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POEMS ON SLAVERY
TO WILLIAM E. CHANNING.
The pages of thy book I read,
And as I closed each one,
“Servant of God! well done!"
Well done! Thy words are great and bold;
At times they seem to me,
Half-battles for the free.
Go on, until this land revokes
The old and chartered Lie, The feudal curse, whose whips and yokes
A voice is ever at thy side
Speaking in tones of might, Like the prophetic voice, that cried
To John in Patmos, “ Write!”
Write ! and tell out this bloody tale ;
Record this dire eclipse,
This dread Apocalypse !
THE SLAVE'S DREAM.
BESIDE the ungathered rice he lay,
His sickle in his hand;
Was buried in the sand.
He saw his Native Land.
Wide through the landscape of his dreams
The lordly Niger flowed ;
Once more a king he strode ;
Descend the mountain road.
He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
Among her children stand;
They held him by the hand! —
And fell into the sand.
And then at furious speed he rode
Along the Niger's bank;
And, with a martial clank,
Smiting his stallion's flank.
Before him, like a blood-red flag,
The bright flamingoes flew;
From morn till night he followed their flight,
O’er plains where the tamarind grew, Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,
And the ocean rose to view.
At night he heard the lion roar,
And the hyena scream, And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
Beside some hidden stream ; And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
Through the triumph of his dream.
The forests, with their myriad tongues,
Shouted of liberty ;
With a voice so wild and free,
At their tempestuous glee.
He did not feel the driver's whip,
Nor the burning heat of day;
And his lifeless body lay
Had broken and thrown away!
THE GOOD PART,
THAT SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY.
In valleys green and cool;
Are in the village school.
Her soul, like the transparent air
That robes the hills above, Though not of earth, encircles there
All things with arms of love.
And thus she walks among her girls
With praise and mild rebukes ; Subduing e'en rude village churls
By her angelic looks.
She reads to them at eventide
Of One who came to save ;
And liberate the slave.
And oft the blessed time foretells
When all men shall be free; And musical, as silver bells,
Their falling chains shall be.
And following her beloved Lord,
In decent poverty, She makes her life one sweet record
And deed of charity.
For she was rich, and gave up all
To break the iron bands
And labored in her lands.
Long since beyond the Southern Sea
Their outbound sails have sped,
THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL SWAMP
While she, in meek humility,
Now earns her daily bread.
It is their prayers,
which never cease, That clothe her with such grace; Their blessing is the light of peace
That shines upon her face.
THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL SWAMP.
In dark fens of the Dismal Swamp
The hunted Negro lay;
And a bloodhound's distant bay.
Where will-o'-the-wisps and glow-worms shine,
In bulrush and in brake;
Is spotted like the snake;
Where hardly a human foot could pass,
Or a human heart would dare,
Like a wild beast in his lair.
A poor old slave, infirm and lame;
Great scars deformed his face ;
Were the livery of disgrace.