Common Things

Paul Laurence Dunbar 1872 (Dayton) – 1906



I like to hear of wealth and gold,
And El Doradoes in their glory;
I like for silks and satins bold
To sweep and rustle through a story.

The nightingale is sweet of song;
The rare exotic smells divinely;
And knightly men who stride along,
The role heroic carry finely.

But then, upon the other hand,
Our minds have got a way of running
To things that aren't quite so grand,
Which, maybe, we are best in shunning.

For some of us still like to see
The poor man in his dwelling narrow,
The hollyhock, the bumblebee,
The meadow lark, and chirping sparrow.

We like the man who soars and sings
With high and lofty inspiration;
But he who sings of common things
Shall always share our admiration.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

39 sec read
139

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABAB CBCB DEDE BFXF GHGH
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 693
Words 130
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a seminal American poet of the late 19th and early 20th centuries Dunbar gained national recognition for his 1896 Lyrics of a Lowly Life one poem in the collection being Ode to Ethiopia more…

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