The Gourd

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


        THE GOURD

In the heavy earth the miner
  Toiled and laboured day by day,
Wrenching from the miser mountain
  Brilliant treasure where it lay.
And the artist worn and weary
  Wrought with labour manifold
That the king might drink his nectar
  From a goblet made of gold.

On the prince's groaning table
  Mid the silver gleaming bright
Mirroring the happy faces
  Giving back the flaming light,
Shine the cups of priceless crystal
  Chased with many a lovely line,
Glowing now with warmer colour,
  Crimsoned by the ruby wine.

In a valley sweet with sunlight,
  Fertile with the dew and rain,
Without miner's daily labour,
  Without artist's nightly pain,
There there grows the cup I drink from,
  Summer's sweetness in it stored,
And my lips pronounce a blessing
  As they touch an old brown gourd.

Why, the miracle at Cana
  In the land of Galilee,
Tho' it puzzles all the scholars,
  Is no longer strange to me.
For the poorest and the humblest
  Could a priceless wine afford,
If they 'd only dip up water
  With a sunlight-seasoned gourd.

So a health to my old comrade,
  And a song of praise to sing
When he rests inviting kisses
  In his place beside the spring.
Give the king his golden goblets,
  Give the prince his crystal hoard;
But for me the sparkling water
  From a brown and brimming gourd!

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