The Conquerors

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The Conquerors
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In the 1913 collection of his work, The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar

                         THE CONQUERORS

                    THE BLACK TROOPS IN CUBA

Round the wide earth, from the red field your valour has won,
Blown with the breath of the far-speaking gun,
          Goes the word.
Bravely you spoke through the battle cloud heavy and dun.
Tossed though the speech toward the mist-hidden sun,
          The world heard.

Hell would have shrunk from you seeking it fresh from the fray,
Grim with the dust of the battle, and gray
          From the fight.
Heaven would have crowned you, with crowns not of gold but of bay,
Owning you fit for the light of her day,
          Men of night.

Far through the cycle of years and of lives that shall come,
There shall speak voices long muffled and dumb,
          Out of fear.
And through the noises of trade and the turbulent hum,
Truth shall rise over the militant drum,
          Loud and clear.

Then on the cheek of the honester nation that grows,
All for their love of you, not for your woes,
          There shall lie
Tears that shall be to your souls as the dew to the rose;
Afterward thanks, that the present yet knows
          Not to ply!

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.