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94. [song of the negro Boatmen.]

Oh, praise an' tanks! De Lord he come
     To set de people free;
An‘ massa tink it day ob doom,
     An‘ we ob jubilee.
De Lord, dat heap de Red Sea waves,
     He jus' as ‘trong as den;
He say de word — we las' night slaves,
     To-day de Lord's freemen.
De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
     We'll hab de rice an‘ corn;
Oh, nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
     De driver blow his horn!

Ole massa on he trabbles gone;
     He leab de land behind;
De Lord's breff blow him furder on,
     Like corn-shuck in de wind.
We own de hoe, we own de plow,
     We own de hands dat hold;
We sell de pig, we sell de cow,
     But nebber chile be sold.
De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
     We'll hab de rice an‘ corn;
Oh, nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
     De driver blow his horn!

We pray de Lord; he gib us signs
     Dat some day we be free;
De Norf-wind tell it to de pines,
     De wild duck to de sea;
We tink it when de church-bell ring,
     We dream it in de dream;
De rice-bird mean it when he sing,
     De eagle when he scream.
De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
     We'll hab de rice an‘ corn;
Oh, nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
     De driver blow his horn!

We know de promise nebber fail,
     An‘ nebber lie de word;
So, like de ‘postles in de jail,
     We waited for de Lord;
An‘ now He open ebery door,
     An‘ throw away de key;
He tink we lub Him so before,
     We lub Him better free.
De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
     He'll gib de rice an‘ corn;
So,nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
     De driver blow his horn!

So sing our dusky gondoliers;
     And with a secret pain,
And smiles that seem akin to tears,
     We hear the wild refrain.

We dare not share the negro's trust,
     Nor yet his hopes deny;
We only know that God is just,
     And every wrong shall die.

Rude seems the song; each swarthy face,
     Flame-lighted, ruder still:
We start, to think that hapless race
     Must shape our good or ill;

That laws of changeless justice bind
     Oppressor with oppressed;
And close as sin and suffering joined,
     We march to fate abreast.

Sing on, poor hearts! your chants shall be
     Our sign of blight or bloom--
The Vala-song of Liberty,
     Or death-rune of our doom!

--Atlantic Monthly.

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