THE LITTLE BLACK BOY
My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but oh my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black, as if bereaved of light.
My mother taught me underneath a tree,
And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And, pointed to the east, began to say:
‘‘Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
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‘‘For when our souls have learn’d the heat to bear,
The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice,
Saying, ’Come out from the grove, my love and care
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice’,’’
Thus did my mother say, and kissed me;
And thus I say to little English boy.
When I from black and he from white cloud free,
And round the tent of God like lambs we joy
I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear
To lean in joy upon our Father’s knee;
And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
And be like him, and he will then love me.
THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER
A little black thing in the snow,
Crying ‘‘weep! weep!’’ in notes of woe!
‘‘Where are thy father and mother? Say!’’—
‘‘They are both gone up to the church to pray.
‘‘Because I was happy upon the heath,
And smiled among the winter’s snow,
They clothed me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe.
‘‘And because I am happy and dance and sing,
They think they have done me no injury,
And are gone to praise God and his priest and king,
Who make up a heaven of our misery.’’