Fifty years Other Poems

James Weldon Johnson
A free download from www.dertz.in
Project Gutenberg's Fifty years & Other Poems, by James Weldon Johnson
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: Fifty years & Other Poems
Author: James Weldon Johnson
Commentator: Brander Matthews
Release Date: March 1, 2006 [EBook #17884]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
? START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FIFTY YEARS & OTHER POEMS ***
Produced by Suzanne Shell, Sankar Viswanathan, and the?Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
FIFTY YEARS & OTHER POEMS
BY
JAMES WELDON JOHNSON
AUTHOR OF
"THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EX-COLORED MAN," ETC.
With an Introduction by
BRANDER MATTHEWS
THE CORNHILL COMPANY
BOSTON
1917
To
G. N. F.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
For permission to reprint certain poems in this book thanks are due to the editors and proprietors of the Century Magazine, the?Independent_, _The Crisis_, _The New York Times, and the following copyright holders, G. Ricordi and Company, G. Schirmer and Company, and Joseph W. Stern and Company.
CONTENTS
Fifty Years
To America
O Black and Unknown Bards
O Southland
To Horace Bumstead
The Color Sergeant
The Black Mammy
Father, Father Abraham
Brothers
Fragment
The White Witch
Mother Night
The Young Warrior
The Glory of the Day Was in Her Face
From the Spanish of PlĘócido
From the Spanish
From the German of Uhland
Before a Painting
I Hear the Stars Still Singing
Girl of Fifteen
The Suicide
Down by the Carib Sea?I. Sunrise in the Tropics?II. Los Cigarillos?III. Teestay?IV. The Lottery Girl?V. The Dancing Girl?VI. Sunset in the Tropics
The Greatest of These Is War
A Mid-Day Dreamer
The Temptress
Ghosts of the Old Year
The Ghost of Deacon Brown
Lazy
Omar
Deep in the Quiet Wood
Voluptas
The Word of an Engineer
Life
Sleep
Prayer at Sunrise
The Gift to Sing
Morning, Noon and Night
Her Eyes Twin Pools
The Awakening
Beauty That Is Never Old
Venus in a Garden
Vashti
The Reward
JINGLES & CROONS
Sence You Went Away
Ma Lady's Lips Am Like de Honey
Tunk
Nobody's Lookin' but de Owl an' de Moon
You's Sweet to Yo' Mammy Jes de Same
A Plantation Bacchanal
July in Georgy
A Banjo Song
Answer to Prayer
Dat Gal o' Mine
The Seasons
'Possum Song
Brer Rabbit, You'se de Cutes' of 'Em All
An Explanation
De Little Pickaninny's Gone to Sleep
The Rivals
INTRODUCTION
Of the hundred millions who make up the population of the United States ten millions come from a stock ethnically alien to the other ninety millions. They are not descended from ancestors who came here voluntarily, in the spirit of adventure to better themselves or in the spirit of devotion to make sure of freedom to worship God in their own way. They are the grandchildren of men and women brought here against their wills to serve as slaves. It is only half-a-century since they received their freedom and since they were at last permitted to own themselves. They are now American citizens, with the rights and the duties of other American citizens; and they know no language, no literature and no law other than those of their fellow citizens of Anglo-Saxon ancestry.
When we take stock of ourselves these ten millions cannot be left out of account. Yet they are not as we are; they stand apart, more or less; they have their own distinct characteristics. It behooves us to understand them as best we can and to discover what manner of people they are. And we are justified in inquiring how far they have revealed themselves, their racial characteristics, their abiding traits, their longing aspirations,--how far have they disclosed these in one or another of the several arts. They have had their poets, their painters, their composers, and yet most of these have ignored their racial opportunity and have worked in imitation and in emulation of their white predecessors and contemporaries, content to handle again the traditional themes. The most important and the most significant contributions they have made to art are in music,--first in the plaintive beauty of the so-called "Negro spirituals"--and, secondly, in the syncopated melody of so-called "ragtime" which has now taken the whole world captive.
In poetry, especially in the lyric, wherein the soul is free to find full expression for its innermost emotions, their attempts have been, for the most part, divisible into two classes. In the first of these may be grouped the verses in which the lyrist put forth sentiments common to all mankind and in no wise specifically those of his own race; and from the days of Phyllis Wheatley to the present the most of
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 19
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.