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In a sweltering swamp, with a smart overseer,
Sure, if you do any thing — speak, think, or pray,
But as master allows, for that crime to pay dear:
A beast — every right of a man set at naught--
Every power chained down — every feeling defied--
To exist for the labor for which you were bought,
Till the memory of manhood has out of you died.
And as you went off, looking rueful enough,
I couldn't help thinking, my sage, in my dream,
You perhaps might be taught in a school rather rough,
On “hirings for life” to have views less extreme,
That when you've tried slavery's hell for awhile,
The misery of millions won't seem a good joke,
A grin from the dulness of fools to beguile--
And thinking this, Thomas, thank heaven! I awoke.
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