Vox Populi

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Paul Laurence Dunbar: Religion

I am no priest of crooks nor creeds,
For human wants and human needs
Are more to me than prophets’ deeds;
And human tears and human cares
Affect me more than human prayers.


Go, cease your wail, lugubrious saint!
You fret high Heaven with your plaint.
Is this the “Christian’s joy” you paint?
Is this the Christian’s boasted bliss?
Avails your faith no more than this?


Take up your arms, come out with me,
Let Heav’n alone; humanity
Needs more and Heaven less from thee.
With pity for mankind look ’round;
Help them to rise—and Heaven is found.

Public Domain

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906) was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Dayton, Ohio, to parents who had been enslaved in Kentucky before the American Civil War, Dunbar began writing stories and verse when he was a child. He published his first poems at the age of 16 in a Dayton newspaper, and served as president of his high school’s literary society. Dunbar’s popularity increased rapidly after his work was praised by William Dean Howells, a leading editor associated with Harper’s Weekly. Dunbar became one of the first African-American writers to establish an international reputation. In addition to his poems, short stories, and novels, he also wrote the lyrics for the musical comedy In Dahomey (1903), the first all-African-American musical produced on Broadway in New York. The musical later toured in the United States and the United Kingdom. Suffering from tuberculosis, which then had no cure, Dunbar died in Dayton, Ohio, at the age of 33.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

8 comments on “Paul Laurence Dunbar: Religion

  1. Sean Sexton
    February 11, 2023

    So glad to learn of this Beatitudinous soul rendered out of obscurity by your curation.
    Thankyou Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      February 11, 2023

      Thanks, Sean. I’m glad to see that Dunbar’s work is being discovered by a new generation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loranneke
    February 3, 2023



  3. J. Zheng
    February 3, 2023

    Still a significant and insightful voice in the 21st century.


  4. Saleh Razzouk
    February 3, 2023

    Good to celebrate the memory of Dunbar.
    He shows how far we went after those bleak days of human pains. I can recover him in many white Soth African writers like Nadine Gordimer and Coetzee. It is a political moment
    I think not a biological meaning it is not permanent and one can overtake and eliminate.


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This entry was posted on February 3, 2023 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice, spirituality and tagged , , , .

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