The Dedication Poem

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Dedication Poem on the reception of the annex to
the home for aged colored people, from the bequest of
Mr. Edward T. Parker.

To stay the floods of sin and shame
That sweep from shore to shore;
And furl the banners stained with blood,
'Till war shall be no more.

Blame not the age, nor think it full
Of evil and unrest;
But say of every other age,
"This one shall be the best."

The age to brighten every path
By sin and sorrow trod;
For loving hearts to usher in
The commonwealth of God.

Outcast from her home in Syria
In the lonely, dreary wild;
Heavy hearted, sorrow stricken,
Sat a mother and her child.

There was not a voice to cheer her
Not a soul to share her fate;
She was weary, he was fainting,
And life seemed so desolate.

Far away in sunny Egypt
Was lone Hagar's native land;
Where the Nile in kingly bounty
Scatters bread with gracious hand.

In the tents of princely Abram
She for years had found a home;
Till the stern decree of Sarah
Sent her forth the wild to roam.

Hour by hour she journeyed onward
From the shelter of their tent,
Till her footsteps slowly faltered
And the water all was spent;

Then she veiled her face in sorrow,
Feared her child would die of thirst
Till her eyes with tears so holden
Saw a sparkling fountain burst.

Oh! how happy was that mother,
What a soothing of her pain;
When she saw her child reviving,
Life rejoicing through each vein

Does not life repeat this story,
Tell it over day by day ?
Of the fountains of refreshment
Ever springing by our way.

Here is one by which we gather,
On this bright and happy day,
Just to bask beside a fountain
Making gladder life's highway.

Bringing unto hearts now aged
Who have borne life's burdens long,
Such a gift of love and mercy
As deserves our sweetest song.

Such a gift that even heaven
May rejoice with us below,
If the pure and holy angels
Join us in our joy and woe.

May the memory of the giver
In this home where age may rest,
Float like fragrance through the ages,
Ever blessing, ever blest.

© Frances Ellen Watkins Harper