Angelina Weld Grimké

To Keep the Memory of Charlotte Forten Grimké

Still are there wonders of the dark and day;
The muted shrilling of shy things at night,
So small beneath the stars and moon;
The peace, dream-frail, but perfect while the light
Lies softly on the leaves at noon.
These are, and these will be
Until eternity;
But she who loved them well has gone away.

Each dawn, while yet the east is veil’d grey,
The birds about her window wake and sing;
And far away, each day, some lark
I know is singing where the grasses swing;
Some robin calls and calls at dark.
These are, and these will be
Until eternity;
But she who loved them well has gone away.

The wild flowers that she loved down green ways stray;
Her roses lift their wistful buds at dawn,
But not for eyes that loved them best;
Only her little pansies are all gone,
Some lying softly on her breast.
And flowers will bud and be
Until eternity;
But she who loved them well has gone away.

Where has she gone? And who is there to say?
But this we know: her gentle spirit moves
And is where beauty never wanes,
Perchance by other streams, ‘mid other groves:
And to us here, ah! she remains A lovely memory
Until eternity;
She came, she loved, and then she went away.


Grimké wrote this tribute to her aunt, Charlotte Forten Grimké (August 17, 1837 – July 23, 1914), in whose house she lived as a troubled and rebellious teenager. Charlotte was a huge influence on her niece; prior to her marriage, Charlotte was an abolitionist who went south to teach newly-freed slaves. Her poems were published during her lifetime in The Liberator and Anglo African, and her essays appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. Beginning in 1887, Charlotte and her uncle, the Reverend Frances Grimké, opened their home for a weekly Sunday evening salon where participants could discuss literature, music, and other subjects of intellectual interest, as well as issues of civil rights.

Angelina Weld Grimké (February 27, 1880—June 10, 1958) was born in Boston to a biracial family. Not long after Grimké's birth, her parents separated and her mother later committed suicide. Grimké was sent to live in DC with her aunt and uncle, Charlotte Forten and Rev. Frances Grimké, from age 14 to 18. After graduating from college in Boston, her father, Archibald Grimké, a lawyer, relocated to DC with his daughter. From 1902 to 1916, Grimké taught at Armstrong Manual Training School, and from 1916 until her retirement in 1926, she taught at Dunbar High School, both DC Public Schools. Grimké's essays, short fiction, and stories were published in journals (The Crisis, Opportunity) and anthologies (The New Negro, Caroling Dusk, Negro Poets and Their Poems). Her play, Rachel, was produced in 1916 and published in 1920, making her one of the earliest published African American playwrights. To read more about this author: "Angelina Weld Grimké" by Rebecca Villarreal (Memorial Issue, Fall 2003)