The End Of The Chapter

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The End Of The Chapter
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In the 1913 collection of his work, The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar


      THE END OF THE CHAPTER

Ah, yes, the chapter ends to-day;
We even lay the book away;
But oh, how sweet the moments sped
Before the final page was read!

We tried to read between the lines
The Author's deep-concealed designs;
But scant reward such search secures;
You saw my heart and I saw yours.

The Master,—He who penned the page
And bade us read it,—He is sage:
And what he orders, you and I
Can but obey, nor question why.

We read together and forgot
The world about us. Time was not.
Unheeded and unfelt, it fled.
We read and hardly knew we read.

Until beneath a sadder sun,
We came to know the book was done.
Then, as our minds were but new lit,
It dawned upon us what was writ;

And we were startled. In our eyes,
Looked forth the light of great surprise.
Then as a deep-toned tocsin tolls,
A voice spoke forth: "Behold your souls!"

I do, I do. I cannot look
Into your eyes: so close the book.
But brought it grief or brought it bliss,
No other page shall read like this!

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