Original Poems, published in 1899, was dedicated "with proud reverence and respect" to the African American race. It included only 10 poems, concluding with "Voices":
I stand upon the haunted plain
Of vanished day and year,
And ever o'er its gloomy waste
Some strange, sad voice I hear.
Some voice from out the shadowed Past;
And one I call Regret,
And one I know is Misspent Hours,
Whose memory lingers yet.
Then Failure speaks in bitter tones,
And Grief, with all its woes;
Remorse, whose deep and cruel stings
My painful thoughts disclose.
Thus do these voices speak to me,
And flit like shadows past;
My spirit falters in despair,
And tears flow thick and fast.
But when, within the wide domain
Of Future Day and Year
I stand, and o'er its sunlit Plain
A sweeter Voice I hear,
Which bids me leave the darkened Past
And crush its memory,–
I'll listen gladly, and obey
The Voice of Opportunity.