Let the Light Enter

By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 1825–1911

    The Dying Words of Goethe

“Light! more light! the shadows deepen,
        And my life is ebbing low,
Throw the windows widely open:
        Light! more light! before I go.
 
“Softly let the balmy sunshine
        Play around my dying bed,
E’er the dimly lighted valley
        I with lonely feet must tread.
 
“Light! more light! for Death is weaving
        Shadows ‘round my waning sight,
And I fain would gaze upon him
        Through a stream of earthly light.”
 
Not for greater gifts of genius;
        Not for thoughts more grandly bright,
All the dying poet whispers
        Is a prayer for light, more light.
 
Heeds he not the gathered laurels,
        Fading slowly from his sight;
All the poet’s aspirations
        Centre in that prayer for light.
 
Gracious Saviour, when life’s day-dreams
        Melt and vanish from the sight,
May our dim and longing vision
        Then be blessed with light, more light.

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Poet Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 1825–1911

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Religion, Faith & Doubt, God & the Divine, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Biography

Born in Baltimore, poet, fiction writer, journalist, and activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was the only child of free African American parents. She was raised by her aunt and uncle after her mother died when Frances was three years old. She attended the Academy for Negro Youth, a school run by her uncle, until the age of 13, and then found domestic work in a Quaker household, where she had access to a wide range of . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Religion, Faith & Doubt, God & the Divine, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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