426 AFRO-AMERICAN POETS AND THEIR VERSE
short poems in the English language.
Mrs. Grimke comes nearer the ideal of a universal
poet than any the race has produced. Her verses appeal
to all classes and races. It is to be hoped that in the
near future she will give to the world a volume of the
poems that have endeared her to lovers of verse all over
Paul Lawrence Dunbar made his debut into, the liter-
ary world a few years ago with his modest little volume
of verse styled "The Ivy Leaf." His poems touched a
responsive chord in the hearts of his Afro-American read-
ers, and were read in various lyceums, the writer hav-
ing upon one occasion made use of that gem of Negro
dialect, "When de co'n po'n's hot." It was not lack of
appreciation on the part of his race, but rather a lack of
means, that kept them from giving the poet the encour-
agement that was due him.
Mr. Howells, did a commendable thing in introducing
Dunbar to the literary world. "Full many a gem of
purest ray serene," may be found hidden in the race
Dunbar represents if some great man will but bring,
them to light.
I was well pleased to find Dunbar's latest volume of
poems, "Lyrics of Lowly Life," in the public library of
Keokuk. The dialect poem entitled "De Pahty," where
the hungry parson, "one eye shet an' one eye open,"
after a hasty blessing, "Lawd, we tank you fo' sich gen-
erous hearts as dese; make us truly thankful, Amen !"
Says, "Pass dat possum ef yo' please;" and the "Ode to
Ethiopia," are among the best of the collection. Hith-
erto, Mr. Dunbar has done his best work in his humor-
ous dialect verse, but, in the future, to use the words of
Prof. H. T. Kealing in a critical review of Dunbar's