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James Weldon Johnson (Джеймс Уэлдон Джонсон)

Before a Painting

I KNEW not who had wrought with skill so fine
   What I beheld; nor by what laws of art
   He had created life and love and heart
On canvas, from mere color, curve and line.
Silent I stood and made no move or sign;
   Not with the crowd, but reverently apart;
   Nor felt the power my rooted limbs to start,
But mutely gazed upon that face divine.

And over me the sense of beauty fell,
   As music over a raptured listener to
      The deep-voiced organ breathing out a hymn;
Or as on one who kneels, his beads to tell,
   There falls the aureate glory filtered through
      The windows in some old cathedral dim.

James Weldon Johnson's other poems:
  1. To America
  2. O Black and Unknown Bards
  3. The Young Warrior
  4. O Southland!
  5. Ghosts of the Old Year

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