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 ‘What is it, my Pastorius?’ As she spoke,
A slow, faint smile across his features broke,
Sadder than tears. ‘Dear heart,’ he said, “our folk
“Are even as others. Yea, our goodliest Friends
Are frail; our elders have their selfish ends,
And few dare trust the Lord to make amends
“For duty's loss. So even our feeble word
For the dumb slaves the startled meeting heard
As if a stone its quiet waters stirred;
“And, as the clerk ceased reading, there began
A ripple of dissent which downward ran
In widening circles, as from man to man.
“Somewhat was said of running before sent,
Of tender fear that some their guide outwent,
Troublers of Israel. I was scarce intent
“On hearing, for behind the reverend row
Of gallery Friends, in dumb and piteous show,
I saw, methought, dark faces full of woe.
“And, in the spirit, I was taken where
They toiled and suffered; I was made aware
Of shame and wrath and anguish and despair!
“And while the meeting smothered our poor plea
With cautious phrase, a Voice there seemed to be,
‘As ye have done to these ye do to me!’
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