lines beginning — 
" Now here I lie upon the ground." 

The surrender of General Lee occurred while he was at the 
mine. He left there soon after, and went from one mine to 
another, in North Carolina, until he came to Washington, 
searching for glasses to enable him to study. 

He came on foot, the snow falling during part of the jour- 
ney. He was told by some he was too old to learn j by others 
that his eyes were so poor he could never study. 

After a good deal of wandering about he met Dr. Nichols 
at a preaching service at Howard University. He gave him 
the first real encouragement. 

He composed some political ballads, which he had printed 
and went about the street selling them — all the time trying 
to find some help for his eyes, or some school where they 


would teach him. He lived ia this way three years, extending 
his travels through parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey- 
While in New Jersey he attracted the attention of the Second 
Reformed Church in New Brunswick, which, through Professor 
Atheiton, pledged one hundred and fifty dollars a year to- 
wards his school expenses until he should graduate. 

Dr. Nichols was still his friend, and when he made applica- 
tion to enter Howard University a year ago his daughter 
taught him, patiently and faithfully, for three weeks. At the 
end of that time he was able to write something which re- 
sembled his name, read pretty well in the Second Reader, and 
worked examples in long division. He entered the lowest 
class three months behind it. At the end of six months he 
skipped a class, and joined another a year ia advance of the 
one which he first entered. 

Since he has been in the University he has composed a 
number of pieces suggested by passing events characteristic 
of school matters, &c, which he has collected in this little 
book. He wishes to sell them during his vacation, to make 
a sum sufficient for extra expenses during another year. 

We do not claim great poetical merit, but think the effort 
worthy of encouragement. His stock of words is necessarily 
small, as he had no knowledge of books until within the past 
year. C. C. H. 

[Note. — The proper name of the author of this little volume 
is Alfred Islay Walden, but, for the reasoa that when but a 
young lad a man was hung, in the same County in which he 
resided, with the surname of Alfred the name become repul- 
sive to the ear of the unlettered boy, and he mentally resolved 
to abjure the name. Since that time he has been known only 
by the name of Islay Walden.] 



will record each little rhyme, 
Although it may not be sublime, 
I Shall I despise the day though small? 
iv - Can I forget my Saviour's call? 

Help me to love each little thing 
From which the great and noble spring ! 
It's very true, yet it can be, 
That drops of water fill the sea? 

The mustard seed is very small ; 
The tree it brings is great and tall, 
It spreads its branches far around, 
Among its boughs the birds abound. 

I then may do some noble deeds, 
When I have sown these little seeds, 
If one should fall in some one's heart, 
And give to him an upward start. 

Unseen the sparrow does not fall, 
For Jesus Christ takes note of all. 


The little ant is smaller yet, 
And we may go and learn of it. 

A single tear from weeping eyes, 
Is like the rain drops from the skies, 
For each one does its office fill, 
And I should do my Saviour's will. 

Now if the spiders were to say, 
Just take these little webs away, 
Would they succeed in catching flies, 
Or would the Bible call them wise? 

The locusts are without a king, 
And yet they make the forest ring ! 
The coney I will not omit, 
Because 'tis small and full of wit. 

When Jesus left the shining sky, 
And came on earth, for man to die, 
He gave His life upon the tree, 
That he might make sin's captive free. 

He did not seek to dwell with kings, 
Nor did he slight the minor things ; 
I know that he was meek and mild, 
And sought to bless each little child. 

And when he said, Go forth and preach, 
Did he not also bid to teach ? 
Although my talent may be small, 
My Saviour will require it all. 

walden's poems. 13 


low here I lie upon the ground, 
fjfflf I wonder if I shall be found, 
1 "| There's nothing but this little pine 
By which in safety to recline. 

Now it is standing on this hill, 
And if I'm safe it is God's will ; 
But should I now be called to die, 
On wings of love I soon would fly. 

I hear the crew, now passing by, 
And wonder if they '11 me descry ; 
For. T can hear them loud proclaim, 
While swearing vengeance on my name. 

I see them going hanol in hand, 
And hear them in their noisy band, 
I hear their guns and pistols crack, 
As though they were returning back. 

Jesus, to Thee I lift my prayer, 
That Thou would'st save me from despair ; 
For they are drawing near the place 
Where I have sought to hide my face. 

For now they pass and do not see, 
And surely I shall soon be free, 
So, let me rise upon my feet ; 
It may be that I can retreat. 

14 walden's poems. 

How near they came unto the pine 
By which, in fear, I did recline ; 
The distance measured in good fix, 
The feet were number thirty-six. 

-o — c>- 

TO S. S. N. 

i arah, thy name shall ever live ! 
j. Shall have the best place in my heart, 
jg. For the instruction thou didst give* 
When others bade me to depart. 

Stretch forth thy loving, gentle hands, 
And bid the needy come to thee, 

For there are many in the land, 
Who gladly see^, to learn of tnee. 

Thy gentle hand shalt bless the poor, 
Shall wipe away the tears they she'd; 

And from thy bounty I am sure, 
The poor and needy shall have bfe*acL 

Thy steadfast feet shall tread the Wa^ 7 
That saints and angels long have tro<J} 

If thou wilt only watch and pray, 
And seek to serve the living God* 

POEMS, 15 


t was the time of fear and dread, 
I looked to Calvary; 
|f I had not where to lay my head, 
My Saviour pitied me. 

He seemed to speak in words Unknown, 

Looking from Calvary; 
He seemed to say, why weep and moan" 

Oh ! why not come to me ? 

My answer was, I could not cOme 
With sins so much oppressed; 

While they were rising, one by One, 
Upon my weary breast. 

Jesus, the Son of God, still Tm&, 
, And scatters doubts and feaf) 
His power the sins of all foT^givtS, 
And bids them disappear. 


EStrs, thy love did leave its CfeTO® 
Engraved upon my heart} 
|! Thou bad'st me fly unto thine arms, 
And from my sins depart. 


It was tlie time I came to thee, 

With sin so much oppressed, 
It was thy love that rescued me, 

And gave my spirit rest. 

But since that time I've gone astray, 

My love is cold to Thee, 
And I am in the crooked way T 

Thy light I cannot see. 

! could I see thy love again, 

Come beaming from the sky, 
And know that I am free from sin, 

And feel that thou art nigh ! 

I would no longer linger here, 
And sink with fear and shame, 

But I would seek the cross to bear, 
And own my Saviour's name. 

Now let me to my Saviour go, 

And lean upon his breast, 
Where peace and love forever" flow, 

In heaven, among the blest* 

[The above lines are the second religions ones ever com» 
posed by me, and these were suggested to me on a pleasant 
Sabbath day, when returning from Sabbath school; and, mu- 
sing on my so-ul's welfare, both in time and in eternity, I was 
suddenly aroused by some very wicked boys who were 
spending the Lord's day in idle sport, smoking and swearing, 
thws profaning God's name and day. I wondered how long 
man will be permitted to disregard the Bible, and violate the 
laws of the land ! — How long he will shut himself out from 
good society, and bind himself in fetters of sin and death ? — the- 
death that never dies L May they soon hear, turn and ive.) 

walden's POEMS. 17 


TO E. E. S. 

(jg?|wEET and pleasant are thy features, 
j£j2 Kind, and lovely are thy ways, 
m j Fairer than ten thousand creatures, 
The brightest vision of my days ! 

I mark thy steps from day to day, 

And know that they are firm and true, 

I only wish a word to say ; 
Take heed to all you speak or do. 

From thy door a glancing look, 

Upon my heart what wonders wrought ! 

Thy smiles from me my sorrows took. 
Oh, how I felt ! Oh, what I thought ! 

Now let me to yon garden go, 

Where flowers bloom so fair and gay, 

There I shall find some one I know, 
Who will entice me there to stay. 

Among the flowers, great and small, 
The sweetness I will much admire ; 

Till one I find amidst them all, 
That I may pick, and then retire. 

Art thou not in gorgeous green, 
Where all the living flowers grow, 


How is it that thou art the queen 
Of all who see, and all who know ? 

But for myself, let me employ, 

Ten thousand tongues, this one to aid, 

That I may speak my inward joy, 
When thee I see, thou pretty maid. 

Kind Miss, I thee must bid adieu, 
To thee, and all who thee surround ; 

But let me say, there's none like thee, 
In all the world, that I have found. 


£p|P.ESus, my Saviour, and my King, 
SJII Oh, grant this school a song to sing, 
fT :? That we together here may meet, 
*aw* jj^ k ^, an( j ^ or g]jjp a t thy feet. 

And when we shall have left this place, 
Then give us of thy richest grace, 
And lead each one unto his home, 
That we may praise thee on thy throne ! 

And if we here shall meet no more, 
Then let us meet on Canaan's shore, 
Where we may walk the streets around, 
And wear a robe, and starry crown. 




"IPJtretch forth thy loving gentle hand 
SjE| And raise thy banner to the sky, 
I^J Go, save the drunkards of the land, 

When others shall have passed them by. 

Oh, stretch thy net across the sea, 
And gather in both great and small, 

Yes, bid the drunkards come to thee, 
And save them from the dreadful fall. 

Thy ship is anchored near the shore, 
Ten thousand stand upon her deck, 

And she can carry thousands more. 
Fearless of winds, or storms, or wreck. 

How millions gather thick around, 
With each eye fixed upon her sails, 

To see her venture o'er the sound, 
Moved onward by the gentle gales. 

She soon will reach the happy land, 
And gently touch the blissful shore, 

Where millions round their Saviour stand, 
Who '11 sail this temperance boat no more. 

Tins was composed during the Congressional Temperance 
Mooting hold at Howard University, at which Dr. Chickering 
presided, and Somitor Fomeroy, and others made speeches. 

20 WALDBIT r 8 FOE5IS r , 



kRY do I doubt and tremble here, 
^j Beneath this load of sin I bear? 
jps^ Is there no one to pity me, 
Tn all this grief and misery ? • 

Why do I shrink with fear and shame. 
And dare to own my Saviour's name ? 
Did He not die upon the tree r 
That sinful man might thus be free ? 

Is there no room upon His breast, 
Where I may lay my head to rest ? 
Did He not die a death of shame, 
And bear for man the dreadful pain ? 


This letter was written to a tittle child living in North 
Carolina, that I used to tend and pet. The first word she 
spoke was my name t 

Howard University, 
Washington, D. (?., May 8, 1872. 
Miss Smitherman: 

While sitting in my room thinking to whom my first May 
letter should be addressed, I thought of you as the one I 
should most like to honor, knowing that you will receive it 

POEMS, 21 

with pleasure, as it comes from one whom yea have q 
for five years. 

I am living in the City of Washington, and am a student 
at Howard University. I am making rapid progress in my 
studies, having overtaken a class that was a year ahead of me, 

I have followed the precepts of your father and mother, 
and for this reason I have run the road of wisdom without 
getting diseouraged. 

As a Christian, I endeavor to do all I can for Christ : as 
a student, to compete with my class-mates ; as a politician, 
to prove true to my country 5 as a citizen, to fee law-abiding. 

I am very busy at this time preparing for our annua! 

Some say that I am a poet, because I sometimes write a 
.verse or two. The following lines I have dedicated te you : 

iss Nancy Jane, I long to see 
Those golden charms of thine, 
p While standing in a garden green. 
Where nature is sublime. 

Within the plaee where flowers bloom r 

Around thy head so gay. 
Where birds and bees do loud proclaim 

Thou art the queen of May. 

Oh, could I see thy piercing eyes, 

As they reflect the light 
Which drives away thy midnight dreams,, 

And makes thy visions bright. 

I long tG see thy tender smiles, 

So gentle and so gay, 
That drive away the cares of life, 

And make life's darkness day. 


While thou art in that tranquil place, 
Let evening shades draw nigh, 

Where thou may'st in the moonbeams stand, 
And view the starry sky. 

Then cast thine eyes around about, 

And view the willow tree, 
And when thou dost recall the past r 

Oh, then remember me- 1 

I left the South, and journeyed East, 

This goodly land to see ; 
But I have never found a child 

That I could love like thee. 

When thou was 7 t in thy mother's arms. 

Those arms so dear to thee, 
I saw thee when thou sweetly smiled, 

And then thou callecVst for me. 

So much surprised thy mother was,. 

She quickly did exclaim, 
u My little daughter, though so young. 

Has plainly called thy name ! " 

I hastened to that tranquil place,. 

And took thee in my arms. 
I smiled and kissed thy dimpled cheeks* 

And looked upon thy charms. 

And now I look upon the arm 
On which thy head did rest. 

VT >C 


And well remember how thou slept, 
When leaning on my breast. 

I cannot tell your pa and ma 

How I esteem those days ; 
Nor can I tell them how I love 

Their kind and pleasant ways. 

My little friend, I 'd like to ask, 

Art thou a child of God? 
And do you walk the narrow path 

That saints and angels trod ? 

It is a straight and shining road, 
And leads through wisdom's ways, 

And if you'd be a child of God, 
Oh, start in early days ! 

Now, if we never meet again 

About the old home place, 
Then may we meet in heaven above, 

Around God's throne of grace. 

Remember me to all my friends, 

In words which I proclaim ; 
Then give my love to all thy house, 

And thou accept the same. 

<>— > 



[h, where r s the maid that I can love, 
With love which I have never told ? 

\ Where is the one that I would like 
To comfort me when I am old ? 

Do I not see before my face, 
A mate prepared for every one ? 

Then sure there 's one prepared for me, 
Nor need I trudge the road alone. 

Now who is he that speaks to me 
Of Mormons and of Mormonhood ? 

While this you know, the Lord has said, 
They twain shall be one flesh, one blood ! 

Come listen, then, to what I say 
Before this evening's work is done, 

That you can do as you may please, 
But I ? d be satisfied with one. 


IjjpESUS, that stream shall ever flow 
Ml|| That washed my sins away ; 
f|l| That made my heart as white as snow, 
And moved me then to pray. 

walden's poems. 25 

It is a stream of pure delight, 

Flowing both deep and wide ; 
Each ripple doth reflect the light, 

Proceeding from Thy side. 

It is a stream where all can meet 

And drink a full supply ; 
Can bow and worship at Thy feet, 

And praise Thy name most high. 

There millions in Thy presence stand, 

They bid us welcome home ; 
They tell us of that happy land, 

Where all in Christ are one. 

And if we will consent to go, 

We there shall bathe again 
In waters bright that can, we know, 

Cleanse from the foulest stain. 


I#HIS nation has a faithful friend, 
M In whom she may confide ; 
?| Whose influence is like a sea, 
' A Flowing both deep and wide. 

Let us behold the sea, how calm — 
What ships her billows float, 

26 waldsn's poems. 

Come let us hasten to the shore, 
And get on freedom's boat. 

Upon her deck the nations meet ; 

The white and colored there, 
Where no first place nor second known, 

No difference in the fare. 

I saw her raise her banner liighj 

And cast it to the breeze. 
While tempests raged and billows rolled 

She sailed through gulfs and seas. 

Through smoke and fog she onward went 

This nation to defend, 
When Dixie cried, "Take her last son, 

And her last dollar spend.'' 

When hissing shot around her fell, 

From rebel cannon's mouth, 
She stood the storm, the rain, the hail, 

And now can stand the drouth. 

I heard her cry, white sailing on — 

And Justice is her name — 
Grant equal rights to every man, 

And amnesty the same. 

Sne soon will land her noble crew 

Within a city bright, 
Where nations in one brotherhood 

Drink national delight. 

POEMS. 27 

Where we may have our public schools, 

With open doors displayed ; 
Where all may drink at wisdom's fount 

With none to make afraid. 

Young friends, I know you will be there 

Bright, shining, as the sun ; 
With equal rights secured to all, 

When Sumner's work is done. 

The nation's friend! still firm he stands, 
With neither sleep nor slumber, 

Come every Freedman in this land 
And hail the name of Sumner. 


MB. plant this tree to try thy faith* 
Sjll And, if thou only wilt obey,, 
\r -_.| Thou shalt ever see my face, 

And I will bless thee day by day. 

The good of life I '11 not withhold, 
Nor kindred pleasures will deny,. 

But thou shalt walk in streets of gold, 
And thou shalt never, never die. 

Thy days and years shall have no end : 
Sickness nor sorrow shalt thou know 

28 walden's poems. 

And in old age thou shalt not bend, 
Except thou yield unto the foe. 

Go, freely drink from every fount, 
From streams as they go laughing on, 

Proceeding down from ever} r mount, 
Singing their merry, merry song. 

It is not well to be alone ; 

There should be one to comfort tliee ; 
And from thy side I '11 take a bone, 

And soon in one thy twain shalt be. 

In yonder place I think I see 
Adam reclining in the shade, 

Rejoicing near the green bay tree, 

E'en in the place where Eve was made. 

List ye to what this man will say, 
This man who never spake before ; 

And see how wise, though made of clay, 
Now he has some one to adore. 

Bone of my bone, I know thou art, 
And Eve thy name shall ever be ; 

I'll wear thine image in my heart, 
And thou shalt ever cleave to me I 

- i 

w ALP en's poems. . 29 


[The day of the celebration of the Fifteenth Amendment 
I was passing through the crowd in the street when a little 
girl. Clara Saunders, (whom I knew not at the time, but is a 
student at Howard University,) noticed my eyes, and thinking 
I could not see and would be run over, took me by the hand 
and laad me to a place of safety. The kindness made such an 
impression. I was moved to write this little poem.] 

jjfjEHOLD the great and swelling crowd, 
^mL While thronging through the street, 
gf And then behold the hand that keeps 
Me from the horses feet. 

The great and small have passed me by, 

And here unseen I stand ; 
I have no sympathy, no help, 

Except this little hand. 

And now I bless this little hand, 

Which gently takes my arm ; 
Kind Jesus, guide this little child, 

And keep her from all harm. 

The proud and gay are passing by, 

And foolishly have scorned, 
When they have met me on the street 

Afflicted as when born. 

But now and then I meet a child 
As harmless as a dove, 


Who tells me by its little deeds, 

That God alone is love- 
Dear Saviour, bless tliis little child, 

Whatever her name may be ; 
Dost Thou not see her little heart, 
How kind she's been to me ! 


. !h. why have I thus failed to write 
18 A line upon my heart's delight? 
The reason why I cannot tell, 
For it, I think, is known too well. 

I need not say that she is pretty ; 
But I am sure she is quite witty, 
She is both comely to behold, 
And, in my sight, as pure as gold. 

I like the style in which sh«'s dressed, 
And place her now among the blessed ; 
There is no one more neat than she 
Among the fairer ones I see. 

It's true I take a complex view, 
Instead of one, I look at two • 
The one, because she's neat and trim, 
The other one is fair and slim. 

walden's poems. 31 

'Tis very true, one has a beau, 
The other one has none I know : 
The one may dwell e'en near my heart, 
The other one must then depart. 

There's only one that I can love, 
And she's as harmless as a dove ; 
She is not drifted by the tide 
With twenty beaux around her side. 

I have seen one all dressed in green ; 
The other one may be a queens 
T think one has a pleasant mother, 
The other one a handsome brother. 

Now, shall I tell the first one's name, 
For fear that you may think in vain ? 
Shall 1 record on history's page, 
The other one is not of age ? 

When you have seen the other one, 
Then think of mother's only son, 
To her be kind, be just and true, 
That she may tkus confide in you. 

And when you have been kind to her, 
A favor you will then confer, 
I hope that you will never slight 
The one who is my heart's delight. 



^fflfi E went out to ^ ie Soldiers' Home, 
IjJJPJI With happy hearts and free, 
*§|l|s And as we stepped within the grove 
All eyes were fixed on me. 

They seemed to speak in words like these : 

" Will he not write a poem ? 
•' Does he not feel the gentle breeze 

" On which our thoughts are borne.' 7 

And as they range through worlds unknown, 

I thought I heard them say : 
That " Walden ought to write a verse, 

"Upon the first of May!" 

Let nature in sublimity, 

With golden rays of light, 
Loan him a pen with diamond point, 

And tell him what to write. 

Let May put on her coat of green 

And bid him freely speak, 
That we may have a word or two 

Before we stop to eat. 

We cannot feel the hidden spark 
That burns within his breast ; 

walden's poems. 83 

Nor can we tell him what to say, 
For nature's thoughts are best. 

I hope he 11 think upon the bridge, 

And of the willow tree ; 
I hope he 11 think of every one, 

And then he 11 think of me." 

Depart from me all cares of life, 

And let me here compose 
A line or two upon this place 

In verses or in prose. 

This is a fair and pleasant place, 

And lovely to behold ; 
The place where aged soldiers lire, 

I often have been told. 

Now let the soldier cast his eye 

Upon the fields of green, 
And I am sure he will proclaim 

The matron is the queen ! 

Then let the Captain take a view, 

Although he is afar, 
And with the soldiers he '11 proclaim, 

Each lady is a star. 

Here while I view the tender leaves, 

And hear the gay birds sing, 
My thoughts are borne upon the breeze, 

That kindly welcomes Spring. 


Tlrey swiftly fly to nature's arms, 

And in her bosom rest, 
'Till she unfolds her richest charms, 

Close hid within her breast. 

And then they will return again, 

As constant as the dove, 
And join the angels when they sing, 

That God is only love. 

Now while I 'm in this tranquil place, 

The evening shades appear, 
Where I can view the landscape o'er 

And none but I am here. 

With love and kindness one comes down, 

And by me takes her seat, 
And kindly asks me to accept 

A piece of bread and meat. 

Of course I will accept of it, 

And glad to eat I am, 
And think within my heart there is 

A Mary in this land. 

Yet let me speak of one more friend, 
I should not slight her name, 

Whom I have found both just and true — 
It is Miss E. L. Crane ! 

Young friends, if we no more shall meet 
Within the Soldier's Home, 

walden's poems. 3$ 

Oh ! may we meet in Heaven above 
Around God's brilliant throne. 

May 1, 1872. 




jjpHERE is not one that can be found 
gill More happy than the man unbound, 

If lie will not himself engage 

To any one of any age. 

He then can live a single life ; 
When free from wed and free from wife 
There 'd be no one that could control 
Nor disregard him when lie's old. 

According to the lines above 
There is no one that he should love ; 
But if he thinks this is not right, 
Then let him seek his heart's delight. 


(Iesus, I feel the quickening spark, 
|| O how it burn- within! 
jj'Tis love that purifies the heart, 
And cleanses from all sin. 

And now I stretch my hands to Thee; 
Dear Saviour bid me fly. 

30 w alden's poems. 

That I may in thy presence be, 
And reign above the sky. 

Where I may wear a starry crown, 
Through ceaseless years to come, 

And in the city I'll be found, 
Around thy dazzling throne. 


#||Jt ? s true I have a friend, indeed. 
|i|| Whom T can safely trust and heed ; 
fir f He's been to me a shining light, 
And seeks to guide my Feet aright. 

When doubt and Tear shall cloud my skies, 
Then he will come and sympathize • 
He found me in a seeking shite. 
A 1 1 < I placed me here among the great. 

Will he not lead me with his hand 
Toward Canaan's fair ami happy land? 
Will he not mark each step ] take, 
Or mend each sacred link I break? 

1 came \'t him when much oppressed, 
Ami soon he eased my trouble} breast : 
And now I bless the way he lei. 
When nil my sorrows quickly fled. 

walden's poems. 37 


love to look on thee kind friend, 
Would like to ask thy name. 
i|fMy leisure hours with thee I 'd spend. 
And learn from whence thou came. 

I 'd gather wisdom from your voice. 

Advancing day by day, 
Please gratify my ardent choice, 

Thy name ! what is it ? pray. 




|ary, my shirt is neatly made, 

Each stitch is in its proper place ; 
There 's not a wrinkle to be seen. 
Nor basting thread that will deface. 

I 've criticised with all my might ; 

I thought the button holes were shirked, 
But I was struck with much surprise 

To find they all were neatly worked, 

I turned it in and turned it out, 
I sought to find some fault with it ; 

I- tried it on, and tried it off, 
I never had so neat a fit. 

38 waldek's poems. 

I think I see within it stitched, 
A figure of your daily life ; 

It surely tells that you will make, 
Some happy man a thrifty wife. 

And now I speak unto the hand 
That never made a shirt before : — 

Work hard to cultivate the mind, 
Then arduous task's will soon be o'er. 


Unless us as we together meet, 
$|S|| And sanctify the food we eat ; 
lllf Blest be the God who wisdom gives, 
The food by which the spirit lives. 

And when we shall have left this place, 
Lord, give us of Thy richest grace, 
Help us to love Thee now — and then, 
Forever and ever — and Amen. 



||1|ind Saviour, hear the voice of prayer, 
P$|f And do thou bless this sacred hour, 
3|fe£ May peace and comfort now be sent, 
Upon our loving President. 

warden's pokms. 1 

Its true lie 's in a heathen land, 
Where red-men may around him stand, 
With tomahawk and scalping knife, 
And threaten vengeance on his life. 

While he is in the distant West, 
May all he docs be for the best. 
Be Thou his shield both day and night, 
And ever guide his feet aright. 

We know his trust is in Thy name, 
And in Thy love he doth remain, 
For he did prove himself most true, 
When fighting by the starry blue. 

lead him o'er the Rocky Mounts I 
And let him drink from sparkling founts ; 
And when he 's where the water gleams, 
Then let him bathe in crystal streams. 

And when he hears the wild beast moan, 
Then let h!m think of friends at home; 
For there does dwell his loving wife, 
Who comforts him mid earthly strife. 

Let birds and bees both sing his praise, 
To lighten up his dreary days ; 
Let nature in her beauty shine, 
Teaching that all things are divine. 

Another word I should have said — 

1 VI like to ask, has he a bed ? 

40 walden's poems. 

A shelter where within to rest, 
While he is in the distant West, ? 

l> grant me words that I may write, 
More on the President to night, 
The words I need I do not know, 
Except they shall from Webster How. 

Congress of power ha* given a lease, 
Oh, aid him Lord, in making peace ! 
And guide him with thy sacred hand, 
That he may bless his native land. 

Yes, bless it in Thy sacred name, 
And break each link in error's chain ; 
For in this land there's hardly one, 
So many generous deeds has done. 

Will Thou return hi in home again, 
Both free from sorrow and from pain ; 
That we may see his loving face, 
All lighted with Thy richest grace. 

And when he turns to East or West, 
He'll view his labor Thou hast blessed ; 
Or turns to either North or South 
He '11 bless the poor by word of mouth. 

And when he comes within the school, 
He '11 see how well we keep each rule. 
Although to us they may seem tight, 
Yet wo believe that they are right. 

WAL den's poemg. 41 

And when from scene- like these we go, 
To journey on with friend oi' foe, 
May happy thoughts around be showered, 
When we recall the name of Howard I 


It is the King, the Prince of Peace, 

Who holds the reins of time ; 
^ Who sits upon His Father's throne, 
And rides upon the wind. 

'Tis He, whom angels do adore, 
And praise His name most high, 

He walks upon the mighty deep, 
And reigns with God on high. 

He spreads the clouds beneath th&fiky, 

And bids them disappear, 
He guides the pilgrim with His eye 

And scatters doubt and fear. 

He holds the lightning in His hand, 

Till he shall bid it fly, 
And then it darts from East to We&t, 

Athwart the cloudy sky. 

'Tis he who is the sinner's friend, 

And only such can be, 
He bled and died, that all might live, 

When nailed upon the tree. 

42 walden's poems. 


This letter was written to the Secretary of the Reformed 
Church of America. 

Howard University, 
Washington, D. C., June 4, 1872. 
Dr. See : 

Dear Friend : I should have written you before, but being 
rery busy in my studies. I have been putting it off until I 
ihould have time. 

Wo arc preparing for examination, and my idle moment* 
aro all passed. 

I am doing very well in my studies, and have found time, 
In connection with them, to attend about half of the Theo- 
logical lectures. During this year I have composed about 
thirty poems. I am going to have a book published this 6um 
mer, which I hope will meet a favorable consideration from 
the reading public. 

Doctor, I love the great Reformed, 
And pause within her arms ; 
gg|l dare not scorn her day when small, 
Nor trifle with her charms. 

How long she stood within God's sight, 

Pure and undefined ? 
How long lias it been her delight 

To save each little child ? 

Oh ! when did she His banner raise, 

And cast it to the breeze ? 
How long will she be tossed upon 

This world's temoestuous seas. 


Her millions she has landed safe. 
Upon fair Canaan's shore ; 

There 7 re millions yet within her arms, 
And room for millions more. 

Now let me praise the great Reformed, 

And magnify her name, 
For all the kindness she has shown, 

Since from the South I came. 

She did not turn away from me 

But bade me go in peace, 
And kindly asked me to accept 

A place among the least. 

Dear Saviour, bless the great Reformed, 

And keep her in thy care, 
And when she trembles in the storm, 

Then scatter doubt and fear ! 


j|HY thus I write I cannot tell, 
If I cannot give the reason why, 

"i Except it is because thou hast 
Become the apple of mine eye. 

I cannot speak the words I wish, 
However true they all may be, 

Because I know the gay and* vain 
Have placed their longing eyes on thee, 

44 waldbn's poems. 

Shall I betray the noble thoughts 

Which guard thine image day and night ? 

Or shall I speak of Mr. A**, 
Who seeks to put those thoughts to flight? 

A** thy beauty doth admire, 
B** thy kind and loving ways, 

And C** because thou sheddest light 
To cheer and bless his dreary days. 

But for myself, intelligence, 

Beauty and meekness reign alone ; 

And she must love the Son of God 
Who sits upon His Father's throne. 

I will, not write another line 

Lest critics say I flatter you ; 
And they would say I prove unkind 

And you might think I am untrue. 


|Y shirt is truly neat and strong 
* Although for it I waited long ; 
|8|fP I know Miss S**** will never slight, 
Nor sew on shirts by candle light. 

I long have known this one who sews, 
And now commend her to her beaux, 
She has no artificial ways 
To cause young men on her to gaze. 



|gjli{ H ! hark unto this liberal call : 
^Oj For you are all invited, 
§I|B And if you stay away I know, 
The children will be slighted. 

Oh! vvliv not come into the school— 

For you may be a teacher ; 
Of all the beauties of the day, 

This is the brightest feature. 

The President avi'U sure be there, 

And that will be exciting, 
And a short lecture I will give, 

[f you will be confiding. 

The children will together meet, 
They f U look to see your coming, 

While birds and bees within the grove, 
Will greet you with their humming. 

The school will meet at three o'clock. 

A pleasant time to spend, 
And when we hear the clock strike five, 

Our exercise will end. 



OUNG men, there is one honor yet, 
One I 'in sure each one can get ; 
$P An honor that is tried and true, 
One that will ever stand by you. 

When entering on the field of life, 
Each graduate should have a wife, 
One who will guide his feet aright. 
And ever be his heart's delight. 

Tis true, quite true, you 're leaving college, 
With minds well stored with useful knowledge 
But oh, all this will prove in vain, 
Except some lady's heart you gain. 

Tis true you stood upon the stage, 
Examples of the modern age ; 
But life is vain if you are wise 
If there's no star in all your skies. 

But if each one will still live single, 
I ni sure your pockets cannot jingle : 
1 rare not who may be your choice, 
If you '11 obey this warning voice. 

Go forth, therefore, in all the land. 
And reap success on every hand : 
Go make yourselves a shining name, 
Then vou '11 deserve eternal fame. 

POEMS. 47 


jlND friend why dost thou look so sad ? 

What may thy troubles be ? 
Oh dost thou fear some one will take 
The one so kind to thee ? 

She is a fair and charming one 

She dazzles every eye, 
It is enough to make thee weep, 

Enough to make thee sigh. 


<gj||o tell Miss V** to quickly come, 
'(!§ And bring her pen and ink, 
ife That she may write each word I speak 
Or each one that I think. 

She can unfold my darkest thoughts 
And make them plain to me, 

I know not one so full of art 
No one so apt as she. 

She was with me on first of May ; 

For me she then did write 
With little kind and gentle deeds, 

She 7 s like my heart's delight. 



Y book is largely growing ; 
Its leaves are multiplied ; 
HP Its pages are much longer, 
'And nearly twice as wide. 

At first I thought the reader 

Had not the time to spare, 
To hail my little volume 

As it floated in the air. 

I thought perhaps while floating 
Away through empty space, 

Perchance would there discover 
Some long forgotten race. 

I knew not it would mingle 

Among the great and wise, 
Or that it would be subject 

Unto the critic's eyes. 

I thought it was inferior, 

And of the minor class, 
I knew not how the ladies 

Would read it as they pass. 


But now I find it 's useful, 

And laden every page, 
For truly it must mingle 

With those of every age. 

Therefore I should have measured ; 

Should not have thought it vain 
To make its little mysteries 

Unto the reader plain. 

But surely there 's no secret 
Where thought is not sublime, 

That I have thus destroyed 
By keeping up my rhyme. 

But if I should in future 
Find this to be the case, 

I '& take my silver pencil 
And all these lines erase. 

I ; d rather use a license, 

Or grammar's laws dispense, 

Than for to let my metre 
Or rhythm govern sense. 

The reader will remember 
My chances are but slim, 

Or else this little volume 
Would be in better trim. 

Remember, too, in Dixie 
That I was born a slave. 

And all my early genius 
Was locked within the grave. 

walden's poems, 51 

Remember my condition — 

A mark within my eyes — 
AM all my inspirations 

Are showered from the skiBs. 

I cannot read of authors. 

Nor those of noble faUTe*, 
For\ I ; m just a learning 

The author, Milton's, name. 

I cannot borrow subjects, 

Nor rob them of their style, 
My book amid their volumes, 

Like me, is but a child. 

Therefore, I bless this volume, 

And send with it my heart, 
That it may to the critic 

My better thoughts impart. 

Go forth, then, little volume, 
Much good from thee may sprifig, 

If thou continueth pleading 
The merits of thy King. 

And others yet may follow^ 

All changed within their 
Bitt tho^ upon thy mission, 

I am sure ean nevef fail. 




ENTLEMEN, I ray pen have raised, 
j The one by which your Board I've praised ; 
F|| It is a pen of noble deeds, 
By which I have sown wisdom r s seeds. 

It is a pen I long have trained. 
By it a thousand hearts I Ve gained; 
For it was truly made of steel, 
Therefore to it your hearts* wiM yield. 

For troly it does speak to-day , 
As did it on the first of May ;. 
For then I know it did record 
Your little and your great reward* 

Remember that its highest aim 
Is much like yours — is much the same ; 
For you will heal the wounded heart r 
And give the young an upward start. 

Therefore I place upon its wings 
The name of her who plays and sings, 
And all thy honors I 11 extend 
If you will be this singer's- friend. 

And then in every swelling note* 
Arising from the singer's throat, 

POEMS. 53 

In every song your name she '11 praise, 
If you will crown her student days. 

I hope that you '11 accept of me, 
Not only one, but names of three ; 
And then excuse these lines I write, 
For one is dark and two are white. 

Behold their names I did omit, 
For them there is no place as yet, 
Therefore it ; s well that each one knows, 
That I can send their names in prose. 

Kind friends, I know you Ve not the time 
To bother with each little rhyme, 
Therefore you '11 look beyond each link, 
And judge from what you know I think. 

I hope that you will keep for me. 
The room I think is number three, 
For there my things are put away, 
Withiu that room, I long to stay. 

For you I have an, " areolite' 
Which I shall send when you shall write, 
And it I know will please you well, 
To know the Ian d in which it fell. 

Ten catalogues I hope you '11 send 
For here four days I have to spend, 
To me send them by the Express, 
For now I have not my address. 


There 's other things I 'd like to say, 
But I have not the time to-day, 
I Ve not the time to longer write, 
For evening's shades foretell the night. 


When in Philadelphia lately, loosing my ticket, my funds 
being at the ebb, I took the following method to secure trans- 
portation at reduced rates ; remembering the old adage, 
" Where there is a will there is a way." 



|p you to me a pass will give, 
1 11 cause your name in time to live, 
It in my book I will record 
Which will be for your own reward. 

You may not know what I will gain, 
Except you send me on your train, 
Nor do you know what I will loose 
If you to me a pass refuse. 

I would address the President 
But here my time is quite near spent. 
A man whose heart is without bound 
The dearest friend the needy 's found* 


waldbn's poehs. 55 


Howard University ,- 
Washington, D. G, Aug. 23, 1872. 

Y pen, dear friend, is made of gold, 

It always tells the truth, 
It serves me now while I am old, 
As well as when a youth, 

It often guides my thoughts aright, 

When they would go astray, 
It is my body-guard by night, 

As well as in the day. 

I look on it as would I thee, 

Its worth I Ve never told, 
For all the kindness shown to me, 

Its value 's more than gold. 

Its gold to me like ancient dross, 
Compared with all her wealth, 

Like thee it helps to bear the cross 
In sickness and in health. 

For me new friends it makes each day, 

New lines it does record, 
It causes me to watch and pray,. 

And trust upon the Lord. 

It often pleads the needy's case, 

It makes his troubles known ; 
It puts him in his proper place, 

And points him to God's throne. 


It knows a maid both just and true, 
One weighed in virtue's scale, 

Whom I will now present to you, 
Whose deeds can never fail. 

A student she would gladly be, 
She has no means nor friend 

Who freely would, that she can see, 
For her a dollar spend. 

Oh ! lay her case before the east, 

Or thy own native State, 
That they may take her from the least, 

And place her with the great. 

Tell them, for me, their name shall live 
With thine on history's page, 

If they Miss Johnson aid will give, 
The fair one of this age. 

No one his dollar will withhold, 

From such a worthy girl ; 
The miser, too, will bring his gold — - 

His treasures he 11 unfurl. 

Remember, that her parents died 

When she was but a child. 
She has no lovers by her side, 

Though she is meek and mild. 

Kind Miss, to you no more I 11 say, 
I 11 leave you in God's care, 

WAL den's poems. 57 

I hope you have a pleasant day, 
For such an one is here. 


Howard University, 
Washington, J). C. October 19, 1872. 
Rev. Mr. Hartraught : 

Dear Sir : I would have gladly remained in New Bruns- 
wick longer last summer ; but, as you know, my vacation was 
nearly spent when I reached there, and being anxious to get 
back to Washington by the opening of the term, I departed 
thence. I was much strengthened while there by your Sab- 
bath school, prayer meetings, and other religious worship, 
and would like very much to be with you to-day — if it were 
possible — 

iecause it is the Sabbath day, 

A day of rest provided ; 
Upon this day, in every church, 
Our God has long presided. 

When first I came unto thy church, 
I heard sweet voices singing — 

From God I thought the angels were 
To thee glad tidings bringing. 

I sure was there to hear thee pray — 
Was there whilst thou was't preaching ; 

How precious did the gospel sound, 
Which thou to us was't teaching. 

The Lord will blest thy day and age, 
Give souls to thee for hire, 


When thou wilt with thy little flock, 
To brighter fields aspire. 

Remember, there 's a rising up 
Of all the friends of Jesus ; 

Kemember, too, there is a God, 
An eye that ever sees us. 

Are we not marching onward to 
" Eternal weights " of Glory ? 

Did not the prophets and the saints 
Before us tell the story ? 

Is there not love for us unseen, 
Where we shall live forever ? 

Is there an end to life unknown ? 
The answer comes, " No, never i" 

Then let us strive with all our might, 

Exerting every power ; 
That we may rest in Heaven above, 

Through one eternal hour. 



|hese many years my pen has sped, 
" These many years to duty led ; 
gp And now it bends unto my will, 
As though it were an eagle's quill. 

walden's poems. 59 

For days and years it has been tried, 
Nor to me has it ever lied ; 
Therefore its worth is more than gold, 
For it the truth has ever told. 

And now it does record for thee, 
How very kind thou art to me ; 
It tells me that thou art my friend, 
And dost for me thy money spend. 

And it would truly speak the fruth, 
Were it to trace thee to thy youth. 
And it would fill my heart with joy, 
To hear of thee when but a boy. 

But, oh, it 's called to other things, 
To lead me to life's gushing springs, 
Where I may drink a full supply, 
And write on man, on earth, and sky, 

It 's called to guide my hand aright, 
To lead me into wisdom's light ; 
It's moved to point me to the Lord, 
For He the faithful will reward. 


representing the indian race at howard university. 

Howard University, 
Washington, D. C, October 11, 1872. 
The reason of my writing this poem is, that in every pa 
per I read, this question repeatedly presents itself : 

"Can the Indians be Civilized and Christianized?" 


According to my experience with them in the University, 
I think it properly answered by saying " Yes." 

We have a young lady to whom this poem is dedicated, 
who is my table-mate. She is bright and intelligent ; and I 
am sure any one coming into her presence, and conversing 
with her, or, if circumstances permit, hearing her read some 
of her essays, cannot return without feeling that he had been 
in company with one who represents her race honorably. 

I have often thought from her punctuality in attendance 
at church, that every one might learn a lesson, which no one 
can teach, only those who practice the same. . 

Now, I regard those questions as did I those frequently 
asked in our late war, " If the colored people could bear arms 
and fight for their country?" "Could they be made loyal 
citizens, or lifted from a state of degradation, from under the 
scales in which men are weighed, and put upon the platform 
of common manhood?" We answered those questions with 
the sword and by the ballot ; and, likewise, the Indians v/ill 
answer these important questions in perhaps twenty years to 
come, if they are justly dealt with. They only ask our Gov- 
ernment to give them good and true men, and they will do 
their part. 

hile sitting in my room kind Miss, 
I thought I'd sing a praise, 
?MS5 But now I think I'll write a word, 
To lighten up thy days. 

It's true I often write on Queens, 

And those of noble fame : 
But now I seek to write a line 

Upon thy honored name. 

What 's in thy name moves me to write, 

This little verse on thee ? 
Perhaps it is thy pleasant ways, 

And cheering looks to me. 

POEMS. 61 

How oft I think of thee, kind Miss, 

And oft admire thy grace, 
Because I know that thou art of 

Another noble race ! 

When by the bells to meals we're called, 

Or round the table meet, 
With anxious eye I look to see 

If thou art in thy seat. 

And then I cast my eyes around, 
Through hall, though long and wide, 

And then I quickly look to see 
Thy tea-mate by thy side. 

But first of all the bell is rung, 

And each within his place, 
In silence each one bows his head, 

'Till some one asks the grace. 

Then each in seat with upturned plates, 

And scarce a word is said, 
Until we have a full supply 

Of meats and baker's bread. 

And dishes, too, are passing round 

About from you and me ; 
And Clara she looks up and asks — 

Pray, sir, what can it be ? 

It 's pork, of course, or else it 's beef ; 
Perchance it may be ham — 

62 walden's POEMS. 

Except the baker cooked a goose, 
And passed it off for lamb. 

And if he has a cut will tell, 

If round about its swallow, 
For surely it is not so dead, 

That it would fail to halloo. 

While all of this is going on, 
There 're other things in view ; 

For oft I catch myself, dear Miss, 
Exchanging looks with you. 

But soon we 're through, the bell does ring, 
We Ye called by duty's 'larms ; 

Nor can I longer sit and look 
Upon thy brilliant charms. 

I 'd speak of all my table mates 

Had I another pen, 
For surely we 're as happy guests 

As here have ever been. 


■H ! had I now an overcoat, 
For I am nearly freezing ; 
W*j$ My head and lungs are stopped with cold, 
And often I am sneezing. 


And, too, while passing through the street, 
Where merchants all are greeting, 

They say, young man this is the coat 
That you should wear to meeting. 

Then, looking down upon my feet, 
For there my boots are bursting, 

With upturned heels and grinning toes, 
With tacks which long were rusting. 

Ah ! how they view my doeskin pants 
With long and crooked stitches, 

They say, young man would you not like 
To have some other breeches ? 

My head is also hatless too, 

The wind is swiftly blowing, 
They say, young man will you not freeze? 

See ye not how it 's snowing ? 

And now they take me by the hand, 

And lead me toward the store, 
And some are pulling down the coats 

Before I reach the door* 

So walk I in, their goods to price, 
To quench a thirst that's burning, 

And freely would I buy a coat, 
But nothing I am earning. 

They say to me, I should haTSloiOWD, 
That winter time was coming) 


When I was roaming through the park, 
With birds around me humming. 

Their logic's true, I must confess, 
And all they say is pleasant ; 

But did I know that I would have 
No overcoat at present ? 

To satisfy these craving Jews, 

To buy I am not able, 
For it is more than I can do 

To meet my wants at table. 

Therefore my skin will toughly grow, 
Will grant to me this favor, 

That I may learn to stand as much 
As little Jack, the sailor. 

And if I live till winter's passed, 
Though nature's harps unstringing, 

I then will fly to yon woodland 
To hear the oak trees singing. 

Then I will not on hero's fame, 

Ride swiftly on to victory, 
Although my saddle may be made 

Of cotton sacks or hickory. 

But if I die, farewell to all, 
Oh ! who will tell the story, 

That I have lived a noble life. 
And now gone home to glory ? 


Yes, who will chant a song of praise 
For me — who will be weeping — 

When I have yielded to the grave, 
And 'mid the dead am sleeping ? 

But some will ask, " how did he die ? 

It was without my knowing ; 
Was it because he caught a cold, 

Last year when it was snowing ?" 

The answer now comes hurling back, 

In words I cannot utter, 
It was not by a cold alone, 

But partly bread and butter. 

[This poem is dedicated to my own necessities and wants.] 


[These lines were written in honor of the above gentleman, 
to whom the temperance cause is so much indebted.] 

Howard University, Washington, D. C. 
Dear Sir : 

^^hy name, within my book, 
Mte Is like an eagle's wing, 
ES It bears each rhyme unto the prince, 
And onward to the king. 

And also shines on history's page, 
It dazzles every eye, 


Because it 's like a twinkle from 
A rainbow in the sky. 

And now its light reflects upon 

Thy many honored deeds, 
On all my race by thee bestowed, 

In shape of wisdom's seeds. 

Thy country, sir, has read this book, 
And looked upon thy name ; 

No anger burned within her breast, 
On cheek no blush of shame. 

And, too, she 's also proud of thee 

She want's ten thousand more, 

Whose hand is open like the king's — 
Extended to the poor. 

She blessed the day that gave thee birth- 
Will multiply thy days, 

Of all her bright and rising sons, 
Kind friend thou hast the praise. 


Howard University, 
Washington, D. C, August 19, 1872* 

ISS N. J**, I my pen have taken, 
The one that is so just and kind, 

And all the fair ones I 've forsaken, 
Because thou hast my heart and mind. 


To thee these lines may be surprising 
Because they 're of an early date ; ' 

But would'st thou be more sympathizing 
If I to write should longer wait ? 

On thee I look with much compassion, 

Tender, 0, I know thou art ; 
I like thy style and love the fashion— 

Thine image dwells within my heart. 

Thy little hand is yonng and tender, 
Arduous tasks it should not know • 

Thy graceful form is neat and slender, 
Like lilies that in gardens grow. 

Behold for thee there is a calling, 
Within the land among the free ; 

For there the wise in sin are falling 
How would'st thou like to be with me? 

O ! wilt thou try to come to college, 
Where wisdom teacher's do impart, 

And here partake of richest knowledge, 
Overflowing mind and heart? 

Arise ! come up a little higher, 
Do never stop beneath thy grade, 

To higher ranks why not aspire ? 
Pray tell me why hast thou delayed ? 

There 's been no gentle hand to lead me, 
Not since my pa and ma have died, 


Nor one so kind to clothe and feed me— 
No one the task has ever tried. 

Kind Miss, I spoke as would a brother — 
As one whose heart beats firm and true ; 

Because I knew thou hadst no other 
To kindly tell thee what to do. 

And now to thee I 'd tell a mystery, 
Although in it myself I'd praise, 

Therefore leave it to other history, 
To speak of all my happy days. 

I might tell thee my heart is willing 
That I should be thy guide through life, 

But while I am not worth a shilling, 
Why should I seek thee for a wife ? 

My friend I know that I'ma student 
Preparing for some distant land ; 

Pray tell me if it would be prudent, 
Were I to ask thee for thy hand ? 

For I can see stamped in thy features 
What never living man has seen, 

That thou wouldst make a handsome creature, 
And also me a loving queen. 

To thee, kind Miss, I '11 write no longer. 

For evening shades are drawing nigh ; 
Perhaps thy love is growing stronger, 

The moments whisper, passing by. 



To the President and Members of the Christian Association: 

Having learned that my resignation was reconsidered by 
you, and having been treated with such brotherly love, I am 
constrained to express my gratitude to you in an humble 
manner : 

iOR when I heard this glorious news, 

It filled my heart with joy, 
And quickly to my pen I sprang, 
As though I were a boy. 

Indeed it did remove all doubt, 
And filled my heart with pleasure, 

And now I write regardless of 
My rhythm or my measure. 

I must confess in words of truth, . 

I found myself in danger, 
And when I came within your court, 

I felt as would a stranger. 

I listened long to hear your call — 
In this way long was waiting ; 

But soon I heard a shepherd's voice, 
And with him lambs were bleating. 

I thought, perhaps, it was my chance, 

Perhaps it was a warning, 
Perhaps I would not live to see 

The light of day when dawning. 


And, too, the road on which I trod, 
Was dark and much descending, 

And all I met within that way, 
Were quarrelling and contending. 

And oft I tried to bow and pray — 

To pray I was not able ; 
For all my supplications were 

As but an empty fable. 

I gladly did embrace this chance, 
And quickly came to Jesus ; 

When I remembered that there was 
A God that ever sees us. 


Howard University, 
Washington, D. C, Dec. 12, 1872. 
Dear Sir : Two years will soon have passed since my con- 
nection with this University, and I am happy to say I am pro- 
gressing finely ; and am rapidly approaching my sixth exami- 
nation, at which time every energy shall be bent to its utmost 
extreme. I have been making out my expenses which I find 
to be very heavy, though not to be compared with the small 
amount of knowledge which I have gained ; and, too, when I 
consider that these privileges of going to school have par- 
tially grown out of your influence, I am constrained to express 
my gratitude to you. I should have made an acknowledgment 
ere this, but thought it best to wait until I am sufficiently 
competent 5 and would still wait longer — 

(fpfjUT this my pen is getting old, 
||ij| Its noble limbs are dull and cold, . 
^te|j[ Therefore to thee I write in praise. 
In honor of its active days. 

POEMS. 71 

My hand no longer will it serve, 
Nor will it on my paper curve ; 
For it is robed in shrouds of death — 
Without a pulse, without a breath. 

On lines no longer will it slide, 
Nor will it over paper glide ; 
No longer will it lead the youth 
In ways of virtue and of truth. 

Nor will it longer honor thee 
For kindness thou hast shown to me, 
Nor will it longer thus record 
A line of praise unto the Lord. 

No longer will I doubt and shake, 
For fear its limber legs will break ; 
Nor will it longer shiver names, 
Nor turn my paper into flames. 

No longer will it hop and skip, 
Recording thoughts expressed by lip ; 
Nor will its little wiry toes 
Transcribe my poetry into prose. 

This little pen no more will write, 
For it will pass away this night ; 
No longer will it sing a praise 
In honor of its youthful days. 

Wilt thou accept this line or two, 
That's written by a friend so true ; 
Accept it in the writer's name, 
Who's free from sorrow and from shame. 




[This rhetorical poem was written in honor of Prof. A. L. 
Barber, who was the principal on my entering school.) 

hen first we came unto this school, 
They introduced the golden rule, 
jp And put us in the narrow way 
In which we journey on to-day. 

How precious did that rule appear 
To us who had assembled here ; 
And in that road a shining light 
To guide each student's feet aright. 

But soon new laws were multiplied^ 
And roads branched out on either side ; 
A law applied to every case, 
A road prepared for every race. 

And we with not a word to say, 
Except those laws we should obey, 
Nor did a foot once turn aside, 
To tread the way both rough and wide. 

But blended laws and roads in one, 
That we no duty thus might shun ; 
Unto God's sceptre bowed and prayed 
That we might never be dismayed. 



As soon as classes were assigned 
And teachers given, much refined ; 
Each heart was filled with many joys 
Among the girls, among the boys. 

Now looking back upon the past, 
To view the ranks where we were classed, 
And each one's friend will quickly see, 
That we were placed within Class D. 

With energy we sought to rise, 
To mingle with the great and wise ; 
In ways unknown we do succeed, 
And now we bear the highest meed. 

Another thought I may unfurl, 
Because we represent the world ; 
Of every tribe and every race, 
And each one in his proper place. 

Like yonder Sun, his highest rays, 
The nation's eyes will on us gaze, 
And she will mark the way we tread 
When we to higher ranks have fled. 

And when you 've left the shores of time 
I '11 weave your footprints up in rhyme ; 
And change my verses to a song 
When you those pearly gates shall throng. 

And when I come I '11 look to see 
The one so kind to you and me j 

74 waldbn's poems. 

And there together we will sing, 
And make the heavenly echoes ring. 

Teacher, I would not flatter you, 
To say that you are just and true, 
Nor prove unkind to my class-mate, 
To say he often calls you great. 

But speaking for myself alone', 
Have you not to me pity shown ? 
Your ways e'er long have been my guide — 
To you a thousand hearts have tied. 

And now we step upon the boat, 
Which will on higher billows float ; 
And onward she will cast her sail, 
When driven by the nightly gale. 

And had we now an ounce of time, 
We would on higher ladders climb ; 
The gates of college we would raise, 
And then on deeper mysteries gaze. 

But, ah ! the day is growing late, 
To hear my song you cannot wait ; 
But had my harp another string, 
This song I then would play and sing. 

TO MISS W ***** . 

Will yon accept of an apology for my not seeing yon safely 
to Minor Hall last evening, with my umbrella, whilst raining. 
I did not mean to leave yon exposed, but another young lady 
said that "We would not get wet," and I thought she had ref- 
erence to you and herself, though she meant another person. 


therefore you were not slighted, 
U Not in the least degree; 
?% Although, when not a thinking, 
* I turned aside from thee. 

I thought it was a token 
That A. G. spoke for all, 

And feared myself to ask your 
Permission to the hall. 

Then I, with this impression, 
Kind Miss, what could I do ? 

Could I escort you safely, 
Without consent from you ? 

And then, too, shamed to venture 

Or linger by your side, 
And this explains the reason 

Why thus I turned aside. 

Therefore, you will excuse me, 
For I have made it plain, 

And sorry that I left you, 
Last night within the rain. 

Now, when the night grows darker, 
And rain shall harder fall, 

Then you shall have my presence 
From prayer to Miner Hall. 

Or when the moon is shining, 
And stars shall fill the sky, 

I will not then forsake you, 
Nor let you pass me by. 

76 walden's poems. 


Much honor is due Mr. Dunlap and family, both from my- 
self and race. He was one of the leading men of Philadelphia 
in the anti-slavery movement, and a just man. I went to 
Philadelphia with soldiers and sailors from Washington in 
1866, to celebrate the nomination of U. S. Grant. Before I 
was ready to return I lost my ticket. I was left by my com- 
panions without any means for securing another, for I did not 
have enough money to hire a night's lodging, and every per- 
son whom I met rejected me on that account. Coming down 
Broad street about eight o'clock in the night I was interrupted 
by two gentlemen, who, on seeing me, said: " There goes a 
carpet-bagger." I replied that carpet-baggers do not come 
from the South. 

"Where are you from?" asked Mr. William Dunlap. "I 
am from North Carolina, but from Washington here." After 
questioning me closely, " Take my card," said he, " and go 
to my house, tell my wife to give you a good supper and bed, 
and I hope you will remain with us until Monday." I thanked 
him and started. On reaching the door I at first hesitated to 
ring the bell ; finally I pulled the knob which brought Mrs. 
Dunlap to the door. She is a generous lady and had a pro- 
found reverence for the words of her husband. After pre- 
senting Mr. Dunlap's card, she politely invited me into the 
parlor. In a short time Mr. Dunlap came in and inquired for 
the stranger. " He is in the parlor," said Mrs. Dunlap. I was 
soon surrounded by all the members of that happy because a 
good family. After receiving an introduction to them all, 
supper was prepared ; and although Mr. and Mrs. Dunlap had 
eaten before, they sat down and took tea with myself. Now, 
after supper, Mr. Dunlap recpiested me to give a brief sketch 
of my life, which I gladly did. The whole family seemed to 
me to be exceedingly interested in my story, but little Wil- 
liam and Eliza, although very young, looked upon me with 
purely angelic faces, and before the evening passed 1 became 
the centre of attraction. At last the clock struck ten. Mr. 
Dunlap took down his bible and read a chapter. The family 
sang a hymn and I was invited to lead in prayer. It was, of 
course, an arduous task, but I performed it to the best of my 

POEMS. 77 

I was then directed to a well arranged bed-chamber, where 
I enjoyed sweet repose from the fatiguing scenes of the day. 
On awaking in the morning I found myself in so different a 
place from what I had anticipated, that I was at a loss to de- 
termine whether I was awake or dreaming. You will readily 
believe that this beautiful apartment was a striking contrast 
to the coal-box I was about to seek shelter for the night on 
one of the wharves of that great city. The floor was nicely 
carpeted; the bed made of feathers, and dressed with rose- 
bordered blankets, and a snow-ball counterpane, with pillows 
as soft as downy pillows are. There was a large spring-bot- 
tomed rocking-chair, a bowl and pitcher, a bureau with a large 
mirror on it, and many other things which augmented the 
comfort and happiness of its fortunate occupant. I remained 
with them until Wednesday, at which time, being supplied 
with passage money, I left for Washington. At the reception 
given General Grant in Philadelphia, Eliza Dunlap was the 
only child our great President kissed, and I have dedicated 
the following lines to her : 

||1|h ! thou my pen with sacred fame ; 
(Op Canst thou record Eliza's name ? 
§||| For she 's both gentle, meek and mild, 
^ A happy little loving child, 

Come view the ground on which she '11 tread, 
Go bless the crown upon her head ; 
For tranquil lights spring from her eyes, 
Like rainbows mid the bending skies. 

She 's quite as lovely to be seen, 
As any earth or Heavenly queen, 
With rosy cheek and slender span ; 
With curly hair and timid hand. 

My pen, I '& freely bid thee sing 
Her name unto the proudest king ; 


But ah ! I know thou would'st impart 
The dearest secrets of my heart. 

But soon from me thou shalt be sent 
Unto U. S., the President; 
'Mid wise men there, her praises chant, 
In honor of Ulysses Grant. 

Go sing them softly, sing them well, 
For she 's the child we called the belle, 
I bid thee linger there and stay 
Until she 's crowned the queen of May. 

On eagles' wing I bid thee fly, 
Aloft beyond the fleeting sky, 
And then on wheels of swiftest speed, 
Among my pens go take the lead. 

Thy way is straight, do not miss, 
For she 's the child he gave a kiss, 
And from that cheek did spring a rose, 
Which I have better told in prose. 

<— o 


One very cold morning I met a widow at the depot whom 
the train had left. Wishing to comfort her, I introduced 
myself as follows : 

|adt, excuse me if you please, 
I Your infant looks as it would freeze, 
ipg|^ And you as one in great distress, 

Why do you wear this mourning dress ? 


She seems to pause before she speaks, 
With fading colors on her cheeks, 
Within her heart she deeply sighed, 
To tell me that her husband died. 

Think not the train will long delay, 
Or critics will their art display ; 
Or you shall tread this lonely street, 
Without a lamp unto your feet. 

Please tell me, Ma'm, where yon reside, 
And of the one who lately died, 
And then perhaps I will impart 
The better feelings of my heart. 

" Kind friend, I know you've not the time 
To weave my language up in rhyme, 
Nor am I able to express 
The reason why I wear this dress. 

" But I'ma widow thus yon see, 
With not a heart to pity me, 
And I am destined thus to roam 
Two thousand miles or more from home. 

" My dear was wounded in the head, 
It was a shot that killed him dead ; 
And thus was wafted from my side 
A heart to me so closely tied. 

11 Can I forget his dying groans, 
Which round me fell in mournful tones ? 

80 walden's poems. 

Can I forget his dying sigh, 
That onward bore him to the sky? 

" 0, no, forget I never can, 
The traitor shot, the blood that ran ; 
I can't forget the mournful day 
"When he was placed within the clay. 

" Now all I wish while here below 
Is for a robe as white as snow ; 
That when I shall be called to die. 
Like him" on wings of love I '11 fly. 

" But hark ! I heard the whistle blow, 
Soon on my journey I must go ; 
Good-by, remember me kind sir, 
That I may neither doubt nor fear.' 7 

heaven give a gentle smile, 
And bless the widow and her child, 
Let friends and strangers be her guide 
In honor of the one who died. 

To Mrs. N. Z. 


'h! Dixie in thy wounded station, 
J Thou canst not be a separate nation, 
|pf| Nor canst thou break the cord that's binding, 
Nor set confederate mills to grinding. 

I saw thee when both young and tender, 
All lifted up with pomp and splendor, 

walden's poems. 81 

And then thy chariots rolled in grandeur, 
While T was picking on my " banjo." 

But since that time I saw thee falling, 
When North and South for troops were calling, 
Each nation from a place of resting, 
Unto the fields of great contesting. 

How soon I saw the battle raging, 
With heroes in the strife engaging ; 
I heard the swords and sabres clashing 
With horse and rider onward dashing. 

'Twas o'er the dead and oh the dying, 
While shot and shell through air were flying, 
Unto their groans I paused and hearkened 
To see the elements were darkened. 

But, first to me it was surprising, 
To see my noble friends arising, 
A million flags the troops were raising, 
The nation's eyes were on them gazing, 

From pole to pole I saw them leaping. 
While Sherman through the South was sweeping, 
I saw their crimson colors fading, 
While northern land Lee was invading. 

Went Sheridan- through the South abounding, 
And many troops he was surrounding ; 
O how the widows' hearts were breaking 
When Lee and Davis calls were making. 

82 t^alden's poems. 

I saw thy rosy cheeks as changing, 
While mighty guns Grant was arranging. 
Nor could they longer bloom in flowers, 
Nor stand against the Northern powers. 

But now I see the war is ended, 
xVncl all thy auger is suspended ; 
Peace I think I hear thee crying, 
As thou art to the Union flying. 

And Hallelujahs I am singing, 

To see my race from bonds are springing, 

For sure a better time is coming, 

The insects whisper through their humming. 

So now farewell to plough and hoeing, 
For I to Yankee town am going; 
No longer will I drive this wagon, 
Nor under slavery's chains be swagging, 

But Dixie, oh, the land of cotton, 
Let slavery die and be forgotten ; 
And we will turn unto each nation 
With greater zeal for education. 

Although thou long hath been mistaken 
And of the right thou hast forsaken ; 
But yet I see within thee planted 
The love to thee thy fathers granted. 

Therefore, thou shouldst be more inspired 
When father's love in youth is fired, 

POEMS. 83 

Be lifted from thy degradation 
Above the bonds of long probation. 

O like the mighty swelling ocean, 
Whose billows roll with great commotion, 
The races yet will come together, 
In ties of love that none can sever. 

Dedicated to the good will of all persons towards the pros- 
perity of the South. 



What gave rise to this little poem was, that a party of stu- 
dents went out on a skating expedition on a pond near the 
University, and the ice not being sufficiently strong, it gave 
way with them. I imagined myself there, and the following 
lines suggested themselves to my mind about the hour of 12 
o'clock p. m. 

je still ! I thought I heard it cracking 

Around on every side, 
And soon they will be driven by 

The wind upon the tide. 

It breaks, it bends, and shivers now 

Around about their feet, 
And every nerve is standing still, 

And hearts refuse to beat. 

Behold I see them standing on 

A little icy isle, 
Pray, who will bring the hero forth, 

Or save the loving child. 

84 wal den's poems. 

Look, look, I see them whirling round, 

All hurried by the gale r 
And not a breath I breathed on land, 

For fear their hearts will fail. 

But Hollingsworth is speaking now 

Unto the little dove, 
He says, " If you will trust in 'me 

I '11 prove to you my love. 

" While secret shouts are coming forth, 
Think not they do resound, 
Kemember, I am present now, 
And you shalt ne'er be drowned, 

"Therefore be calm, be well composed;, 
Although within the tide, 
Then if you have to suffer here, 
I'll linger by your side." 

Dear sir, I cannot feel alarmed, 

Not in the least degree, 
When I remember heaven smiles,, 

And Jesus looks on me* 

Nor can I ever be dismayed, 
While angels gather nigh, 

But if I have to perish nere, 
On wings of love I '11 fly» 

Now all is calm on isle and land, 
And not a word is said, 

walden's poems. 85 

I cannot hear my own heart beat, 
Nor foot, if one should tread. 

Ten thousand swelling thoughts arise, 

From heart to heart they leap; 
Pray tell me who will trust himself 

Upon the mighty deep ? 

New plans by Simmons now are made. 

Whose heart can never fail, 
He quickly comes to her relief, 

And with him brings a rail. 

But first of all a bridge he builds, 

From floating isle to land. 
And first to step upon the rail 

To offer her his hand. 

Then bless the one who saves my friend, 

To him I will impart 
The richest treasures of my soul, 

And dearest of my heart. 

Now turning I from such a scene, 

To one that 's more severe, 
A greater accident than this 

Have we among us here. 

Behold ! another 7 s breaking through, 

And downward she is sent, 
So Shadd he comes by double quick, 

To save her he is bent. 

86 wal den's poems. 

'Tis in the deep and takes her up, 

And holds her in his arms, 
With fading cheek and throbbing heart, 

He looks upon her charms. 

God bless these men who saved my friends, 
Grant each a happy life; 

grant them health, grant them wealth, 
And each a loving wife. 

But where am I 'midst all of this, 

Why do I from them stay; 
Is it because I take no part 

Within their icy play ? 

0, no, my soul is witli them now, 

And with them do abound, 
And stand between the icy cliffs 

That neither one should drown. 

Behold I stand with outstretched arms, 

Come hither ! is my cry, 
Unto the right, unto the left, 

To either one I fly. 

Dear friends this sight is hard to see ; 

Can angels bear the scene ? 
For yonder sank my heart's delight, 

And floated there my queen. 

1 shut my eyes and wring my hands, 

whither shall I go 

walden's poems. 87 

Shall I launch out upon the deep, 
Where billows ebb and flow ? 

O then forbid that I should see 

Another icy day, 
If it must nip the buds which else 

Would bloom so fair in May. 

Young friends, from this a warning take, 

This thought do not erase, 
But never hop and skip upon 

The deep's cold, icy face. 

But first of all go bless the Son 

Of God, who ever reigns, 
Who sent his angel of the sea, 

To break these icy chains. 

Then go and bring my swiftest steed, 

Convey them to the hall, 
And tell for me the matron dear, 

About their icy fall. 

O that her hand would be their guide, 

For such a hand must be, 
They should not trifle with the ice, 

Nor with the laughing sea. 

How glad I am and proud to say 

No damage has been done 
To you young men like heroes stood, 

Till you the victory won. 


So fare you well my playful friends, 

And weeping as we part, 
But may each one to each confide 

Through time, in each one's heart. 



walden's departure from the- junior literary society. 

iHINK not I come to curry favor, 

For that would be beneath my aim, 
And I would crucify my honor, 
And put my manhood thus to shame. . 

I merely come to right the crooked, 
To make amends where I was wrong, 

I will not trifle with your follies, 

Nor raise my hand against the strong. 

I must confess through heat of passion, 

Your president I did offend, 
Pray tell me does he reign supremely ? 

One uncondemned can he suspend ? 

You, ravenous, wolf like, would devour 
And swallow me up heels and head, 

If not by a quick and sudden spring, 
The victim of your venom fled. 

Your nets my feet shall never tangle, 
Nor will I tread your winding way, 

Wrongward, downward, deep descending, 
Oh, vote him out I heard you say. 

walden's poems, 80 

Whose thoughts should be both high and lofty, 
With upturned eyes towards the sky, 

You should not treat an humble member, 
That he might from your colors fly. 

True courtesy among you Juniors 
Is what I long have sought to gain, 

In spite of all my humble efforts, 
My work to me seems all in vain. 

Therefore, it 's best that we should sever, 

Before another rising sun, 
That each may in this fleeting contest 

Think that he has the victory won. 

I 'd freely give up my tuition, 

Or give to you my heart and hand, 

If we could live in union severed, 
Or else within this happy band. 

It 's hard to sever ties of friendship, 
Or cords of love which closely bind, 

Perhaps from this we '11 take a warning, 
May learn to be both just and kind. 

Therefore, I bid you happy Juniors, 
A mournful, long and last farewell, 

There 're other things around us rising 
Which I have not the time to tell. 

May luck and friendship guard your future, 
My prayers shall follow you till death, 

9 1$ walden's poems. 

While still my pulse continues beating, 
Or I may beat a fleeting breath. 


hat hand is this that leads me on ? 

Shall I refuse to go — 
To my eternal destiny, 
Of happiness or woe ? 

Invisible it does appear, 

Unseen by mortal eye, 
I cannot turn to right nor left, 

Nor can I from it fly. 

? Tis nature's voice that speaks within, 
That shakes this mortal frame, . 

J Tis justice making her demand, 
And death presents her claim. 

This hand will ever lead me on 
From childhood to the grave — 

Will break the chain that holds me fast, 
Emancipate the slave. 

Therefore my thoughts should upward tend, 
To realms of bliss above, 
Where heavenly hosts beyond the clouds 
Will greet my soul in love. 



Howard University, 
Washington. D. C, April 17, 1873. 
Miss Virginia Delaxey : 

Dear Miss : If not mistaken in the person whom I think you 
are, which can hardly be so, I would like very much to create 
a correspondence between us, if it would be in accordance 
with your wishes. 

Please consider this proposal and give me an answer at 
your pleasure. 

|or this my pen has long displayed, 

E'er long- its been delighted, 
S To know thou art a fair young maid 
Whom no one yet has slighted. 

From year to year it onward glides, 

I glory in its winging; 
It whispers through the graceful slides 

Virginia oft is singing. 

Will it not gladden every heart, 
Through rhythm and its measure, 

And give the young an upward start, 
And thrill each nerve with pleasure? 

Therefore, if thou'll accept this line — 

Think not that I am hasty ; 
For had I now a second's time, 

I 'd say that I am tasty. 

Remember that I 'm full of pride, 
Of pity and compassion, 

92 walden's poems. 

And she who lingers by my side 
Should like my style and fashion. 

My pride will never lead to shame, 

Nor down to degradation, 
While it shall be my highest aim 

To elevate my nation. 

For thou canst see the stars are bright, 
And worlds around are swelling, 

Therefore it will be thy delight 
To overlook my spelling. 

Therefore, unfold each fleeting thought, 

Seek well for the intention. 
Which nature's hand alone has wrought 

In words I need not mention. 

Kind Miss, to thee no more I ? 11 say, 

Nor add unto my measure, 
Except to write without delay 

When it may be your pleasure. 




MAY 1, 1873. 

'Twas on the first of May of last year in our rambles about 
the vicinity of the Soldiers' Home that I indited " The May 
Walk," a small poem to be found in the preceding pages of 
this volume. This year, on the same day, I was wending my 
way in an opposite direction— to the Congregational Church — 
where my esteemed friend, the doctor, was to be married to 
his now lovely wife. Whilst stopping for a moment to assist 

walden's poems. 93 

a friend in moving some articles of furniture from the pave- 
ment to his house, the bridal party passed on their way to the 
Church. However, although I missed the wished for oppor- 
tunity to witness the ceremonies, the muse of poetry suggested 
thoughts, as they passed by, which I hope the doctor will find 
no fault in my embodying them with my other collections. 

Home, idle pen, and let us sing 

To May, the flowery month of spring, ^ 
And, too, with gladsome voice, we '11 hail 
The May queen with the bridal veil. 

Sweet month, one year ago our roam — 
The hills and vales 'round Soldiers' Home — 

Was bright with flowers and verdure green, 
Fit tributes to thy fairy queen. 

The scene has changed: for you, kind friend, 
We '11 garlands with our poesy blend, 

And humbly at your feet now lay 
Our offerings to your Queen of May. 

The happy bridegroom and the bride 
In blissful love sit side by side, 

Whilst twit'ring birds, with swelling throats, 
Are caroling their matin notes. 

Go, loved ones, meet the waiting group 
Of anxious friends, who fondly hope 

That each recurring first of May 
May prove a golden wedding day. 

many, prosperous years be thine; 

And may angelic hosts entwine 
A wreath for each, of faith and love — 

A fadeless crown in Heaven above. 

94 WALDBfi's P0E1IS 


Howard University, 
Washington, D. C, April 15, 1872. 
Miss Catherine Hill : 

Dear Niece : I received yours a few days' ago, and was glad 
to learn that you were all well and anxious to see me return 
home next Christmas, which I hope to be able to do. I was 
more than gratified to know that the letter which you sent me 
was written by your own dear little hand. I did not read very 
many lines before I was lead to weep to hear you say that you, 
your mother and your aunt had professed religion, and had 
joined the church at the old " Quaker Meeting House. ,r Your 
beautiful letter carried me back to the old Meeting House. 
Ah! I imagine that many of the brethren who were accustomed 
to meet there have fallen asleep and have been long since 
gathered to their fathers. I am glad to know that the children 
are seeking their Saviour, and are thus preparing themselves 
to occupy the positions in the church which their parents must 
spjon vacate. 

There is another very striking passage in your epistle, in 
which you say that the Lord has wonderfully blessed me in 
taking me from home and placing me in an institution of 
learning where I may be educated. I would to the Lord that 
there was a school in your neighborhood, so that instead of 
learning to read and write in the Sabbath school you could 
learn more about our blessed Redeemer. You asked me if it 
is wrong to spend your time this way on the Sabbath. It is a 
question hard to be answered by myself ; but if you were in 
Washington I suppose I would think it wrong, for here wehav® 
both Sabbath and every day schools. But situated as you are, 
I think it no harm, provided it does not lead to anything more; 
for it is not so much what one does, but the motive which 
prompts the act. You also said you wish you had such privi- 
leges as I enjoy, that you might study and do more good for 
the poor children in your neighborhood in the way of teaching 
them. 1 sympathize with you much, and were I able you 
should not pant for learning any longer, but should come event 

P E M s . 95 

here a-. ] c! ink from the same well of knowledge out of which 
I draw d y. But I can continue to pray for you. I was ac- 
custamed to pray that the Lord would convert your soul, and 
your mother's and Aunt Lucy Jane's, and you have all been 
converted. In a like manner will He again hear my prayer, 
and provide a manner by which you may be educated, if He 
so wills it. You well know how I have worked to enjoy the 
advantages of education, but on account of being near sighted 
(and it was supposed I could not study) I was rejected even 
by Christian teachers, and particularly by one Christian insti- 
tution ; and when all had forsaken me the Lord took me up 
from a state of degradation and ignorance and placed me even 
here through the great Reform Church of America. But 
first Dr. Turner, who died with one hand upon the lever 
which helps to move the great educational machinery of this 
country— and particularly among our race — and the other 
setting forth truths of the Bible in their purity, opened the 
door of his institution for me, and I entered there, and would 
have gone to school there, but I found it much to my advan- 
tage to come to Howard University. In conclusion allow me 
to say, that I first put my trust in man because he would talk 
very pleasantly to me, pat me on the back, and say in an in- 
direct manner, '-Depart, and be ye educated; a young man 
like you is worthy of an education." My experience has 
taught me this lesson, that it is better to trust in God than in 
the promises of mankind, though some men are really instru- 
ments for good in His hands, all along the winding ways of 
life, to point us to a higher station than that in which we are 
placed, even by circumstances. 

When I was about giving up all hopes of getting an educa- 
tion I visited President Grant, and after talking to him awhile 
I pulled out a copy of a little poem which I composed, which 
I presented to him on bidding him good bye. He gave me a 
warm shake of that heroic hand which so materially aided in 
emancipating four millions of slaves, crushing the rebellion, 
and is now so successfully binding the heart of every Ameri- 
can to hh country's cause, and said, " Never pause until you 
become educated. "' Such words, coming from such a source, 
to an uncultivated mind, indeed left impressions that time only 
can efface. But after all I found it was better to trust in God 
and my elf, for there are things which man cannot help us to 
do, neitLur can we ask him. 

96 walden's pqems, 

I have written a long letter to you that I might tell you of 
a Friend to whom you can make all your necessities known ; 
for you will find that there are very dark times in life, and 
what I have said is true ; and when you shall have experi- 
enced the truthfulness of it you will exclaim — 

|e truly need a friend below, 
* Who may our wants and troubles know ; 
SB! There 7 re always times when sorrows press: 
How dear a friend amid distress. 

The Lord to us a friend will be, 
Even to all eternity, 
If we within his love confide, 
And haven near his bleeding side. 

What peace, what joy and delight, 
How angels guard my soul by night, 
How happy must my station be 
When Christ the Lord remembers me. 

This life within its brightest ray, 
An emblem of an endless day ; 
Should I not count each moment dross, 
When I behold my Saviour's cross? 

Then help me, Lord, my cross to take ; 
And all my sinful ways forsake. 
That when I shall be called to die, 
On wings of love to thee I '11 fly. 

I remain your affectionate uncle,