Josephine Delphine Henderson Heard (1861-1921)
“The Advance of Education”
What means this host advancing,
With such melodious strain:
These men on steeds a prancing,
This mighty marshaled train.
They come while drum and fife resound,
And steeds with foam aflecked,
Whose restless feet do spurn the ground,
Their riders gaily decked.
With banners proudly waving,
Fearless in Freedom’s land,
All opposition braving,
With courage bold they stand.
Come join the raging battle,
Come join the glorious fray;
Come spite of bullets’ rattle,
This is enlistment day.
Hark ! hear the Proclamation
Extend o’er all the land;
Come every Tribe and Nation
Join education’s band.
Now the command is given–
Strike ! strike grim ignorance low;
Strike till her power is given;
Strike a decisive blow.
. . .
“Sunshine after Cloud”
Come, “Will,” let’s be good friends again,
Our wrongs let’s be forgetting,
For words bring only useless pain,
So wherefore then be fretting.
Let’s lay aside imagined wrongs,
And ne’er give way to grieving,
Life should be filled with joyous songs,
No time left for deceiving.
I’ll try and not give way to wrath,
Nor be so often crying;
There must some thorns be in our path,
Let’s move them now by trying.
How, like a foolish pair were we,
To fume about a letter;
Time is so precious, you and me;
Must spend ours doing better.
Perchance, the friend who cheered thy early years,
Has yielded to the tempter’s power;
Yet, why shrink back and draw away thy skirt,
As though her very touch would do thee hurt?
Wilt thou prove stronger in temptation’s hour?
Perchance, the one thou trusteth more than life,
Has broken love’s most sacred vow;
Yet judge him not–the victor in life’s strife,
Is he who beareth best the burden of life,
And leaveth God to judge, nor questions how.
Sing the great song of love to all, and not
The wailing anthems of thy woes;
So live thy life that thou may’st never feel
Afraid to say, as at His throne you kneel,
“Forgive me God, as I forgive my foes!”
. . .
Source for the above poems: the online archives of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Harlem, New York City)
Photographs: An unknown Beauty in her finery, perhaps around 1910? / A portrait of, possibly, one Clifford L. Miller, first decade of the 20th century?
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