Lucien Bottow Watkins--Voices of Solitude (1903)

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    VoicesofSolitude

    L. B. WATKINS

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    Class^^- - .:^^^Book_Jtoi^V^GopyrightN" \2lD2._

    COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT.

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    My motto through this Hfe I choose to beEvolution!The light amid the darkness 'round I see-Evolution!The steady view and mental quiz,A delving for the truth there is,A building up to loy and bliss Evolution!L^/l^Uc^

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    VOICES

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    LIBRARY of CONGRESSTwo Copies ReceivedAPh 22 m?

    K epyrtjrht Entry .CUSSO^ XXc, Ne.

    Copyright, 1903, byLuciAN B.WatkinS

    CHICAGOm. a. donohue .^companypubl^she\s

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    CONTENTSAutobiography 9Introduction 17The Vale of Solitude 19My Mother's Picture 22Love 23The Beauties of Woman 24The Siren 26The Manly Man 28The Libertine 29The Flower at My Window 31The Household Queen 33The Man With the Gun 35To the Sighing Winds 37One of Earth's Few 40Only a Little Curl 41Rocked on the Waters of the Deep 42To the Ocean Pacific 45Paul Lawrence Dunbar 47Little Golden Pen 48To One of the Brave 49The New Leaf 50" Ever Faithful to You" 51The Sunlight of Temperance 53The Drink-Slave 54" Looking for Work" 56The Debtor 58A Dedication (Booker T. Washington) 59The Hand That Guides the Plow 61Toussaint L'Ouverture 63

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    San Francisco's i8th of April (1906) 65An Ode to the Christian Martyrs 67A Memorial (Frederick Douglass) 68Life's Day 69Pantheon 72A Major Chord 73A Minor Chord 75Time's Chord 77Sharps and Flats 78A Dirge to Ancient Rome 79The Dove 81Voices of the Waves. 84The Miser 85The Spendthrift 86Anita 88An Elegy to John Brown 94The Treasured Curl 95Uncle Ike's Opinion of Winterpock's College 97The Faded Leaves 100Christmas Morn 10"I Love You, Too" 102Have I Done Wrong? 104A Divided Love 106My Father's Letter 108Thanksgiving noThe Frozen Rain inA Winter's Sunrise 112The Death of a Soldier-Comrade 113Scaevola 119Imagination (Essay and Poem) 121Retrospection 124Teach Me 126"Rest in Jesui" 127THE ! ! ! 128

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    PREFACEIn compliance with the wish of many friends,

    I have consented to the pubhcation of these prod-ucts of my heart and pen, the reading of which,I hope, may lead many to feel the emotions thatprompted me to their production.

    It has been said, "Necessity is the mother ofInvention." I say that Solitude is the motherof Poetry. I speak of solitude in a special sense.I do not intend to imply that one must neces-sarily be apart from mankind, but I speak of thatsecluded, quiet communion with the imaginationsuch as the heart often enjoys regardless of en-vironment. In such times of solitude and re-flection my heart has often been moved to over-flowing, and the trifles of this little volume arethe deluges that have found expression in words.My selections are all brief. Jvist faint touchesupon the heartstrings of Human Nature. Theyall bear my own originality. Not one is an im-itation. Though, doubtless, many of the chordshave been sounded before, since "there is noth-ing new under the sun," and we must all harpupon the same strings; yet, there are as manydifferent "touches" as there are players, and themelody of each harper bears a certain uniquecharacteristic.

    This little book is "touched" with the will ofmy ardent desire to reach the thought-centers

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    of humanity, and, that these may find here mo-tives tending toward the iUustrious influences ofgood thoughts and deeds. Should this result beobtained, in any degree, I shall not have strivenin vain.

    L. B. W.Chicago, 111., February 5, 1907.

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    AUTOBIOGRAPHY"Let another man praise thee, and not thineown mouth; a stranger, and not thine own Hps."We who are incHned to speak overmuch of

    ourselves seem to feel in these words an openrebuke by the wise Solomon. Yet it seems ifone can. only resist the impulse to soar awayuponthe evil winds of egotism into the vain cloudsof auto-laudation, he may be permitted to walkcautiously about the peaceful valley of truthfulsimplicity.

    I have no reasons to offer in defense of presentassumption as an autobiographer. I feel thatmy life has been insignificant and, upon mypart, void of much good. But the vernal yearsof man's allotted "three score and ten" havejust passed over my head, placing thereoneven in their swift flightmany of the silverthreads of life's autumn. Should there be theblessed visual realization of life's summer instore for me, I hope to grow into a life of realusefulness.My father's name is Henderson B. Watkins.The maiden name of my mother was EmelineBrooks. Humble, praying, Christian parentsfrom the lowly log cabin of slavery. "Joinedtogether" in those benighted days of servitude,and, subsequently, legally confirmed. Both ofthem secretly learned to read print, and weredevoted readers of the bible. Neither of themlearned to write. My father became a success-

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    ful miner. My mother was an acknowledgedefficient cook and a competent nurse. Upon thesummit of industry, perseverance, fortitude,goodness, kindness and womanliness my mother'slife rises before mean amatory personage.

    According to the "birth record" of our familybible, and the unquestionable statement of myparents, I was born May 25, 1878, in ChesterfieldCounty, Virginia, at a small settlement calledOtterdale, about twenty miles from Richmond.I am the youngest but two of the family offifteen children. Soon after I became sevenyears of age my parents gave me a McGufifey'sPrimer, and one bright Monday morning I wassent with my older brothers and sisters to thefirst school that I ever attended. I shall neverforget how proud and happy I felt that "firstday in school." My older sister had taught methe alphabet. I could read and spell quite well.

    This school was taught by one Mr. Gray, aman who was kind in disposition, noble, magnet-ic and impressive in his bearing, and a worthyteacher. My young heart was drawn towardhim with the tender liking of true friendship.My studies became a pleasure; thus my launchupon an educational sea was replete with pleas-ures that I am always glad to recall. I do notthink I gave my teacher much trouble with mystudies, as I found myself at the end of my firstsession in school ready for the Third Reader,with other studies accordingly. For three suc-cessive sessions I attended the same school,with the same teacher. The next session Iattended the same school, but had a lady teacher,one Miss Tucker, who had been an advancedpupil of Mr. Gray's school during my precedingschool days. The following three sessions I

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    attended another school, taught by my oldersister, Leora, the one who taught me the alpha-bet, and to whom I dedicated "The HouseholdQueen," of this volume. Sister Leora was alsoformerly a pupil of Mr. Gray's school, but after-ward graduated from the Summer NormalCourse of "The Virginia Normal and CollegiateInstitute," of Petersburg, Va.

    In December, 1891, my mother died. I wasthen thirteen years of age. I think I was mymother's favorite. O! those thirteen years inthe sunshine of mother's love ! I now look backthrough the dim mists of years and see thesmiles! hear the voice! feel the caresses ofMOTHER!Soon after my mother's death I began tostudy crayon portraiture and automatic shadingpen work. Having made fair progress withthese studies, I made a portrait of my mother.From this portrait I received the impulse thatled me to write "My Mother's Picture." Thiswas my first attempt at verse-making, and waswritten when I was thirteen years of age.About this time my older brother presentedme with an organ and I began to study music.My parents had early talked of sending me tocollege some day, and in September, 1892, I wassent to "The Virginia Normal and CollegiateInstitute," Petersburg, Va. My sister, Leora,bore the greater part of my expenses ; a portionI paid by doing janitor work at the school. Myentrance examination at this school was credit-able, and I found it comparatively easy to keepup with my class. This session at college hav-ing been in every way favorable, and my desirefor an education being awakened, I endeavoredduring the intermission from the close of school

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    in May to its re-opening in September, to earnenough money to return to college. In this Ifailed, but earned enough money to buy thebooks sufficient for the class in which I wouldhave been had I returned.

    I had heard a college professor tell how he atone time, while obtaining an education, foundhimself with insufficient means to return to col-lege ; and that he bought books and pursued thestudies of his class, pers