424 AFRO-AMERICAN POETS AND THEIR VERSE
Harmonic lays the feathered race resume,
Dart the bright eye and shake the painted plume,
Ye shady groves, your verdant glooms display
To shield your poet from the burning day.
Calliope, awake the sacred lyre,
While the fair sisters fan the pleasing fire.
The bowers, the gales. the variegated skies,
In all their pleasures in my bosom rise,
Seen is the illustrious King of day!
His rising radiance drives the shades away;
But oh, I feel his fevered beams too strong,
And scarce begun, concludes the abortive song."
Unfortunate in her marriage, Phillis died while in
the bloom of life, and now lies at rest in some unknown
New England grave.
But ah! thy memory still is green,
And poets will rejoice because of thee;
And thou wilt help them tune their harps
To sweeter strains of minstrelsy.
After a long interval, a Maryland poet, Francis Ellen
Watkins, now F. E. W. Harper, comes upon the scene.
Mrs. Harper has written many beautiful poems, some
of which have been purchased by reputable Anglo-
Saxon magazines. One of Mrs. Harper's best poems,
"The Black Hero," appeared in the A. M E. Review" a
few years ago. As might be expected, a number of this
poet's verses have been inspired by slavery and the pecu-
liar environments of her people since their emancipat-
tion. An instance is one of her earliest poems, "Ellen
Harris," containing the lines:
Like a fawn from the arrow. startled and wild,
A woman swept by me, bearing a child:
In here eye was the night of a settled despair,
And her brow was overshadowed with anguish and care,
But she's free- yes, tree from the land where the slave
From the hand of oppression must rest in the grave,
Where bondage and torture, where scourges and chains,
Have placed on our banner indelible stains.