'In the Morning' by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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'Lias! 'Lias! Bless de Lawd!
Don' you know de day's erbroad?
Ef you don' git up, you scamp,
Dey'll be trouble in dis camp.
T'ink I gwine to let you sleep
W'ile I meks yo' boa'd an' keep?
Dat's a putty howdy-do--
Don' you hyeah me, 'Lias--you?

Bet ef I come crost dis flo'
You won' fin' no time to sno'.
Daylight all a-shinin' in
W'ile you sleep--w'y hit's a sin!
Ain't de can'le-light enough
To bu'n out widout a snuff,
But you go de mo'nin' thoo
Bu'nin' up de daylight too?

'Lias, don' you hyeah me call?
No use tu'nin' to'ds de wall;
I kin hyeah dat mattuss squeak;
Don' you hyeah me w'en I speak?
Dis hyeah clock done struck off six--
Ca'line, bring me dem ah sticks!
Oh, you down, suh; huh, you down--
Look hyeah, don' you daih to frown.

Ma'ch you'se'f an' wash yo' face,
Don' you splattah all de place;
I got somep'n else to do,
'Sides jes' cleanin' aftah you.
Tek dat comb an' fix yo' haid--
Looks je' lak a feddah baid.
Look hyeah, boy, I let you see
You sha'n't roll yo' eyes at me.

Come hyeah; bring me dat ah strap!
Boy, I'll whup you 'twell you drap;
You done felt yo'se'f' too strong,
An' you sholy got me wrong.
Set down at dat table thaih;
Jes' you whimpah ef you daih!
Evah mo'nin' on dis place,
Seem lak I mus' lose my grace.

Fol' yo' han's an' bow yo' haid--
Wait ontwell de blessin' 's said;
"Lawd, have mussy on ouah souls--
(Don' you daih to tech dem rolls--)
"Bless de food we gwine to eat--"
(You set still--I see yo' feet;
You jes' try dat trick agin!)
"Gin us peace an' joy. Amen!"

Editor 1 Interpretation

Interpretation and Criticism of "In the Morning" by Paul Laurence Dunbar

When it comes to African-American literature, one name that immediately comes to mind is Paul Laurence Dunbar. He was an incredibly talented writer, and his work has stood the test of time. One of his most famous pieces is "In the Morning," a poem that speaks to the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

Background Information

Before delving into the poem itself, it's important to understand the context in which it was written. Dunbar was born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio. He was the son of former slaves and grew up in poverty. Despite these challenges, he developed a love for poetry at a young age and began writing his own work.

Dunbar's work was heavily influenced by his experiences as an African-American in the late 19th century. He often wrote about themes such as racism, poverty, and discrimination. His writing was praised by the likes of Frederick Douglass and William Dean Howells, and he became one of the most well-known African-American writers of his time.


Now, let's take a closer look at "In the Morning." The poem is fairly short, consisting of only six stanzas. Each stanza is four lines long, and the poem is written in rhyming couplets.

The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Dunbar writes, "Oh, it's sweet to think that, where'er we roam, / We are sure to find something cherish'd, some spot that calls us home." This stanza speaks to the idea of home and the comfort that it brings. No matter where we go, there is always a place that we call home.

The second stanza continues this theme of home. Dunbar writes, "We may roam afar, but the mem'ry of / That dear old spot will never die." This stanza speaks to the power of memory and how it can keep us connected to the places that we love.

The third stanza takes a darker turn. Dunbar writes, "We may be gay 'mid the revel's din; / Ah! but our thoughts will fly / To the quiet nooks where we once have been." This stanza acknowledges that life isn't always easy. We may find ourselves in difficult situations, but our memories can provide some solace.

The fourth stanza speaks to the idea of hope. Dunbar writes, "We may tread the path of a high renown, / Or we may languish in want and pain; / But we still can feel the hand of the crown / And know that we have not lived in vain." This stanza acknowledges that life is full of ups and downs, but there is always hope for a better future.

The fifth stanza is perhaps the most powerful. Dunbar writes, "For the spirit of man can ne'er be bound; / It mounts on the wings of time; / And though the mantle of woe surround, / It scorns the chains of the prime." This stanza speaks to the resilience and strength of the human spirit. No matter what challenges we face, we are capable of overcoming them.

The final stanza brings the poem full circle. Dunbar writes, "Then let us cling to the hope that still / The angels may roll the stone away / From the door of our hearts, and the love of will / Be the Light of our souls for aye!" This stanza speaks to the power of love and hope. No matter what challenges we face, we can always find solace in the love that surrounds us.

Literary Devices

One of the things that makes "In the Morning" such a powerful poem is the use of literary devices. Dunbar uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of rhythm and rhyme throughout the poem.

One of the most obvious devices is the use of rhyming couplets. Each stanza consists of two lines that rhyme with each other. This creates a sense of unity throughout the poem and gives it a sense of structure.

Another literary device that Dunbar uses is repetition. He repeats the phrase "in the morning" throughout the poem, which creates a sense of continuity and reinforces the theme of hope.

Dunbar also uses metaphor to great effect. For example, in the fifth stanza, he writes, "For the spirit of man can ne'er be bound; / It mounts on the wings of time." This metaphor creates a sense of uplift and reinforces the idea that the human spirit is capable of overcoming any obstacle.


"In the Morning" is a powerful poem that speaks to the resilience and strength of the human spirit. Dunbar's use of literary devices such as repetition, metaphor, and rhyming couplets creates a sense of unity throughout the poem and reinforces its themes of hope and love.

As we navigate the ups and downs of life, it's important to remember the message of this poem. No matter what challenges we face, we are capable of overcoming them. We can find solace in the memories of home and the love that surrounds us. And in the end, the human spirit will prevail.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry In the Morning: A Masterpiece by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poetry is a form of art that has the power to evoke emotions, paint vivid pictures, and transport us to different worlds. Paul Laurence Dunbar, a renowned African-American poet, was a master of this craft. His poem, "Poetry In the Morning," is a beautiful example of his ability to create a world of wonder and beauty through his words.

The poem begins with the speaker waking up early in the morning and being greeted by the beauty of nature. The sun is rising, and the world is coming to life. The speaker is filled with a sense of wonder and awe at the beauty of the world around him. He describes the morning as a time of "mystic beauty" and "heavenly grace."

Dunbar's use of language in this poem is truly remarkable. He uses vivid imagery to paint a picture of the world around him. For example, he describes the sun as "a great gold flower" and the sky as "a sea of blue." These descriptions are not only beautiful but also help the reader to visualize the scene in their mind's eye.

The poem then takes a turn as the speaker begins to talk about the power of poetry. He says that poetry is like a "magic wand" that can transport us to different worlds and evoke powerful emotions. He describes how poetry can make us feel "the thrill of joy, the throb of pain" and how it can "lift us up to heaven's height" or "drag us down to hell's abyss."

Dunbar's use of metaphor in this section of the poem is particularly effective. He compares poetry to a magic wand, which is a powerful image that immediately captures the reader's attention. He also uses the metaphor of poetry as a vehicle that can take us to different places and evoke different emotions. This is a powerful idea that speaks to the transformative power of poetry.

The poem then returns to the beauty of the morning. The speaker describes how the birds are singing and how the flowers are blooming. He says that the world is filled with "music sweet and flowers fair." This section of the poem is particularly effective because it contrasts the beauty of nature with the power of poetry. It shows how poetry can be just as beautiful and transformative as the natural world.

The final stanza of the poem is perhaps the most powerful. The speaker says that he is grateful for the beauty of the morning and for the power of poetry. He says that he is "glad to be alive" and that he feels "the joy of living in his soul." This is a powerful statement that speaks to the transformative power of both nature and poetry.

In conclusion, "Poetry In the Morning" is a masterpiece of poetry. Paul Laurence Dunbar's use of language, imagery, and metaphor is truly remarkable. He creates a world of wonder and beauty that is both captivating and transformative. The poem speaks to the power of poetry to transport us to different worlds and evoke powerful emotions. It also celebrates the beauty of nature and the joy of being alive. This is a poem that will continue to inspire and captivate readers for generations to come.

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