The Sum – Paul Laurence Dunbar

A little dreaming by the way,
A little toiling day by day;
A little pain, a little strife,
A little joy,–and that is life.

A little short-lived summer’s morn,
When joy seems all so newly born,
When one day’s sky is blue above,
And one bird sings,–and that is love.

A little sickening of the years,
The tribute of a few hot tears
Two folded hands, the failing breath,
And peace at last,–and that is death.

Just dreaming, loving, dying so,
The actors in the drama go–
A flitting picture on a wall,
Love, Death, the themes; but is that all? 

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The Sparrow – Paul Laurence Dunbar

A LITTLE bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Then taps upon my window-pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.

So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window-sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone. 

Song Ii – Thomas Parnell

When thy Beauty appears
In its Graces and Airs,
All bright as an Angel new dropt from the Sky;
At distance I gaze, and am aw’d by my Fears,
So strangely you dazzle my Eye!
But when without Art,
Your kind Thoughts you impart,
When your Love runs in Blushes thro’ ev’ry Vein;
When it darts from your Eyes, when it pants in your Heart,
Then I know you’re a Woman again.
There’s a Passion and Pride
In our Sex, (she reply’d,)
And thus (might I gratify both) I wou’d do:
Still an Angel appear to each Lover beside,
But still be a Woman to you. 

On Content – Thomas Parnell

Grant heav’n that I may chuse my bliss
If you design me worldly Happiness
Tis not Honour thats but air
Glory has but fancied light
Fame as oft speak’s false as right 
Riches have wings & ever dwell with care
Give me an undistemperd mind
As ye third region undisturbd by wind
Content from passions ever free
to rule ones selfs indeed a monarchy
this I request of thee

Tho all we see are fortunes apes
& change as oft as she their shapes
Tho my kinder fortune leave me
Tho my dearest friends deceive me
I in this universall tide
firm on heav’ns mercy would abide
& ‘mongst ye giddy waves securely ride
Tho they should die
Who never did my love abuse
Perhaps in tears I would my passion vent
But straight again I’de be content
Remembring ’twas th’ almighty’s deed tho I
should my best relations loose
Ide sighing cry Heav’ns will be done
It did but lend them now it has its own.
Fortune should never be
Adored as a deity by me
She onely makes them fooles who make her great
But still content on earth intent on heav’n I’de be
an equall temper keep in ev’ry state
nor Care nor fear my destiny
Death when most dreadfull should not fright
Wn ere he comes Ide patiently submitt
Content thus in my soul should build its halcyons nest
As did thy spirit on ye waters rest
& keep an everlasting calm with in my breast. 

The Convert’s Love – Thomas Parnell

Blessed Light of saints on high
Who fill the mansions of the sky,
Sure defence, whose mercy still
Preserves thy subjects here from ill,
O my Jesus! make me know
How to pay the thanks I owe.

As the fond sheep that id’ly strays
With wanton play thro’ winding ways,
Which never hits the road of home,
O’er Wilds of danger learns to roam,
‘Till weari’d out with idle fear
And passing there and turning here,
He will for rest to covert run
And meet the wolf he wish’d to shun;
Thus wretched I, thro’ wanton will
Run blind and headlong on in ill:
‘Twas thus from sin to sin I flew
And thus I might have perish’d too;
But mercy dropt the likeness here
And shew’d and sav’d me from my fear;
While o’er the darkness of my mind
The sacred spirit purely shin’d,
And mark’d and bright’ned all the way
Which leads to everlasting day,
And broke the thick’ning clouds of sin
And fix’d the light of love within.

From hence my ravish’d soul aspires
And dates the rise of its desires.
From hence to thee my God! I turn,
And fervent wishes say I burn,
I burn thy glorious face to see
And live in endless joy with thee.

There’s no such ardent kind of flame
Between the lover and the dame,
Nor such affection parents bear
To their young and only heir, 
Tho’ join’d together both conspire
And boast a doubled force of fire.
My tender heart within its seat
Dissolves before the scorching heat,
As soft’ning wax is taught to run
Before the warmness of the sun.

O my flame my pleasing pain
Burn and purify my stain,
Warm me, burn me, day by day
‘Till you purge my earth away,
‘Till at the last I throughly shine
And turn a torch of love divine. 

A Riddle – Thomas Parnell

Upon a Bed of humble clay
In all her Garments loose
A Prostitute my Mother lay
To ev’ry Comer’s use.
‘Till one Gallant in heat of love
His Own Peculiar made her
And to a Region far above
And softer Beds convey’d her.
But in his Absence, to his Place
His rougher Rival came
And with a cold constrain’d Embrace
Begat me on the Dame.
I then appear’d to Publick View
A Creature wondrous bright
But shortly perishable too
Inconstant, nice and light.
On Feathers not together fast
I wildly flew about
And from my Father’s country past
To find my Mother out.
Where her Gallant of her beguil’d
With me enamour’d grew
And I that was my Mother’s Child
Brought forth my Mother too. 

Love In Disguise – Thomas Parnell

To stifle Passion is no easy Thing,
A Heart in Love is always on the Wing;
The bold Betrayer flutters still,
And fans the Breath prepar’d to tell:
It melts the Tongue, and tunes the Throat,
And moves the Lips to form the Note;
And when the Speech is lost,
It then sends out its Ghost,
A little Sigh,
To say we dye.
‘Tis strange the Air that Cools, a Flame shou’d prove,
But wonder not, it is the Air of Love. 
Yet Chloris I can make my Love look well,
And cover bleeding Wounds I can’t conceal,
My Words such artful Accents break,
You think I rather act than speak:
My Sighs enliven’d thro’ a Smile,
Your unsuspecting Thoughts beguile;
My Eyes are vary’d so,
You can’t their Wishes know:
And I’m so gay,
You think I play.
Happy Contrivance! such as can’t be priz’d,
To Live in Love, and yet to Live disguis’d.