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Burton, Annie L.
Memories of childhood's slavery days

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Out of the scattered fragments
Of castles I built in the air
I gathered enough together
To fashion a cottage with care;
Thoughtfully, slowly, I planned it,
And little by little it grew--
Perfect in form and in substance,
Because I designed it for you.

The castles that time has shattered
Gleamed spotless and pearly white
As they stood in the misty distance
That borders the Land of Delight;
Sleeping and waking I saw them
Grow brighter and fairer each day;
But, alas! at the touch of a finger
They trembled and crumbled away!

Then out of the dust I gathered
A bit of untarnished gold,
And a gem unharmed by contact
With stones of a baser mold;
For sometimes a priceless jewel
Gleams wondrously pure and fair
From glittering paste foundations
Of castles we see in the air.

So, I turned from the realms of fancy,
As remote as the stars above,
And into the land of the living
I carried the jewel of love;
The mansions of dazzling brightness
Have crumbled away, it is true;
But firm upon gold foundations
Stands the cottage I built for you!

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