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Berea College Special Collections and Archives

Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow


In 1905 Dodd, Mead and Company published a third volume of Dunbar poetry in the "Lyrics of" series. Like the previous two titles, Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow contained a mixture of both mainstream and dialect poems, some new and some old. 

To access a 1909 printing of this work in the Special Collections and Archives reading room, request Curio 821 D889Lys.

An online version is available through this Google Books link.

From Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow

Note: Paul Laurence Dunbar married poet and journalist Alice Ruth Moore in 1898. The marriage was troubled from the start. A brief separation in 1900 was followed by a complete separation in 1902 due to Dunbar's worsening alcoholism and domestic violence. The poem "Parted" may have been inspired by the functional end of his marriage and contains elements of both sunshine (humor) and shadow (sadness).


She wrapped her soul in a lace of lies,
With a prime deceit to pin it;
And I thought I was gaining a fearsome prize,
So I staked my soul to win it.

We wed and parted on her complaint,
And both were a bit of barter,
Tho' I'll confess that I'm no saint,
I'll swear that she's no martyr.

Paul Laurence Dunbar. Public Domain.