On The Death Of W. C.

Thou arrant robber, Death!
Couldst thou not find
Some lesser one than he
To rob of breath,--
Some poorer mind
Thy prey to be?

His mind was like the sky,--
As pure and free;
His heart was broad and open
As the sea.
His soul shone purely through his face,
And Love made him her dwelling place.

Not less the scholar than the friend,
Not less a friend than man;
The manly life did shorter end
Because so broad it ran.

Weep not for him, unhappy Muse!
His merits found a grander use
Some other-where. God wisely sees
The place that needs his qualities.
Weep not for him, for when Death lowers
O'er youth's ambrosia-scented bowers
He only plucks the choicest flowers.

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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