Textual History

This sonnet was published along with "The Harlem Dancer" in Seven Arts Magazine (October, 1917), under the title "Two Sonnets." It appeared under the name "Eli Edwards," with a short biographical note.



  1. Ancestral Spirit, hidden from my sight

  2. By modern Time's unnumbered works and ways

  3. On which in awe and wonderment I gaze,

  4. Where hid'st thou in the deepness of the night?

  5. What evil powers thy healing presence blight?

  6. Thou who from out the dark and dust didst raise

  7. The Ethiop standard in the curtained days,

  8. Before the white God said: Let there be light!

  9. Bring ancient music to my modern heart,

  10. Let fall the light upon my sable face

  11. That once gleamed on the Ethiopian's art;

  12. Lift me to thee out of this alien place

  13. So I may be, thine exiled counterpart,

  14. The worthy singer of my world and race.


Harlem Shadows (1922)

Additional Poems by Claude McKay

Contemporary Reviews

Supplementary Texts