Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers (1921)

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I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of

human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Critical Edition

Langston Hughes. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers [1921]." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Vol. D. Fifth Edition. Ed. Paul Lauter. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. 1521.

Further Reading

  • Miller, W. Jason. "Justice, Lynching, and American Riverscapes: Finding Reassurance in Langston Hughes's 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers'." Langston Hughes Review, 18 (2004 Spring), pp. 24-37.

External Links