This Day in History – June 27th, 1872

Paul Laurence Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872 in Dayton, Ohio on Howard Street. His parents were former slaves who escaped from Kentucky, then met in Dayton after the war. He published his first works in 1892 while working as an elevator operator. Overall, Dunbar wrote twelve books of poetry, four books of short stories, five novels, and a play before his death in 1906.

My lady love lives far away,
And oh my heart is sad by day,
And ah my tears fall fast by night,
What may I do in such a plight.

Why, miles grow few when love is fleet,
And love, you know, hath flying feet;
Break off thy sighs and witness this,
How poor a thing mere distance is.

My love knows not I love her so,
And would she scorn me, did she know?
How may the tale I would impart
Attract her ear and storm her heart?

Calm thou the tempest in my breast,
Who loves in silence loves the best,
But bide thy time, she will awake,
No night so dark but morn will break.

But though my heart so strongly yearn,
My lady loves me not in turn,
How may I win the blest reply
That my void heart shall satisfy.

Love breedeth love, be thou but true,
And soon thy love shall love thee, too;
If Fate hath meant you heart for heart,
There’s naught may keep you twain apart.

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