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!