Famous Sad Poem

In the poem "The Lesson" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, the speaker reflects on his own sadness and loneliness as he sits by his window, listening to the passionate song of a mockingbird in the cypress grove. The poet uses imagery to convey the deep emotions, describing his life as a "cold winter that knew no spring" and his mind as "weary and sick and wild." However, as he listens to the bird's song, a transformative thought enters his heart, inspiring him to use his own art to bring comfort to others. The poet employs metaphor, comparing the songs that emerge from the darkness of hearts to the joyous songs of the mockingbird in the cypress grove. Through his simple art of singing a lay, the speaker finds solace and realizes the power of comforting others to heal his own wounds

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Famous Poem

The Lesson

Paul Laurence Dunbar By more Paul Laurence Dunbar

My cot was down by a cypress grove,
And I sat by my window the whole night long,
And heard well up from the deep dark wood
A mocking-bird's passionate song.

And I thought of myself so sad and lone,
And my life's cold winter that knew no spring;
Of my mind so weary and sick and wild,
Of my heart too sad to sing.

But e'en as I listened the mock-bird's song,
A thought stole into my saddened heart,
And I said, "I can cheer some other soul
By a carol's simple art."

For oft from the darkness of hearts and lives
Come songs that brim with joy and light,
As out of the gloom of the cypress grove
The mocking-bird sings at night.

So I sang a lay for a brother's ear
In a strain to soothe his bleeding heart,
And he smiled at the sound of my voice and lyre,
Though mine was a feeble art.

But at his smile I smiled in turn,
And into my soul there came a ray:
In trying to soothe another's woes
Mine own had passed away.


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