Sunset – A Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar with a Recording


"Sunset" is a beautiful poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar. It’s a perfect time to read Dunbar’s poems in time for Black History Month.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906) was born in Ohio. His parents were emancipated slaves. He wrote his first poem at the young age of 6! His first book of poetry called "Oak and Ivy" was published in 1893.

Below you can listen to a recording of Sunset and read along with the text.

MP3 Recording of the poem Sunset


By Paul Laurence Dunbar

The river sleeps beneath the sky,
And clasps the shadows to its breast;
The crescent moon shines dim on high;
And in the lately radiant west
The gold is fading into gray.
Now stills the lark his festive lay,
And mourns with me the dying day.

While in the south the first faint star
Lifts to the night its silver face,
And twinkles to the moon afar
Across the heaven’s graying space,
Low murmurs reach me from the town,
As Day puts on her sombre crown,
And shakes her mantle darkly down.

Recited by Beth Peat

Mary Lynn Lightfoot put this poem to music and called it "The River Sleeps Beneath the Sky". It’s sung by chorus groups. You can hear it on YouTube.


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 7:31 pm and is filed under Black History Month, Countries & Cultures, English, Historical African American, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Poetry, Poets, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Sunset – A Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar with a Recording”

  1. Neil Friedman Says:

    Dunbar is among Dayton Ohio’s most famous sons. He was a contemporary of the Wright Brothers. He was a prolific poet and novelist but died quite young.

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