To Dr. James Newton Matthews.

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by Paul Laurence Dunbar

All round about, the clouds encompassed me;
On every side I looked, my weary sight
Was met by terrors of Plutonian night;
And chilling surges of a cruel sea
That beat against my stronghold ceaselessly,
Roared rude derision at my hapless plight;
And hope, which I had thought to hold so tight,
Slipped from my weak'ning grasp and floated free.

But when I thought to flee the unequal strife,
As wearied out I could not bear it more,
Fate gave the choicest gem of all her store, --
And noble Matthews came into my life.
He warmed my being like a virile flame,
And with his coming, light and courage came!

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