Anti-Slavery Poems

To William Lloyd Garrison.

champion of those who groan beneath
     Oppression's iron hand:
In view of penury, hate, and death,
     I see thee fearless stand.
Still bearing up thy lofty brow,
     In the steadfast strength of truth,
In manhood sealing well the vow
     And promise of thy youth.

Go on, for thou hast chosen well;
     On in the strength of God!
Long as one human heart shall swell
     Beneath the tyrant's rod.
Speak in a slumbering nation's ear,
     As thou hast ever spoken,
Until the dead in sin shall hear,
     The fetter's link be broken!

I love thee with a brother's love,
     I feel my pulses thrill,
To mark thy spirit soar above
     The cloud of human ill. [10]
My heart hath leaped to answer thine,
     And echo back thy words,
As leaps the warrior's at the shine
     And flash of kindred swords!

They tell me thou art rash and vain,
     A searcher after fame;
That thou art striving but to gain
     A long-enduring name;
That thou hast nerved the Afric's hand
     And steeled the Afric's heart,
To shake aloft his vengeful brand,
     And rend his chain apart.

Have I not known thee well, and read
     Thy mighty purpose long?
And watched the trials which have made
     Thy human spirit strong?
And shall the slanderer's demon breath
     Avail with one like me,
To dim the sunshine of my faith
     And earnest trust in thee?

Go on, the dagger's point may glare
     Amid thy pathway's gloom;
The fate which sternly threatens there
     Is glorious martyrdom!
Then onward with a martyr's zeal;
     And wait thy sure reward
When man to man no more shall kneel,
     And God alone be Lord!



Toussaint L'ouverture.

Toussaint L'Ouverture, the black chieftain of Hayti, was a slave on the plantation ‘de Libertas,’ belonging to M. Bayou. When the rising of the negroes took place, in 1791, Toussaint refused to join them until he had aided M. Bayou and his family to escape to Baltimore. The white man had discovered in Toussaint many noble qualities, and had instructed him in some of the first branches of education; and the preservation of his life was owing to the negro's gratitude for this kindness.

In 1797, Toussaint L'Ouverture was appointed, by the French government, General-in-Chief of the armies of St. Domingo, and, as such, signed the Convention with General Maitland for the evacuation of the island by the British. From this period, until 1801, the island, under the government of Toussaint, was happy, tranquil, and prosperous. The miserable attempt of Napoleon to reestablish slavery in St. Domingo, although it failed of its intended object, proved fatal to the negro chieftain. Treacherously seized by Leclerc, he was hurried on board a vessel by night, and conveyed to France, where he was confined in a cold subterranean dungeon, at Besangon, where, in April, 1803, he died. The treatment of Toussaint finds a parallel only in the murder of the Duke D'Enghien. It was the remark of Godwin, in his Lectures, that the West India Islands, since their first discovery by Columbus, could not boast of a single name which deserves comparison with that of Toussaint L'Ouverture.

Twas night. The tranquil moonlight smile
     With which Heaven dreams of Earth, shed down
Its beauty on the Indian isle,—
     On broad green field and white-walled town;
And inland waste of rock and wood,
     In searching sunshine, wild and rude,
Rose, mellowed through the silver gleam,
     Soft as the landscape of a dream.
All motionless and dewy wet,
     Tree, vine, and flower in shadow met:
The myrtle with its snowy bloom,
     Crossing the nightshade's solemn gloom,— [12]
The white cecropia's silver rind
     Relieved by deeper green behind,
The orange with its fruit of gold,
     The lithe paullinia's verdant fold,
The passion-flower, with symbol holy,
     Twining its tendrils long and lowly,
The rhexias dark, and cassia tall,
     And proudly rising over all,
The kingly palm's imperial stem,
     Crowned with its leafy diadem,
Star-like, beneath whose sombre shade,
     The fiery-winged cucullo played!

How lovely was thine aspect, then,
     Fair island of the Western Sea!
Lavish of beauty, even when
     Thy brutes were happier than thy men,
For they, at least, were free!
     Regardless of thy glorious lime,
Unmindful of thy soil of flowers,
     The toiling negro sighed, that Time
No faster sped his hours.
     For, by the dewy moonlight still,
He fed the weary-turning mill,
     Or bent him in the chill morass,
To pluck the long and tangled grass,
     And hear above his scar-worn back
The heavy slave-whip's frequent crack:
     While in his heart one evil thought
In solitary madness wrought,
     One baleful fire surviving still
The quenching of the immortal mind,
     One sterner passion of his kind, [13]
Which even fetters could not kill,
     The savage hope, to deal, erelong,
A vengeance bitterer than his wrong!

Hark to that cry! long, loud, and shrill,
     From field and forest, rock and hill,
Thrilling and horrible it rang,
     Around, beneath, above;
The wild beast from his cavern sprang,
     The wild bird from her grove!
Nor fear, nor joy, nor agony
     Were mingled in that midnight cry;
But like the lion's growl of wrath,
     When falls that hunter in his path
Whose barbed arrow, deeply set,
     Is rankling in his bosom yet,
It told of hate, full, deep, and strong,
     Of vengeance kindling out of wrong;
It was as if the crimes of years—
     The unrequited toil, the tears,
The shame and hate, which liken well
     Earth's garden to the nether hell—
Had found in nature's self a tongue,
     On which the gathered horror hung;
As if from cliff, and stream, and glen
     Burst on the startled ears of men
That voice which rises unto God,
     Solemn and stern,—the cry of blood!
It ceased, and all was still once more,
     Save ocean chafing on his shore,
The sighing of the wind between
     The broad banana's leaves of green,
Or bough by restless plumage shook,
     Or murmuring voice of mountain brook, [14]
Brief was the silence. Once again
     Pealed to the skies that frantic yell,
Glowed on the heavens a fiery stain,
     And flashes rose and fell;
And painted on the blood-red sky,
     Dark, naked arms were tossed on high;
And, round the white man's lordly hall,
     Trod, fierce and free, the brute he made;
And those who crept along the wall,
     And answered to his lightest call
With more than spaniel dread,
     The creatures of his lawless beck,
Were trampling on his very neck!
     And on the night-air, wild and clear,
Rose woman's shriek of more than fear;
     For bloodied arms were round her thrown,
And dark cheeks pressed against her own!

Then, injured Afric! for the shame
     Of thy own daughters, vengeance came
Full on the scornful hearts of those,
     Who mocked thee in thy nameless woes,
And to thy hapless children gave
     One choice,—pollution or the grave!

Where then was he whose fiery zeal
     Had taught the trampled heart to feel,
Until despair itself grew strong,
     And vengeance fed its torch from wrong?
Now, when the thunderbolt is speeding;
     Now, when oppression's heart is bleeding;
Now, when the latent curse of Time
     Is raining down in fire and blood,
That curse which, through long years of crime, [15]
     Has gathered, drop by drop, its flood,—
Why strikes he not, the foremost one,
     Where, murder's sternest deeds are done?

He stood the aged palms beneath,
     That shadowed o'er his humble door,
Listening, with half-suspended breath,
     To the wild sounds of fear and death,
Toussaint L'Ouverture!
     What marvel that his heart beat high!
The blow for freedom had been given,
     And blood had answered to the cry
Which Earth sent up to Heaven!
     What marvel that a fierce delight
Smiled grimly o'er his brow of night,
     As groan and shout and bursting flame
Told where the midnight tempest came,
     With blood and fire along its van,
And death behind! he was a Man!

Yes, dark-souled chieftain! if the light
     Of mild Religion's heavenly ray
Unveiled not to thy mental sight
     The lowlier and the purer way,
In which the Holy Sufferer trod,
     Meekly amidst the sons of crime;
That calm reliance upon God
     For justice in His own good time;
That gentleness to which belongs
     Forgiveness for its many wrongs,
Even as the primal martyr, kneeling
     For mercy on the evil-dealing;
Let not the favored white man name
     Thy stern appeal, with words of blame. [16]
Has he not, with the light of heaven
     Broadly around him, made the same?
Yea, on his thousand war-fields striven,
     And gloried in his ghastly shame?
Kneeling amidst his brother's blood,
     To offer mockery unto God,
As if the High and Holy One
     Could smile on deeds of murder done!
As if a human sacrifice
     Were purer in His holy eyes,
Though offered up by Christian hands,
     Than the foul rites of Pagan lands!

Sternly, amidst his household band,
     His carbine grasped within his hand,
The white man stood, prepared and still,
     Waiting the shock of maddened men,
Unchained, and fierce as tigers, when
     The horn winds through their caverned hill
And one was weeping in his sight,
     The sweetest flower of all the isle,
The bride who seemed but yesternight
     Love's fair embodied smile.
And, clinging to her trembling knee,
     Looked up the form of infancy,
With tearful glance in either face
     The secret of its fear to trace.

‘Ha! stand or die!’ The white man's eye
     His steady musket gleamed along,
As a tall Negro hastened nigh,
     With fearless step and strong. [17]
‘What, ho, Toussaint! ’ A moment more,
     His shadow crossed the lighted floor.
‘Away!’ he shouted; “fly with me,
     The white man's bark is on the sea;
Her sails must catch the seaward wind,
     For sudden vengeance sweeps behind.
Our brethren from their graves have spoken,
     The yoke is spurned, the chain is broken;
On all the hills our fires are glowing,
     Through all the vales red blood is flowing!
No more the mocking White shall rest
     His foot upon the Negro's breast;
No more, at morn or eve, shall drip
     The warm blood from the driver's whip:
Yet, though Toussaint has vengeance sworn
     For all the wrongs his race have borne,
Though for each drop of Negro blood
     The white man's veins shall pour a flood;
Not all alone the sense of ill
     Around his heart is lingering still,
Nor deeper can the white man feel
     The generous warmth of grateful zeal.
Friends of the Negro! fly with me,
     The path is open to the sea:
Away, for life!” He spoke, and pressed
     The young child to his manly breast,
As, headlong, through the cracking cane,
     Down swept the dark insurgent train,
Drunken and grim, with shout and yell
     Howled through the dark, like sounds from hell.

Far out, in peace, the white man's sail
     Swayed free before the sunrise gale. [18]
Cloud-like that island hung afar,
     Along the bright horizon's verge,
O'er which the curse of servile war
     Rolled its red torrent, surge on surge
And he, the Negro champion, where
     In the fierce tumult struggled he?
Go trace him by the fiery glare
     Of dwellings in the midnight air,
The yells of triumph and despair,
     The streams that crimson to the sea!

Sleep calmly in thy dungeon-tomb,
     Beneath Besancon's alien sky,
Dark Haytien! for the time shall come,
     Yea, even now is nigh,
When, everywhere, thy name shall be
     Redeemed from color's infamy;
And men shall learn to speak of thee
     As one of earth's great spirits, born
In servitude, and nursed in scorn,
     Casting aside the weary weight
And fetters of its low estate,
     In that strong majesty of soul
Which knows no color, tongue, or clime,
     Which still hath spurned the base control
Of tyrants through all time!
     Far other hands than mine may wreathe
The laurel round thy brow of death,
     And speak thy praise, as one whose word
A thousand fiery spirits stirred,
     Who crushed his foeman as a worm,1
Whose step on human hearts fell firm: [19]
     Be mine the better task to find
A tribute for thy lofty mind,
     Amidst whose gloomy vengeance shone
Some milder virtues all thine own,
     Some gleams of feeling pure and warm,
Like sunshine on a sky of storm,
     Proofs that the Negro's heart retains
Some nobleness amid its chains,—
     That kindness to the wronged is never
Without its excellent reward,
     Holy to human-kind and ever
Acceptable to God.


The slave-ships.

That fatal and perfidious bark,
     Built ia the eclipse, and rigged with curses dark.

The French ship Le Rodeur, with a crew of twenty-two men, and with one hundred and sixty negro slaves, sailed from Bonny, in Africa, April, 1819. On approaching the line, a terrible malady broke out,—an obstinate disease of the eyes,—contagious, and altogether beyond the resources of medicine. It was aggravated by the scarcity of water among the slaves (only half a wineglass per day being allowed to an individual), and by the extreme impurity of the air in which they breathed. By the advice of the physician, they were brought upon deck occasionally; but some of the poor wretches, locking themselves in each other's arms, leaped overboard, in the hope, which so universally prevails among them, of being swiftly transported to their own homes in Africa. To check this, the captain ordered several who were stopped in the attempt to be shot, or hanged, before their companions. The disease extended to the crew; and one after another were smitten with it, until only one remained unaffected. Yet even this dreadful condition did not preclude calculation: to save the expense of supporting slaves rendered unsalable, and to [20] obtain grounds for a claim against the underwriters, thirty-six of the negroes, having become blind, were thrown into the sea and drowned!

Speech of M. Benjamin constant, in the French chamber of Deputies, June 17, 1820.

In the midst of their dreadful fears lest the solitary individual. whose sight remained unaffected, should also be seized with the malady, a sail was discovered. It was the Spanish slaver, Leon. The same disease had been there; and, horrible to tell, all the crew had become blind! Unable to assist each other, the vessels parted. The Spanish ship has never since been heard of. The Rodeur reached Guadaloupe on the 21st of June; the only man who had escaped the disease, and had thus been enabled to steer the slaver into port, caught it in three days after its arrival. Bibliotheque Ophthalmologique for November, 1819.

‘all ready?’ cried the captain;
     ‘Ay, ay!’ the seamen said;
“Heave up the worthless lubbers,—
     The dying and the dead.”
Up from the slave-ship's prison
     Fierce, bearded heads were thrust:
“Now let the sharks look to it,—
     Toss up the dead ones first!”

Corpse after corpse came up,—
     Death had been busy there;
Where every blow is mercy,
     Why should the spoiler spare?
Corpse after corpse they cast
     Sullenly from the ship,
Yet bloody with the traces
     Of fetter-link and whip.

Gloomily stood the captain,
     With his arms upon his breast,
With his cold brow sternly knotted,
     And his iron lip compressed. [21]
‘Are all the dead dogs over?’
     Growled through that matted lip;
“The blind ones are no better,
     Let's lighten the good ship.”

Hark! from the ship's dark bosom,
     The very sounds of hell!
The ringing clank of iron,
     The maniac's short, sharp yell!
The hoarse, low curse, throat-stifled;
     The starving infant's moan,
The horror of a breaking heart
     Poured through a mother's groan.

Up from that loathsome prison
     The stricken blind ones came:
Below, had all been darkness,
     Above, was still the same.
Yet the holy breath of heaven
     Was sweetly breathing there,
And the heated brow of fever
     Cooled in the soft sea air.

‘Overboard with them, shipmates!’
     Cutlass and dirk were plied;
Fettered and blind, one after one,
     Plunged down the vessel's side.
The sabre smote above,
     Beneath, the lean shark lay,
Waiting with wide and bloody jaw
     His quick and human prey.

God of the earth! what cries
     Rang upward unto thee? [22]
Voices of agony and blood,
     From ship-deck and from sea.
The last dull plunge was heard,
     The last wave caught its stain,
And the unsated shark looked up
     For human hearts in vain.

Red glowed the western waters,
     The setting sun was there,
Scattering alike on wave and cloud
     His fiery mesh of hair.
Amidst a group in blindness,
     A solitary eye
Gazed, from the burdened slaver's deck,
     Into that burning sky.

‘A storm,’ spoke out the gazer,
     “Is gathering and at hand;
Curse on 't, I'd give my other eye
     For one firm rood of land.”
And then he laughed, but only
     His echoed laugh replied,
For the blinded and the suffering
     Alone were at his side.

Night settled on the waters,
     And on a stormy heaven,
While fiercely on that lone ship's track
     The thunder-gust was driven.
‘A sail—thank God, a sail! ’
     And as the helmsman spoke,
Up through the stormy murmur
     A shout of gladness broke.

[23] Down came the stranger vessel,
     Unheeding on her way,
So near that on the slaver's deck
     Fell off her driven spray.
“Ho! for the love of mercy,
     We're perishing and blind!”
A wail of utter agony
     Came back upon the wind:

“Help us! for we are stricken
     With blindness every one;
Ten days we've floated fearfully,
     Unnoting star or sun.
Our ship's the slaver Leon,—
     We've but a score on board;
Our slaves are all gone over,—
     Help, for the love of God!”

On livid brows of agony
     The broad red lightning shone;
But the roar of wind and thunder
     Stifled the answering groan;
Wailed from the broken waters
     A last despairing cry,
As, kindling in the stormy light,
     The stranger ship went by.

In the sunny Guadaloupe
     A dark-hulled vessel lay,
With a crew who noted never
     The nightfall or the day.
The blossom of the orange
     Was white by every stream, [24]
And tropic leaf, and flower, and bird
     Were in the warm sunbeam.

And the sky was bright as ever,
     And the moonlight slept as well,
On the palm-trees by the hillside,
     And the streamlet of the dell:
And the glances of the Creole
     Were still as archly deep,
And her smiles as full as ever
     Of passion and of sleep.

But vain were bird and blossom,
     The green earth and the sky,
And the smile of human faces,
     To the slaver's darkened eye;
At the breaking of the morning,
     At the star-lit evening time,
O'er a world of light and beauty
     Fell the blackness of his crime.



Dr. Charles Follen, a German patriot, who had come to America for the freedom which was denied him in his native land, allied himself with the abolitionists, and at a convention of delegates from all the anti-slavery organizations in New England, held at Boston in May, 1834, was chairman of a committee to prepare an address to the people of New England. Toward the close of the address occurred the passage which suggested these lines.

The despotism which our fathers could not bear in their native country is expiring, and the sword of justice in her reformed hands has applied its exterminating edge to slavery. Shall the United States—the free United States, which could not bear the [25] bonds of a king—cradle the bondage which a king is abolishing? Shall a Republic be less free than a Monarchy? Shall we, in the vigor and buoyancy of our manhood, be less energetic in righteous— ness than a kingdom in its age?

Dr. Follen's Address.

Genius of America!—Spirit of our free institutions!— where art thou? How art thou fallen, O Lucifer! son of the morning,—how art thou fallen from Heaven! Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming! The kings of the earth cry out to thee, Aha! Aha! Art thou become like unto us? Speech of Samuel J. May.

our fellow-countrymen in chains!
     Slaves, in a land of light and law!
Slaves, crouching on the very plains
     Where rolled the storm of Freedom's war!
A groan from Eutaw's haunted wood,
     A wail where Camden's martyrs fell,
By every shrine of patriot blood,
     From Moultrie's wall and Jasper's well!

By storied hill and hallowed grot,
     By mossy wood and marshy glen,
Whence rang of old the rifle-shot,
     And hurrying shout of Marion's men!
The groan of breaking hearts is there,
     The falling lash, the fetter's clank!
Slaves, slaves are breathing in that air
     Which old De Kalb and Sumter drank!

What, ho! our countrymen in chains!
     The whip on woman's shrinking flesh!
Our soil yet reddening with the stains
     Caught from her scourging, warm and fresh!
What! mothers from their children riven!
     What! God's own image bought and sold!
Americans to market driven,
     And bartered as the brute for gold!

[26] Speak! shall their agony of prayer
     Come thrilling to our hearts in vain?
To us whose fathers scorned to bear
     The paltry menace of a chain;
To us, whose boast is loud and long
     Of holy Liberty and Light;
Say, shall these writhing slaves of Wrong
     Plead vainly for their plundered Right?

What! shall we send, with lavish breath,
     Our sympathies across the wave,
Where Manhood, on the field of death,
     Strikes for his freedom or a grave?
Shall prayers go up, and hymns be sung
     For Greece, the Moslem fetter spurning,
And millions hail with pen and tongue
     Our light on all her altars burning?

Shall Belgium feel, and gallant France,
     By Vendome's pile and Schoenbrun's wall,
And Poland, gasping on her lance,
     The impulse of our cheering call?
And shall the slave, beneath our eye,
     Clank o'er our fields his hateful chain?
And toss his fettered arms on high,
     And groan for Freedom's gift, in vain?

Oh, say, shall Prussia's banner be
     A refuge for the stricken slave?
And shall the Russian serf go free
     By Baikal's lake and Neva's wave?
And shall the wintry-bosomed Dane
     Relax the iron hand of pride, [27]
And bid his bondmen cast the chain
     From fettered soul and limb aside?

Shall every flap of England's flag
     Proclaim that all around are free,
From farthest and to each blue crag
     That beetles o'er the Western Sea?
And shall we scoff at Europe's kings,
     When Freedom's fire is dim with us,
And round our country's altar clings
     The damning shade of Slavery's curse?

Go, let us ask of Constantine
     To loose his grasp on Poland's throat;
And beg the lord of Mahmoud's line
     To spare the struggling Suliote;
Will not the scorching answer come
     From turbaned Turk, and scornful Russ:
“Go, loose your fettered slaves at home,
     Then turn, and ask the like of us!”

Just God! and shall we calmly rest,
     The Christian's scorn, the heathen's mirth,
Content to live the lingering jest
     And by-word of a mocking Earth?
Shall our own glorious land retain
     That curse which Europe scorns to bear?
Shall our own brethren drag the chain
     Which not even Russia's menials wear?

Up, then, in Freedom's manly part,
     From graybeard eld to fiery youth,
And on the nation's naked heart
     Scatter the living coals of Truth! [28]
Up! while ye slumber, deeper yet
     The shadow of our fame is growing!
Up! while ye pause, our sun may set
     In blood, around our altars flowing!

Oh! rouse ye, ere the storm comes forth,
     The gathered wrath of God and man,
Like that which wasted Egypt's earth,
     When hail and fire above it ran.
Hear ye no warnings in the air?
     Feel ye no earthquake underneath?
Up, up! why will ye slumber where
     The sleeper only wakes in death?

Rise now for Freedom! not in strife
     Like that your sterner fathers saw,
The awful waste of human life,
     The glory and the guilt of war:
But break the chain, the yoke remove,
     And smite to earth Oppression's rod,
With those mild arms of Truth and Love,
     Made mighty through the living God!

Down let the shrine of Moloch sink,
     And leave no traces where it stood;
Nor longer let its idol drink
     His daily cup of human blood;
But rear another altar there,
     To Truth and Love and Mercy given,
And Freedom's gift, and Freedom's prayer,
     Shall call an answer down from Heaven!




Written for the meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society, at Chatham Street Chapel, New York, held on the 4th of the seventh month, 1834.

O thou, whose presence went before
     Our fathers in their weary way,
As with Thy chosen moved of yore
     The fire by night, the cloud by day!

When from each temple of the free,
     A nation's song ascends to Heaven,
Most Holy Father! unto Thee
     May not our humble prayer be given?

Thy children all, though hue and form
     Are varied in Thine own good will,
With Thy own holy breathings warm,
     And fashioned in Thine image still.

We thank Thee, Father! hill and plain
     Around us wave their fruits once more,
And clustered vine, and blossomed grain,
     Are bending round each cottage door.

And peace is here; and hope and love
     Are round us as a mantle thrown,
And unto Thee, supreme above,
     The knee of prayer is bowed alone.

But oh, for those this day can bring,
     As unto us, no joyful thrill; [30]
For those who, under Freedom's wing,
     Are bound in Slavery's fetters still:

For those to whom Thy written word
     Of light and love is never given;
For those whose ears have never heard
     The promise and the hope of heaven!

For broken heart, and clouded mind,
     Whereon no human mercies fall;
Oh, be Thy gracious love inclined,
     Who, as a Father, pitiest all!

And grant, O Father! that the time
     Of Earth's deliverance may be near,
When every land and tongue and clime
     The message of Thy love shall hear;

When, smitten as with fire from heaven,
     The captive's chain shall sink in dust,
And to his fettered soul be given
     The glorious freedom of the just!

The Yankee girl.

she sings by her wheel at that low cottage-door,
Which the long evening shadow is stretching before,
With a music as sweet as the music which seems
Breathed softly and faint in the ear of our dreams!

How brilliant and mirthful the light of her eye,
Like a star glancing out from the blue of the sky! [31]
And lightly and freely her dark tresses play
O'er a brow and a bosom as lovely as they!

Who comes in his pride to that low cottage-door,
The haughty and rich to the humble and poor?
Tis the great Southern planter, the master who waves
His whip of dominion o'er hundreds of slaves.

“Nay, Ellen, for shame! Let those Yankee fools spin,
Who would pass for our slaves with a change of their skin;
Let them toil as they will at the loom or the wheel,
Too stupid for shame, and too vulgar to feel!

But thou art too lovely and precious a gem
To be bound to their burdens and sullied by them;
For shame, Ellen, shame, cast thy bondage aside,
And away to the South, as my blessing and pride.

Oh, come where no winter thy footsteps can wrong,
But where flowers are blossoming all the year long,
Where the shade of the palm-tree is over my home,
And the lemon and orange are white in their bloom!

Oh, come to my home, where my servants shall all
Depart at thy bidding and come at thy call; [32]
They shall heed thee as mistress with trembling and awe,
And each wish of thy heart shall be felt as a law. “

Oh, could ye have seen her—that pride of our girls—
Arise and cast back the dark wealth of hercurls,
With a scorn in her eye which the gazer could feel,
And a glance like the sunshine that flashes on steel!

“Go back, haughty Southron! thy treasures of gold
Are dim with the blood of the hearts thou hast sold;
Thy home may be lovely, but round it I hear
The crack of the whip and the footsteps of fear!

“And the sky of thy South may be brighter than ours,
And greener thy landscapes, and fairer thy flowers;
But dearer the blast round our mountains which raves,
Than the sweet summer zephyr which breathes over slaves!

“Full low at thy bidding thy negroes may kneel,
With the iron of bondage on spirit and heel;
Yet know that the Yankee girl sooner would be
In fetters with them, than in freedom with thee!”



The hunters of men.

These lines were written when the orators of the American Colonization Society were demanding that the free blacks should be sent to Africa, and opposing Emancipation unless expatriation followed. See the report of the proceedings of the society at its annual meeting in 1834.

have ye heard of our hunting, o'er mountain and glen,
Through cane-brake and forest,—the hunting of men?
The lords of our land to this hunting have gone,
As the fox-hunter follows the sound of the horn;
Hark! the cheer and the hallo! the crack of the whip,
And the yell of the hound as he fastens his grip!
All blithe are our hunters, and noble their match,
Though hundreds are caught, there are millions to catch.
So speed to their hunting, o'er mountain and glen,
Through cane-brake and forest,—the hunting of

Gay luck to our hunters! how nobly they ride
In the glow of their zeal, and the strength of their pride!
The priest with his cassock flung back on the wind,
Just screening the politic statesman behind;
The saint and the sinner, with cursing and prayer,
The drunk and the sober, ride merrily there.
And woman, kind woman, wife, widow, and maid,
For the good of the hunted, is lending her aid: [34]
Her foot's in the stirrup, her hand on the rein,
How blithely she rides to the hunting of men!

Oh, goodly and grand is our hunting to see,
In this ‘land of the brave and this home of the free.’
Priest, warrior, and statesman, from Georgia to Maine,
All mounting the saddle, all grasping the rein;
Right merrily hunting the black man, whose sin
Is the curl of his hair and the hue of his skin!
Woe, now, to the hunted who turns him at bay!
Will our hunters be turned from their purpose and prey?
Will their hearts fail within them? their nerves tremble, when
All roughly they ride to the hunting of men?

Ho! alms for our hunters! all weary and faint,
Wax the curse of the sinner and prayer of the saint.
The horn is wound faintly, the echoes are still,
Over cane-brake and river, and forest and hill.
Haste, alms for our hunters! the hunted once more
Have turned from their flight with their backs to the shore:
What right have they here in the home of the white,
Shadowed o'er by our banner of Freedom and Right?
O! alms for the hunters! or never again
Will they ride in their pomp to the hunting of men!

Alms, alms for our hunters! why will ye delay,
When their pride and their glory are melting away? [35]
The parson has turned; for, on charge of his own,
Who goeth a warfare, or hunting, alone?
The politic statesman looks back with a sigh,
There is doubt in his heart, there is fear in his eye.
Oh, haste, lest that doubting and fear shall prevail,
And the head of his steed take the place of the tail.
Oh, haste, ere he leave us! for who will ride then,
For pleasure or gain, to the hunting of men?


Stanzas for the times.

The ‘ Times’ referred to were those evil times of the proslavery meeting in Faneuil Hall, August 21, 1835, in which a demand was made for the suppression of free speech, lest it should endanger the foundation of commercial society.

Is this the land our fathers loved,
     The freedom which they toiled to win?
Is this the soil whereon they moved?
     Are these the graves they slumber in?
Are we the sons by whom are borne
     The mantles which the dead have worn?

And shall we crouch above these graves,
     With craven soul and fettered lip?
Yoke in with marked and branded slaves,
     And tremble at the driver's whip?
Bend to the earth our pliant knees,
     And speak but as our masters please?

Shall outraged Nature cease to feel?
     Shall Mercy's tears no longer flow?
Shall ruffian threats of cord and steel,
     The dungeon's gloom, the assassin's blow, [36]
Turn back the spirit roused to save
     The Truth, our Country, and the Slave?

Of human skulls that shrine was made,
     Round which the priests of Mexico
Before their loathsome idol prayed;
     Is Freedom's altar fashioned so?
And must we yield to Freedom's God,
     As offering meet, the negro's blood?

Shall tongues be mute, when deeds are wrought
     Which well might shame extremest hell?
Shall freemen lock the indignant thought?
     Shall Pity's bosom cease to swell?
Shall Honor bleed?—shall Truth succumb?
     Shall pen, and press, and soul be dumb?

No; by each spot of haunted ground,
     Where Freedom weeps her children's fall;
By Plymouth's rock, and Bunker's mound;
     By Griswold's stained and shattered wall;
By Warren's ghost, by Langdon's shade;
     By all the memories of our dead!

By their enlarging souls, which burst
     The bands and fetters round them set;
By the free Pilgrim spirit nursed
     Within our inmost bosoms, yet,
By all above, around, below,
     Be ours the indignant answer,—No!

No; guided by our country's laws,
     For truth, and right, and suffering man, [37]
Be ours to strive in Freedom's cause,
     As Christians may, as freemen can!
Still pouring on unwilling ears
     That truth oppression only fears.

What! shall we guard our neighbor still,
     While woman shrieks beneath his rod,
And while he tramples down at will
     The image of a common God?
Shall watch and ward be round him set,
     Of Northern nerve and bayonet?

And shall we know and share with him
     The danger and the growing shame?
And see our Freedom's light grow dim,
     Which should have filled the world with flame?
And, writhing, feel, where'er we turn,
     A world's reproach around us burn?

Is 't not enough that this is borne?
     And asks our haughty neighbor more?
Must fetters which his slaves have worn
     Clank round the Yankee farmer's door?
Must he be told, beside his plough,
     What he must speak, and when, and how?

Must he be told his freedom stands
     On Slavery's dark foundations strong,
On breaking hearts and fettered hands,
     On robbery, and crime, and wrong?
That all his fathers taught is vain,—
     That Freedom's emblem is the chain?

[38] Its life, its soul, from slavery drawn!
     False, foul, profane! Go, teach as well
Of holy Truth from Falsehood born!
     Of Heaven refreshed by airs from Hell!
Of Virtue in the arms of Vice!
     Of Demons planting Paradise!

Rail on, then, brethren of the South,
     Ye shall not hear the truth the less;
No seal is on the Yankee's mouth,
     No fetter on the Yankee's press!
From our Green Mountains to the sea,
     One voice shall thunder, We are free!

Clerical Oppressors.

In the report of the celebrated pro-slavery meeting in Charleston, S. C., on the 4th of the ninth month, 1835, published in the Courier of that city, it is stated: ‘The clergy of all denominations attended in a body, lending their sanction to the proceedings, and adding by their presence to the impressive character of the scene!’

just God! and these are they
     Who minister at thine altar, God of Right!
Men who their hands with prayer and blessing lay
     On Israel's Ark of light!

What! preach, and kidnap men?
     Give thanks, and rob thy own afflicted poor?
Talk of thy glorious liberty, and then
     Bolt hard the captive's door?

What! servants of thy own
     Merciful Son, who came to seek and save [39]
The homeless and the outcast, fettering down
     The tasked and plundered slave!

Pilate and Herod, friends!
     Chief priests and rulers, as of old, combine!
Just God and holy! is that church, which lends
     Strength to the spoiler, thine?

Paid hypocrites, who turn
     Judgment aside, and rob the Holy Book
Of those high words of truth which search and burn
     In warning and rebuke;

Feed fat, ye locusts, feed!
     And, in your tasselled pulpits, thank the Lord
That, from the toiling bondman's utter need,
     Ye pile your own full board.

How long, O Lord! how long
     Shall such a priesthood barter truth away
And in Thy name, for robbery and wrong
     At Thy own altars pray?

Is not Thy hand stretched forth
     Visibly in the heavens, to awe and smite?
Shall not the living God of all the earth,
     And heaven above, do right?

Woe, then, to all who grind
     Their brethren of a common Father down!
To all who plunder from the immortal mind
     Its bright and glorious crown!

[40] Woe to the priesthood! woe
     To those whose hire is with the price of blood;
Perverting, darkening, changing, as they go,
     The searching truths of God!

Their glory and their might
     Shall perish; and their very names shall be
Vile before all the people, in the light
     Of a world's liberty.

Oh, speed the moment on
     When Wrong shall cease, and Liberty and Love
And Truth and Right throughout the earth be known
     As in their home above.


A summons.

Written on the adoption of Pinckney's Resolutions in the House of Representatives, and the debate on Calhoun's ‘ Bill for excluding Papers written or printed, touching the subject of Slavery, from the U. S. Post-office,’ in the Senate of the United States.

Mr. Pinckney's resolutions were in brief that Congress had no authority to interfere in any way with slavery in the States; that it ought not to interfere with it in the District of Columbia, and that all resolutions to that end should be laid on the table without printing. Mr. Calhoun's bill made it a penal offence for postmasters in any State, District, or Territory ‘knowingly to deliver, to any person whatever, any pamphlet, newspaper, handbill, or other printed paper or pictorial representation, touching the subject of slavery, where, by the laws of the said State, District, or Territory, their circulation was prohibited.’

men of the North-land! where's the manly spirit
     Of the true-hearted and the unshackled gone? [41]
Sons of old freemen, do we but inherit
     Their names alone?

Is the old Pilgrim spirit quenched within us,
     Stoops the strong manhood of our souls so low,
That Mammon's lure or Party's wile can win us
     To silence now?

Now, when our land to ruin's brink is verging,
     In God's name, let us speak while there is time!
Now, when the padlocks for our lips are forging,
     Silence is crime!

What! shall we henceforth humbly ask as favors
     Rights all our own? In madness shall we barter,
For treacherous peace, the freedom Nature gave us,
     God and our charter?

Here shall the statesman forge his human fetters,
     Here the false jurist human rights deny,
And in the church, their proud and skilled abettors
     Make truth a lie?

Torture the pages of the hallowed Bible,.
     To sanction crime, and robbery, and blood?
And, in Oppression's hateful service, libel
     Both man and God?

Shall our New England stand erect no longer,
     But stoop in chains upon her downward way,
Thicker to gather on her limbs and stronger
     Day after day?

[42] Oh no; methinks from all her wild, green mountains;
     From valleys where her slumbering fathers lie;
From her blue rivers and her welling fountains,
     And clear, cold sky;

From her rough coast, and isles, which hungry Ocean
     Gnaws with his surges; from the fisher's skiff,
With white sail swaying to the billows' motion
     Round rock and cliff;

From the free fireside of her unbought farmer;
     From her free laborer at his loom and wheel;
From the brown smith-shop, where, beneath the hammer,
     Rings the red steel;

From each and all, if God hath not forsaken
     Our land, and left us to an evil choice,
Loud as the summer thunderbolt shall waken
     A People's voice.

Startling and stern! the Northern winds shall bear it
     Over Potomac's to St. Mary's wave;
And buried Freedom shall awake to hear it
     Within her grave.

Oh, let that voice goforth! The bondman sighing
     By Santee's wave, in Mississippi's cane,
Shall feel the hope, within his bosom dying,
     Revive again.

[43] Let it go forth! The millions who are gazing
     Sadly upon us from afar shall smile,
And unto God devout thanksgiving raising,
     Bless us the while.

Oh for your ancient freedom, pure and holy,
     For the deliverance of a groaning earth,
For the wronged captive, bleeding, crushed, and lowly,
     Let it go forth!

Sons of the best of fathers! will ye falter
     With all they left ye perilled and at stake?
Ho! once again on Freedom's holy altar
     The fire awake!

Prayer-strengthened for the trial, come together,
     Put on the harness for the moral fight,
And, with the blessing of your Heavenly Father,
     Maintain the right!


To the Memory of Thomas Shipley.

Thomas Shipley of Philadelphia was a lifelong Christian philanthropist, and advocate of emancipation. At his funeral thousands of colored people came to take their last look at their friend and protector. He died September 17, 1836.

gone to thy Heavenly Father's rest!
     The flowers of Eden round thee blowing,
And on thine ear the murmurs blest
     Of Siloa's waters softly flowing!

[44] Beneath that Tree of Life which gives
     To all the earth its healing leaves
In the white robe of angels clad,
     And wandering by that sacred river,
Whose streams of holiness make glad
     The city of our God forever!

Gentlest of spirits! not for thee
     Our tears are shed, our sighs are given;
Why mourn to know thou art a free
     Partaker of the joys of heaven?
Finished thy work, and kept thy faith
     In Christian firmness unto death;
And beautiful as sky and earth,
     When autumn's sun is downward going,
The blessed memory of thy worth
     Around thy place of slumber glowing!

But woe for us! who linger still
     With feebler strength and hearts less lowly,
And minds less steadfast to the will
     Of Him whose every work is holy.
For not like thine, is crucified
     The spirit of our human pride:
And at the bondman's tale of woe,
     And for the outcast and forsaken,
Not warm like thine, but cold and slow,
     Our weaker sympathies awaken.

Darkly upon our struggling way
     The storm of human hate is sweeping;
Hunted and branded, and a prey,
     Our watch amidst the darkness keeping, [45]
Oh, for that hidden strength which can
     Nerve unto death the inner man!
Oh, for thy spirit, tried and true,
     And constant in the hour of trial,
Prepared to suffer, or to do,
     In meekness and in self-denial.

Oh, for that spirit, meek and mild,
     Derided, spurned, yet uncomplaining;
By man deserted and reviled,
     Yet faithful to its trust remaining.
Still prompt and resolute to save
     From scourge and chain the hunted slave;
Unwavering in the Truth's defence,
     Even where the fires of Hate were burning,
The unquailing eye of innocence
     Alone upon the oppressor turning!

O loved of thousands! to thy grave,
     Sorrowing of heart, thy brethren bore thee.
The poor man and the rescued slave
     Wept as the broken earth closed o'er thee;
And grateful tears, like summer rain,
     Quickened its dying grass again!
And there, as to some pilgrim-shrine,
     Shall come the outcast and the lowly,
Of gentle deeds and words of thine
     Recalling memories sweet and holy!

Oh, for the death the righteous die!
     An end, like autumn's day declining,
On human hearts, as on the sky,
     With holier, tenderer beauty shining; [46]
As to the parting soul were given
     The radiance of an opening heaven!
As if that pure and blessed light,
     From off the Eternal altar flowing,
Were bathing, in its upward flight,
     The spirit to its worship going!


The moral warfare.

when Freedom, on her natal day,
Within her war-rocked cradle lay,
An iron race around her stood,
Baptized her infant brow in blood;
And, through the storm which round her swept,
Their constant ward and watching kept.

Then, where our quiet herds repose,
The roar of baleful battle rose,
And brethren of a common tongue
To mortal strife as tigers sprung
And every gift on Freedom's shrine
Was man for beast, and blood for wine!

Our fathers to their graves have gone;
Their strife is past, their triumph won;
But sterner trials wait the race
Which rises in their honored place;
A moral warfare with the crime
And folly of an evil time.

So let it be. In God's own might
We gird us for the coming fight, [47]
In conflict with unholy powers,
We grasp the weapons He has given,—
The Light, and Truth, and Love of Heaven.



Written on reading the Message of Governor Ritner, of Pennsylvania, 1836. The fact redounds to the credit and serves to perpetuate the memory of the independent farmer and high-souled statesman, that he alone of all the Governors of the Union in 1836 met the insulting demands and menaces of the South in a manner becoming a freeman and hater of Slavery, in his message to the Legislature of Pennsylvania.

thank God for the token! one lip is still free,
One spirit untrammelled, unbending one knee!
Like the oak of the mountain, deep-rooted and firm,
Erect, when the multitude bends to the storm;
When traitors to Freedom, and Honor, and God,
Are bowed at an Idol polluted with blood;
When the recreant North has forgotten her trust,
And the lip of her honor is low in the dust,—
Thank God, that one arm from the shackle has broken!
Thank God, that one man as a freeman has spoken!

O'er thy crags, Alleghany, a blast has been blown!
Down thy tide, Susquehanna, the murmur has gone!
To the land of the South, of the charter and chain,
Of Liberty sweetened with Slavery's pain; [48]
Where the cant of Democracy dwells on the lips
Of the forgers of fetters, and wielders of whips!
Where ‘chivalric’ honor means really no more
Than scourging of women, and robbing the poor!
Where the Moloch of Slavery sitteth on high,
And the words which he utters, are—Worship, or die!

Right onward, oh, speed it! Wherever the blood
Of the wronged and the guiltless is crying to God;
Wherever a slave in his fetters is pining;
Wherever the lash of the driver is twining;
Wherever from kindred, torn rudely apart,
Comes the sorrowful wail of the broken of heart;
Wherever the shackles of tyranny bind,
In silence and darkness, the God-given mind;
There, God speed it onward! its truth will be felt,
The bonds shall be loosened, the iron shall melt!

And oh, will the land where the free soul of Penn
Still lingers and breathes over mountain and glen;
Will the land where a Benezet's spirit went forth
To the peeled and the meted, and outcast of Earth;
Where the words of the Charter of Liberty first
From the soul of the sage and the patriot burst;
Where first for the wronged and the weak of their kind,
The Christian and statesman their efforts combined;
Will that land of the free and the good wear a chain?
Will the call to the rescue of Freedom be vain?

[49] No, Ritner! her ‘Friend’ at thy warning shall stand
Erect for the truth, like their ancestral band;
Forgetting the feuds and the strife of past time,
Counting coldness injustice, and silence a crime;
Turning back from the cavil of creeds, to unite
Once again for the poor in defence of the Right;
Breasting calmly, but firmly, the full tide of Wrong,
Overwhelmed, but not borne on its surges along;
Unappalled by the danger, the shame, and the pain,
And counting each trial for Truth as their gain!

And that bold-hearted yeomanry, honest and true,
Who, haters of fraud, give to labor its due;
Whose fathers, of old, sang in concert with thine,
On the banks of Swetara, the songs of the Rhine,—
The German-born pilgrims, who first dared to brave
The scorn of the proud in the cause of the slave;
Will the sons of such men yield the lords of the South
One brow for the brand, for the padlock one mouth?
They cater to tyrants? They rivet the chain,
Which their fathers smote off, on the negro again?

No, never! one voice, like the sound in the cloud,
When the roar of the storm waxes loud and more loud,
Wherever the foot of the freeman hath pressed
From the Delaware's marge to the Lake of the West, [50]
On the South-going breezes shall deepen and grow
Till the land it sweeps over shall tremble below!
The voice of a people, uprisen, awake,
Pennsylvania's watchword, with Freedom at stake,
Thrilling up from each valley, flung down from each height,
‘Our Country and Liberty! God for the Right!’


The Pastoral Letter.

The General Association of Congregational ministers in Massachusetts met at Brookfield, June 27, 1837, and issued a Pastoral Letter to the churches under its care. The immediate occasion of it was the profound sensation produced by the recent public lecture in Massachusetts by Angelina and Sarah Grimke, two noble women from South Carolina, who bore their testimony against slavery. The Letter demanded that ‘ the perplexed and agitating subjects which are now common amongst us . . . should not be forced upon any church as matters for debate, at the hazard of alienation and division,’ and called attention to the dangers now seeming ‘ to threaten the female character with widespread and permanent injury.’

So, this is all,—the utmost reach
     Of priestly power the mind to fetter!
When laymen think, when women preach,
     A war of words, a ‘Pastoral Letter!’
Now, shame upon ye, parish Popes!
     Was it thus with those, your predecessors,
Who sealed with racks, and fire; and ropes
     Their loving-kindness to transgressors?

A ‘ Pastoral Letter,’ grave and dull;
     Alas! in hoof and horns and features, [51]
How different is your Brookfield bull
     From him who bellows from St. Peter's!
Your pastoral rights and powers from harm,
     Think ye, can words alone preserve them?
Your wiser fathers taught the arm
     And sword of temporal power to serve them.

Oh, glorious days, when Church and State
     Were wedded by your spiritual fathers!
And on submissive shoulders sat
     Your Wilsons and your Cotton Mathers.
No vile ‘itinerant ’ then could mar
     The beauty of your tranquil Zion,
But at his peril of the scar
     Of hangman's whip and branding-iron.

Then, wholesome laws relieved the Church
     Of heretic and mischief-maker,
And priest and bailiff joined in search,
     By turns, of Papist, witch, and Quaker!
The stocks were at each church's door,
     The gallows stood on Boston Common,
A Papist's ears the pillory bore,—
     The gallows-rope, a Quaker woman!

Your fathers dealt not as ye deal
     With ‘ non-professing ’ frantic teachers;
They bored the tongue with red-hot steel,
     And flayed the backs of ‘female preachers.’
Old Hampton, had her fields a tongue,
     And Salem's streets could tell their story,
Of fainting woman dragged along,
     Gashed by the whip accursed and gory!

[52] And will ye ask me, why this taunt
     Of memories sacred from the scorner?
And why with reckless hand I plant
     A nettle on the graves ye honor?
Not to reproach New England's dead
     This record from the past I summon,
Of manhood to the scaffold led,
     And suffering and heroic woman.

No, for yourselves alone, I turn
     The pages of intolerance over,
That, in their spirit, dark and stern,
     Ye haply may your own discover!
For, if ye claim the ‘pastoral right’
     To silence Freedom's voice of warning,
And from your precincts shut the light
     Of Freedom's day around ye dawning;

If when an earthquake voice of power
     And signs in earth and heaven are showing
That forth, in its appointed hour,
     The Spirit of the Lord is going!
And, with that Spirit, Freedom's light
     On kindred, tongue, and people breaking,
Whose slumbering millions, at the sight,
     In glory and in strength are waking!

When for the sighing of the poor,
     And for the needy, God hath risen,
And chains are breaking, and a door
     Is opening for the souls in prison!
If then ye would, with puny hands,
     Arrest the very work of Heaven, [53]
And bind anew the evil bands
     Which God's right arm of power hath riven;

What marvel that, in many a mind,
     Those darker deeds of bigot madness
Are closely with your own combined,
     Yet ‘less in anger than in sadness ’?
What marvel, if the people learn
     To claim the right of free opinion?
What marvel, if at times they spurn
     The ancient yoke of your dominion?

A glorious remnant linger yet,
     Whose lips are wet at Freedom's fountains,
The coming of whose welcome feet
     Is beautiful upon our mountains!
Men, who the gospel tidings bring
     Of Liberty and Love forever,
Whose joy is an abiding spring,
     Whose peace is as a gentle river!

But ye, who scorn the thrilling tale
     Of Carolina's high-souled daughters,
Which echoes here the mournful wail
     Of sorrow from Edisto's waters,
Close while ye may the public ear,
     With malice vex, with slander wound them,
The pure and good shall throng to hear,
     And tried and manly hearts surround them.

Oh, ever may the power which led
     Their way to such a fiery trial,
And strengthened womanhood to tread
     The wine-press of such self-denial, [54]
Be round them in an evil land,
     With wisdom and with strength from Heaven,
With Miriam's voice, and Judith's hand,
     And Deborah's song, for triumph given!

And what are ye who strive with God
     Against the ark of His salvation,
Moved by the breath of prayer abroad,
     With blessings for a dying nation?
What, but the stubble and the hay
     To perish, even as flax consuming,
With all that bars His glorious way,
     Before the brightness of His coming?

And thou, sad Angel, who so long
     Hast waited for the glorious token,
That Earth from all her bonds of wrong
     To liberty and light has broken,—
Angel of Freedom! soon to thee
     The sounding trumpet shall be given,
And over Earth's full jubilee
     Shall deeper joy be felt in Heaven!



Written for the celebration of the third anniversary of British emancipation at the Broadway Tabernacle, New York, first of August, 1837.

O holy Father! just and true
     Are all Thy works and words and ways,
And unto Thee alone are due
     Thanksgiving and eternal praise! [55]
We veil the eye, we bend the knee,
     With broken words of praise and prayer,
Father and God, we come to Thee.

For Thou hast heard, O God of Right,
     The sighing of the island slave;
And stretched for him the arm of might,
     Not shortened that it could not save.
The laborer sits beneath his vine,
     The shackled soul and hand are free;
Thanksgiving! for the work is Thine!
     Praise! for the blessing is of Thee!

And oh, we feel Thy presence here,
     Thy awful arm in judgment bare!
Thine eye hath seen the bondman's tear;
     Thine ear hath heard the bondman's prayer.
Praise! for the pride of man is low,
     The counsels of the wise are naught,
The fountains of repentance flow;
     What hath our God in mercy wrought?

Speed on Thy work, Lord God of Hosts!
     And when the bondman's chain is riven,
And swells from all our guilty coasts
     The anthem of the free to Heaven,
Oh, not to those whom Thou hast led,
     As with Thy cloud and fire before,
But unto Thee, in fear and dread,
     Be praise and glory evermore.


The farewell

Of a Virginia slave mother to her daughters sold into Southern bondage.

gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings,
     Where the noisome insect stings,
Where the fever demon strews
     Poison with the falling dews,
Where the sickly sunbeams glare
     Through the hot and misty air;
Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone,
From Virginia's hills and waters;
     Woe is me, my stolen daughters!

Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
There no mother's eye is near them,
     There no mother's ear can hear them;
Never, when the torturing lash
     Seams their back with many a gash,
Shall a mother's kindness bless them,
     Or a mother's arms caress them.
Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone,
From Virginia's hills and waters;
     Woe is me, my stolen daughters!

Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone. [57]
Oh, when weary, sad, and slow,
     From the fields at night they go,
Faint with toil, and racked with pain,
     To their cheerless homes again,
There no brother's voice shall greet their;
     There no father's welcome meet them.
Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone,
From Virginia's hills and waters;
     Woe is me, my stolen daughters!

Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
From the tree whose shadow lay
     On their childhood's place of play;
From the cool spring where they drank;
     Rock, and hill, and rivulet bank;
From the solemn house of prayer,
     And the holy counsels there;
Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone,
From Virginia's hills and waters;
     Woe is me, my stolen daughters!

Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone;
Toiling through the weary day,
     And at night the spoiler's prey.
Oh, that they had earlier died,
     Sleeping calmly, side by side,
Where the tyrant's power is o'er,
     And the fetter galls no more!
Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone, [58]
From Virginia's hills and waters;
     Woe is me, my stolen daughters!

Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
By the holy love He beareth;
     By the bruised reed He spareth;
Oh, may He, to whom alone
     All their cruel wrongs are known,
Still their hope and refuge prove,
     With a more than mother's love.
Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
     To the rice-swamp dank and lone,
From Virginia's hills and waters;
     Woe is me, my stolen daughters!


Pennsylvania Hall.

Read at the dedication of Pennsylvania Hall, Philadelphia, May 15, 1838. The building was erected by an association of gentlemen, irrespective of sect or party, ‘that the citizens of Philadelphia should possess a room wherein the principles of Liberty, and Equality of Civil Rights, could be freely discussed, and the evils of slavery fearlessly portrayed.’ On the evening of the 17th it was burned by a mob, destroying the office of the Pennsylvania Freeman, of which I was editor, and with it my books and papers.

not with the splendors of the days of old,
The spoil of nations, and barbaric gold;
No weapons wrested from the fields of blood,
Where dark and stern the unyielding Roman stood,
And the proud eagles of his cohorts saw
A world, war-wasted, crouching to his law; [59]
Nor blazoned car, nor banners floating gay,
Like those which swept along the Appian Way,
When, to the welcome of imperial Rome,
The victor warrior came in triumph home,
And trumpet peal, and shoutings wild and high,
Stirred the blue quiet of the Italian sky;
But calm and grateful, prayerful and sincere,
As Christian freemen only, gathering here,
We dedicate our fair and lofty Hall,
Pillar and arch, entablature and wall,
As Virtue's shrine, as Liberty's abode,
Sacred to Freedom, and to Freedom's God!
Far statelier Halls, 'neath brighter skies than these,
Stood darkly mirrored in the Aegean seas,
Pillar and shrine, and life-like statues seen,
Graceful and pure, the marble shafts between;
Where glorious Athens from her rocky hill
Saw Art and Beauty subject to her will;
And the chaste temple, and the classic grove,
The hall of sages, and the bowers of love,
Arch, fane, and column, graced the shores, and gaye
Their shadows to the blue Saronic wave;
And statelier rose, on Tiber's winding side,
The Pantheon's dome, the Coliseum's pride,
The Capitol, whose arches backward flung
The deep, clear cadence of the Roman tongue,
Whence stern decrees, like words of fate, went forth
To the awed nations of a conquered earth,
Where the proud Caesars in their glory came,
And Brutus lightened from his lips of flame! [60]
Yet in the porches of Athena's halls,
And in the shadow of her stately walls,
Lurked the sad bondman, and his tears of woe
Wet the cold marble with unheeded flow;
And fetters clanked beneath the silver dome
Of the proud Pantheon of imperious Rome.
Oh, not for him, the chained and stricken slave,
By Tiber's shore, or blue Aegina's wave,
In the thronged forum, or the sages' seat,
The bold lip pleaded, and the warm heart beat;
No soul of sorrow melted at his pain,
No tear of pity rusted on his chain!

But this fair Hall to Truth and Freedom given,
Pledged to the Right before all Earth and Heaven,
A free arena for the strife of mind,
To caste, or sect, or color unconfined,
Shall thrill with echoes such as ne'er of old
From Roman hall or Grecian temple rolled;
Thoughts shall find utterance such as never yet
The Propylea or the Forum met.
Beneath its roof no gladiator's strife
Shall win applauses with the waste of life;
No lordly lictor urge the barbarous game,
No wanton Lais glory in her shame.
But here the tear of sympathy shall flow,
As the ear listens to the tale of woe;
Here in stern judgment of the oppressor's wrong
Shall strong rebukings thrill on Freedom's tongue,
No partial justice hold th' unequal scale,
No pride of caste a brother's rights assail,
No tyrant's mandates echo from this wall,
Holy to Freedom and the Rights of All! [61]
But a fair field, where mind may close with mind,
Free as the sunshine and the chainless wind;
Where the high trust is fixed on Truth alone,
And bonds and fetters from the soul are thrown;
Where wealth, and rank, and worldly pomp, and might,
Yield to the presence of the True and Right.

And fitting is it that this Hall should stand
Where Pennsylvania's Founder led his band,
From thy blue waters, Delaware!—to press
The virgin verdure of the wilderness.
Here, where all Europe with amazement saw
The soul's high freedom trammelled by no law;
Here, where the fierce and warlike forest-men
Gathered, in peace, around the home of Penn,
Awed by the weapons Love alone had given
Drawn from the holy armory of Heaven;
Where Nature's voice against the bondman's wrong
First found an earnest and indignant tongue;
Where Lay's bold message to the proud was borne;
And Keith's rebuke, and Franklin's manly scorn!
Fitting it is that here, where Freedom first
From her fair feet shook off the Old World's dust,
Spread her white pinions to our Western blast,
And her free tresses to our sunshine cast,
One Hall should rise redeemed from Slavery's ban,
One Temple sacred to the Rights of Man!

Oh! if the spirits of the parted come,
Visiting angels, to their olden home; [62]
If the dead fathers of the land look forth
From their fair dwellings, to the things of earth,
Is it a dream, that with their eyes of love,
They gaze now on us from the bowers above?
Lay's ardent soul, and Benezet the mild,
Steadfast in faith, yet gentle as a child,
Meek-hearted Woolman, and that brother-band,
The sorrowing exiles from their ‘Father land,’
Leaving their homes in Krieshiem's bowers of vine,
And the blue beauty of their glorious Rhine,
To seek amidst our solemn depths of wood
Freedom from man, and holy peace with God;
Who first of all their testimonial gave
Against the oppressor, for the outcast slave,
Is it a dream that such as these look down,
And with their blessing our rejoicings crown?
Let us rejoice, that while the pulpit's door
Is barred against the pleaders for the poor;
While the Church, wrangling upon points of faith,
Forgets her bondmen suffering unto death;
While crafty Traffic and the lust of Gain
Unite to forge Oppression's triple chain,
One door is open, and one Temple free,
As a resting-place for hunted Liberty!
Where men may speak, unshackled and unawed,
High words of Truth, for Freedom and for God.
And when that truth its perfect work hath done,
And rich with blessings o'er our land hath gone;
When not a slave beneath his yoke shall pine,
From broad Potomac to the far Sabine:
When unto angel lips at last is given
The silver trump of Jubilee in Heaven; [63]
And from Virginia's plains, Kentucky's shades,
And through the dim Floridian everglades,
Rises, to meet that angel-trumpet's sound,
The voice of millions from their chains unbound;
Then, though this Hall be crumbling in decay,
Its strong walls blending with the common clay,
Yet, round the ruins of its strength shall stand
The best and noblest of a ransomed land—
Pilgrims, like these who throng around the shrine
Of Mecca, or of holy Palestine!
A prouder glory shall that ruin own
Than that which lingers round the Parthenon.
Here shall the child of after years be taught
The works of Freedom which his fathers wrought;
Told of the trials of the present hour,
Our weary strife with prejudice and power;
How the high errand quickened woman's soul,
And touched her lip as with a living coal;
How Freedom's martyrs kept their lofty faith
True and unwavering, unto bonds and death;
The pencil's art shall sketch the ruined Hall,
The Muses' garland crown its aged wall,
And History's pen for after times record
Its consecration unto Freedom's God!

The New year.

Addressed to the Patrons of the Pennsylvania Freeman.

the wave is breaking on the shore,
     The echo fading from the chime;
Again the shadow moveth o'er
     The dial-plate of time!

[64] O seer-seen Angel! waiting now
     With weary feet on sea and shore,
Impatient for the last dread vow
     That time shall be no more!

Once more across thy sleepless eye
     The semblance of a smile has passed:
The year departing leaves more nigh
     Time's fearfullest and last.

Oh, in that dying year hath been
     The sum of all since time began;
The birth and death, the joy and pain,
     Of Nature and of Man.

Spring, with her change of sun and shower,
     And streams released from Winter's chain,
And bursting bud, and opening flower,
     And greenly growing grain;

And Summer's shade, and sunshine warm,
     And rainbows o'er her hill-tops bowed,
And voices in her rising storm;
     God speaking from His cloud!

And Autumn's fruits and clustering sheaves,
     And soft, warm days of golden light,
The glory of her forest leaves,
     And harvest-moon at night;

And Winter with her leafless grove,
     And prisoned stream, and drifting snow,
The brilliance of her heaven above
     And of her earth below:

[65] And man, in whom an angel's mind
     With earth's low instincts finds abode,
The highest of the links which bind
     Brute nature to her God;

His infant eye hath seen the light,
     His childhood's merriest laughter rung,
And active sports to manlier might
     The nerves of boyhood strung!

And quiet love, and passion's fires,
     Have soothed or burned in manhood's breast,
And lofty aims and low desires
     By turns disturbed his rest.

The wailing of the newly-born
     Has mingled with the funeral knell;
And o'er the dying's ear has gone
     The merry marriage-bell.

And Wealth has filled his halls with mirth,
     While Want, in many a humble shed,
Toiled, shivering by her cheerless hearth,
     The live-long night for bread.

And worse than all, the human slave,
     The sport of lust, and pride, and scorn!
Plucked off the crown his Maker gave,
     His regal manhood gone!

Oh, still, my country! o'er thy plains,
     Blackened with slavery's blight and ban,
That human chattel drags his chains,
     An uncreated man!

[66] And still, where'er to sun and breeze,
     My country, is thy flag unrolled,
With scorn, the gazing stranger sees
     A stain on every fold.

Oh, tear the gorgeous emblem down!
     It gathers scorn from every eye,
And despots smile and good men frown
     Whene'er it passes by.

Shame! shame! its starry splendors glow
     Above the slaver's loathsome jail;
Its folds are ruffling even now
     His crimson flag of sale.

Still round our country's proudest hall
     The trade in human flesh is driven,
And at each careless hammer-fall
     A human heart is riven.

And this, too, sanctioned by the men
     Vested with power to shield the right,
And throw each vile and robber den
     Wide open to the light.

Yet, shame upon them! there they sit,
     Men of the North, subdued and still;
Meek, pliant poltroons, only fit
     To work a master's will.

Sold, bargained off for Southern votes,
     A passive herd of Northern mules,
Just braying through their purchased throats
     Whate'er their owner rules.

[67] And he,2 the basest of the base,
     The vilest of the vile, whose name,
Embalmed in infinite disgrace,
     Is deathless in its shame!

A tool, to bolt the people's door
     Against the people clamoring there,
An ass, to trample on their floor
     A people's right of prayer!

Nailed to his self-made gibbet fast,
     Self-pilloried to the public view,
A mark for every passing blast
     Of scorn to whistle through;

There let him hang, and hear the boast
     Of Southrons o'er their pliant tool,—
A new Stylites on his post,
     ‘Sacred to ridicule!’

Look we at home! our noble hall,
     To Freedom's holy purpose given,
Now rears its black and ruined wall,
     Beneath the wintry heaven,

Telling the story of its doom,
     The fiendish mob, the prostrate law,
The fiery jet through midnight's gloom,
     Our gazing thousands saw.

Look to our State! the poor man's right
     Torn from him: and the sons of those
Whose blood in Freedom's sternest fight
     Sprinkled the Jersey snows,

[68] Outlawed within the land of Penn,
     That Slavery's guilty fears might cease,
And those whom God created men
     Toil on as brutes in peace.

Yet o'er the blackness of the storm
     A bow of promise bends on high,
And gleams of sunshine, soft and warm,
     Break through our clouded sky.

East, West, and North, the shout is heard,
     Of freemen rising for the right:
Each valley hath its rallying word,
     Each hill its signal light.

O'er Massachusetts' rocks of gray,
     The strengthening light of freedom shines,
Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay,
     And Vermont's snow-hung pines!

From Hudson's frowning palisades
     To Alleghany's laurelled crest,
O'er lakes and prairies, streams and glades,
     It shines upon the West.

Speed on the light to those who dwell
     In Slavery's land of woe and sin,
And through the blackness of that hell,
     Let Heaven's own light break in.

So shall the Southern conscience quake
     Before that light poured full and strong,
So shall the Southern heart awake
     To all the bondman's wrong.

[69] And from that rich and sunny land
     The song of grateful millions rise,
Like that of Israel's ransomed band
     Beneath Arabia's skies:

And all who now are bound beneath
     Our banner's shade, our eagle's wing,
From Slavery's night of moral death
     To light and life shall spring.

Broken the bondman's chain, and gone
     The master's guilt, and hate, and fear,
And unto both alike shall dawn
     A New and Happy Year.


The relic.

Written on receiving a cane wrought from a fragment of the wood-work of Pennsylvania Hall which the fire had spared.

token of friendship true and tried,
     From one whose fiery heart of youth
With mine has beaten, side by side,
     For Liberty and Truth;
With honest pride the gift I take,
     And prize it for the giver's sake.

But not alone because it tells
     Of generous hand and heart sincere;
Around that gift of friendship dwells
     A memory doubly dear;
Earth's noblest aim, man's holiest thought,
     With that memorial frail inwrought!

[70] Pure thoughts and sweet like flowers unfold,
     And precious memories round it cling,
Even as the Prophet's rod of old
     In beauty blossoming:
And buds of feeling, pure and good,
     Spring from its cold unconscious wood.

Relic of Freedom's shrine! a brand
     Plucked from its burning! let it be
Dear as a jewel from the hand
     Of a lost friend to me!
Flower of a perished garland left,
     Of life and beauty unbereft!

Oh, if the young enthusiast bears,
     O'er weary waste and sea, the stone
Which crumbled from the Forum's stairs,
     Or round the Parthenon;
Or olive-bough from some wild tree
     Hung over old Thermopylae:

If leaflets from some hero's tomb,
     Or moss-wreath torn from ruins hoary;
Or faded flowers whose sisters bloom
     On fields renowned in story;
Or fragment from the Alhambra's crest,
     Or the gray rock by Druids blessed;

Sad Erin's shamrock greenly growing
     Where Freedom led her stalwart kern,
Or Scotia's ‘rough bur thistle’ blowing
     On Bruce's Bannockburn;
Or Runnymede's wild English rose,
     Or lichen plucked from Sempach's snows!

[71] If it be true that things like these
     To heart and eye bright visions bring,
Shall not far holier memories
     To this memorial cling?
Which needs no mellowing mist of time
     To hide the crimson stains of crime!

Wreck of a temple, unprofaned;
     Of courts where Peace with Freedom trod,
Lifting on high, with hands unstained,
     Thanksgiving unto God;
Where Mercy's voice of love was pleading
     For human hearts in bondage bleeding!

Where, midst the sound of rushing feet
     And curses on the night-air flung,
That pleading voice rose calm and sweet
     From woman's earnest tongue;
And Riot turned his scowling glance,
     Awed, from her tranquil countenance!

That temple now in ruin lies!
     The fire-stain on its shattered wall,
And open to the changing skies
     Its black and roofless hall,
It stands before a nation's sight,
     A gravestone over buried Right!

But from that ruin, as of old,
     The fire-scorched stones themselves are crying,
And from their ashes white and cold
     Its timbers are replying!
A voice which slavery cannot kill
     Speaks from the crumbling arches still!

[72] And even this relic from thy shrine,
     O holy Freedom! hath to me
A potent power, a voice and sign
     To testify of thee;
And, grasping it, methinks I feel
     A deeper faith, a stronger zeal.

And not unlike that mystic rod,
     Of old stretched o'er the Egyptian wave,
Which opened, in the strength of God,
     A pathway for the slave,
It yet may point the bondman's way,
     And turn the spoiler from his prey.


The world's convention

Of the friends of Emancipation, held in London in 1840.

Joseph Sturge, the founder of the British and Foreign Anti-

Slavery Society, proposed the calling of a world's anti-slavery
convention, and the proposal was promptly seconded by the
American Anti-Slavery Society. The call was addressed to
‘friends of the slave of every nation and of every clime.’

Yes, let them gather! Summon forth
     The pledged philanthropy of Earth.
From every land, whose hills have heard
     The bugle blast of Freedom waking;
Or shrieking of her symbol-bird
     From out his cloudy eyrie breaking:
Where Justice hath one worshipper,
     Or truth one altar built to her; [73]
Where'er a human eye is weeping
     O'er wrongs which Earth's sad children know;
Where'er a single heart is keeping
     Its prayerful watch with human woe:
Thence let them come, and greet each other,
     And know in each a friend and brother!

Yes, let them come! from each green vale
     Where England's old baronial halls
Still bear upon their storied walls
     The grim crusader's rusted mail,
Battered by Paynim spear and brand
     On Malta's rock or Syria's sand!
And mouldering pennon-staves once set
     Within the soil of Palestine,
By Jordan and Gennesaret;
     Or, borne with England's battle line,
O'er Acre's shattered turrets stooping,
     Or, midst the camp their banners drooping,
With dews from hallowed Hermon wet,
     A holier summons now is given
Than that gray hermit's voice of old,
     Which unto all the winds of heaven
The banners of the Cross unrolled!
     Not for the long-deserted shrine;
Not for the dull unconscious sod,
     Which tells not by one lingering sign
That there the hope of Israel trod;
     But for that truth, for which alone
In pilgrim eyes are sanctified
     The garden moss, the mountain stone,
Whereon His holy sandals pressed,—
     The fountain which His lip hath blessed,— [74]
Whate'er hath touched His garment's hem
     At Bethany or Bethlehem,
Or Jordan's river-side.
     For Freedom in the name of Him
Who came to raise Earth's drooping poor,
     To break the chain from every limb,
The bolt from every prison door!
     For these, o'er all the earth hath passed
An ever-deepening trumpet blast,
     As if an angel's breath had lent
Its vigor to the instrument.

And Wales, from Snowden's mountain wall,
     Shall startle at that thrilling call,
As if she heard her bards again;
     And Erin's ‘harp on Tara's wall’
Give out its ancient strain,
     Mirthful and sweet, yet sad withal,—
The melody which Erin loves,
     When o'er that harp, 'mid bursts of gladness
And slogan cries and lyke-wake sadness,
     The hand of her O'Connell moves!
Scotland, from lake and tarn and rill,
     And mountain hold, and heathery hill,
Shall catch and echo back the note,
     As if she heard upon the air
Once more her Cameronian's prayer
     And song of Freedom float.
And cheering echoes shall reply
     From each remote dependency,
Where Britain's mighty sway is known,
     In tropic sea or frozen zone;
Where'er her sunset flag is furling,
     Or morning gun-fire's smoke is curling; [75]
From Indian Bengal's groves of palm
     And rosy fields and gales of balm,
Where Eastern pomp and power are rolled
     Through regal Ava's gates of gold;
And from the lakes and ancient woods
     And dim Canadian solitudes,
Whence, sternly from her rocky throne,
     Queen of the North, Quebec looks down;
And from those bright and ransomed Isles
     Where all unwonted Freedom smiles,
And the dark laborer still retains
     The scar of slavery's broken chains!

From the hoar Alps, which sentinel
     The gateways of the land of Tell,
Where morning's keen and earliest glance
     On Jura's rocky wall is thrown,
And from the olive bowers of France
     And vine groves garlanding the Rhone,—
‘Friends of the Blacks,’ as true and tried
     As those who stood by Oge's side,
And heard the Haytien's tale of wrong,
     Shall gather at that summons strong;
Broglie, Passy, and he whose song
     Breathed over Syria's holy sod,
And in the paths which Jesus trod,
     And murmured midst the hills which hem
Crownless and sad Jerusalem,
     Hath echoes whereso'er the tone
Of Israel's prophet-lyre is known.

Still let them come; from Quito's walls,
     And from the Orinoco's tide, [76]
From Lima's Inca-haunted halls,
     From Santa Fe and Yucatan,—
Men who by swart Guerrero's side
     Proclaimed the deathless rights of man,
Broke every bond and fetter off,
     And hailed in every sable serf
A free and brother Mexican!
     Chiefs who across the Andes' chain
Have followed Freedom's flowing pennon,
     And seen on Junin's fearful plain,
Glare o'er the broken ranks of Spain
     The fire-burst of Bolivar's cannon!
And Hayti, from her mountain land,
     Shall send the sons of those who hurled
Defiance from her blazing strand,
     The war-gage from her Petion's hand,
Alone against a hostile world.

Nor all unmindful, thou, the while,
     Land of the dark and mystic Nile!
Thy Moslem mercy yet may shame
     All tyrants of a Christian name,
When in the shade of Gizeh's pile,
     Or, where, from Abyssinian hills
El Gerek's upper fountain fills,
     Or where from Mountains of the Moon
El Abiad bears his watery boon,
     Where'er thy lotus blossoms swim
Within their ancient hallowed waters;
     Where'er is heard the Coptic hymn,
Or song of Nubia's sable daughters;
     The curse of slavery and the crime,
Thy bequest from remotest time, [77]
     At thy dark Mehemet's decree
Forevermore shall pass from thee;
     And chains forsake each captive's limb
Of all those tribes, whose hills around
     Have echoed back the cymbal sound
And victor horn of Ibrahim.

And thou whose glory and whose crime
     To earth's remotest bound and clime,
In mingled tones of awe and scorn,
     The echoes of a world have borne,
My country! glorious at thy birth,
     A day-star flashing brightly forth,
The herald-sign of Freedom's dawn!
     Oh, who could dream that saw thee then,
And watched thy rising from afar,
     That vapors from oppression's fen
Would cloud the upward tending star?
     Or, that earth's tyrant powers, which heard,
Awe-struck, the shout which hailed thy dawning,
     Would rise so soon, prince, peer, and king,
To mock thee with their welcoming,
     Like Hades when her thrones were stirred
To greet the down-cast Star of Morning!
     “Aha! and art thou fallen thus?
Art thou become as one of us?”

Land of my fathers! there will stand,
     Amidst that world-assembled band,
Those owning thy maternal claim
     Unweakened by thy crime and shame;
The sad reprovers of thy wrong;
     The children that hast spurned so long. [78]
Still with affection's fondest yearning
     To their unnatural mother turning.
No traitors they! but tried and leal,
     Whose own is but thy general weal,
Still blending with the patriot's zeal
     The Christian's love for human kind,
To caste and climate unconfined.

A holy gathering! peaceful all:
     No threat of war, no savage call
For vengeance on an erring brother!
     But in their stead the godlike plan
To teach the brotherhood of man
     To love and reverence one another,
As sharers of a common blood,
     The children of a common God!
Yet, even at its lightest word,
     Shall Slavery's darkest depths be stirred:
Spain, watching from her Moro's keep
     Her slave-ships traversing the deep,
And Rio, in her strength and pride,
     Lifting, along her mountain-side,
Her snowy battlements and towers,
     Her lemon-groves and tropic bowers,
With bitter hate and sullen fear
     Its freedom-giving voice shall hear;
And where my country's flag is flowing,
     On breezes from Mount Vernon blowing,
Above the Nation's council halls,
     Where Freedom's praise is loud and long,
While close beneath the outward walls
     The driver plies his reeking thong;
The hammer of the man-thief falls, [79]
     O'er hypocritic cheek and brow
The crimson flush of shame shall glow:
     And all who for their native land
Are pledging life and heart and hand,
     Worn watchers o'er her changing weal,
Who for her tarnished honor feel,
     Through cottage door and council-hall
Shall thunder an awakening call.
     The pen along its page shall burn
With all intolerable scorn;
     An eloquent rebuke shall go
On all the winds that Southward blow;
     From priestly lips, now sealed and dumb,
Warning and dread appeal shall come,
     Like those which Israel heard from him,
The Prophet of the Cherubim;
     Or those which sad Esaias hurled
Against a sin-accursed world!
     Its wizard leaves the Press shall fling
Unceasing from its iron wing,
     With characters inscribed thereon,
As fearful in the despot's hall
     As to the pomp of Babylon
The fire-sign on the palace wall!

And, from her dark iniquities,
     Methinks I see my country rise:
Not challenging the nations round
     To note her tardy justice done;
Her captives from their chains unbound,
     Her prisons opening to the sun:
But tearfully her arms extending
     Over the poor and unoffending;
Her regal emblem now no longer [80]
     A bird of prey, with talons reeking,
Above the dying captive shrieking,
     But, spreading out her ample wing,
A broad, impartial covering,
     The weaker sheltered by the stronger!
Oh, then to Faith's anointed eyes
     The promised token shall be given;
And on a nation's sacrifice,
     Atoning for the sin of years,
And wet with penitential tears,
     The fire shall fall from Heaven!


Massachusetts to Virginia.

Written on reading an account of the proceedings of the citizens of Norfolk, Va., in reference to George Latimer, the alleged fugitive slave, who was seized in Boston without warrant at the request of James B. Grey, of Norfolk, claiming to be his master. The case caused great excitement North and South, and led to the presentation of a petition to Congress, signed by more than fifty thousand citizens of Massachusetts, calling for such laws and proposed amendments to the Constitution as should relieve the Commonwealth from all further participation in the crime of oppression. George Latimer himself was finally given free papers for the sum of four hundred dollars.

the blast from Freedom's Northern hills, upon its Southern way,
Bears greeting to Virginia from Massachusetts Bay:
No word of haughty challenging, nor battle bugle's peal,
Nor steady tread of marching files, nor clang of horsemen's steel.

[81] No trains of deep-mouthed cannon along our high-ways go;
Around our silent arsenals untrodden lies the snow;
And to the land-breeze of our ports, upon their errands far,
A thousand sails of commerce swell, but none are spread for war.

We hear thy threats, Virginia! thy stormy words and high,
Swell harshly on the Southern winds which melt along our sky;
Yet, not one brown, hard hand foregoes its honest labor here,
No hewer of our mountain oaks suspends his axe in fear.

Wild are the waves which lash the reefs along St. George's bank;
Cold on the shore of Labrador the fog lies white and dank;
Through storm, and wave, and blinding mist, stout are the hearts which man
The fishing-smacks of Marblehead, the sea-boats of Cape Ann.

The cold north light and wintry sun glare on their icy forms,
Bent grimly o'er their straining lines or wrestling with the storms;
Free as the winds they drive before, rough as the waves they roam,
They laugh to scorn the slaver's threat against their rocky home.

[82] What means the Old Dominion? Hath she forgot the day
When o'er her conquered valleys swept the Briton's steel array?
How side by side, with sons of hers, the Massachusetts men
Encountered Tarleton's charge of fire, and stout Cornwallis, then?

Forgets she how the Bay State, in answer to the call
Of her old House of Burgesses, spoke out from Faneuil Hall?
When, echoing back her Henry's cry, came pulsing on each breath
Of Northern winds, the thrilling sounds of ‘ Liberty or Death! ’

What asks the Old Dominion? If now her sons have proved
False to their fathers' memory, false to the faith they loved;
If she can scoff at Freedom, and its great charter spurn,
Must we of Massachusetts from truth and duty turn?

We hunt your bondmen, flying from Slavery's hateful hell;
Our voices, at your bidding, take up the bloodhound's yell;
We gather, at your summons, above our fathers' graves,
From Freedom's holy altar-horns to tear your wretched slaves!

[83] Thank God! not yet so vilely can Massachusetts bow;
The spirit of her early time is with her even now;
Dream not because her Pilgrim blood moves slow and calm and cool,
She thus can stoop her chainless neck, a sister's slave and tool!

All that a sister State should do, all that a free State may,
Heart, hand, and purse we proffer, as in our early day;
But that one dark loathsome burden ye must stagger with alone,
And reap the bitter harvest which ye yourselves have sown!

Hold, while ye may, your struggling slaves, and burden God's free air
With woman's shriek beneath the lash, and manhood's wild despair;
Cling closer to the ‘cleaving curse’ that writes upon your plains
The blasting of Almighty wrath against a land of chains.

Still shame your gallant ancestry, the cavaliers of old,
By watching round the shambles where human flesh is sold;
Gloat o'er the new-born child, and count his market value, when
The maddened mother's cry of woe shall pierce the slaver's den!

[84] Lower than plummet soundeth, sink the Virginia name;
Plant, if ye will, your fathers' graves with rankest weeds of shame;
Be, if ye will, the scandal of God's fair universe;
We wash our hands forever of your sin and shame and curse.

A voice from lips whereon the coal from Freedom's shrine hath been,
Thrilled, as but yesterday, the hearts of Berkshire's mountain men:
The echoes of that solemn voice are sadly lingering still
In all our sunny valleys, on every wind-swept hill.

And when the prowling man-thief came hunting for his prey
Beneath the very shadow of Bunker's shaft of gray,
How, through the free lips of the son, the father's warning spoke;
How, from its bonds of trade and sect, the Pilgrim city broke!

A hundred thousand right arms were lifted up on high,
A hundred thousand voices sent back their loud reply;
Through the thronged towns of Essex the startling summons rang,
And up from bench and loom and wheel her young mechanics sprang!

[85] The voice of free, broad Middlesex, of thousands as of one,
The shaft of Bunker calling to that of Lexington;
From Norfolk's ancient villages, from Plymouth's rocky bound
To where Nantucket feels the arms of ocean close her round;

From rich and rural Worcester, where through the calm repose
Of cultured vales and fringing woods the gentle Nashua flows,
To where Wachuset's wintry blasts the mountain larches stir,
Swelled up to Heaven the thrilling cry of ‘ God save Latimer! ’

And sandy Barnstable rose up, wet with the salt sea spray;
And Bristol sent her answering shout down Narragansett Bay!
Along the broad Connecticutold Hampden felt the thrill,
And the cheer of Hampshire's woodmen swept down from Holyoke Hill.

The voice of Massachusetts! Of her free sons and daughters,
Deep calling unto deep aloud, the sound of many waters!
Against the burden of that voice what tyrant power shall stand?
No fetters in the Bay State! No slave upon her land!

[86] Look to it well, Virginians! In calmness we have borne,
In answer to our faith and trust, your insult and your scorn;
You've spurned our kindest counsels; you've hunted for our lives;
And shaken round our hearths and homes your manacles and gyves!

We wage no war, we lift no arm, we fling no torch within
The fire-damps of the quaking mine beneath your soil of sin;
We leave ye with your bondmen, to wrestle, while ye can,
With the strong upward tendencies and godlike soul of man!

But for us and for our children, the vow which we have given
For freedom and humanity is registered in heaven;
No slave-hunt in our borders,—no pirate on our strand!
No fetters in the Bay State,—no slave upon our land!


The Christian slave.

In a publication of L. F. TasistroRandom Shots and South. ern Breezes—is a description of a slave auction at New Orleans, at which the auctioneer recommended the woman on the stand as ‘A good Christian!’ It was not uncommon to see advertisements [87] of slaves for sale, in which they were described as pious or as members of the church. In one advertisement a slave was noted as ‘a Baptist preacher.’

A Christian! going, gone!
     Who bids for God's own image? for his grace,
Which that poor victim of the market-place
     Hath in her suffering won?

My God! can such things be?
     Hast Thou not said that whatsoe'er is done
Unto Thy weakest and Thy humblest one
     Is even done to Thee?

In that sad victim, then,
     Child of Thy pitying love, I see Thee stand;
Once more the jest-word of a mocking band,
     Bound, sold, and scourged again!

A Christian up for sale!
     Wet with her blood your whips, o'ertask her frame,
Make her life loathsome with your wrong and shame,
     Her patience shall not fail!

A heathen hand might deal
     Back on your heads the gathered wrong of years:
But her low, broken prayer and nightly tears,
     Ye neither heed nor feel.

Con well thy lesson o'er,
     Thou prudent teacher, tell the toiling slave
No dangerous tale of Him who came to save
     The outcast and the poor.

[88] But wisely shut the ray
     Of God's free Gospel from her simple heart,
And to her darkened mind alone impart
     One stern command, Obey!3

So shalt thou deftly raise
     The market price of human flesh; and while
On thee, their pampered guest, the planters smile,
     Thy church shall praise.

Grave, reverend men shall tell
     From Northern pulpits how thy work was blest,
While in that vile South Sodom first and best,
     Thy poor disciples sell.

Oh, shame! the Moslem thrall,
     Who, with his master, to the Prophet kneels,
While turning to the sacred Kebla feels
     His fetters break and fall.

Cheers for the turbaned Bey
     Of robber-peopled Tunis! he hath torn
The dark slave-dungeons open, and hath borne
     Their inmates into day:

But our poor slave in vain
     Turns to the Christian shrine his aching eyes;
Its rites will only swell his market price,
     And rivet on his chain.

God of all right! how long
     Shall priestly robbers at Thine altar stand,
Lifting in prayer to Thee, the bloody hand
     And haughty brow of wrong?

[89] Oh, from the fields of cane,
     From the low rice-swamp, from the trader's cell;
From the black slave-ship's foul and loathsome hell,
     And coffle's weary chain;

Hoarse, horrible, and strong,
     Rises to Heaven that agonizing cry,
Filling the arches of the hollow sky,
     How long, O God, how long?


The sentence of John L. Brown.

John L. Brown, a young white man of South Carolina, was in 1844 sentenced to death for aiding a young slave woman, whom he loved and had married, to escape from slavery. In pronouncing the sentence Judge O'Neale addressed to the prisoner these words of appalling blasphemy:
You are to die! To die an ignominious death—the death on the gallows! This announcement is, to you, I know, most appalling. Little did you dream of it when you stepped into the bar with an air as if you thought it was a fine frolic. But the consequences of crime are just such as you are realizing. Punishment often comes when it is least expected. Let me entreat you to take the present opportunity to commence the work of reformation. Time will be furnished you to prepare for the great change just before you. Of your past life I know nothing, except what your trial furnished. That told me that the crime for which you are to suffer was the consequence of a want of attention on your part to the duties of life. The strange woman snared you. She flattered you with her words, and you became her victim. The consequence was, that, led on by a desire to serve her, you committed the offence of aiding a slave to run away and depart from her master's service; and now, for it you are to die!

You are a young man, and I fear you have been dissolute; and [90] if so, these kindred vices have contributed a full measure to your ruin. Reflect on your past life, and make the only useful devotion of the remnant of your days in preparing for death,

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth is the language of inspired wisdom. This comes home appropriately to you in this trying moment.

You are young; quite too young to be where you are. If you had remembered your Creator in your past days, you would not now be in a felon's place, to receive a felon's judgment. Still, it is not too late to remember your Creator. He calls early, and He calls late. He stretches out the arms of a Father's love to you— to the vilest sinner—and says: ‘Come unto me and be saved.’ You can perhaps read. If so, read the Scriptures; read them without note, and without comment; and pray to God for His assistance; and you will be able to say when you pass from prison to execution, as a poor slave said under similar circumstances: ‘ I am glad my Friday has come.’ If you cannot read the Scriptures, the ministers of our holy religion will be ready to aid you. They will read and explain to you until you will be able to understand; and understanding, to call upon the only One who can help you and save you—Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. To Him I commend you. And through Him may you have that opening of the Day-Spring of mercy from on high, which shall bless you here, and crown you as a saint in an everlasting world, forever and ever.

The sentence of the law is that you be taken hence to the place from whence you camelast; thence to the jail of Fairfield District; and that there you be closely and securely confined until Friday, the 26th day of April next; on which day, between the hours of ten in the forenoon and two in the afternoon, you will be taken to the place of public execution, and there be hanged by the neck till your body be dead. And may God have mercy on your soul!

No event in the history of the anti-slavery struggle so stirred the two hemispheres as did this dreadful sentence. A cry of horror was heard from Europe. In the British House of Lords Brougham and Denman spoke of it with mingled pathos and indignation. Thirteen hundred clergymen and church officers in Great Britain addressed a memorial to the churches of South Carolina against the atrocity. Indeed, so strong was the pressure [91] of the sentiment of abhorrence and disgust that South Carolina yielded to it, and the sentence was commuted to scourging and banishment.

Ho! thou who seekest late and long
     A License from the Holy Book
For brutal lust and fiendish wrong,
     Man of the Pulpit, look!
Lift up those cold and atheist eyes,
     This ripe fruit of thy teaching see;
And tell us how to heaven will rise
     The incense of this sacrifice—
This blossom of the gallows tree!

Search out for slavery's hour of need
     Some fitting text of sacred writ;
Give heaven the credit of a deed
     Which shames the nether pit.
Kneel, smooth blasphemer, unto Him
     Whose truth is on thy lips a lie;
Ask that His bright winged cherubim
     May bend around that scaffold grim
To guard and bless and sanctify.

O champion of the people's cause!
     Suspend thy loud and vain rebuke
Of foreign wrong and Old World's laws,
     Man of the Senate, look!
Was this the promise of the free,
     The great hope of our early time,
That slavery's poison vine should be
     Upborne by Freedom's prayer-nursed tree
O'erclustered with such fruits of crime?

[92] Send out the summons East and West.
     And South and North, let all be there
Where he who pitied the oppressed
     Swings out in sun and air.
Let not a Democratic hand
     The grisly hangman's task refuse;
There let each loyal patriot stand,
     Awaiting slavery's command,
To twist the rope and draw the noose!

But vain is irony—unmeet
     Its cold rebuke for deeds which start
In fiery and indignant beat
     The pulses of the heart.
Leave studied wit and guarded phrase
     For those who think but do not feel;
Let men speak out in words which raise
     Where'er they fall, an answering blaze
Like flints which strike the fire from steel.

Still let a mousing priesthood ply
     Their garbled text and gloss of sin,
And make the lettered scroll deny
     Its living soul within:
Still let the place-fed, titled knave
     Plead robbery's right with purchased lips,
And tell us that our fathers gave
     For Freedom's pedestal, a slave,
The frieze and moulding, chains and whips!

But ye who own that Higher Law
     Whose tablets in the heart are set,
Speak out in words of power and awe
     That God is living yet! [93]
Breathe forth once more those tones sublime
     Which thrilled the burdened prophet's lyre,
And in a dark and evil time
     Smote down on Israel's fast of crime
And gift of blood, a rain of fire!

Oh, not for us the graceful lay
     To whose soft measures lightly move
The footsteps of the faun and fay,
     O'er-locked by mirth and love!
But such a stern and startling strain
     As Britain's hunted bards flung down
From Snowden to the conquered plain,
     Where harshly clanked the Saxon chain,
On trampled field and smoking town.

By Liberty's dishonored name,
     By man's lost hope and failing trust,
By words and deeds which bow with shame
     Our foreheads to the dust,
By the exulting strangers' sneer,
     Borne to us from the Old World's thrones,
And by their victims' grief who hear,
     In sunless mines and dungeons drear,
How Freedom's land her faith disowns

Speak out in acts. The time for words
     Has passed, and deeds suffice alone;
In vain against the clang of swords
     The wailing pipe is blown!
Act, act in God's name, while ye may!
     Smite from the church her leprous limb!
Throw open to the light of day [94]
     The bondman's cell, and break away
The chains the state has bound on him!

Ho! every true and living soul,
     To Freedom's perilled altar bear
The Freeman's and the Christian's whole
     Tongue, pen, and vote, and prayer!
One last, great battle for the right—
     One short, sharp struggle to be free!
To do is to succeed—our fight
     Is waged in Heaven's approving sight;
The smile of God is Victory.



Voice of New England.

The five poems immediately following indicate the intense feeling of the friends of freedom in view of the annexation of Texas, with its vast territory sufficient, as was boasted, for six new slave States.

up the hillside, down the glen,
Rouse the sleeping citizen;
Summon out the might of men!

Like a lion growling low,
Like a night-storm rising slow,
Like the tread of unseen foe;

It is coming, it is nigh!
Stand your homes and altars by;
On your own free thresholds die.

[95] Clang the bells in all your spires;
On the gray hills of your sires
Fling to heaven your signal-fires.

From Wachuset, lone and bleak,
Unto Berkshire's tallest peak,
Let the flame-tongued heralds speak.

Oh, for God and duty stand,
Heart to heart and hand to hand,
Round the old graves of the land.

Whoso shrinks or falters now,
Whoso to the yoke would bow,
Brand the craven on his brow!

Freedom's soil hath only place
For a free and fearless race,
None for traitors false and base.

Perish party, perish clan;
Strike together while ye can,
Like the arm of one strong man.

Like that angel's voice sublime,
Heard above a world of crime,
Crying of the end of time;

With one heart and with one mouth,
Let the North unto the South
Speak the word befitting both:

[96] “What though Issachar be strong!
Ye may load his back with wrong
Overmuch and over long:

Patience with her cup o'errun,
With her weary thread outspun,
Murmurs that her work is done.

Make our Union-bond a chain,
Weak as tow in Freedom's strain
Link by link shall snap in twain.

Vainly shall your sand-wrought rope
Bind the starry cluster up,
Shattered over heaven's blue cope!

Give us bright though broken rays,
Rather than eternal haze,
Clouding o'er the full-orbed blaze.

Take your land of sun and bloom;
Only leave to Freedom room
For her plough, and forge, and loom;

Take your slavery-blackened vales;
Leave us but our own free gales,
Blowing on our thousand sails.

Boldly, or with treacherous art,
Strike the blood-wrought chain apart;
Break the Union's mighty heart;

[97] Work the ruin, if ye will;
Pluck upon your heads an ill
Which shall grow and deepen still.

With your bondman's right arm bare,
With his heart of black despair,
Stand alone, if stand ye dare!

Onward with your fell design;
Dig the gulf and draw the line:
Fire beneath your feet the mine:

Deeply, when the wide abyss
Yawns between your land and this,
Shall ye feel your helplessness.

By the hearth, and in the bed,
Shaken by a look or tread,
Ye shall own a guilty dread.

And the curse of unpaid toil,
Downward through your generous soil
Like a fire shall burn and spoil.

Our bleak hills shall bud and blow,
Vines our rocks shall overgrow,
Plenty in our valleys flow;—

And when vengeance clouds your skies,
Hither shall ye turn your eyes,
As the lost on Paradise!

[98] We but ask our rocky strand,
Freedom's true and brother band,
Freedom's strong and honest hand;

Valleys by the slave untrod,
And the Pilgrim's mountain sod,
Blessed of our fathers' God! “


To Faneuil Hall.

Written in 1844, on reading a call by ‘a Massachusetts Free. man’ for a meeting in Faneuil Hall of the citizens of Massachusetts, without distinction of party, opposed to the annexation of Texas, and the aggressions of South Carolina, and in favor of decisive action against slavery.

men! if manhood still ye claim,
     If the Northern pulse can thrill,
Roused by wrong or stung by shame,
     Freely, strongly still;
Let the sounds of traffic die:
     Shut the mill-gate, leave the stall,
Fling the axe and hammer by;
     Throng to Faneuil Hall!

Wrongs which freemen never brooked,
     Dangers grim and fierce as they,
Which, like couching lions, looked
     On your fathers' way;
These your instant zeal demand,
     Shaking with their earthquake-call
Every rood of Pilgrim land,
     Ho, to Faneuil Hall!

[99] From your capes and sandy bars,
     From your mountain-ridges cold,
Through whose pines the westering stars
     Stoop their crowns of gold;
Come, and with your footsteps wake
     Echoes from that holy wall;
Once again, for Freedom's sake,
     Rock your fathers' hall!

Up, and tread beneath your feet
     Every cord by party spun:
Let your hearts together beat
     As the heart of one.
Banks and tariffs, stocks and trade,
     Let them rise or let them fall:
Freedom asks your common aid,—
     Up, to Faneuil Hall!

Up, and let each voice that speaks
     Ring from thence to Southern plains,
Sharply as the blow which breaks
     Prison-bolts and chains!
Speak as well becomes the free:
     Dreaded more than steel or ball,
Shall your calmest utterance be,
     Heard from Faneuil Hall!

Have they wronged us? Let us then
     Render back nor threats nor prayers;
Have they chained our free-born men?
     Let us unchain theirs!
Up, your banner leads the van,
     Blazoned, ‘ Liberty for all!’ [100]
Finish what your sires began!
     Up, to Faneuil Hall!

To Massachusetts.

what though around thee blazes,
     No fiery rallying sign?
From all thy own high places,
     Give heaven the light of thine!
What though unthrilled, unmoving,
     The statesman stand apart,
And comes no warm approving
     From Mammon's crowded mart?

Still, let the land be shaken
     By a summons of thine own!
By all save truth forsaken,
     Stand fast with that alone!
Shrink not from strife unequal I
     With the best is always hope;
And ever in the sequel
     God holds the right side up!

But when, with thine uniting,
     Come voices long and loud,
And far-off hills are writing
     Thy fire-words on the cloud;
When from Penobscot's fountains
     A deep response is heard,
And across the Western mountains
     Rolls back thy rallying word;

[101] Shall thy line of battle falter,
     With its allies just in view?
Oh, by hearth and holy altar,
     My fatherland, be true!
Fling abroad thy scrolls of Freedom!
     Speed them onward far and fast!
Over hill and valley speed them,
     Like the sibyl's on the blast!

Lo! the Empire State is shaking
     The shackles from her hand;
With the rugged North is waking
     The level sunset land!
On they come, the free battalions!
     East and West and North they come,
And the heart-beat of the millions
     Is the beat of Freedom's drum.

“To the tyrant's plot no favor!
     No heed to place-fed knaves!
Bar and bolt the door forever
     Against the land of slaves!”
Hear it, mother Earth, and hear it,
     The heavens above us spread!
The land is roused,—its spirit
     Was sleeping, but not dead!


New Hampshire.

God bless New Hampshire! from her granite peaks
     Once more the voice of Stark and Langdon speaks. [102]
The long-bound vassal of the exulting South
     For very shame her self-forged chain has broken;
Torn the black seal of slavery from her mouth,
     And in the clear tones of her old time spoken!
Oh, all undreamed-of, all unhoped — for changes!
     The tyrant's ally proves his sternest foe;
To all his biddings, from her mountain ranges,
     New Hampshire thunders an indignant No!
Who is it now despairs? Oh, faint of heart,
     Look upward to those Northern mountains cold,
Flouted by Freedom's victor-flag unrolled,
     And gather strength to bear a manlier part!
All is not lost. The angel of God's blessing
     Encamps with Freedom on the field of fight;
Still to her banner, day by day, are pressing,
     Unlooked — for allies, striking for the right!
Courage, then, Northern hearts! Be firm, be true:
     What one brave State hath done, can ye not also do?


The pine-tree.

Written on hearing that the Anti-Slavery Resolves of Stephen C. Phillips had been rejected by the Whig Convention in Faneuil Hall, in 1846.

lift again the stately emblem on the Bay State's rusted shield,
Give to Northern winds the Pine-Tree on our banner's tattered field.
Sons of men who sat in council with their Bibles round the board, [103]
Answering England's royal missive with a firm, ‘Thus saith the Lord! ’
Rise again for home and freedom! set the battle in array!
What the fathers did of old time we their sons must do to-day.

Tell us not of banks and tariffs, cease your paltry pedler cries;
Shall the good State sink her honor that your gambling stocks may rise?
Would ye barter man for cotton? That your gains may sum up higher,
Must we kiss the feet of Moloch, pass our children through the fire?
Is the dollar only real? God and truth and right a dream?
Weighed against your lying ledgers must our manhood kick the beam?

O my God! for that free spirit, which of old in Boston town
Smote the Province House with terror, struck the crest of Andros down!
For another strong-voiced Adams in the city's streets to cry,
“Up for God and Massachusetts! Set your feet on Mammon's lie!
Perish banks and perish traffic, spin your cotton's latest pound,
But in Heaven's name keep your honor, keep the heart oa the Bay State sound!”

[104] Where's the man for Massachusetts! Where's the voice to speak her free?
Where's the hand to light up bonfires from her mountains to the sea?
Beats her Pilgrim pulse no longer? Sits she dumb in her despair?
Has she none to break the silence? Has she none to do and dare?
O my God! for one right worthy to lift up her rusted shield,
And to plant again the Pine-Tree in her banner's tattered field!


To a Southern statesman.

John C. Calhoun, who had strongly urged the extension of slave territory by the annexation of Texas, even if it should involve a war with England, was unwilling to promote the acquisition of Oregon, which would enlarge the Northern domain of freedom, and pleaded as an excuse the peril of foreign complications which he had defied when the interests of slavery were involved.

Is this thy voice whose treble notes of fear
Wail in the wind? And dost thou shake to hear,
Actaeon-like, the bay of thine own hounds,
Spurning the leash, and leaping o'er their bounds?
Sore-baffled statesman! when thy eager hand,
With game afoot, unslipped the hungry pack,
To hunt down Freedom in her chosen land,
Hadst thou no fear, that, erelong, doubling back,
These dogs of thine might snuff on Slavery's track?
Where's now the boast, which even thy guarded tongue,
Cold, calm, and proud, in the teeth oa the Senate flung, [105]
O'er the fulfilment of thy baleful plan,
Like Satan's triumph at the fall of man?
How stood'st thou then, thy feet on Freedom planting,
And pointing to the lurid heaven afar,
Whence all could see, through the south windows slanting,
Crimson as blood, the beams of that Lone Star!
The Fates are just; they give us but our own;
Nemesis ripens what our hands have sown.
There is an Eastern story, not unknown,
Doubtless, to thee, of one whose magic skill
Called demons up his water-jars to fill;
Deftly and silently, they did his will,
But, when the task was done, kept pouring still.
In vain with spell and charm the wizard wrought,
Faster and faster were the buckets brought,
Higher and higher rose the flood around,
Till the fiends clapped their hands above their master drowned!
So, Carolinian, it may prove with thee,
For God still overrules man's schemes, and takes
Craftiness in its self-set snare, and makes
The wrath of man to praise Him. It may be,
That the roused spirits of Democracy
May leave to freer States the same wide door
Through which thy slave-cursed Texas entered in,
From out the blood and fire, the wrong and sin,
Of the stormed city and the ghastly plain,
Beat by hot hail, and wet with bloody rain,
The myriad-handed pioneer may pour,
And the wild West with the roused North combine
And heave the engineer of evil with his mine.



At Washington.

Suggested by a visit to the city of Washington, in the 12th month of 1845.

with a cold and wintry noon-light
     On its roofs and steeples shed,
Shadows weaving with the sunlight
     From the gray sky overhead,
Broadly, vaguely, all around me, lies the half-built
     town outspread.

Through this broad street, restless ever,
     Ebbs and flows a human tide,
Wave on wave a living river;
     Wealth and fashion side by side;
Toiler, idler, slave and master, in the same quick
     current glide.

Underneath yon dome, whose coping
     Springs above them, vast and tall,
Grave men in the dust are groping
     For the largess, base and small,
Which the hand of Power is scattering, crumbs
     which from its table fall.

Base of heart! They vilely barter
     Honor's wealth for party's place;
Step by step on Freedom's charter
     Leaving footprints of disgrace;
For to-day's poor pittance turning from the great
     hope of their race.

[107] Yet, where festal lamps are throwing
     Glory round the dancer's hair,
Gold-tressed, like an angel's, flowing
     Backward on the sunset air;
And the low quick pulse of music beats its measure sweet and rare:

There to-night shall woman's glances,
     Star-like, welcome give to them;
Fawning fools with shy advances
     Seek to touch their garments' hem,
With the tongue of flattery glozing deeds which
     God and Truth condemn.

From this glittering lie my vision
     Takes a broader, sadder range,
Full before me have arisen
     Other pictures dark and strange;
From the parlor to the prison must the scene and
     witness change.

Hark! the heavy gate is swinging
     On its hinges, harsh and slow;
One pale prison lamp is flinging
     On a fearful group below
Such a light as leaves to terror whatsoe'er it does not show.

Pitying God! Is that a woman
     On whose wrist the shackles clash?
Is that shriek she utters human,
     Underneath the stinging lash?
Are they men whose eyes of madness from that sad procession flash?

[108] Still the dance goes gayly onward!
     What is it to Wealth and Pride
That without the stars are looking
     On a scene which earth should hide?
That the slave-ship lies in waiting, rocking on Potomac's tide!

Vainly to that mean Ambition
     Which, upon a rival's fall,
Winds above its old condition,
     With a reptile's slimy crawl,
Shall the pleading voice of sorrow, shall the slave in anguish call.

Vainly to the child of Fashion,
     Giving to ideal woe
Graceful luxury of compassion,
     Shall the stricken mourner go;
Hateful seems the earnest sorrow, beautiful the hollow show!

Nay, my words are all too sweeping:
     In this crowded human mart,
Feeling is not dead, but sleeping;
     Man's strong will and woman's heart,
In the coming strife for Freedom, yet shall bear their generous part.

And from yonder sunny valleys,
     Southward in the distance lost,
Freedom yet shall summon allies
     Worthier than the North can boast,
With the Evil by their hearth-stones grappling at severer cost.

[109] Now, the soul alone is willing:
     Faint the heart and weak the knee;
And as yet no lip is thrilling
     With the mighty words, ‘Be Free!’
Tarrieth long the land's Good Angel, but his advent is to be!

Meanwhile, turning from the revel
     To the prison-cell my sight,
For intenser hate of evil,
     For a keener sense of right,
Shaking off thy dust, I thank thee, City of the
     Slaves, to-night!

“To thy duty now and ever!
     Dream no more of rest or stay:
Give to Freedom's great endeavor
     All thou art and hast to-day:”
Thus, above the city's murmur, saith a Voice, or seems to say.

Ye with heart and vision gifted
     To discern and love the right,
Whose worn faces have been lifted
     To the slowly-growing light,
Where from Freedom's sunrise drifted slowly back the murk of night!

Ye who through long years of trial
     Still have held your purpose fast,
While a lengthening shade the dial
     From the westering sunshine cast,
And of hope each hour's denial seemed an echo of the last!

[110] O my brothers! O my sisters!
     Would to God that ye were near,
Gazing with me down the vistas
     Of a sorrow strange and drear;
Would to God that ye were listeners to the Voice
     I seem to hear!

With the storm above us driving,
     With the false earth mined below,
Who shall marvel if thus striving
     We have counted friend as foe;
Unto one another giving in the darkness blow for blow.

Well it may be that our natures
     Have grown sterner and more hard,
And the freshness of their features
     Somewhat harsh and battle-scarred,
And their harmonies of feeling overtasked and rudely jarred.

Be it so. It should not swerve us
     From a purpose true and brave;
Dearer Freedom's rugged service
     Than the pastime of the slave;
Better is the storm above it than the quiet of the grave.

Let us then, uniting, bury
     All our idle feuds in dust,
And to future conflicts carry
     Mutual faith and common trust;
Always he who most forgiveth in his brother is most just.

[111] From the eternal shadow rounding
     All our sun and starlight here,
Voices of our lost ones sounding
     Bid us be of heart and cheer,
Through the silence, down the spaces, falling on the inward ear.

Know we not our dead are looking
     Downward with a sad surprise,
All our strife of words rebuking
     With their mild and loving eyes?
Shall we grieve the holy angels? Shall we cloud
     their blessed skies?

Let us draw their mantles o'er us
     Which have fallen in our way;
Let us do the work before us,
     Cheerly, bravely, while we may,
Ere the long night-silence cometh, and with us it is not day!

The branded hand.

Captain Jonathan Walker, of Harwich, Mass., was solicited by several fugitive slaves at Pensacola, Florida, to carry them in his vessel to the British West Indies. Although well aware of the great hazard of the enterprise he attempted to comply with the request, but was seized at sea by an American vessel, consigned to the authorities at Key West, and thence sent back to Pensacola, where, after a long and rigorous confinement in prison, he was tried and sentenced to be branded on his right hand with the letters ‘S. S.’ (slave-stealer) and amerced in a heavy fine.

welcome home again, brave seaman! with thy thoughtful brow and gray,
And the old heroic spirit of our earlier, better day; [112]
With that front of calm endurance, on whose steady nerve in vain
Pressed the iron of the prison, smote the fiery shafts of pain!

Is the tyrant's brand upon thee? Did the brutal cravens aim
To make God's truth thy falsehood, His holiest work thy shame?
When, all blood-quenched, from the torture the iron was withdrawn,
How laughed their evil angel the baffled fools to scorn!

They change to wrong the duty which God hath written out
On the great heart of humanity, too legible for doubt!
They, the loathsome moral lepers, blotched from footsole up to crown,
Give to shame what God hath given unto honor and renown!

Why, that brand is highest honor! than its traces never yet
Upon old armorial hatchments was a prouder blazon set;
And thy unborn generations, as they tread our rocky strand,
Shall tell with pride the story of their father's branded hand!

As the Templar home was welcome, bearing back from Syrian wars [113]
The scars of Arab lances and of Paynim scimitars,
The pallor of the prison, and the shackle's crimson span,
So we meet thee, so we greet thee, truest friend of God and man.

He suffered for the ransom of the dear Redeemer's grave,
Thou for His living presence in the bound and bleeding slave;
He for a soil no longer by the feet of angels trod,
Thou for the true Shechinah, the present home of God!

For, while the jurist, sitting with the slave-whip o'er him swung,
From the tortured truths of freedom the lie of slavery wrung,
And the solemn priest to Moloch, on each God deserted shrine,
Broke the bondman's heart for bread, poured the bondman's blood for wine;

While the multitude in blindness to a far-off Saviour knelt,
And spurned, the while, the temple where a present Saviour dwelt;
Thou beheld'st Him in the task-field, in the prison shadows dim,
And thy mercy to the bondman, it was mercy unto Him!

[114] In thy lone and long night-watches, sky above and wave below,
Thou didst learn a higher wisdom than the babbling schoolmen know;
God's stars and silence taught thee, as His angels only can,
That the one sole sacred thing beneath the cope of heaven is Man!

That he who treads profanely on the scrolls of law and creed,
In the depth of God's great goodness may find mercy in his need;
But woe to him who crushes the soul with chain and rod,
And herds with lower natures the awful form of God!

Then lift that manly right-hand, bold ploughman of the wave!
Its branded palm shall prophesy, ‘Salvation to the Slave! ’
Hold up its fire-wrought language, that whoso reads may feel
His heart swell strong within him, his sinews change to steel.

Hold it up before our sunshine, up against our Northern air;
Ho! men of Massachusetts, for the love of God, look there! [115]
Take it henceforth for your standard, like the Bruce's heart of yore,
In the dark strife closing round ye, let that hand be seen before!

And the masters of the slave-land shall tremble at that sign,
When it points its finger Southward along the Puritan line:
Can the craft of State avail them? Can a Christ-less church withstand,
In the van of Freedom's onset, the coming of that hand?


The freed islands.

Written for the anniversary celebration of the first of August, at Milton, 1846.

A few brief years have passed away
     Since Britain drove her million slaves
Beneath the tropic's fiery ray:
     God willed their freedom; and to-day
Life blooms above those island graves

He spoke! across the Carib Sea,
     We heard the clash of breaking chains,
And felt the heart-throb of the free,
     The first, strong pulse of liberty
Which thrilled along the bondman's veins.

Though long delayed, and far, and slow,
     The Briton's triumph shall be ours: [116]
Wears slavery here a prouder brow
     Than that which twelve short years ago
Scowled darkly from her island bowers?

Mighty alike for good or ill
     With mother-land, we fully share
The Saxon strength, the nerve of steel,
     The tireless energy of will,
The power to do, the pride to dare.

What she has done can we not do?
     Our hour and men are both at hand;
The blast which Freedom's angel blew
     O'er her green islands, echoes through
Each valley of our forest land.

Hear it, old Europe! we have sworn
     The death of slavery. When it falls,
Look to your vassals in their turn,
     Your poor dumb millions, crushed and worn,
Your prisons and your palace walls!

O kingly mockers! scoffing show
     What deeds in Freedom's name we do;
Yet know that every taunt ye throw
     Across the waters, goads our slow
Progression towards the right and true.

Not always shall your outraged poor,
     Appalled by democratic crime,
Grind as their fathers ground before;
     The hour which sees our prison door
Swing wide shall be their triumph time.

[117] Ye deal is felt the wide earth through;
     Whatever here uplifts the low
Or humbles Freedom's hateful foe,
     Blesses the Old World through the New.

Take heart! The promised hour draws near;
     I hear the downward beat of wings,
And Freedom's trumpet sounding clear:
     “Joy to the people! woe and fear
To new-world tyrants, old-world kings!”

A Letter.

Supposed to be written by the chairman of the ‘Central Clique’ at Concord, N. H., to the Hon. M. N., Jr., at Washington, giving the result of the election. The following verses were published in the Boston Chronotype in 1846. They refer to the contest in New Hampshire, which resulted in the defeat of the pro-slavery Democracy, and in the election of John P. Hale to the United States Senate. Although their authorship was not acknowledged, it was strongly suspected. They furnish a specimen of the way, on the whole rather good-natured, in which the liberty-lovers of half a century ago answered the social and political outlawry and mob violence to which they were subjected.

Tis over, Moses! All is lost!
     I hear the bells a-ringing;
Of Pharaoh and his Red Sea host
     I hear the Free-Wills singing.4
We're routed, Moses, horse and foot,
     If there be truth in figures,
With Federal Whigs in hot pursuit,
     And Hale, and all the ‘ niggers.’

[118] Alack! alas! this month or more
     We've felt a sad foreboding;
Our very dreams the burden bore
     Of central cliques exploding;
Before our eyes a furnace shone,
     Where heads of dough were roasting,
And one we took to be your own
     The traitor Hale was toasting!

Our Belknap brother5 heard with awe
     The Congo minstrels playing;
At Pittsfield Reuben Leavitt6 saw
     The ghost of Storrs a-praying;
And Carroll's woods were sad to see,
     With black-winged crows a-darting;
And Black Snout looked on Ossipee,
     New-glossed with Day and Martin.

We thought the ‘ Old Man of the Notch’
     His face seemed changing wholly—
His lips seemed thick; his nose seemed flat;
     His misty hair looked woolly;
And Coos teamsters, shrieking, fled
     From the metamorphosed figure.
‘Look there!’ they said, “the Old Stone Head
     Himself is turning nigger!”

The schoolhouse,7 out of Canaan hauled
     Seemed turning on its track again,
And like a great swamp-turtle crawled
     To Canaan village back again,
Shook off the mud and settled flat
     Upon its underpinning; [119]
A nigger on its ridge-pole sat,
     From ear to ear a-grinning.

Gray H——d heard oa nights the sound
     Of rail-cars onward faring;
Right over Democratic ground
     The iron horse came tearing.
A flag waved o'er that spectral train,
     As high as Pittsfield steeple;
Its emblem was a broken chain;
     Its motto: ‘To the people! ’

I dreamed that Charley took his bed,
     With Hale for his physician;
His daily dose an old “unread
     And unreferred” petition.8
There Hayes and Tuck as nurses sat,
     As near as near could be, man;
They leeched him with the ‘ Democrat;’
     They blistered with the ‘ Freeman.’

Ah! grisly portents! What avail
     Your terrors of forewarning?
We wake to find the nightmare Hale
     Astride our breasts at morning!
From Portsmouth lights to Indian stream
     Our foes their throats are trying;
The very factory-spindles seem
     To mock us while they're flying.

The hills have bonfires; in our streets
     Flags flout us in our faces;
The newsboys, peddling off their sheets,
     Are hoarse with our disgraces. [120]
In vain we turn, for gibing wit
     And shoutings follow after,
As if old Kearsarge had split
     His granite sides with laughter!

What boots it that we pelted out
     The anti-slavery women,9
And bravely strewed their hall about
     With tattered lace and trimming?
Was it for such a sad reverse
     Our mobs became peacemakers,
And kept their tar and wooden horse
     For Englishmen and Quakers?

For this did shifty Atherton
     Make gag rules for the Great House?
Wiped we for this our feet upon
     Petitions in our State House?
Plied we for this our axe of doom,
     No stubborn traitor sparing,
Who scoffed at our opinion loom,
     And took to homespun wearing?

Ah, Moses! hard it is to scan
     These crooked providences,
Deducing from the wisest plan
     The saddest consequences!
Strange that, in trampling as was meet
     The nigger-men's petition,
We sprung a mine beneath our feet
     Which opened up perdition.

How goodly, Moses, was the game
     In which we've long been actors, [121]
And slavery with the practice!
     Our smooth words fed the people's mouth,
Their ears our party rattle;
     We kept them headed to the South,
As drovers do their cattle.

But now our game of politics
     The world at large is learning;
And men grown gray in all our tricks
     State's evidence are turning.
Votes and preambles subtly spun
     They cram with meanings louder,
And load the Democratic gun
     With abolition powder.

The ides of June! Woe worth the day
     When, turning all things over,
The traitor Hale shall make his hay
     From Democratic clover!
Who then shall take him in the law,
     Who punish crime so flagrant?
Whose hand shall serve, whose pen shall draw,
     A writ against that ‘ vagrant’?

Alas! no hope is left us here,
     And one can only pine for
The envied place of overseer
     Of slaves in Carolina!
Pray, Moses, give Calhoun the wink,
     And see what pay he's giving!
We've practised long enough, we think,
     To know the art of driving.

[122] And for the faithful rank and file,
     Who know their proper stations,
Perhaps it may be worth their while
     To try the rice plantations.
Let Hale exult, let Wilson scoff,
     To see us southward scamper;
The slaves, we know, are “better off
     Than laborers in New Hampshire!”


from A Letter to A young Clerical friend.
     A strength Thy service cannot tire,
A faith which doubt can never dim,
     A heart of love, a lip of fire,
O Freedom's God! be Thou to him!

Speak through him words of power and fear,
     As through Thy prophet bards of old,
And let a scornful people hear
     Once more Thy Sinai-thunders rolled.

For lying lips Thy blessing seek,
     And hands of blood are raised to Thee,
And on Thy children, crushed and weak,
     The oppressor plants his kneeling knee.

Let then, O God! Thy servant dare
     Thy truth in all its power to tell,
Unmask the priestly thieves, and tear
     The Bible from the grasp of hell!

[123] From hollow rite and narrow span
     Of law and sect by Thee released,
Oh, teach him that the Christian man
     Is holier than the Jewish priest.

Chase back the shadows, gray and old,
     Of the dead ages, from his way,
And let his hopeful eyes behold
     The dawn of Thy millennial day;

That day when fettered limb and mind
     Shall know the truth which maketh free,
And he alone who loves his kind
     Shall, childlike, claim the love of Thee!

Daniel Neall.

Dr. Neall, a worthy disciple of that venerated philanthropist, Warner Mifflin, whom the Girondist statesman, Jean Pierre Brissot, pronounced ‘ an angel of mercy, the best man he ever knew,’ was one of the noble band of Pennsylvania abolitionists, whose bravery was equalled only by their gentleness and tenderness. He presided at the great anti-slavery meeting in Pennsylvania Hall, May 17, 1838, when the Hall was surrounded by a furious mob. I was standing near him while the glass of the windows broken by missiles showered over him, and a deputation from the rioters forced its way to the platform, and demanded that the meeting should be closed at once. Dr. Neall drew up his tall form to its utmost height. ‘ I am here,’ he said, ‘ the president of this meeting, and I will be torn in pieces before I leave my place at your dictation. Go back to those who sent you. I shall do my duty.’ Some years after, while visiting his relatives in his native State of Delaware, he was dragged from the house of his friends by a mob of slaveholders and brutally maltreated. He bore it like a martyr of the old times; and when released, told his persecutors that he forgave them, for it was not they but Slavery which had done the [124] wrong. If they should ever be in Philadelphia and needed hospitality or aid, let them call on him.


friend of the Slave, and yet the friend of all;
     Lover of peace, yet ever foremost when
The need of battling Freedom called for men
     To plant the banner on the outer wall;
Gentle and kindly, ever at distress
     Melted to more than woman's tenderness,
Yet firm and steadfast, at his duty's post
     Fronting the violence of a maddened host,
Like some gray rock from which the waves are tossed!
     Knowing his deeds of love, men questioned not
The faith of one whose walk and word were right;
     Who tranquilly in Life's great task-field wrought,
And, side by side with evil, scarcely caught
     A stain upon his pilgrim garb of white:
Prompt to redress another's wrong, his own
     Leaving to Time and Truth and Penitence alone.


Such was our friend. Formed on the good old plan,
     A true and brave and downright honest man!
He blew no trumpet in the market-place,
     Nor in the church with hypocritic face
Supplied with cant the lack of Christian grace;
     Loathing pretence, he did with cheerful will
What others talked of while their hands were still;
     And, while ‘Lord, Lord! ’ the pious tyrants cried,
Who, in the poor, their Master crucified, [125]
     His daily prayer, far better understood
In acts than words, was simply doing good.
     So calm, so constant was his rectitude,
That by his loss alone we know its worth,
     And feel how true a man has walked with us on earth.

6th, 6th month, 1846.

Song of slaves in the desert.

Sebah, Oasis of Fezzan, 10th March, 1846.
This evening the female slaves were unusually excited in singing, and I had the curiosity to ask my negro servant, Said, what they were singing about. As many of them were natives of his own country, he had no difficulty in translating the Mandara or Bornou language. I had often asked the Moors to translate their songs for me, but got no satisfactory account from them. Said at first said, “Oh, they sing of Rubee” (God). “What do you mean?” I replied, impatiently. “Oh, don't you know?” he continued, “they asked God to give them their Atka?” (certificate of freedom). I inquired, “Is that all?” Said: “No; they say, ‘Where are we going? The world is large. O God! Where are we going? O God!’” I inquired, “What else?” Said: “They remember their country, Bornou, and say, ‘ Bornou was a pleasant country, full of all good things; but this is a bad country, and we are miserable!’” “Do they say anything else?” Said: “No; they repeat these words over and over again, and add, ‘O God! give us our Atka, and let us return again to our dear home.’”

I am not surprised I got little satisfaction when I asked the Moors about the songs of their slaves. Who will say that the above words are not a very appropriate song? What could have been more congenially adapted to their then woful condition? It is not to be wondered at that these poor bondwomen cheer up their hearts, in their long, lonely, and painful wanderings over the desert, with words and sentiments like these; but I have often observed that their fatigue and sufferings were too great for them to strike up this melancholy dirge, and many days their plaintive strains never broke over the silence of the desert.

Richardson's Journal in Africa.

Where are we going? where are we going,
Where are we going, Rubee? [126]
Lord of peoples, lord of lands,
Look across these shining sands,
Through the furnace of the noon,
Through the white light of the moon.
Strong the Ghiblee wind is blowing,
Strange and large the world is growing!
Speak and tell us where we are going,
Where are we going, Rubee?

Bornou land was rich and good,
Wells of water, fields of food,
Dourra fields, and bloom of bean,
And the palm-tree cool and green:
Bornou land we see no longer,
Here we thirst and here we hunger,
Here the Moor-man smites in anger:
Where are we going, Rubee?

When we went from Bornou land,
We were like the leaves and sand,
We were many, we are few;
Life has one, and death has two:
Whitened bones our path are showing,
Thou All-seeing, thou All-knowing!
Hear us, tell us, where are we going,
Where are we going, Rubee?

Moons of marches from our eyes
Bornou land behind us lies;
Stranger round us day by day
Bends the desert circle gray;
Wild the waves of sand are flowing,
Hot the winds above them blowing,— [127]
Lord of all things! where are we going?
Where are we going, Rubee?

We are weak, but Thou art strong;
Short our lives, but Thine is long;
We are blind, but Thou hast eyes;
We are fools, but Thou art wise!
Thou, our morrow's pathway knowing
Through the strange world round us growing,
Hear us, tell us where are we going,
Where are we going, Rubee?


To Delaware.

Written during the discussion in the Legislature of that State, in the winter of 1846-47, of a bill for the abolition of slavery.

thrice welcome to thy sisters of the East,
     To the strong tillers of a rugged home,
With spray-wet locks to Northern winds released,
     And hardy feet o'erswept by ocean's foam;
And to the young nymphs of the golden West,
     Whose harvest mantles, fringed with prairie bloom,
Trail in the sunset,—O redeemed and blest,
     To the warm welcome of thy sisters come!
Broad Pennsylvania, down her sail-white bay
     Shall give thee joy, and Jersey from her plains,
And the great lakes, where echo, free alway,
     Moaned never shoreward with the clank of chains,
Shall weave new sun-bows in their tossing spray,
     And all their waves keep grateful holiday. [128]
And, smiling on thee through her mountain rains,
     Vermont shall bless thee; and the granite peaks,
And vast Katahdin o'er his woods, shall wear
     Their snow-crowns brighter in the cold, keen air;
And Massachusetts, with her rugged cheeks
     O'errun with grateful tears, shall turn to thee,
When, at thy bidding, the electric wire
     Shall tremble northward with its words of fire;
Glory and praise to God another State is free!



Dr. Thacher, surgeon in Scammel's regiment, in his description of the siege of Yorktown, says: ‘The labor on the Virginia plantations is performed altogether by a species of the human race cruelly wrested from their native country, and doomed to perpetual bondage, while their masters are manfully contending for freedom and the natural rights of man. Such is the inconsistency of human nature.’ Eighteen hundred slaves were found at Yorktown, after its surrender, and restored to their masters. Well was it said by Dr. Barnes, in his late work on Slavery: ‘No slave was any nearer his freedom after the surrender of Yorktown than when Patrick Henry first taught the notes of liberty to echo among the hills and vales of Virginia.’

from Yorktown's ruins, ranked and still,
Two lines stretch far o'er vale and hill:
Who curbs his steed at head of one?
Hark! the low murmur: Washington!
Who bends his keen, approving glance,
Where down the gorgeous line of France
Shine knightly star and plume of snow?
Thou too art victor, Rochambeau!

The earth which bears this calm array
Shook with the war-charge yesterday, [129]
Shot-sown and bladed thick with steel;
October's clear and noonday sun
Paled in the breath-smoke of the gun,
And down night's double blackness fell,
Like a dropped star, the blazing shell.

Now all is hushed: the gleaming lines
Stand moveless as the neighboring pines;
While through them, sullen, grim, and slow,
The conquered hosts of England go:
O'Hara's brow belies his dress,
Gay Tarleton's troop rides bannerless:
Shout, from thy fired and wasted homes,
Thy scourge, Virginia, captive comes!

Nor thou alone: with one glad voice
Let all thy sister States rejoice;
Let Freedom, in whatever clime
She waits with sleepless eye her time,
Shouting from cave and mountain wood
Make glad her desert solitude,
While they who hunt her quail with fear;
The New World's chain lies broken here!

But who are they, who, cowering, wait
Within the shattered fortress gate?
Dark tillers of Virginia's soil,
Classed with the battle's common spoil,
With household stuffs, and fowl, and swine,
With Indian weed and planters' wine,
With stolen beeves, and foraged corn,—
Are they not men, Virginian born?

[130] Oh, veil your faces, young and brave!
Sleep, Scammel, in thy soldier grave!
Sons of the Northland, ye who set
Stout hearts against the bayonet,
And pressed with steady footfall near
The moated battery's blazing tier,
Turn your scarred faces from the sight,
Let shame do homage to the right!

Lo! fourscore years have passed; and where
The Gallic bugles stirred the air,
And, through breached batteries, side by side,
To victory stormed the hosts allied,
And brave foes grounded, pale with pain,
The arms they might not lift again,
As abject as in that old day
The slave still toils his life away.

Oh, fields still green and fresh in story,
Old days of pride, old names of glory,
Old marvels of the tongue and pen,
Old thoughts which stirred the hearts of men,
Ye spared the wrong; and over all
Behold the avenging shadow fall!
Your world-wide honor stained with shame,—
Your freedom's self a hollow name!

Where's now the flag of that old war?
Where flows its stripe? Where burns its star?
Bear witness, Palo Alto's day,
Dark Vale of Palms, red Monterey,
Where Mexic Freedom, young and weak,
Fleshes the Northern eagle's beak; [131]
Symbol of terror and despair,
Of chains and slaves, go seek it there!

Laugh, Prussia, midst thy iron ranks!
Laugh, Russia, from thy Neva's banks,
Brave sport to see the fledgling born
Of Freedom by its parent torn!
Safe now is Speilberg's dungeon cell,
Safe drear Siberia's frozen hell:
With Slavery's flag o'er both unrolled,
What of the New World fears the Old?

Randolph of Roanoke.

O mother Earth! upon thy lap
     Thy weary ones receiving,
And o'er them, silent as a dream,
     Thy grassy mantle weaving,
Fold softly in thy long embrace
     That heart so worn and broken,
And cool its pulse of fire beneath
     Thy shadows old and oaken.

Shut out from him the bitter word
     And serpent hiss of scorning;
Nor let the storms of yesterday
     Disturb his quiet morning.
Breathe over him forgetfulness
     Of all save deeds of kindness,
And, save to smiles of grateful eyes,
     Press down his lids in blindness.

[132] There, where with living ear and eye
     He heard Potomac's flowing,
And, through his tall ancestral trees,
     Saw autumn's sunset glowing,
He sleeps, still looking to the west,
     Beneath the dark wood shadow,
As if he still would see the sun
     Sink down on wave and meadow.

Bard, Sage, and Tribune! in himself
     All moods of mind contrasting,—
The tenderest wail of human woe,
     The scorn like lightning blasting;
The pathos which from rival eyes
     Unwilling tears could summon,
The stinging taunt the fiery burst
     Of hatred scarcely human!

Mirth, sparkling like a diamond shower,
     From lips of life-long sadness;
Clear picturings of majestic thought
     Upon a ground of madness;
And over all Romance and Song
     A classic beauty throwing,
And laurelled Clio at his side
     Her storied pages showing.

All parties feared him: each in turn
     Beheld its schemes disjointed,
As right or left his fatal glance
     And spectral finger pointed.
Sworn foe of Cant, he smote it down
     With trenchant wit unsparing, [133]
And, mocking, rent with ruthless hand
     The robe Pretence was wearing.

Too honest or too proud to feign
     A love he never cherished,
Beyond Virginia's border line
     His patriotism perished.
While others hailed in distant skies
     Our eagle's dusky pinion,
He only saw the mountain bird
     Stoop o'er his Old Dominion!

Still through each change of fortune strange,
     Racked nerve, and brain all burning,
His loving faith in Mother-land
     Knew never shade of turning;
By Britain's lakes, by Neva's tide,
     Whatever sky was o'er him,
He heard her rivers' rushing sound,
     Her blue peaks rose before him.

He held his slaves, yet made withal
     No false and vain pretences,
Nor paid a lying priest to seek
     For Scriptural defences.
His harshest words of proud rebuke,
     His bitterest taunt and scorning,
Fell fire-like on the Northern brow
     That bent to him in fawning.

He held his slaves; yet kept the while
     His reverence for the Human; [134]
In the dark vassals of his will
     He saw but Man and Woman!
No hunter of God's outraged poor
     His Roanoke valley entered;
No trader in the souls of men
     Across his threshold ventured.

And when the old and wearied man
     Lay down for his last sleeping,
And at his side, a slave no more,
     His brother-man stood weeping,
His latest thought, his latest breath,
     To Freedom's duty giving,
With failing tongue and trembling hand
     The dying blest the living.

Oh, never bore his ancient State
     A truer son or braver!
None trampling with a calmer scorn
     On foreign hate or favor.
He knew her faults, yet never stooped
     His proud and manly feeling
To poor excuses of the wrong
     Or meanness of concealing.

But none beheld with clearer eye
     The plague-spot o'er her spreading,
None heard more sure the steps of Doom
     Along her future treading.
For her as for himself he spake,
     When, his gaunt frame upbracing,
He traced with dying hand ‘Remorse!’
     And perished in the tracing.

[135] As from the grave where Henry sleeps,
     From Vernon's weeping willow,
And from the grassy pall which hides
     The Sage of Monticello,
So from the leaf-strewn burial-stone
     Of Randolph's lowly dwelling,
Virginia! o'er thy land of slaves
     A warning voice is swelling!

And hark! from thy deserted fields
     Are sadder warnings spoken,
From quenched hearths, where thy exiled sons
     Their household gods have broken.
The curse is on thee,—wolves for men,
     And briers for corn-sheaves giving!
Oh, more than all thy dead renown
     Were now one hero living!


The lost statesman.

Written on hearing of the death of Silas Wright of New York.

As they who, tossing midst the storm at night,
     While turning shoreward, where a beacon shone,
Meet the walled blackness of the heaven alone,
     So, on the turbulent waves of party tossed,
In gloom and tempest, men have seen thy light
     Quenched in the darkness. At thy hour of noon,
While life was pleasant to thy undimmed sight,
     And, day by day, within thy spirit grew
A holier hope than young Ambition knew, [136]
     As through thy rural quiet, not in vain,
Pierced the sharp thrill of Freedom's cry of pain,
     Man of the millions, thou art lost too soon!
Portents at which the bravest stand aghast,—
     The birth-throes of a Future, strange and vast,
Alarm the land; yet thou, so wise and strong,
     Suddenly summoned to the burial bed,
Lapped in its slumbers deep and ever long,
     Hear'st not the tumult surging overhead.
Who now shall rally Freedom's scattering host?
     Who wear the mantle of the leader lost?
Who stay the march of slavery? He whose voice
     Hath called thee from thy task-field shall not lack
Yet bolder champions, to beat bravely back
     The wrong which, through his poor ones, reaches Him:
Yet firmer hands shall Freedom's torchlights trim,
     And wave them high across the abysmal black,
Till bound, dumb millions there shall see them and rejoice.

10th mo., 1847.

The slaves of Martinique.

Suggested by a daguerreotype taken from a small French engraving of two negro figures, sent to the writer by Oliver Johnson.

beams of noon, like burning lances, through the tree-tops flash and glisten,
As she stands before her lover, with raised face to look and listen.

[137] Dark, but comely, like the maiden in the ancient Jewish song:
Scarcely has the toil of task-fields done her graceful beauty wrong.

He, the strong one and the manly, with the vassal's garb and hue,
Holding still his spirit's birthright, to his higher nature true;

Hiding deep the strengthening purpose of a freeman in his heart,
As the gregree holds his Fetich from the white man's gaze apart.

Ever foremost of his comrades, when the driver's morning horn
Calls away to stifling mill-house, to the fields of cane and corn:

Fall the keen and burning lashes never on his back or limb;
Scarce with look or word of censure, turns the driver unto him.

Yet, his brow is always thoughtful, and his eye is hard and stern;
Slavery's last and humblest lesson he has never deigned to learn.

And, at evening, when his comrades dance before their master's door,
Folding arms and knitting forehead, stands he silent evermore.

[138] God be praised for every instinct which rebels against a lot
Where the brute survives the human, and man's upright form is not!

As the serpent-like bejuco winds his spiral fold on fold
Round the tall and stately ceiba, till it withers in his hold;

Slow decays the forest monarch, closer girds the fell embrace,
Till the tree is seen no longer, and the vine is in its place;

So a base and bestial nature round the vassal's manhood twines,
And the spirit wastes beneath it, like the ceiba choked with vines.

God is Love, saith the Evangel; and our world of woe and sin
Is made light and happy only when a Love is shining in.

Ye whose lives are free as sunshine, finding, wheresoe'er ye roam,
Smiles of welcome, looks of kindness, making all the world like home;

In the veins of whose affections kindred blood is but a part,
Of one kindly current throbbing from the universal heart;

[139] Can ye know the deeper meaning of a love in Slavery nursed,
Last flower of a lost Eden, blooming in that Soil accursed?

Love of Home, and Love of Woman!—dear to all, but doubly dear
To the heart whose pulses elsewhere measure only hate and fear.

All around the desert circles, underneath a brazen sky,
Only one green spot remaining where the dew is never dry!

From the horror of that desert, from its atmosphere of hell,
Turns the fainting spirit thither, as the diver seeks his bell.

Tis the fervid tropic noontime; faint and low the sea-waves beat;
Hazy rise the inland mountains through the glimmer of the heat,—

Where, through mingled leaves and blossoms, arrowy sunbeams flash and glisten,
Speaks her lover to the slave-girl, and she lifts her head to listen:—

“We shall live as slaves no longer! Freedom's hour is close at hand!
Rocks her bark upon the waters, rests the boat upon the strand!

[140] I have seen the Haytien Captain; I have seen his swarthy crew,
Haters of the pallid faces, to their race and color true.

They have sworn to wait our coming till the night has passed its noon,
And the gray and darkening waters roll above the sunken moon! “

Oh, the blessed hope of freedom! how with joy and glad surprise,
For an instant throbs her bosom, for an instant beam her eyes!

But she looks across the valley, where her mother's hut is seen,
Through the snowy bloom of coffee, and the lemon— leaves so green.

And she answers, sad and earnest: “It were wrong for thee to stay;
God hath heard thy prayer for freedom, and his finger points the way.

Well I know with what endurance, for the sake of me and mine,
Thou hast borne too long a burden never meant for souls like thine.

Go; and at the hour of midnight, when our last farewell is o'er,
Kneeling on our place of parting, I will bless thee from the shore.

[141] But for me, my mother, lying on her sick-bed all the day,
Lifts her weary head to watch me, coming through the twilight gray.

Should I leave her sick and helpless, even freedom, shared with thee,
Would be sadder far than bondage, lonely toil, and stripes to me.

For my heart would die within me, and my brain would soon be wild;
I should hear my mother calling through the twilight for her child! “

Blazing upward from the ocean, shines the sun of morning-time,
Through the coffee-trees in blossom, and green hedges of the lime.

Side by side, amidst the slave-gang, toil the lover and the maid;
Wherefore looks he o'er the waters, leaning forward on his spade?

Sadly looks he, deeply sighs he: 't is the Haytien's sail he sees,
Like a white cloud of the mountains, driven seaward by the breeze!

But his arm a light hand presses, and he hears a low voice call:
Hate of Slavery, hope of Freedom, Love is mightier than all.



The curse of the Charter-Breakers.

The rights and liberties affirmed by Magna Charta were deemed of such importance, in the thirteenth century, that the Bishops, twice a year, with tapers burning, and in their pontifical robes, pronounced, in the presence of the king and the representatives of the estates of England, the greater excommunication against the infringer of that instrument. The imposing ceremony took place in the great Hall of Westminster. A copy of the curse, as pronounced in 1253, declares that, ‘ by the authority of Almighty God, and the blessed Apostles and Martyrs, and all the saints in heaven, all those who violate the English liberties, and secretly or openly, by deed, word, or counsel, do make statutes, or observe then being made, against said liberties, are accursed and sequestered from the company of heaven and the sacraments of the Holy Church.’

William Penn, in his admirable political pamphlet, England's Present Interest Considered, alluding to the curse of the Charterbreakers, says: ‘I am no Roman Catholic, and little value their other curses; yet I declare I would not for the world incur this curse, as every man deservedly doth, who offers violence to the fundamental freedom thereby repeated and confirmed.’

in Westminster's royal halls,
Robed in their pontificals,
England's ancient prelates stood
For the people's right and good.

Closed around the waiting crowd,
Dark and still, like winter's cloud;
King and council, lord and knight,
Squire and yeoman, stood in sight;

Stood to hear the priest rehearse,
In God's name, the Church's curse,
By the tapers round them lit,
Slowly, sternly uttering it.

[143] “Right of voice in framing laws,
Right of peers to try each cause;
Peasant homestead, mean and small,
Sacred as the monarch's hall,—

Whoso lays his hand on these,
England's ancient liberties;
Whoso breaks, by word or deed,
England's vow at Runnymede;

Be he Prince or belted knight,
Whatsoe'er his rank or might,
If the highest, then the worst,
Let him live and die accursed.

Thou, who to Thy Church hast given
Keys alike, of hell and heaven,
Make our word and witness sure,
Let the curse we speak endure! “

Silent, while that curse was said,
Every bare and listening head
Bowed in reverent awe, and then
All the people said, Amen!

Seven times the bells have tolled,
For the centuries gray and old,
Since that stoled and mitred band
Cursed the tyrants of their land.

Since the priesthood, like a tower,
Stood between the poor and power;
And the wronged and trodden down
Blessed the abbot's shaven crown.

[144] Gone, thank God, their wizard spell,
Lost, their keys of heaven and hell;
Yet I sigh for men as bold
As those bearded priests of old.

Now, too oft the priesthood wait
At the threshold of the state;
Waiting for the beck and nod
Of its power as law and God.

Fraud exults, while solemn words
Sanctify his stolen hoards;
Slavery laughs, while ghostly lips
Bless his manacles and whips.

Not on them the poor rely,
Not to them looks liberty,
Who with fawning falsehood cower
To the wrong, when clothed with power.

Oh, to see them meanly cling,
Round the master, round the king,
Sported with, and sold and bought,—
Pitifuller sight is not!

Tell me not that this must be:
God's true priest is always free;
Free, the needed truth to speak,
Right the wronged, and raise the weak.

Not to fawn on wealth and state,
Leaving Lazarus at the gate;
Not to peddle creeds like wares;
Not to mutter hireling prayers;

[145] Nor to paint the new life's bliss
On the sable ground of this;
Golden streets for idle knave,
Sabbath rest for weary slave!

Not for words and works like these,
Priest of God, thy mission is;
But to make earth's desert glad,
In its Eden greenness clad;

And to level manhood bring
Lord and peasant, serf and king;
And the Christ of God to find
In the humblest of thy kind!

Thine to work as well as pray,
Clearing thorny wrongs away;
Plucking up the weeds of sin,
Letting heaven's warm sunshine in;

Watching on the hills of Faith;
Listening what the spirit saith,
Of the dim-seen light afar,
Growing like a nearing star.

God's interpreter art thou,
To the waiting ones below;
Twixt them and its light midway
Heralding the better day;

Catching gleams of temple spires,
Hearing notes of angel choirs,
Where, as yet unseen of them,
Comes the New Jerusalem!

[146] Like the seer of Patmos gazing,
On the glory downward blazing;
Till upon Earth's grateful sod
Rests the City of our God!



This poem indicates the exultation of the anti-slavery party in view of the revolt of the friends of Martin Van Buren in New York, from the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1848.

Now, joy and thanks forevermore!
     The dreary night has wellnigh passed,
The slumbers of the North are o'er,
     The Giant stands erect at last!

More than we hoped in that dark time
     When, faint with watching, few and worn,
We saw no welcome day-star climb
     The cold gray pathway of the morn!

O weary hours! O night of years!
     What storms our darkling pathway swept,
Where, beating back our thronging fears,
     By Faith alone our march we kept.

How jeered the scoffing crowd behind,
     How mocked before the tyrant train,
As, one by one, the true and kind
     Fell fainting in our path of pain!

They died, their brave hearts breaking slow,
     But, self-forgetful to the last, [147]
Their breath upon the darkness passed.

A mighty host, on either hand,
     Stood waiting for the dawn of day
To crush like reeds our feeble band;
     The morn has come, and where are they?

Troop after troop their line forsakes;
     With peace-white banners waving free,
And from our own the glad shout breaks,
     Of Freedom and Fraternity!

Like mist before the growing light,
     The hostile cohorts melt away;
Our frowning foemen of the night
     Are brothers at the dawn of day!

As unto these repentant ones
     We open wide our toil-worn ranks,
Along our line a murmur runs
     Of song, and praise, and grateful thanks.

Sound for the onset! Blast on blast!
     Till Slavery's minions cower and quail;
One charge of fire shall drive them fast
     Like chaff before our Northern gale!

O prisoners in your house of pain,
     Dumb, toiling millions, bound and sold,
Look I stretched o'er Southern vale and plain,
     The Lord's delivering hand behold!

[148] Above the tyrant's pride of power,
     His iron gates and guarded wall,
The bolts which shattered Shinar's tower
     Hang, smoking, for a fiercer fall.

Awake! awake! my Fatherland!
     It is thy Northern light that shines;
This stirring march of Freedom's band
     The storm-song of thy mountain pines.

Wake, dwellers where the day expires!
     And hear, in winds that sweep your lakes
And fan your prairies' roaring fires,
     The signal-call that Freedom makes!


The Crisis.

Written on learning the terms of the treaty with Mexico.

across the Stony Mountains, o'er the desert's drouth and sand,
The circles of our empire touch the western ocean's strand;
From slumberous Timpanogos, to Gila, wild and free,
Flowing down from Nuevo-Leon to California's sea;
And from the mountains of the east, to Santa Rosa's shore,
The eagles of Mexitli shall beat the air no more.

O Vale of Rio Bravo! Let thy simple children weep;
Close watch about their holy fire let maids of Pecos keep; [149]
Let Taos send her cry across Sierra Madre's pines,
And Santa Barbara toll her bells amidst her corn and vines;
For lo! the pale land-seekers come, with eager eyes of gain,
Wide scattering, like the bison herds on broad Salada's plain.

Let Sacramento's herdsmen heed what sound the winds bring down
Of footsteps on the crisping snow, from cold Nevada's crown!
Full hot and fast the Saxon rides, with rein of travel slack,
And, bending o'er his saddle, leaves the sunrise at his back;
By many a lonely river, and gorge of fir and pine,
On many a wintry hill-top, his nightly camp-fires shine.

O countrymen and brothers! that land of lake and plain,
Of salt wastes alternating with valleys fat with grain;
Of mountains white with winter, looking downward, cold, serene,
On their feet with spring-vines tangled and lapped
in softest green;
Swift through whose black volcanic gates, o'er many a sunny vale,
Wind-like the Arapahoe sweeps the bison's dusty trail!

[150] Great spaces yet untravelled, great lakes whose mystic shores
The Saxon rifle never heard, nor dip of Saxon oars;
Great herds that wander all unwatched, wild steeds that none have tamed,
Strange fish in unknown streams, and birds the Saxon never named;
Deep mines, dark mountain crucibles, where Nature's chemic powers
Work out the Great Designer's will; all these ye say are ours!

Forever ours! for good or ill, on us the burden lies;
God's balance, watched by angels, is hung across the skies.
Shall Justice, Truth, and Freedom turn the poised and trembling scale?
Or shall the Evil triumph, and robber Wrong prevail?
Shall the broad land o'er which our flag in starry splendor waves,
Forego through us its freedom, and bear the tread of slaves?

The day is breaking in the East of which the prophets told,
And brightens up the sky of Time the Christian Age of Gold;
Old Might to Right is yielding, battle blade to clerkly pen,
Earth's monarchs are her peoples, and her serfs stand up as men; [151] The isles rejoice together, in a day are nations born,
And the slave walks free in Tunis, and by Stamboul's Golden Horn!

Is this, O countrymen of mine! a day for us to sow
The soil of new-gained empire with slavery's seeds of woe?
To feed with our fresh life-blood the Old World's cast-off crime,
Dropped, like some monstrous early birth, from the tired lap of Time?
To run anew the evil race the old lost nations ran,
And die like them of unbelief of God, and wrong of man?

Great Heaven! Is this our mission? End in this the prayers and tears,
The toil, the strife, the watchings of our younger, better years?
Still as the Old World rolls in light, shall ours in shadow turn,
A beamless Chaos, cursed of God, through outer darkness borne?
Where the far nations looked for light, a blackness in the air?
Where for words of hope they listened, the long wail of despair?

The Crisis presses on us; face to face with us it stands,
With solemn lips of question, like the Sphinx in Egypt's sands!

[152] This day we fashion Destiny, our web of Fate we spin;
This day for all hereafter choose we holiness or sin;
Even now from starry Gerizim, or Ebal's cloudy crown,
We call the dews of blessing or the bolts of cursing down!

By all for which the martyrs bore their agony and shame;
By all the warning words of truth with which the prophets came;
By the Future which awaits us; by all the hopes which cast
Their faint and trembling beams across the blackness of the Past;
And by the blessed thought of Him who for Earth's freedom died,
O my people! O my brothers! let us choose the righteous side.

So shall the Northern pioneer go joyful on his way;
To wed Penobscot's waters to San Francisco's bay;
To make the rugged places smooth, and sow the vales with grain;
And bear, with Liberty and Law, the Bible in his train:
The mighty West shall bless the East, and sea shall answer sea,
And mountain unto mountain call, Praise God, for we are free!



Lines on the Portrait of a Celebrated Publisher.

The lines following were addressed to a magazine publisher, who, alarmed for his Southern circulation, not only dropped the name of Grace Greenwood from his list of contributors, but made an offensive parade of his action, with the view of strengthening his position among slaveholders and conservatives. By some coincidence his portrait was issued about the same time.

A Moony breadth of virgin face,
     By thought unviolated;
A patient mouth, to take from scorn
     The hook with bank-notes baited!
Its self-complacent sleekness shows
     How thrift goes with the fawner;
An unctuous unconcern of all
     Which nice folks call dishonor!

A pleasant print to peddle out
     In lands of rice and cotton;
The model of that face in dough
     Would make the artist's fortune.
For Fame to thee has come unsought,
     While others vainly woo her,
In proof how mean a thing can make
     A great man of its doer.

To whom shall men thyself compare,
     Since common models fail 'em,
Save classic goose of ancient Rome,
     Or sacred ass of Balaam?
The gabble of that wakeful goose
     Saved Rome from sack of Brennus; [154]
The braying of the prophet's ass
     Betrayed the angel's menace!

So when Guy Fawkes, in petticoats,
     And azure-tinted hose on,
Was twisting from thy love-lorn sheets
     The slow-match of explosion—
An earthquake blast that would have tossed
     The Union as a feather,
Thy instinct saved a perilled land
     And perilled purse together.

Just think of Carolina's sage
     Sent whirling like a Dervis,
Of Quattlebum in middle air
     Performing strange drill-service!
,Doomed like Assyria's lord of old,
     Who fell before the Jewess,
Or sad Abimelech, to sigh,
     ‘Alas! a woman slew us!’

Thou saw'st beneath a fair disguise
     The danger darkly lurking,
And maiden bodice dreaded more
     Than warrior's steel-wrought jerkin
How keen to scent the hidden plot!
     How prompt wert thou to balk it,
With patriot zeal and pedler thrift,
     For country and for pocket!

Thy likeness here is doubtless well,
     But higher honor's due it; [155]
Admiring eyes should view it.
     Or, hung aloft, it well might grace
The nation's senate-chamber—
     A greedy Northern bottle-fly
Preserved in Slavery's amber!



The storming of the city of Derne, in 1805, by General Eaton, at the head of nine Americans, forty Greeks, and a motley array of Turks and Arabs, was one of those feats of hardihood and daring which have in all ages attracted the admiration of the multitude. The higher and holier heroism of Christian self-denial and sacrifice, in the humble walks of private duty, is seldom so well appreciated.

night on the city of the Moor!
On mosque and tomb, and white-walled shore,
On sea-waves, to whose ceaseless knock
The narrow harbor-gates unlock,
On corsair's galley, carack tall,
And plundered Christian caraval!
The sounds of Moslem life are still;
No mule-bell tinkles down the hill;
Stretched in the broad court of the khan,
The dusty Bornou caravan
Lies heaped in slumber, beast and man;
The Sheik is dreaming in his tent,
His noisy Arab tongue o'erspent;
The kiosk's glimmering lights are gone,
The merchant with his wares withdrawn;
Rough pillowed on some pirate breast,
The dancing-girl has sunk to rest; [156]
And, save where measured footsteps fall
Along the Bashaw's guarded wall,
Or where, like some bad dream, the Jew
Creeps stealthily his quarter through,
Or counts with fear his golden heaps,
The City of the Corsair sleeps!

But where yon prison long and low
Stands black against the pale star-glow,
Chafed by the ceaseless wash of waves,
There watch and pine the Christian slaves;
Rough-bearded men, whose far-off wives
Wear out with grief their lonely lives;
And youth, still flashing from his eyes
The clear blue of New England skies,
A treasured lock of whose soft hair
Now wakes some sorrowing mother's prayer;
Or, worn upon some maiden breast,
Stirs with the loving heart's unrest!

A bitter cup each life must drain,
The groaning earth is cursed with pain,
And, like the scroll the angel bore
The shuddering Hebrew seer before,
O'erwrit alike, without, within,
With all the woes which follow sin;
But, bitterest of the ills beneath
Whose load man totters down to death,
Is that which plucks the regal crown
Of Freedom from his forehead down,
And snatches from his powerless hand
The sceptred sign of self-command,
Effacing with the chain and rod

[157] Till from his nature, day by day,
The manly virtues fall away,
And leave him naked, blind and mute,
The godlike merging in the brute!

Why mourn the quiet ones who die
Beneath affection's tender eye,
Unto their household and their kin
Like ripened corn-sheaves gathered in?
O weeper, from that tranquil sod,
That holy harvest-home of God,
Turn to the quick and suffering, shed
Thy tears upon the living dead!
Thank God above thy dear ones' graves,
They sleep with Him, they are not slaves.

What dark mass, down the mountain-sides
Swift-pouring, like a stream divides?
A long, loose, straggling caravan,
Camel and horse and armed man.
The moon's low crescent, glimmering o'er
Its grave of waters to the shore,
Lights up that mountain cavalcade,
And gleams from gun and spear and blade
Near and more near! now o'er them falls
The shadow of the city walls.
Hark to the sentry's challenge, drowned
In the fierce trumpet's charging sound!
The rush of men, the musket's peal,
The short, sharp clang of meeting steel!

Vain, Moslem, vain thy lifeblood poured
So freely on thy foeman's sword! [158]
Not to the swift nor to the strong
The battles of the right belong;
For he who strikes for Freedom wears
The armor of the captive's prayers,
And Nature proffers to his cause
The strength of her eternal laws;
While he whose arm essays to bind
And herd with common brutes his kind
Strives evermore at fearful odds
With Nature and the jealous gods,
And dares the dread recoil which late
Or soon their right shall vindicate.

Tis done, the horned crescent falls!
The star-flag flouts the broken walls!
Joy to the captive husband! joy
To thy sick heart, O brown-locked boy!
In sullen wrath the conquered Moor
Wide open flings your dungeon-door,
And leaves ye free from cell and chain,
The owners of yourselves again.
Dark as his allies desert-born,
Soiled with the battle's stain, and worn
With the long marches of his band
Through hottest wastes of rock and sand,
Scorched by the sun and furnace-breath
Of the red desert's wind of death,
With welcome words and grasping hands,
The victor and deliverer stands!

The tale is one of distant skies;
The dust of half a century lies
Upon it; yet its hero's name [159]
Still lingers on the lips of Fame.
Men speak the praise of him who gave
Deliverance to the Moorman's slave,
Yet dare to brand with shame and crime
The heroes of our land and time,
The self-forgetful ones, who stake
Home, name, and life for Freedom's sake.
God mend his heart who cannot feel
The impulse of a holy zeal,
And sees not, with his sordid eyes,
The beauty of self-sacrifice!
Though in the sacred place he stands,
Uplifting consecrated hands,
Unworthy are his lips to tell
Of Jesus' martyr-miracle,
Or name aright that dread embrace
Of suffering for a fallen race!


A Sabbath scene.

This poem finds its justification in the readiness with which, even in the North, clergymen urged the prompt execution of the Fugitive Slave Law as a Christian duty, and defended the system of slavery as a Bible institution.

scarce had the solemn Sabbath-bell
     Ceased quivering in the steeple,
Scarce had the parson to his desk
     Walked stately through his people,

When down the summer-shaded street
     A wasted female figure,
With dusky brow and naked feet,
     Came rushing wild and eager.

[160] She saw the white spire through the trees,
     She heard the sweet hymn swelling:
O pitying Christ! a refuge give
     That poor one in Thy dwelling!

Like a scared fawn before the hounds,
     Right up the aisle she glided,
While close behind her, whip in hand,
     A lank-haired hunter strided.

She raised a keen and bitter cry,
     To Heaven and Earth appealing;
Were manhood's generous pulses dead?
     Had woman's heart no feeling?

A score of stout hands rose between
     The hunter and the flying:
Age clenched his staff, and maiden eyes
     Flashed tearful, yet defying.

‘Who dares profane this house and day?’
     Cried out the angry pastor.
“Why, bless your soul, the wench's a slave,
     And I'm her lord and master!

I've law and gospel on my side,
     And who shall dare refuse me? “
Down came the parson, bowing low,
     ” My good sir, pray excuse me!

Of course I know your right divine
     To own and work and whip her;
Quick, deacon, throw that Polyglott
     Before the wench, and trip her! “

[161] Plump dropped the holy tome, and o'er
     Its sacred pages stumbling,
Bound hand and foot, a slave once more,
     The hapless wretch lay trembling.

I saw the parson tie the knots,
     The while his flock addressing,
The Scriptural claims of slavery
     With text on text impressing.

‘Although,’ said he, “on Sabbath day
     All secular occupations
Are deadly sins, we must fulfil
     Our moral obligations:

And this commends itself as one
     To every conscience tender;
As Paul sent back Onesimus,
     My Christian friends, we send her! “

Shriek rose on shriek,—the Sabbath air
     Her wild cries tore asunder;
I listened, with hushed breath, to hear
     God answering with his thunder!

All still! the very altar's cloth
     Had smothered down her shrieking,
And, dumb, she turned from face to face,
     For human pity seeking!

I saw her dragged along the aisle,
     Her shackles harshly clanking;
I heard the parson, over all,
     The Lord devoutly thanking!

[162] My brain took fire: ‘ Is this,’ I cried,
     “The end of prayer and preaching?
Then down with pulpit, down with priest
     And give us Nature's teaching!

Foul shame and scorn be on ye all
     Who turn the good to evil,
And steal the Bible from the Lord,
     To give it to the Devil!

Than garbled text or parchment law
     I own a statute higher;
And God is true, though every book
     And every man's a liar! “

Just then I felt the deacon's hand
     In wrath my coat-tail seize on;
I heard the priest cry, ‘Infidel! ’
     The lawyer mutter, ‘Treason!’

I started up,—where now were church,
     Slave, master, priest, and people?
I only heard the supper-bell,
     Instead of clanging steeple.

But, on the open window's sill,
     O'er which the white blooms drifted,
The pages of a good old Book
     The wind of summer lifted,

And flower and vine, like angel wings
     Around the Holy Mother,
Waved softly there, as if God's truth
     And Mercy kissed each other.

[163] And freely from the cherry-bough
     Above the casement swinging,
With golden bosom to the sun,
     The oriole was singing.

As bird and flower made plain of old
     The lesson of the Teacher,
So now I heard the written Word
     Interpreted by Nature!

For to my ear me thought the breeze
     Bore Freedom's blessed word on;
Thus saith the Lord: Break every yoke,
     Undo the heavy burden!


In the evil days.

This and the four following poems have special reference to that darkest hour in the aggression of slavery which preceded the dawn of a better day, when the conscience of the people was roused to action.

the evil days have come, the poor
     Are made a prey;
Bar up the hospitable door,
     Put out the fire-lights, point no more
The wanderer's way.

For Pity now is crime; the chain
     Which binds our States
Is melted at her hearth in twain,
     Is rusted by her tears' soft rain:
Close up her gates.

[164] Our Union, like a glacier stirred
     By voice below,
Or bell of kine, or wing of bird,
     A beggar's crust, a kindly word
May overthrow!

Poor, whispering tremblers! yet we boast
     Our blood and name;
Bursting its century-bolted frost,
     Each gray cairn on the Northman's coast
Cries out for shame!

Oh for the open firmament,
     The prairie free,
The desert hillside, cavern-rent,
     The Pawnee's lodge, the Arab's tent,
The Bushman's tree!

Than web of Persian loom most rare,
     Or soft divan,
Better the rough rock, bleak and bare,
     Or hollow tree, which man may share
With suffering man.

I hear a voice: “Thus saith the Law,
     Let Love be dumb;
Clasping her liberal hands in awe,
     Let sweet-lipped Charity withdraw
From hearth and home.”

I hear another voice: “The poor
     Are thine to feed;
Turn not the outcast from thy door, [165]
     Nor give to bonds and wrong once more
Whom God hath freed.”

Dear Lord! between that law and Thee
     No choice remains;
Yet not untrue to man's decree,
     Though spurning its rewards, is he
Who bears its pains.

Not mine Sedition's trumpet-blast
     And threatening word;
I read the lesson of the Past,
     That firm endurance wins at last
More than the sword.

O clear-eyed Faith, and Patience thou
     So calm and strong!
Lend strength to weakness, teach us how
     The sleepless eyes of God look through
This night of wrong!


Moloch in State street.

In a foot-note of the Report of the Senate of Massachusetts on the case of the arrest and return to bondage of the fugitive slave Thomas Sims it is stated that—

‘ It would have been impossible for the U. S. marshal thus successfully to have resisted the law of the State, without the assistance of the municipal authorities of Boston, and the countenance and support of a numerous, wealthy, and powerful body of citizens. It was in evidence that 1500 of the most wealthy and respectable citizens—merchants, bankers, and others—volunteered their services to aid the marshal on this occasion. . . . . No watch was kept upon the doings of the marshal, and while the [166] State officers slept, after the moon had gone down, in the darkest hour before daybreak, the accused was taken out of our jurisdiction by the armed police of the city of Boston.’

the moon has set: while yet the dawn
     Breaks cold and gray,
Between the midnight and the morn
     Bear off your prey!

On, swift and still! the conscious street
     Is panged and stirred;
Tread light! that fall of serried feet
     The dead have heard!

The first drawn blood of Freedom's veins
     Gushed where ye tread;
Lo! through the dusk the martyr-stains
     Blush darkly red!

Beneath the slowly waning stars
     And whitening day,
What stern and awful presence bars
     That sacred way?

What faces frown upon ye, dark
     With shame and pain?
Come these from Plymouth's Pilgrim bark?
     Is that young Vane?

Who, dimly beckoning, speed ye on
     With mocking cheer?
Lo! spectral Andros, Hutchinson,
     And Gage are here!

[167] For ready mart or favoring blast
     Through Moloch's fire,
Flesh of his flesh, unsparing, passed
     The Tyrian sire.

Ye make that ancient sacrifice
     Of Mall to Gain,
Your traffic thrives, where Freedom dies,
     Beneath the chain.

Ye sow to-day; your harvest, scorn
     And hate, is near;
How think ye freemen, mountain-born,
     The tale will hear?

Thank God! our mother State can yet
     Her fame retrieve;
To you and to your children let
     The scandal cleave.

Chain Hall and Pulpit, Court and Press,
     Make gods of gold;
Let honor, truth, and manliness
     Like wares be sold.

Your hoards are great, your walls are strong,
     But God is just;
The gilded chambers built by wrong
     Invite the rust.

What! know ye not the gains of Crime
     Are dust and dross;
Its ventures on the waves of time
     Foredoomed to loss!

[168] And still the Pilgrim State remains
     What she hath been;
Her inland hills, her seaward plains,
     Still nurture men!

Nor wholly lost the fallen mart;
     Her olden blood
Through many a free and generous heart
     Still pours its flood.

That brave old blood, quick-flowing yet,
     Shall know no check,
Till a free people's foot is set
     On Slavery's neck.

Even now, the peal of bell and gun,
     And hills aflame,
Tell of the first great triumph won
     In Freedom's name.10

The long night dies: the welcome gray
     Of dawn we see;
Speed up the heavens thy perfect day,
     God of the free!


Official piety.

Suggested by reading a state paper, wherein the higher law is invoked to sustain the lower one.

A Pious magistrate! sound his praise throughout
The wondering churches. Who shall henceforth doubt [169]
That the long-wished millennium draweth nigh?
Sin in high places has become devout,
Tithes mint, goes painful-faced, and prays its lie
Straight up to Heaven, and calls it piety!

The pirate, watching from his bloody deck
The weltering galleon, heavy with the gold
Of Acapulco, holding death in check
While prayers are said, brows crossed, and beads are told;
The robber, kneeling where the wayside cross
On dark Abruzzo tells of life's dread loss
From his own carbine, glancing still abroad
For some new victim, offering thanks to God!
Rome, listening at her altars to the cry
Of midnight Murder, while her hounds of hell
Scour France, from baptized cannon and holy bell
And thousand-throated priesthood, loud and high,
Pealing Te Deums to the shuddering sky,
‘ Thanks to the Lord, who giveth victory!’
What prove these, but that crime was ne'er so black
As ghostly cheer and pious thanks to lack?
Satan is modest. At Heaven's door he lays
His evil offspring, and, in Scriptural phrase
And saintly posture, gives to God the praise
And honor of the monstrous progeny.
What marvel, then, in our own time to see
His old devices, smoothly acted o'er,—
Official piety, locking fast the door
Of Hope against three million souls of men,—
Brothers, God's children, Christ's redeemed,—and then, [170]
With uprolled eyeballs and on bended knee,
Whining a prayer for help to hide the key!


The rendition.

On the 2d of June, 1854, Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave from Virginia, after being under arrest for ten days in the Boston Court House, was remanded to slavery under the Fugitive Slave Act, and taken down State Street to a steamer chartered by the United States Government, under guard of United States troops and artillery, Massachusetts militia and Boston police. Public excitement ran high, a futile attempt to rescue Burns having been made during his confinement, and the streets were crowded with tens of thousands of people, of whom many came from other towns and cities of the State to witness the humiliating spectacle.

I heard the train's shrill whistle call,
I saw an earnest look beseech,
And rather by that look than speech
My neighbor told me all.

And, as I thought of Liberty
Marched handcuffed down that sworded street,
The solid earth beneath my feet
Reeled fluid as the sea.

I felt a sense of bitter loss,—
Shame, tearless grief, and stifling wrath,
And loathing fear, as if my path
A serpent stretched across.

All love of home, all pride of place,
All generous confidence and trust,
Sank smothering in that deep disgust
And anguish of disgrace.

[171] Down on my native hills of June,
And home's green quiet, hiding all,
Fell sudden darkness like the fall
Of midnight upon noon!

And Law, an unloosed maniac, strong,
Blood-drunken, through the blackness trod,
Hoarse-shouting in the ear of God
The blasphemy of wrong.

“O Mother, from thy memories proud,
Thy old renown, dear Commonwealth,
Lend this dead air a breeze of health,
And smite with stars this cloud.

Mother of Freedom, wise and brave,
Rise awful in thy strength, “I said;
Ah me! I spake but to the dead;
I stood upon her grave!

6th mo., 1854.

Arisen at last.

On the passage of the bill to protect the rights and liberties of the people of the State against the Fugitive Slave Act.

I said I stood upon thy grave,
     My Mother State, when last the moon
Of blossoms clomb the skies of June.

And, scattering ashes on my head,
     I wore, undreaming of relief,
The sackcloth of thy shame and grief.

[172] Again that moon of blossoms shines
     On leaf and flower and folded wing,
And thou hast risen with the spring!

Once more thy strong maternal arms
     Are round about thy children flung,—
A lioness that guards her young!

No threat is on thy closed lips,
     But in thine eye a power to smite
The mad wolf backward from its light.

Southward the baffled robber's track
     Henceforth runs only; here away,
The fell lycanthrope finds no prey.

Henceforth, within thy sacred gates,
     His first low howl shall downward draw
The thunder of thy righteous law.

Not mindless of thy trade and gain,
     But, acting on the wiser plan,
Thou'rt grown conservative of man.

So shalt thou clothe with life the hope,
     Dream-painted on the sightless eyes
Of him who sang of Paradise,—

The vision of a Christian man,
     In virtue, as in stature great
Embodied in a Christian State.

[173] And thou, amidst thy sisterhood
     Forbearing long, yet standing fast,
Shalt win their grateful thanks at last;

When North and South shall strive no more,
     And all their feuds and fears be lost
In Freedom's holy Pentecost.

6th mo., 1855.

The Haschish.

of all that Orient lands can vaunt
     Of marvels with our own competing,
The strangest is the Haschish plant,
     And what will follow on its eating.

What pictures to the taster rise,
     Of Dervish or of Almeh dances!
Of Eblis, or of Paradise,
     Set all aglow with Houri glances!

The poppy visions of Cathay,
     The heavy beer-trance of the Suabian;
The wizard lights and demon play
     Of nights Walpurgis and Arabian!

The Mollah and the Christian dog
     Change place in mad metempsychosis;
The Muezzin climbs the synagogue,
     The Rabbi shakes his beard at Moses!

[174] The Arab by his desert well
     Sits choosing from some Caliph's daughters,
And hears his single camel's bell
     Sound welcome to his regal quarters.

The Koran's reader makes complaint
     Of Shitan dancing on and off it;
The robber offers alms, the saint
     Drinks Tokay and blasphemes the Prophet.

Such scenes that Eastern plant awakes;
     But we have one ordained to beat it,
The Haschish of the West, which makes
     Or fools or knaves of all who eat it.

The preacher eats, and straight appears
     His Bible in a new translation;
Its angels negro overseers,
     And Heaven itself a snug plantation!

The man of peace, about whose dreams
     The sweet millennial angels cluster,
Tastes the mad weed, and plots and schemes,
     A raving Cuban filibuster!

The noisiest Democrat, with ease,
     It turns to Slavery's parish beadle;
The shrewdest statesman eats and sees
     Due southward point the polar needle.

The Judge partakes, and sits erelong
     Upon his bench a railing blackguard; [175]
Decides off-hand that right is wrong,
     And reads the ten commandments backward.

O potent plant! so rare a taste
     Has never Turk or Gentoo gotten;
The hempen Haschish of the East
     Is powerless to our Western Cotton!


For Righteousness' sake.

Inscribed to friends under arrest for treason against the slave power.

the age is dull and mean. Men creep,
     Not walk; with blood too pale and tame
To pay the debt they owe to shame;
     Buy cheap, sell dear; eat, drink, and sleep
Down-pillowed, deaf to moaning want;
     Pay tithes for soul-insurance; keep
Six days to Mammon, one to Cant.

In such a time, give thanks to God,
     That somewhat of the holy rage
With which the prophets in their age
     On all its decent seemings trod,
Has set your feet upon the lie,
     That man and ox and soul and clod
Are market stock to sell and buy!

The hot words from your lips, my own,
     To caution trained, might not repeat;
But if some tares among the wheat [176]
     Of generous thought and deed were sown,
No common wrong provoked your zeal;
     The silken gauntlet that is thrown
In such a quarrel rings like steel.

The brave old strife the fathers saw
     For Freedom calls for men again
Like those who battled not in vain
     For England's Charter, Alfred's law;
And right of speech and trial just
     Wage in your name their ancient war
With venal courts and perjured trust.

God's ways seem dark, but, soon or late,
     They touch the shining hills of day;
The evil cannot brook delay,
     The good can well afford to wait.
Give ermined knaves their hour of crime;
     Ye have the future grand and great,
The safe appeal of Truth to Time!


The Kansas Emigrants.

This poem and the three following were called out by the popular movement of Free State men to occupy the territory of Kansas, and by the use of the great democratic weapon—an overpowering majority—to settle the conflict on that ground between Freedom and Slavery. The opponents of the movement used another kind of weapon.

we cross the prairie as of old
     The pilgrims crossed the sea,
To make the West, as they the East,
     The homestead of the free!

[177] We go to rear a wall of men
     On Freedom's southern line,
And plant beside the cotton-tree
     The rugged Northern pine!

We're flowing from our native hills
     As our free rivers flow;
The blessing of our Mother-land
     Is on us as we go.

We go to plant her common schools,
     On distant prairie swells,
And give the Sabbaths of the wild
     The music of her bells.

Upbearing, like the Ark of old,
     The Bible in our van,
We go to test the truth of God
     Against the fraud of man.

No pause, nor rest, save where the streams
     That feed the Kansas run,
Save where our Pilgrim gonfalon
     Shall flout the setting sun!

We'll tread the prairie as of old
     Our fathers sailed the sea,
And make the West, as they the East,
     The homestead of the free!




From a Missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, in Kansas, to a Distinguished Politician.

Douglas Mission, August, 1854.
last week–the Lord be praised for all His mercies
To His unworthy servant!—I arrived
Safe at the Mission, via Westport; where
I tarried over night, to aid in forming
A Vigilance Committee, to send back,
In shirts of tar, and feather-doublets quilted
With forty stripes save one, all Yankee comers,
Uncircumcised and Gentile, aliens from
The Commonwealth of Israel, who despise
The prize of the high calling of the saints,
Who plant amidst this heathen wilderness
Pure gospel institutions, sanctified
By patriarchal use. The meeting opened
With prayer, as was most fitting. Half an hour,
Or there away, I groaned, and strove, and wrestled,
As Jacob did at Penuel, till the power
Fell on the people, and they cried “ Amen!”
“Glory to God!” and stamped and clapped their hands;
And the rough river boatmen wiped their eyes;
‘Go it, old hoss!’ they cried, and cursed the niggers—
Fulfilling thus the word of prophecy,
‘Cursed be Cannan.’ After prayer, the meeting
Chose a committee—good and pious men— [179]
A local preacher, three or four class-leaders,
Anxious inquirers, and renewed backsliders,
A score in all—to watch the river ferry,
(As they of old did watch the fords of Jordan,)
And cut off all whose Yankee tongues refuse
The Shibboleth of the Nebraska bill.
And then, in answer to repeated calls,
I gave a brief account of what I saw
In Washington; and truly many hearts
Rejoiced to know the President, and you
And all the Cabinet regularly hear
The gospel message of a Sunday morning,
Drinking with thirsty souls of the sincere
Milk of the Word. Glory! Amen, and Selah!

Here, at the Mission, all things have gone well:
The brother who, throughout my absence, acted
As overseer, assures me that the crops
Never were better. I have lost one negro,
A first-rate hand, but obstinate and sullen.
He ran away some time last spring, and hid
In the river timber. There my Indian converts
Found him, and treed and shot him. For the rest,
The heathens round about begin to feel
The influence of our pious ministrations
And works of love; and some of them already
Have purchased negroes, and are settling down
As sober Christians! Bless the Lord for this!
I know it will rejoice you. You, I hear,
Are on the eve of visiting Chicago,
To fight with the wild beasts of Ephesus,
Long John, and Dutch Free-Soilers. May your arm [180]
Be clothed with strength, and on your tongue be found
The sweet oil of persuasion. So desires
Your brother and co-laborer. Amen!

P. S. All's lost. Even while I write these lines,

The Yankee abolitionists are coming
Upon us like a flood—grim, stalwart men,
Each face set like a flint of Plymouth Rock
Against our institutions—staking out
Their farm lots on the wooded Wakarusa,
Or squatting by the mellow-bottomed Kansas;
The pioneers of mightier multitudes,
The small rain-patter, ere the thunder shower
Drowns the dry prairies. Hope from man is not.
Oh, for a quiet berth at Washington,
Snug naval chaplaincy, or clerkship, where
These rumors of free labor and free soil
Might never meet me more. Better to be
Door-keeper in the White House, than to dwell
Amidst these Yankee tents, that, whitening, show
On the green prairie like a fleet becalmed.
Methinks I hear a voice come up the river
From those far bayous, where the alligators
Mount guard around the camping filibusters:
“Shake off the dust of Kansas. Turn to Cuba— (That golden orange just about to fall,
O'er-ripe, into the Democratic lap;)
Keep pace with Providence, or, as we say,
Manifest destiny. Go forth and follow
The message of our gospel, thither borne
Upon the point of Quitman's bowie-knife, [181]
And the persuasive lips of Colt's revolvers.
There may'st thou, underneath thy vine and fig-tree,
Watch thy increase of sugar cane and negroes,
Calm as a patriarch in his eastern tent!

Amen: So mote it be. So prays your friend.

Burial of Barber.

Thomas Barber was shot December 6, 1855, near Lawrence, Kansas.

bear him, comrades, to his grave;
     Never over one more brave
Shall the prairie grasses weep,
     In the ages yet to come,
When the millions in our room,
     What we sow in tears, shall reap.

Bear him up the icy hill,
     With the Kansas, frozen still
As his noble heart, below,
     And the land he came to till
With a freeman's thews and will,
     And his poor hut roofed with snow!

One more look of that dead face,
     Of his murder's ghastly trace!
One more kiss, O widowed one!
     Lay your left hands on his brow,
Lift your right hands up, and vow
     That his work shall yet be done.

[182] Patience, friends! The eye of God
     Every path by Murder trod
Watches, lidless, day and night;
     And the dead man in his shroud,
And his widow weeping loud,
     And our hearts, are in His sight.

Every deadly threat that swells
     With the roar of gambling hells,
Every brutal jest and jeer,
     Every wicked thought and plan
Of the cruel heart of man,
     Though but whispered, He can hear!

We in suffering, they in crime,
     Wait the just award of time,
Wait the vengeance that is due;
     Not in vain a heart shall break,
Not a tear for Freedom's sake
     Fall unheeded: God is true.

While the flag with stars bedecked
     Threatens where it should protect,
And the Law shakes hands with Crime,
     What is left us but to wait,
Match our patience to our fate,
     And abide the better time?

Patience, friends! The human heart
     Everywhere shall take our part,
Everywhere for us shall pray;
     On our side are nature's laws, [183]
And God's life is in the cause
     That we suffer for to-day.

Well to suffer is divine;
     Pass the watchword down the line,
Pass the countersign: ‘Endure.’
     Not to him who rashly dares,
But to him who nobly bears,
     Is the victor's garland sure.

Frozen earth to frozen breast,
     Lay our slain one down to rest;
Lay him down in hope and faith,
     And above the broken sod,
Once again, to Freedom's God,
     Pledge ourselves for life or death,

That the State whose walls we lay,
     In our blood and tears, to-day,
Shall be free from bonds of shame,
     And our goodly land untrod
By the feet of Slavery, shod
     With cursing as with flame!

Plant the Buckeye on his grave,
     For the hunter of the slave
In its shadow cannot rest;
     And let martyr mound and tree
Be our pledge and guaranty
     Of the freedom of the West!


To Pennsylvania.

O State prayer-founded! never hung
     Such choice upon a people's tongue,
Such power to bless or ban,
     As that which makes thy whisper Fate,
For which on thee the centuries wait,
     And destinies of man!

Across thy Alleghanian chain,
     With groanings from a land in pain,
The west-wind finds its way:
     Wild-wailing from Missouri's flood
The crying of thy children's blood
     Is in thy ears to-day!

And unto thee in Freedom's hour
     Of sorest need God gives the power
To ruin or to save;
     To wound or heal, to blight or bless
With fertile field or wilderness,
     A free home or a grave!

Then let thy virtue match the crime,
     Rise to a level with the time;
And, if a son of thine
     Betray or tempt thee, Brutus-like
For Fatherland and Freedom strike
     As Justice gives the sign.

Wake, sleeper, from thy dream of ease,
     The great occasion's forelock seize;
And let the north-wind strong, [185]
     And golden leaves of autumn, be
Thy coronal of Victory
     And thy triumphal song.

10th mo., 1856.

Le Marais du Cygne.

The massacre of unarmed and unoffending men, in Southern Kansas, in May, 1858, took place near the Marais du Cygne of the French voyageurs.

A blush as of roses
     Where rose never grew!
Great drops on the bunch-grass,
     But not of the dew!
A taint in the sweet air
     For wild bees to shun!
A stain that shall never
     Bleach out in the sun!

Back, steed of the prairies!
     Sweet song-bird, fly back!
Wheel hither, bald vulture!
     Gray wolf, call thy pack!
The foul human vultures
     Have feasted and fled;
The wolves of the Border
     Have crept from the dead.

From the hearths of their cabins,
     The fields of their corn,
Unwarned and unweaponed,
     The victims were torn,—
By the whirlwind of murder [186]
     Swooped up and swept on
To the low, reedy fen-lands,
     The Marsh of the Swan.

With a vain plea for mercy
     No stout knee was crooked;
In the mouths of the rifles
     Right manly they looked.
How paled the May sunshine,
     O Marais du Cygne!
On death for the strong life,
     On red grass for green!

In the homes of their rearing,
     Yet warm with their lives,
Ye wait the dead only,
     Poor children and wives!
Put out the red forge-fire,
     The smith shall not come;
Unyoke the brown oxen,
     The ploughman lies dumb.

Wind slow from the Swan's Marsh,
     O dreary death-train,
With pressed lips as bloodless
     As lips of the slain!
Kiss down the young eyelids,
     Smooth down the gray hairs;
Let tears quench the curses
     That burn through your prayers.

Strong man of the prairies,
     Mourn bitter and wild! [187]
Wail, desolate woman!
     Weep, fatherless child!
But the grain of God springs up
     From ashes beneath,
And the crown of his harvest
     Is life out of death.

Not in vain on the dial
     The shade moves along,
To point the great contrasts
     Of right and of wrong:
Free homes and free altars,
     Free prairie and flood,—
The reeds of the Swan's Marsh,
     Whose bloom is of blood!

On the lintels of Kansas
     That blood shall not dry;
Henceforth the Bad Angel
     Shall harmless go by;
Henceforth to the sunset,
     Unchecked on her way,
Shall Liberty follow
     The march of the day.


The pass of the Sierra.

all night above their rocky bed
     They saw the stars march slow;
The wild Sierra overhead,
     The desert's death below.

[188] The Indian from his lodge of bark,
     The gray bear from his den,
Beyond their camp-fire's wall of dark,
     Glared on the mountain men.

Still upward turned, with anxious strain,
     Their leader's sleepless eye,
Where splinters of the mountain chain
     Stood black against the sky.

The night waned slow: at last, a glow,
     A gleam of sudden fire,
Shot up behind the walls of snow,
     And tipped each icy spire.

‘Up, men! ’ he cried, “yon rocky cone,
     To-day, please God, we'll pass,
And look from Winter's frozen throne
     On Summer's flowers and grass!”

They set their faces to the blast,
     They trod the eternal snow,
And faint, worn, bleeding, hailed at last
     The promised land below.

Behind, they saw the snow-cloud tossed
     By many an icy horn;
Before, warm valleys, wood-embossed,
     And green with vines and corn.

They left the Winter at their backs
     To flap his baffled wing,
And downward, with the cataracts,
     Leaped to the lap of Spring.

[189] Strong leader of that mountain band,
     Another task remains,
To break from Slavery's desert land
     A path to Freedom's plains.

The winds are wild, the way is drear,
     Yet, flashing through the night,
Lo! icy ridge and rocky spear
     Blaze out in morning light!

Rise up, Fremont! and go before;
     The Hour must have its Man;
Put on the hunting-shirt once more,
     And lead in Freedom's van!

8th mo., 1856.

A song for the time.

Written in the summer of 1856, during the political campaign of the Free Soil party under the candidacy of John C. Fremont.

Up, laggards of Freedom!—our free flag is cast
To the blaze of the sun and the wings of the blast;
Will ye turn from a struggle so bravely begun,
From a foe that is breaking, a field that's half won?

Whoso loves not his kind, and who fears not the Lord,
Let him join that foe's service, accursed and abhorred!
Let him do his base will, as the slave only can,—
Let him put on the bloodhound, and put off the Man!

[190] Let him go where the cold blood that creeps in his veins
Shall stiffen the slave-whip, and rust on his chains;
Where the black slave shall laugh in his bonds, to behold
The White Slave beside him, self-fettered and sold!

But ye, who still boast of hearts beating and warm,
Rise, from lake shore and ocean's, like waves in a storm,
Come, throng round our banner in Liberty's name,
Like winds from your mountains, like prairies aflame!

Our foe, hidden long in his ambush of night,
Now, forced from his covert, stands black in the light.
Oh, the cruel to Man, and the hateful to God,
Smite him down to the earth, that is cursed where he trod!

For deeper than thunder of summer's loud shower,
On the dome of the sky God is striking the hour!
Shall we falter before what we've prayed for so long,
When the Wrong is so weak, and the Right is so strong?

Come forth all together! come old and come young,
Freedom's vote in each hand, and her song on each tongue;
Truth naked is stronger than Falsehood in mail;
The Wrong cannot prosper, the Right cannot fail!

[191] Like leaves of the summer once numbered the foe,
But the hoar-frost is falling, the northern winds blow;
Like leaves of November erelong shall they fall,
For earth wearies of them, and God's over all!

What of the day?

Written during the stirring weeks when the great political battle for Freedom under Fremont's leadership was permitting strong hope of success,—a hope overshadowed and solemnized by a sense of the magnitude of the barbaric evil, and a forecast of the unscrupulous and desperate use of all its powers in the last and decisive struggle.

A sound of tumult troubles all the air,
     Like the low thunders of a sultry sky
Far-rolling ere the downright lightnings glare;
     The hills blaze red with warnings; foes draw nigh,
Treading the dark with challenge and reply.
     Behold the burden of the prophet's vision;
The gathering hosts,—the Valley of Decision,
     Dusk with the wings of eagles wheeling o'er.
Day of the Lord, of darkness and not light!
     It breaks in thunder and the whirlwind's roar!
Even so, Father! Let Thy will be done;
     Turn and o'erturn, end what Thou hast begun
In judgment or in mercy: as for me,
     If but the least and frailest, let me be
Evermore numbered with the truly free
     Who find Thy service perfect liberty!
I fain would thank Thee that my mortal life
     Has reached the hour (albeit through care and pain)

[192] When Good and Evil, as for final strife,
Close dim and vast on Armageddon's plain;
And Michael and his angels once again
Drive howling back the Spirits of the Night.
Oh for the faith to read the signs aright
And, from the angle of Thy perfect sight,
See Truth's white banner floating on before;
And the Good Cause, despite of venal friends,
And base expedients, move to noble ends;
See Peace with Freedom make to Time amends,
And, through its cloud of dust, the threshing-floor,
Flailed by the thunder, heaped with chaffless grain!

A song, inscribed to the Fremont Clubs.

Written after the election in 1856, which showed the immense gains of the Free Soil party, and insured its success in 1860.

beneath thy skies, November!
     Thy skies of cloud and rain,
Around our blazing camp-fires
     We close our ranks again.
Then sound again the bugles,
     Call the muster-roll anew;
If months have well-nigh won the field,
     What may not four years do?

For God be praised! New England
     Takes once more her ancient place;
Again the Pilgrim's banner
     Leads the vanguard of the race.
Then sound again the bugles, etc.

[193] Along the lordly Hudson,
     A shout of triumph breaks;
The Empire State is speaking,
     From the ocean to the lakes.
Then sound again the bugles, etc.

The Northern hills are blazing,
     The Northern skies are bright;
And the fair young West is turning
     Her forehead to the light!
Then sound again the bugles, etc.

Push every outpost nearer,
     Press hard the hostile towers!
Another Balaklava,
     And the Malakoff is ours!
Then sound again the bugles,
     Call the muster-roll anew;
If months have well-nigh won the field,
     What may not four years do?

The Panorama.

“A! fredome is a nobill thing!
Fredome mayse man to haif liking.
Fredome all solace to mall giffis;
He levys at ese that frely levys!
A nobil hart may half nane ese
Na ellys nocht that may him plese
Gyff Fredome failythe.”

Archdeacon Barbour.

through the long hall the shuttered windows shed
A dubious light on every upturned head; [194]
On locks like those of Absalom the fair,
On the bald apex ringed with scanty hair,
On blank indifference and on curious stare;
On the pale Showman reading from his stage
The hieroglyphics of that facial page;
Half sad, half scornful, listening to the bruit
Of restless cane-tap and impatient foot,
And the shrill call, across the general din,
‘Roll up your curtain! Let the show begin!’

At length a murmur like the winds that break
Into green waves the prairie's grassy lake,
Deepened and swelled to music clear and loud,
And, as the west-wind lifts a summer cloud,
The curtain rose, disclosing wide and far
A green land stretching to the evening star,
Fair rivers, skirted by primeval trees
And flowers hummed over by the desert bees,
Marked by tall bluffs whose slopes of greenness show
Fantastic outcrops of the rock below;
The slow result of patient Nature's pains,
And plastic fingering of her sun and rains;
Arch, tower, and gate, grotesquely windowed hall,
And long escarpment of half-crumbled wall,
Huger than those which, from steep hills of vine,
Stare through their loopholes on the travelled Rhine;
Suggesting vaguely to the gazer's mind
A fancy, idle as the prairie wind,
Of the land's dwellers in an age unguessed;
The unsung Jotuns of the mystic West.

[195] Beyond, the prairie's sea-like swells surpass
The Tartar's marvels of his Land of Grass,
Vast as the sky against whose sunset shores
Wave after wave the billowy greenness pours;
And, onward still, like islands in that main
Loom the rough peaks of many a mountain chain,
Whence east and west a thousand waters run
From winter lingering under summer's sun.
And, still beyond, long lines of foam and sand
Tell where Pacific rolls his waves a-land,
From many a wide-lapped port and land-locked bay,
Opening with thunderous pomp the world's high-way
To Indian isles of spice, and marts of far Cathay.

‘Such,’ said the Showman, as the curtain fell,
“Is the new Canaan of our Israel;
The land of promise to the swarming North,
Which, hive-like, sends its annual surplus forth,
To the poor Southron on his worn-out soil,
Scathed by the curses of unnatural toil;
To Europe's exiles seeking home and rest,
And the lank nomads of the wandering West,
Who, asking neither, in their love of change
And the free bison's amplitude of range,
Rear the log-hut, for present shelter meant,
Not future comfort, like an Arab's tent.”

Then spake a shrewd on-looker, ‘Sir,’ said he,
“I like your picture, but I fain would see
A sketch of what your promised land will be
When, with electric nerve, and fiery-brained,
With Nature's forces to its chariot chained, [196]
The future grasping, by the past obeyed,
The twentieth century rounds a new decade.”

Then said the Showman, sadly: “He who grieves
Over the scattering of the sibyl's leaves
Unwisely mourns. Suffice it, that we know
What needs must ripen from the seed we sow;
That present time is but the mould wherein
We cast the shapes of holiness and sin.
A painful watcher of the passing hour,
Its lust of gold, its strife for place and power;
Its lack of manhood, honor, reverence, truth,
Wise-thoughted age, and generous-hearted youth;
Nor yet unmindful of each better sign,
The low, far lights, which on the horizon shine,
Like those which sometimes tremble on the rim
Of clouded skies when day is closing dim,
Flashing athwart the purple spears of rain
The hope of sunshine on the hills again:
I need no prophet's word, nor shapes that pass
Like clouding shadows o'er a magic glass;
For now, as ever, passionless and cold,
Doth the dread angel of the future hold
Evil and good before us, with no voice
Or warning look to guide us in our choice;
With spectral hands outreaching through the gloom
The shadowy contrasts of the coming doom.
Transferred from these, it now remains to give
The sun and shade of Fate's alternative.”

Then, with a burst of music, touching all
The keys of thrifty life,—the mill-stream's fall,
The engine's pant along its quivering rails, [197]
The anvil's ring, the measured beat of flails,
The sweep of scythes, the reaper's whistled tune,
Answering the summons of the bells of noon,
The woodman's hail along the river shores,
The steamboat's signal, and the dip of oars:
Slowly the curtain rose from off a land
Fair as God's garden. Broad on either hand
The golden wheat-fields glimmered in the sun,
And the tall maize its yellow tassels spun.
Smooth highways set with hedge-rows living green,
With steepled towns through shaded vistas seen,
The school-house murmuring with its hive-like swarm,
The brook-bank whitening in the grist-mill's storm,
The painted farm-house shining through the leaves
Of fruited orchards bending at its eaves,
Where live again, around the Western hearth,
The homely old-time virtues of the North;
Where the blithe housewife rises with the day,
And well-paid labor counts his task a play.
And, grateful tokens of a Bible free,
And the free Gospel of Humanity,
Of diverse sects and differing names the shrines,
One in their faith, whate'er their outward signs,
Like varying strophes of the same sweet hymn
From many a prairie's swell and river's brim,
A thousand church-spires sanctify the air
Of the calm Sabbath, with their sign of prayer.

Like sudden nightfall over bloom and green
The curtain dropped: and, momently, between
The clank of fetter and the crack of thong,
Half sob, half laughter, music swept along; [198]
A strange refrain, whose idle words and low,
Like drunken mourners, kept the time of woe;
As if the revellers at a masquerade
Heard in the distance funeral marches played.
Such music, dashing all his smiles with tears,
The thoughtful voyager on Ponchartrain hears,
Where, through the noonday dusk of wooded shores
The negro boatman, singing to his oars,
With a wild pathos borrowed of his wrong
Redeems the jargon of his senseless song.
‘Look,’ said the Showman, sternly, as he rolled
His curtain upward. ‘Fate's reverse behold!’

A village straggling in loose disarray
Of vulgar newness, premature decay;
A tavern, crazy with its whiskey brawls,
With ‘Slaves at Auction!’ garnishing its walls;
Without, surrounded by a motley crowd,
The shrewd-eyed salesman, garrulous and loud,
A squire or colonel in his pride of place,
Known at free fights, the caucus, and the race,
Prompt to proclaim his honor without blot,
And silence doubters with a ten-pace shot,
Mingling the negro-driving bully's rant
With pious phrase and democratic cant,
Yet never scrupling, with a filthy jest,
To sell the infant from its mother's breast,
Break through all ties of wedlock, home, and kin,
Yield shrinking girlhood up to graybeard sin;
Sell all the virtues with his human stock,
The Christian graces on his auction-block,
And coolly count on shrewdest bargains driven
In hearts regenerate, and in souls forgiven!

[199] Look once again! The moving canvas shows
A slave plantation's slovenly repose,
Where, in rude cabins rotting midst their weeds,
The human chattel eats, and sleeps, and breeds;
And, held a brute, in practice, as in law,
Becomes in fact the thing he's taken for.
There, early summoned to the hemp and corn,
The nursing mother leaves her child new-born;
There haggard sickness, weak and deathly faint,
Crawls to his task, and fears to make complaint;
And sad-eyed Rachels, childless in decay,
Weep for their lost ones sold and torn away!
Of ampler size the master's dwelling stands,
In shabby keeping with his half-tilled lands;
The gates unhinged, the yard with weeds unclean,
The cracked veranda, with a tipsy lean.
Without, loose-scattered like a wreck adrift,
Signs of misrule and tokens of unthrift;
Within, profusion to discomfort joined,
The listless body and the vacant mind;
The fear, the hate, the theft and falsehood, born
In menial hearts of toil, and stripes, and scorn!
There, all the vices, which, like birds obscene,
Batten on slavery loathsome and unclean,
From the foul kitchen to the parlor rise,
Pollute the nursery where the child-heir lies,
Taint infant lips beyond all after cure,
With the fell poison of a breast impure;
Touch boyhood's passions with the breath of flame,
From girlhood's instincts steal the blush of shame.
So swells, from low to high, from weak to strong,
The tragic chorus of the baleful wrong;
Guilty or guiltless, all within its range
Feel the blind justice of its sure revenge.

[200] Still scenes like these the moving chart reveals.
Up the long western steppes the blighting steals;
Down the Pacific slope the evil Fate
Glides like a shadow to the Golden Gate:
From sea to sea the drear eclipse is thrown,
From sea to sea the Mauvaises Terres have grown,
A belt of curses on the New World's zone!

The curtain fell. All drew a freer breath,
As men are wont to do when mournful death
Is covered from their sight. The Showman stood
With drooping brow in sorrow's attitude
One moment, then with sudden gesture shook
His loose hair back, and with the air and look
Of one who felt, beyond the narrow stage
And listening group, the presence of the age,
And heard the footsteps of the things to be,
Poured out his soul in earnest words and free.

‘O friends!’ he said, “in this poor trick of paint
You see the semblance, incomplete and faint,
Of the two-fronted Future, which, to-day,
Stands dim and silent, waiting in your way.
To-day, your servant, subject to your will;
To-morrow, master, or for good or ill.
If the dark face of Slavery on you turns,
If the mad curse its paper barrier spurns,
If the world granary of the West is made
The last foul market of the slaver's trade,
Why rail at fate? The mischief is your own.
Why hate your neighbor? Blame yourselves alone!

[201] Men of the North! The South you charge
with wrong
Is weak and poor, while you are rich and strong.
If questions,—idle and absurd as those
The old-time monks and Paduan doctors chose,—
Mere ghosts of questions, tariffs, and dead banks,
And scarecrow pontiffs, never broke your ranks,
Your thews united could, at once, roll back
The jostled nation to its primal track.
Nay, were you simply steadfast, manly, just,
True to the faith your fathers left in trust,
If stainless honor outweighed in your scale
A codfish quintal or a factory bale,
Full many a noble heart, (and such remain
In all the South, like Lot in Siddim's plain,
Who watch and wait, and from the wrong's control
Keep white and pure their chastity of soul,)
Now sick to loathing of your weak complaints,
Your tricks as sinners, and your prayers as saints,
Would half-way meet the frankness of your tone,
And feel their pulses beating with your own.

The North! the South! no geographic line
Can fix the boundary or the point define,
Since each with each so closely interblends,
Where Slavery rises, and where Freedom ends.
Beneath your rocks the roots, far-reaching, hide
Of the fell Upas on the Southern side;
The tree whose branches in your northwinds wave
Dropped its young blossoms on Mount Vernon's grave;
The nursling growth of Monticello's crest
Is now the glory of the free Northwest; [202]
To the wise maxims of her olden school
Virginia listened from thy lips, Rantoul;
Seward's words of power, and Sumner's fresh renown,
Flow from the pen that Jefferson laid down!
And when, at length, her years of madness o'er,
Like the crowned grazer on Euphrates' shore,
From her long lapse to savagery, her mouth
Bitter with baneful herbage, turns the South,
Resumes her old attire, and seeks to smooth
Her unkempt tresses at the glass of truth,
Her early faith shall find a tongue again,
New Wythes and Pinckneys swell that old refrain,
Her sons with yours renew the ancient pact,
The myth of Union prove at last a fact!
Then, if one murmur mars the wide content,
Some Northern lip will drawl the last dissent,
Some Union-saving patriot of your own
Lament to find his occupation gone.

Grant that the North's insulted, scorned, betrayed,
O'erreached in bargains with her neighbor made,
When, selfish thrift and party held the scales
For peddling dicker, not for honest sales,
Whom shall we strike? Who most deserves our blame?
The braggart Southron, open in his aim,
And bold as wicked, crashing straight through all
That bars his purpose, like a cannon-ball?
Or the mean traitor, breathing northern air,
With nasal speech and puritanic hair,
Whose cant the loss of principle survives,
As the mud-turtle e'en its head outlives; [203]
Who, caught, chin-buried in some foul offence,
Puts on a look of injured innocence,
And consecrates his baseness to the cause
Of constitution, union, and the laws?

Praise to the place-man who can hold aloof
His still unpurchased manhood, office-proof;
Who on his round of duty walks erect,
And leaves it only rich in self-respect;
As More maintained his virtue's lofty port
In the Eighth Henry's base and bloody court.
But, if exceptions here and there are found,
Who tread thus safely on enchanted ground,
The normal type, the fitting symbol still
Of those who fatten at the public mill,
Is the chained dog beside his master's door,
Or Circe's victim, feeding on all four!

Give me the heroes who, at tuck of drum,
Salute thy staff, immortal Quattlebum!
Or they who, doubly armed with vote and gun,
Following thy lead, illustrious Atchison,
Their drunken franchise shift from scene to scene,
As tile-beard Jourdan did his guillotine!
Rather than him who, born beneath our skies,
To Slavery's hand its supplest tool supplies;
The party felon whose unblushing face
Looks from the pillory of his bribe of place,
And coolly makes a merit of disgrace,
Points to the footmarks of indignant scorn,
Shows the deep scars of satire's tossing horn;
And passes to his credit side the sum
Of all that makes a scoundrel's martyrdom!

[204] Bane of the North, its canker and its moth?
These modern Esaus, bartering rights for broth!
Taxing our justice, with their double claim,
As fools for pity, and as knaves for blame;
Who, urged by party, sect, or trade, within
The fell embrace of Slavery's sphere of sin,
Part at the outset with their moral sense,
The watchful angel set for Truth's defence;
Confound all contrasts, good and ill; reverse
The poles of life, its blessing and its curse;
And lose thenceforth from their perverted sight
The eternal difference 'twixt the wrong and right;
To them the Law is but the iron span
That girds the ankles of imbruted man;
To them the Gospel has no higher aim
Than simple sanction of the master's claim,
Dragged in the slime of Slavery's loathsome trail,
Like Chalier's Bible at his ass's tail!

Such are the men who, with instinctive dread,
Whenever Freedom lifts her drooping head,
Make prophet-tripods of their office-stools,
And scare the nurseries and the village schools
With dire presage of ruin grim and great,
A broken Union and a foundered State!
Such are the patriots, self-bound to the stake
Of office, martyrs for their country's sake:
Who fill themselves the hungry jaws of Fate,
And by their loss of manhood save the State.
In the wide gulf themselves like Curtius throw,
And test the virtues of cohesive dough;
As tropic monkeys, linking heads and tails,
Bridge o'er some torrent of Ecuador's vales!

[205] Such are the men who in your churches rave
To swearing-point, at mention of the slave!
When some poor parson, haply unawares,
Stammers of freedom in his timid prayers;
Who, if some foot-sore negro through the town
Steals northward, volunteer to hunt him down.
Or, if some neighbor, flying from disease,
Courts the mild balsam of the Southern breeze,
With hue and cry pursue him on his track,
And write Free-soiler on the poor man's back,
Such are the men who leave the pedler's cart,
While faring South, to learn the driver's art,
Or, in white neckcloth, soothe with pious aim
The graceful sorrows of some languid dame,
Who, from the wreck of her bereavement, saves
The double charm of widowhood and slaves!
Pliant and apt, they lose no chance to show
To what base depths apostasy can go;
Outdo the natives in their readiness
To roast a negro, or to mob a press;
Poise a tarred schoolmate on the lyncher's rail,
Or make a bonfire of their birthplace mail!

So some poor wretch, whose lips no longer bear
The sacred burden of his mother's prayer,
By fear impelled, or lust of gold enticed,
Turns to the Crescent from the Cross of Christ,
And, over-acting in superfluous zeal,
Crawls prostrate where the faithful only kneel,
Out-howls the Dervish, hugs his rags to court
The squalid Santon's sanctity of dirt;
And, when beneath the city gateway's span
Files slow and long the Meccan caravan, [206]
And through its midst, pursued by Islam's prayers,
The prophet's Word some favored camel bears,
The marked apostate has his place assigned
The Koran-bearer's sacred rump behind,
With brush and pitcher following, grave and mute,
In meek attendance on the holy brute!

Men of the North! beneath your very eyes,
By hearth and home, your real danger lies.
Still day by day some hold of freedom falls
Through home-bred traitors fed within its walls.
Men whom yourselves with vote and purse sustain,
At posts of honor, influence, and gain;
The right of Slavery to your sons to teach,
And “ South-side” Gospels in your pulpits preach,
Transfix the Law to ancient freedom dear
On the sharp point of her subverted spear,
And imitate upon her cushion plump
The mad Missourian lynching from his stump;
Or, in your name, upon the Senate's floor
Yield up to Slavery all it asks, and more;
And, ere your dull eyes open to the cheat,
Sell your old homestead underneath your feet!
While such as these your loftiest outlooks hold,
While truth and conscience with your wares are sold,
While grave-browed merchants band themselves to aid
An annual man-hunt for their Southern trade,
What moral power within your grasp remains
To stay the mischief on Nebraska's plains?
High as the tides of generous impulse flow,
As far rolls back the selfish undertow; [207]
And all your brave resolves, though aimed as true
As the horse-pistol Balmawhapple drew,
To Slavery's bastions lend as slight a shock
As the poor trooper's shot to Stirling rock!

Yet, while the need of Freedom's cause demands
The earnest efforts of your hearts and hands,
Urged by all motives that can prompt the heart
To prayer and toil and manhood's manliest part;
Though to the soul's deep tocsin Nature joins
The warning whisper of her Orphic pines,
The north-wind's anger, and the south-wind's sigh,
The midnight sword-dance of the northern sky,
And, to the ear that bends above the sod
Of the green grave-mounds in the Fields of God,
In low, deep murmurs of rebuke or cheer,
The land's dead fathers speak their hope or fear,
Yet let not Passion wrest from Reason's hand
The guiding rein and symbol of command.
Blame not the caution proffering to your zeal
A well-meant drag upon its hurrying wheel;
Nor chide the man whose honest doubt extends
To the means only, not the righteous ends;
Nor fail to weigh the scruples and the fears
Of milder natures and serener years.
In the long strife with evil which began
With the first lapse of new-created man,
Wisely and well has Providence assigned
To each his part,—some forward, some behind;
And they, too, serve who temper and restrain
The o'erwarm heart that sets on fire the brain.
True to yourselves, feed Freedom's altar-flame
With what you have; let others do the same. [208]
Spare timid doubters; set like flint your face
Against the self-sold knaves of gain and place:
Pity the weak; but with unsparing hand
Cast out the traitors who infest the land;
From bar, press, pulpit, cast them everywhere,
By dint of fasting, if you fail by prayer.
And in their place bring men of antique mould,
Like the grave fathers of your Age of Gold;
Statesmen like those who sought the primal fount
Of righteous law, the Sermon on the Mount;
Lawyers who prize, like Quincy, (to our day
Still spared, Heaven bless him!) honor more than pay,
And Christian jurists, starry-pure, like Jay;
Preachers like Woolman, or like them who bore
The faith of Wesley to our Western shore,
And held no convert genuine till he broke
Alike his servants' and the Devil's yoke;
And priests like him who Newport's market trod,
And o'er its slave-ships shook the bolts of God!
So shall your power, with a wise prudence used,
Strong but forbearing, firm but not abused,
In kindly keeping with the good of all,
The nobler maxims of the past recall,
Her natural home-born right to Freedom give,
And leave her foe his robber-right,—to live.
Live, as the snake does in his noisome fen!
Live, as the wolf does in his bone-strewn den!
Live, clothed with cursing like a robe of flame,
The focal point of million-fingered shame!
Live, till the Southron, who, with all his faults,
Has manly instincts, in his pride revolts, [209]
Dashes from off him, midst the glad world's cheers,
The hideous nightmare of his dream of years,
And lifts, self-prompted, with his own right hand,
The vile encumbrance from his glorious land!

So, wheresoe'er our destiny sends forth
Its widening circles to the South or North,
Where'er our banner flaunts beneath the stars
Its mimic splendors and its cloudlike bars,
There shall Free Labor's hardy children stand
The equal sovereigns of a slaveless land.
And when at last the hunted bison tires,
And dies o'ertaken by the squatter's fires;
And westward, wave on wave, the living flood
Breaks on the snow-line of majestic Hood;
And lonely Shasta listening hears the tread
Of Europe's fair-haired children, Hesperled;
And, gazing downward through his hoar-locks, sees
The tawny Asian climb his giant knees,
The Eastern sea shall hush his waves to hear
Pacific's surf-beat answer Freedom's cheer,
And one long rolling fire of triumph run
Between the sunrise and the sunset gun! “

My task is done. The Showman and his show,
Themselves but shadows, into shadows go;
And, if no song of idlesse I have sung,
Nor tints of beauty on the canvas flung;
If the harsh numbers grate on tender ears,
And the rough picture overwrought appears,
With deeper coloring, with a sterner blast,
Before my soul a voice and vision passed, [210]
Such as might Milton's jarring trump require,
Or glooms of Dante fringed with lurid fire.
Oh, not of choice, for themes of public wrong
I leave the green and pleasant paths of song,
The mild, sweet words which soften and adorn,
For sharp rebuke and bitter laugh of scorn.
More dear to me some song of private worth,
Some homely idyl of my native North,
Some summer pastoral of her inland vales,
Or, grim and weird, her winter fireside tales
Haunted by ghosts of unreturning sails;
Lost barks at parting hung from stem to helm s
With prayers of love like dreams on Virgil's elm.
Nor private grief nor malice holds my pen;
I owe but kindness to my fellow-men;
And, South or North, wherever hearts of prayer
Their woes and weakness to our Father bear,
Wherever fruits of Christian love are found
In holy lives, to me is holy ground.
But the time passes. It were vain to crave
A late indulgence. What I had I gave.
Forget the poet, but his warning heed,
And shame his poor word with your nobler deed.


On a prayer-book, with its Frontispiece, Ary Scheffer's ‘Christus Consolator,’ Americanized by the Omission of the black man.

It is hardly to be credited, yet is true, that in the anxiety of the Northern merchant to conciliate his Southern customer, a publisher was found ready thus to mutilate Scheffer's picture. He [211] intended his edition for use in the Southern States undoubtedly, but copies fell into the hands of those who believed literally in a gospel which was to preach liberty to the captive.

O Ary Scheffer! when beneath thine eye,
     Touched with the light that cometh from above,
Grew the sweet picture of the dear Lord's love,
     No dream hadst thou that Christian hands would tear
Therefrom the token of His equal care,
     And make thy symbol of His truth a lie!
The poor, dumb slave whose shackles fall away
     In His compassionate gaze, grubbed smoothly out,
To mar no more the exercise devout
     Of sleek oppression kneeling down to pray
Where the great oriel stains the Sabbath day!
     Let whoso can before such praying-books
Kneel on his velvet cushion; I, for one,
     Would sooner bow, a Parsee, to the sun,
Or tend a prayer-wheel in Thibetar brooks,
     Or beat a drum on Yedo's temple-floor.
No falser idol man has bowed before,
     In Indian groves or islands of the sea,
Than that which through the quaint-carved Gothic door
     Looks forth,—a Church without humanity!
Patron of pride, and prejudice, and wrong,—
     The rich man's charm and fetich of the strong,
The Eternal Fulness meted, clipped, and shorn,
     The seamless robe of equal mercy torn,
The dear Christ hidden from His kindred flesh,
     And, in His poor ones, crucified afresh!
Better the simple Lama scattering wide,

[212] Where sweeps the storm Alechan's steppes along,
     His paper horses for the lost to ride,
And wearying Buddha with his prayers to make
     The figures living for the traveller's sake,
Than he who hopes with cheap praise to beguile.
     The ear of God, dishonoring man the while;
Who dreams the pearl gate's hinges, rusty grown,
     Are moved by flattery's oil of tongue alone;
That in the scale Eternal Justice bears
     The generous deed weighs less than selfish prayers,
And words intoned with graceful unction move
     The Eternal Goodness more than lives of truth and love.
Alas, the Church! The reverend head of Jay,
     Enhaloed with its saintly silvered hair,
Adorns no more the places of her prayer;
     And brave young Tyng, too early called away,
Troubles the Haman of her courts no more
     Like the just Hebrew at the Assyrian's door;
And her sweet ritual, beautiful but dead
     As the dry husk from which the grain is shed,
And holy hymns from which the life devout
     Of saints and martyrs has wellnigh gone out,
Like candles dying in exhausted air,
     For Sabbath use in measured grists are ground;
And, ever while the spiritual mill goes round,
     Between the upper and the nether stones,
Unseen, unheard, the wretched bondman groans,
     And urges his vain plea, prayer-smothered, anthem-drowned!

O heart of mine, keep patience! Looking forth,
     As from the Mount of Vision, I behold, [213]
Pure, just, and free, the Church of Christ on earth;
     The martyr's dream, the golden age foretold!
And found, at last, the mystic Graal I see,
     Brimmed with His blessing, pass from lip to lip
In sacred pledge of human fellowship;
     And over all the songs of angels hear;
Songs of the love that casteth out all fear;
     Songs of the Gospel of Humanity!
Lo! in the midst, with the same look He wore,
     Healing and blessing on Genesaret's shore,
Folding together, with the all-tender might
     Of His great love, the dark hands and the white,
Stands the Consoler, soothing every pain,
     Making all burdens light, and breaking every chain.


The summons.

my ear is full of summer sounds,
     Of summer sights my languid eye;
Beyond the dusty village bounds
     I loiter in my daily rounds,
And in the noon-time shadows lie.

I hear the wild bee wind his horn,
     The bird swings on the ripened wheat,
The long green lances of the corn
     Are tilting in the winds of morn,
The locust shrills his song of heat.

Another sound my spirit hears,
     A deeper sound that drowns them all; [214]
A voice of pleading choked with tears,
     The call of human hopes and fears,
The Macedonian cry to Paul!

The storm-bell rings, the trumpet blows;
     I know the word and countersign;
Wherever Freedom's vanguard goes,
     Where stand or fall her friends or foes,
I know the place that should be mine.

Shamed be the hands that idly fold,
     And lips that woo the reed's accord,
When laggard Time the hour has tolled
     For true with false and new with old
To fight the battles of the Lord!

O brothers! blest by partial Fate
     With power to match the will and deed,
To him your summons comes too late
     Who sinks beneath his armor's weight,
And has no answer but God-speed!


To William H. Seward.

On the 12th of January, 1861, Mr. Seward delivered in the Senate chamber a speech on The State of the Union, in which he urged the paramount duty of preserving the Union, and went as far as it was possible to go, without surrender of principles, in concessions to the Southern party, concluding his argument with these words: ‘ Having submitted my own opinions on this great crisis, it remains only to say, that I shall cheerfully lend to the government my best support in whatever prudent yet energetio efforts it shall make to preserve the public peace, and to maintain [215] and preserve the Union; advising, only, that it practise, as far as possible, the utmost moderation, forbearance, and conciliation. . . . . This Union has not yet accomplished what good for mankind was manifestly designed by Him who appoints the seasons and prescribes the duties of states and empires. No; if it were cast down by faction to-day, it would rise again and reappear in all its majestic proportions to-morrow. It is the only government that can stand here. Woe! woe! to the man that madly lifts his hand against it. It shall continue and endure; and men, in after times, shall declare that this generation, which saved the Union from such sudden and unlooked — for dangers, surpassed in magnanimity even that one which laid its foundations in the eternal principles of liberty, justice, and humanity.’

statesman, I thank thee! and, if yet dissent
Mingles, reluctant, with my large content,
I cannot censure what was nobly meant.
But, while constrained to hold even Union less
Than Liberty and Truth and Righteousness,
I thank thee in the sweet and holy name
Of peace, for wise calm words that put to shame
Passion and party. Courage may be shown
Not in defiance of the wrong alone;
He may be bravest who, unweaponed, bears
The olive branch, and, strong in justice, spares
The rash wrong-doer, giving widest scope
To Christian charity and generous hope.
If, without damage to the sacred cause
Of Freedom and the safeguard of its laws-
If, without yielding that for which alone
We prize the Union, thou canst save it now
From a baptism of blood, upon thy brow
A wreath whose flowers no earthly soil have known,
Woven of the beatitudes, shall rest,
And the peacemaker be forever blest!



In war time.

To Samuel E. Sewall and Harriet W. Sewall, of Melrose.

These lines to my old friends stood as dedication in the volume which contained a collection of pieces under the general title of In War Time. The group belonging distinctly under that title I have retained here; the other pieces in the volume are distributed among the appropriate divisions.

Olor Iscanus queries: “Why should we
Vex at the land's ridiculous miserie?”
So on his Usk banks, in the blood-red dawn
Of England's civil strife, did careless Vaughan
Bemock his times. O friends of many years!
Though faith and trust are stronger than our fears,
And the signs promise peace with liberty,
Not thus we trifle with our country's tears
And sweat of agony. The future's gain
Is certain as God's truth; but, meanwhile, pain
Is bitter and tears are salt: our voices take
A sober tone; our very household songs
Are heavy with a nation's griefs and wrongs;
And innocent mirth is chastened for the sake
Of the brave hearts that nevermore shall beat,
The eyes that smile no more, the unreturning feet!



Thy will be done.

we see not, know not; all our way
Is night,—with Thee alone is day:
From out the torrent's troubled drift,
Above the storm our prayers we lift,
Thy will be done!

The flesh may fail, the heart may faint,
But who are we to make complaint,
Or dare to plead, in times like these,
The weakness of our love of ease?
Thy will be done!

We take with solemn thankfulness
Our burden up, nor ask it less,
And count it joy that even we
May suffer, serve, or wait for Thee,
Whose will be done!

Though dim as yet in tint and line,
We trace Thy picture's wise design,
And thank Thee that our age supplies
Its dark relief of sacrifice.
Thy will be done

And if, in our unworthiness,
Thy sacrificial wine we press;
If from Thy ordeal's heated bars
Our feet are seamed with crimson scars,
Thy will be done!

[218] If, for the age to come, this hour
Of trial hath vicarious power,
And, blest by Thee, our present pain,
Be Liberty's eternal gain,
Thy will be done!

Strike, Thou the Master, we Thy keys,
The anthem of the destinies!
The minor of Thy loftier strain,
Our hearts shall breathe the old refrain,
Thy will be done!


A word for the hour.

the firmament breaks up. In black eclipse
Light after light goes out. One evil star,
Luridly glaring through the smoke of war,
As in the dream of the Apocalypse,
Drags others down. Let us not weakly weep
Nor rashly threaten. Give us grace to keep
Our faith and patience; wherefore should we leap
On one hand into fratricidal fight,
Or, on the other, yield eternal right,
Frame lies of law, and good and ill confound?
What fear we? Safe on freedom's vantage-ground
Our feet are planted: let us there remain
In unrevengeful calm, no means untried
Which truth can sanction, no just claim denied,
The sad spectators of a suicide!
They break the links of Union: shall we light
The fires of hell to weld anew the chain
On that red anvil where each blow is pain? [219]
Draw we not even now a freer breath,
As from our shoulders falls a load of death
Loathsome as that the Tuscan's victim bore
When keen with life to a dead horror bound?
Why take we up the accursed thing again?
Pity, forgive, but urge them back no more
Who, drunk with passion, flaunt disunion's rag
With its vile reptile-blazon. Let us press
The golden cluster on our brave old flag
In closer union, and, if numbering less,
Brighter shall shine the stars which still remain.

16th First mo., 1861.

Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott.

Luther's hymn.

we wait beneath the furnace-blast
     The pangs of transformation;
Not painlessly doth God recast
     And mould anew the nation.
Hot burns the fire
     Where wrongs expire;
Nor spares the hand
     That from the land
Uproots the ancient evil.

The hand-breadth cloud the sages feared
     Its bloody rain is dropping;
The poison plant the fathers spared
     All else is overtopping.
East, West, South, North,
     It curses the earth; [220]
All justice dies,
     And fraud and lies
Live only in its shadow.

What gives the wheat-field blades of steel?
     What points the rebel cannon?
What sets the roaring rabble's heel
     On the old star-spangled pennon?
What breaks the oath
     Of the men oa the South?
What whets the knife
     For the Union's life?—
Hark to the answer: Slavery!

Then waste no blows on lesser foes
     In strife unworthy freemen.
God lifts to-day the veil, and shows
     The features of the demon!
O North and South,
     Its victims both,
Can ye not cry,
     ‘Let slavery die!’
And union find in freedom?

What though the cast-out spirit tear
     The nation in his going?
We who have shared the guilt must share
     The pang of his overthrowing!
Whate'er the loss,
     Whate'er the cross,
Shall they complain
     Of present pain
Who trust in God's hereafter?

[221] For who that leans on His right arm
     Was ever yet forsaken?
What righteous cause can suffer harm
     If He its part has taken
Though wild and loud,
     And dark the cloud,
Behind its folds
     His hand upholds
The calm sky of to-morrow!

Above the maddening cry for blood,
     Above the wild war-drumming,
Let Freedom's voice be heard, with good
     The evil overcoming.
Give prayer and purse
     To stay the Curse
Whose wrong we share,
     Whose shame we bear,
Whose end shall gladden Heaven!

In vain the bells of war shall ring
     Of triumphs and revenges,
While still is spared the evil thing
     That severs and estranges.
But blest the ear
     That yet shall hear
The jubilant bell
     That rings the knell
Of Slavery forever!

Then let the selfish lip be dumb,
     And hushed the breath of sighing;
Before the joy of peace must come
     The pains of purifying. [222]
God give us grace
     Each in his place
To bear his lot,
     And, murmuring not,
Endure and wait and labor!


To John C. Fremont.

On the 31st of August, 1861, General Fremont, then in charge of the Western Department, issued a proclamation which contained a clause, famous as the first announcement of emancipation: ‘The property,’ it declared, ‘ real and personal, of all persons in the State of Missouri, who shall take up arms against the United States, or who shall be directly proven to have taken active part with their enemies in the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use; and their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared free men.’ Mr. Lincoln regarded the proclamation as premature and countermanded it, after vainly endeavoring to persuade Fremont of his own motion to revoke it.

thy error, Fremont, simply was to act
A brave man's part, without the statesman's tact,
And, taking counsel but of common sense,
To strike at cause as well as consequence.
Oh, never yet since Roland wound his horn
At Roncesvalles, has a blast been blown
Far-heard, wide-echoed, startling as thine own,
Heard from the van of freedom's hope forlorn!
It had been safer, doubtless, for the time,
To flatter treason, and avoid offence
To that Dark Power whose underlying crime
Heaves upward its perpetual turbulence.
But if thine be the fate of all who break
The ground for truth's seed, or forerun their years
Till lost in distance, or with stout hearts make [223]
A lane for freedom through the level spears,
Still take thou courage! God has spoken through thee,
Irrevocable, the mighty words, Be free!
The land shakes with them, and the slave's dull ear
Turns from the rice-swamp stealthily to hear.
Who would recall them now must first arrest
The winds that blow down from the free North-west,
Ruffling the Gulf; or like a scroll roll back
The Mississippi to its upper springs.
Such words fulfil their prophecy, and lack
But the full time to harden into things.


The watchers.

beside a stricken field I stood;
On the torn turf, on grass and wood,
Hung heavily the dew of blood.

Still in their fresh mounds lay the slain,
But all the air was quick with pain
And gusty sighs and tearful rain.

Two angels, each with drooping head
And folded wings and noiseless tread,
Watched by that valley of the dead.

The one, with forehead saintly bland
And lips of blessing, not command,
Leaned, weeping, on her olive wand.

[224] The other's brows were scarred and knit,
His restless eyes were watch-fires lit,
His hands for battle-gauntlets fit.

‘How long!’—I knew the voice of Peace,—
“Is there no respite? no release?
When shall the hopeless quarrel cease?

O Lord, how long! One human soul
Is more than any parchment scroll,
Or any flag thy winds unroll.

What price was Ellsworth's, young and brave?
How weigh the gift that Lyon gave,
Or count the cost of Winthrop's grave?

O brother! if thine eye can see,
Tell how and when the end shall be,
What hope remains for thee and me. “

Then Freedom sternly said: “I shun
No strife nor pang beneath the sun,
When human rights are staked and won.

I knelt with Ziska's hunted flock,
I watched in Toussaint's cell of rock,
I walked with Sidney to the block.

The moor of Marston felt my tread,
Through Jersey snows the march I led,
My voice Magenta's charges sped.

[225] But now, through weary day and night,
I watch a vague and aimless fight
For leave to strike one blow aright.

On either side my foe they own:
One guards through love his ghastly throne,
And one through fear to reverence grown.

Why wait we longer, mocked, betrayed,
By open foes, or those afraid
To speed thy coming through my aid?

Why watch to see who win or fall?
I shake the dust against them all,
I leave them to their senseless brawl. “

‘Nay,’ Peace implored: “yet longer wait;
The doom is near, the stake is great:
God knoweth if it be too late.

Still wait and watch; the way prepare
Where I with folded wings of prayer
May follow, weaponless and bare. “

‘Too late!’ the stern, sad voice replied,
‘Too late! ’ its mournful echo sighed,
In low lament the answer died.

A rustling as of wings in flight,
An upward gleam of lessening white,
So passed the vision, sound and sight.

[226] But round me, like a silver bell
Rung down the listening sky to tell
Of holy help, a sweet voice fell.

‘Still hope and trust,’ it sang; “the rod
Must fall, the wine-press must be trod,
But all is possible with God”


To Englishmen.

Written when, in the stress of our terrible war, the English ruling class, with few exceptions, were either coldly indifferent or hostile to the party of freedom. Their attitude was illustrated by caricatures of America, among which was one of a slaveholder and cowhide, with the motto, ‘Havent I a right to wallop my nigger?’

You flung your taunt across the wave;
     We bore it as became us,
Well knowing that the fettered slave
     Left friendly lips no option save
To pity or to blame us.

You scoffed our plea. “Mere lack of will,
     Not lack of power,” you told us:
We showed our free-state records; still
     You mocked, confounding good and ill,
Slave-haters and slaveholders

We struck at Slavery; to the verge
     Of power and means we checked it;
Lo!—presto, change! its claims you urge,
     Send greetings to it o'er the surge,
And comfort and protect it.

[227] But yesterday you scarce could shake,
     In slave-abhorring rigor,
Our Northern palms for conscience' sake:
     To-day you clasp the hands that ache
With ‘ walloping the nigger! ’

O Englishmen!—in hope and creed,
     In blood and tongue our brothers!
We too are heirs of Runnymede;
     And Shakespeare's fame and Cromwell's deed
Are not alone our mother's.

‘Thicker than water,’ in one rill
     Through centuries of story
Our Saxon blood has flowed, and still
     We share with you its good and ill,
The shadow and the glory.

Joint heirs and kinfolk, leagues of wave
     Nor length of years can part us:
Your right is ours to shrine and grave,
     The common freehold of the brave,
The gift of saints and martyrs.

Our very sins and follies teach
     Our kindred frail and human:
We carp at faults with bitter speech,
     The while, for one unshared by each,
We have a score in common.

We bowed the heart, if not the knee,
     To England's Queen, God bless her!
We praised you when your slaves went free: [228]
     We seek to unchain ours. Will ye
Join hands with the oppressor?

And is it Christian England cheers
     The bruiser, not the bruised?
And must she run, despite the tears
     And prayers of eighteen hundred years,
Amuck in Slavery's crusade?

Oh, black disgrace! Oh, shame and loss
     Too deep for tongue to phrase on!
Tear from your flag its holy cross,
     And in your van of battle toss
The pirate's skull-bone blazon!


Mithridates at Chios.

It is recorded that the Chians, when subjugated by Mithridates of Cappadocia, were delivered up to their own slaves, to be carried away captive to Colchis. Athenaeus considers this a just punishment for their wickedness in first introducing the slave-trade into Greece. From this ancient villany of the Chians the proverb arose, ‘ The Chian hath bought himself a master.’

know'st thou, O slave-cursed land!
     How, when the Chian's cup of guilt
Was full to overflow, there came
     God's justice in the sword of flame
That, red with slaughter to its hilt,
     Blazed in the Cappadocian victor's hand?

The heavens are still and far;
     But, not unheard of awful Jove, [229]
The sighing of the island slave
     Was answered, when the Aegean wave
The keels of Mithridates clove,
     And the vines shrivelled in the breath of war.

‘Robbers of Chios! hark,’
     The victor cried, “to Heaven's decree!
Pluck your last cluster from the vine,
     Drain your last cup of Chian wine;
Slaves of your slaves, your doom shall be,
     In Colchian mines by Phasis rolling dark.”

Then rose the long lament
     From the hoar sea-god's dusky caves:
The priestess rent her hair and cried,
     ‘Woe! woe! The gods are sleepless-eyed!’
And, chained and scourged, the slaves of slaves,
     The lords of Chios into exile went.

‘The gods at last pay well,’
     So Hellas sang her taunting song,
“The fisher in his net is caught,
     The Chian hath his master bought;”
And isle from isle, with laughter long,
     Took up and sped the mocking parable.

Once more the slow, dumb years
     Bring their avenging cycle round,
And, more than Hellas taught of old,
     Our wiser lesson shall be told,
Of slaves uprising, freedom-crowned,
     To break, not wield, the scourge wet with their blood and tears.



At port royal.

In November, 1861, a Union force under Commodore Dupont and General Sherman captured Port Royal, and from this point as a basis of operations, the neighboring islands between Charleston and Savannah were taken possession of. The early occupation of this district, where the negro population was greatly in excess of the white, gave an opportunity which was at once seized upon, of practically emancipating the slaves and of beginning that work of civilization which was accepted as the grave responsibility of those who had labored for freedom.

the tent-lights glimmer on the land,
     The ship-lights on the sea;
The night-wind smooths with drifting sand
     Our track on lone Tybee.

At last our grating keels outslide,
     Our good boats forward swing;
And while we ride the land-locked tide,
     Our negroes row and sing.

For dear the bondman holds his gifts
     Of music and of song:
The gold that kindly Nature sifts
     Among his sands of wrong;

The power to make his toiling days
     And poor home-comforts please;
The quaint relief of mirth that plays
     With sorrow's minor keys.

Another glow than sunset's fire
     Has filled the west with light,
Where field and garner, barn and byre,
     Are blazing through the night.

[231] The land is wild with fear and hate,
     The rout runs mad and fast;
From hand to hand, from gate to gate
     The flaming brand is passed.

The lurid glow falls strong across
     Dark faces broad with smiles:
Not theirs the terror, hate, and loss
     That fire yon blazing piles.

With oar-strokes timing to their song,
     They weave in simple lays
The pathos of remembered wrong,
     The hope of better days,—

The triumph-note that Miriam sung,
     The joy of uncaged birds:
Softening with Afric's mellow tongue
     Their broken Saxon words.

Song of the Negro boatmen.

Oh, praise an' tanks! De Lord he come
     To set de people free;
Ana mass a tink it day ob doom,
     Ana 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!

[232] Ole massa on he trabbels gone;
     He leaf de land behind:
De Lord's breff blow him furder on,
     Like corn-shuck in de wind.
We own de hoe, we own de plough,
     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,
     Ana nebber lie de word;
So like de 'postles in de jail,
     We waited for de Lord:
Ana now he open ebery door,
     Ana trow away de key;
He tink we lub him so before,
     We lub him better free.

[233] De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
     He'll gib de rice an' corn;
Oh 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 hope 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 chant shall be
     Our sign of blight or bloom,
The Vala-song of Liberty,
     Or death-rune of our doom!



Astraea at the Capitol.

Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia, 1862.

when first I saw our banner wave
     Above the nation's council-hall,
I heard beneath its marble wall
     The clanking fetters of the slave!

In the foul market-place I stood,
     And saw the Christian mother sold,
And childhood with its locks of gold,
     Blue-eyed and fair with Saxon blood.

I shut my eyes, I held my breath,
     And, smothering down the wrath and shame
That set my Northern blood aflame,
     Stood silent,—where to speak was death.

Beside me gloomed the prison-cell
     Where wasted one in slow decline
For uttering simple words of mine,
     And loving freedom all too well.

The flag that floated from the dome
     Flapped menace in the morning air;
I stood a perilled stranger where
     The human broker made his home.

For crime was virtue: Gown and Sword
     And Law their threefold sanction gave,
And to the quarry of the slave
     Went hawking with our symbol-bird.

[235] On the oppressor's side was power;
     And yet I knew that every wrong,
However old, however strong,
     But waited God's avenging hour.

I knew that truth would crush the lie,—
     Somehow, some time, the end would be;
Yet scarcely dared I hope to see
     The triumph with my mortal eye.

But now I see it! In the sun
     A free flag floats from yonder dome,
And at the nation's hearth and home
     The justice long delayed is done.

Not as we hoped, in calm of prayer,
     The message of deliverance comes,
But heralded by roll of drums
     On waves of battle-troubled air!

Midst sounds that madden and appall,
     The song that Bethlehem's shepherds knew!
The harp of David melting through
     The demon-agonies of Saul!

Not as we hoped; but what are we?
     Above our broken dreams and plans
God lays, with wiser hand than man's,
     The corner-stones of liberty.

I cavil not with Him: the voice
     That freedom's blessed gospel tells
Is sweet to me as silver bells,
     Rejoicing! yea, I will rejoice!

[236] Dear friends still toiling in the sun;
     Ye dearer ones who, gone before,
Are watching from the eternal shore
     The slow work by your hands begun,

Rejoice with me! The chastening rod
     Blossoms with love; the furnace heat
Grows cool beneath His blessed feet
     Whose form is as the Son of God!

Rejoice! Our Marah's bitter springs
     Are sweetened; on our ground of grief
Rise day by day in strong relief
     The prophecies of better things.

Rejoice in hope! The day and night
     Are one with God, and one, with them
Who see by faith the cloudy hem
     Of Judgment fringed with Mercy's light!


The battle Autumn of 1862.

the flags of war like storm-birds fly,
     The charging trumpets blow;
Yet rolls no thunder in the sky,
     No earthquake strives below.

And, calm and patient, Nature keeps
     Her ancient promise well,
Though o'er her bloom and greenness sweeps
     The battle's breath of hell.

[237] And still she walks in golden hours
     Through harvest-happy farms,
And still she wears her fruits and flowers
     Like jewels on her arms.

What mean the gladness of the plain,
     This joy of eve and morn,
The mirth that shakes the beard of grain
     And yellow locks of corn?

Ah! eyes may well be full of tears,
     And hearts with hate are hot;
But even-paced come round the years,
     And Nature changes not.

She meets with smiles our bitter grief,
     With songs our groans of pain;
She mocks with tint of flower and leaf
     The war-field's crimson stain.

Still, in the cannon's pause, we hear
     Her sweet thanksgiving-psalm;
Too near to God for doubt or fear,
     She shares the eternal calm.

She knows the seed lies safe below
     The fires that blast and burn;
For all the tears of blood we sow
     She waits the rich return.

She sees with clearer eye than ours
     The good of suffering born,—
The hearts that blossom like her flowers,
     And ripen like her corn.

[238] Oh, give to us, in times like these,
     The vision of her eyes;
And make her fields and fruited trees
     Our golden prophecies!

Oh, give to us her finer ear!
     Above this stormy din,
We too would hear the bells of cheer
     Ring peace and freedom in.


Hymn, sung at Christmas by the scholars of St. Helena's Island, S. C.

oh, none in all the world before
     Were ever glad as we!
We're free on Carolina's shore,
     We're all at home and free.

Thou Friend and Helper of the poor,
     Who suffered for our sake,
To open every prison door,
     And every yoke to break!

Bend low Thy pitying face and mild,
     And help us sing and pray;
The hand that blessed the little child,
     Upon our foreheads lay.

We hear no more the driver's horn,
     No more the whip we fear, [239]
This holy day that saw Thee born
     Was never half so dear.

The very oaks are greener clad,
     The waters brighter smile;
Oh, never shone a day so glad
     On sweet St. Helen's Isle.

We praise Thee in our songs to-day,
     To Thee in prayer we call,
Make swift the feet and straight the way
     Of freedom unto all.

Come once again, O blessed Lord!
     Come walking on the sea!
And let the mainlands hear the word
     That sets the islands free!


The Proclamation.

President Lincoln's proclamation of emancipation was issued January 1, 1863.

saint Patrick, slave to Milcho of the herds
     Of Ballymena, wakened with these words:
“Arise, and flee
     Out from the land of bondage, and be free!”

Glad as a soul in pain, who hears from heaven
     The angels singing of his sins forgiven,
And, wondering, sees
     His prison opening to their golden keys,

[240] He rose a man who laid him down a slave,
     Shook from his locks the ashes of the grave,
And outward trod
     Into the glorious liberty of God.

He cast the symbols of his shame away;
     And, passing where the sleeping Milcho lay,
Though back and limb
     Smarted with wrong, he prayed, ‘God pardon him!’

So went he forth; but in God's time he came
     To light on Uilline's hills a holy flame;
And, dying, gave
     The land a saint that lost him as a slave.

O dark, sad millions, patiently and dumb
     Waiting for God, your hour at last has come,
And freedom's song
     Breaks the long silence of your night of wrong!

Arise and flee! shake off the vile restraint
     Of ages; but, like Ballymena's saint,
The oppressor spare,
     Heap only on his head the coals of prayer.

Go forth, likehim! like him return again,
     To bless the land whereon in bitter pain
Ye toiled at first,
     And heal with freedom what your slavery cursed.



Anniversary poem.

Read before the Alumni of the Friends' Yearly Meeting School, at the Annual Meeting at Newport, R. I., 15th 6th mo., 1863.

once more, dear friends, you meet beneath
     A clouded sky:
Not yet the sword has found its sheath,
     And on the sweet spring airs the breath
Of war floats by.

Yet trouble springs not from the ground,
     Nor pain from chance;
The Eternalorder circles round,
     And wave and storm find mete and bound
In Providence.

Full long our feet the flowery ways
     Of peace have trod,
Content with creed and garb and phrase:
     A harder path in earlier days
Led up to God.

Too cheaply truths, once purchased dear,
     Are made our own;
Too long the world has smiled to hear
     Our boast of full corn in the ear
By others sown;

To see us stir the martyr fires
     Of long ago,
And wrap our satisfied desires [242]
     In the singed mantles that our sires
Have dropped below.

But now the cross our worthies bore
     On us is laid;
Profession's quiet sleep is o'er,
     And in the scale of truth once more
Our faith is weighed.

The cry of innocent blood at last
     Is calling down
An answer in the whirlwind-blast,
     The thunder and the shadow cast
From Heaven's dark frown.

The land is red with judgments. Who
     Stands guiltless forth?
Have we been faithful as we knew,
     To God and to our brother true,
To Heaven and Earth?

How faint, through din of merchandise
     And count of gain,
Have seemed to us the captive's cries!
     How far away the tears and sighs
Of souls in pain!

This day the fearful reckoning comes
     To each and all;
We hear amidst our peaceful homes
     The summons of the conscript drums,
The bugle's call.

[243] Our path is plain; the war-net draws
     Round us in vain,
While, faithful to the Higher Cause,
     We keep our fealty to the laws
Through patient pain.

The levelled gun, the battle-brand,
     We may not take:
But, calmly loyal, we can stand
     And suffer with our suffering land
For conscience' sake.

Why ask for ease where all is paina?
     Shill we alone
Be left to add our gain to gain,
     When over Armageddon's plain
The trump is blown?

To suffer well is well to serve;
     Safe in our Lord
The rigid lines of law shall curve
     To spare us; from our heads shall swerve
Its smiting sword.

And light is mingled with the gloom,
     And joy with grief;
Divinest compensations come,
     Through thorns of judgment mercies bloom
In sweet relief.

Thanks for our privilege to bless,
     By word and deed, [244]
The widow in her keen distress,
     The childless and the fatherless,
The hearts that bleed!

For fields of duty, opening wide,
     Where all our powers
Are tasked the eager steps to guide
     Of millions on a path untried:
The slave is ours!

Ours by traditions dear and old,
     Which make the race
Our wards to cherish and uphold,
     And cast their freedom in the mould
Of Christian grace.

And we may tread the sick-bed floors
     Where strong men pine,
And, down the groaning corridors,
     Pour freely from our liberal stores
The oil and wine.

Who murmurs that in these dark days
     His lot is cast?
God's hand within the shadow lays
     The stones whereon His gates of praise
Shall rise at last.

Turn and o'erturn, O outstretched Hand!
     Nor stint, nor stay;
The years have never dropped their sand
     On mortal issue vast and grand
As ours to-day.

[245] Already, on the sable ground
     Of man's despair
Is Freedom's glorious picture found,
     With all its dusky hands unbound
Upraised in prayer.

Oh, small shall seem all sacrifice
     And pain and loss,
When God shall wipe the weeping eyes,
     For suffering give the victor's prize,
The crown for cross!

Barbara Frietchie.

This poem was written in strict conformity to the account of the incident as I had it from respectable and trustworthy sources. It has since been the subject of a good deal of conflicting testimony, and the story was probably incorrect in some of its details. It is admitted by all that Barbara Frietchie was no myth, but a worthy and highly esteemed gentlewoman, intensely loyal and a hater of the Slavery Rebellion, holding her Union flag sacred and keeping it with her Bible; that when the Confederates halted before her house, and entered her dooryard, she denounced them in vigorous language, shook her cane in their faces, and drove them out; and when General Burnside's troops followed close upon Jackson's, she waved her flag and cheered them. It is stated that May Quantrell, a brave and loyal lady in another part of the city, did wave her flag in sight of the Confederates. It is possible that there has been a blending of the two incidents.

up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,

The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

[246] Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach tree fruited deep,

Fair as the garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain-wall;

Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.

Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,

Flapped in the morning wind: the sun
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.

Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;

Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;

In her attic window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.

Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.
Under his slouched hat left and right
He glanced; the old flag met his sight. [247]
‘Halt!’—the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
‘Fire!’–out blazed the rifle-blast.

It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.

Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf.

She leaned far out on the window-sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.

“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag,” she said.

A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word:

“Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!” he said.

All day long through Frederick street
Sounded the tread of marching feet:

All day long that free flag tost
Over the heads of the rebel host.

Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well; [248]
And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with a warm good-night.

Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
And the Rebel rides on his raids no more.

Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.

Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!

Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;

And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town!


What the birds said.

the birds against the April wind
     Flew northward, singing as they flew;
They sang, “The land we leave behind
     Has swords for corn-blades, blood for dew.”

“O wild-birds, flying from the South,
     What saw and heard ye, gazing down?”
“We saw the mortar's upturned mouth,
     The sickened camp, the blazing town!

Beneath the bivouac's starry lamps,
     We saw your march-worn children die; [249]
In shrouds of moss, in cypress swamps,
     We saw your dead uncoffined lie.

We heard the starving prisoner's sighs,
     And saw, from line and trench, your sons
Follow our flight with home-sick eyes
     Beyond the battery's smoking guns. “

“And heard and saw ye only wrong
     And pain,” I cried, ‘O wing-worn flocks? ’
‘We heard,’ they sang, “the freedman's song,
     The crash of Slavery's broken locks!

We saw from new, uprising States
     The treason-nursing mischief spurned,
As, crowding Freedom's ample gates,
     The long-estranged and lost returned.

O'er dusky faces, seamed and old,
     And hands horn-hard with unpaid toil,
With hope in every rustling fold,
     We saw your star-dropt flag uncoil.

And struggling up through sounds accursed,
     A grateful murmur clomb the air;
A whisper scarcely heard at first,
     It filled the listening heavens with prayer.

And sweet and far, as from a star,
     Replied a voice which shall not cease,
Till, drowning all the noise of war,
     It sings the blessed song of peace! “

[250] So to me, in a doubtful day
     Of chill and slowly greening spring,
Low stooping from the cloudy gray,
     The wild-birds sang or seemed to sing.

They vanished in the misty air,
     The song went with them in their flight;
But lo! they left the sunset fair,
     And in the evening there was light.

April, 1864.

The mantle of St. John de Matha.

A legend of ‘the red, white, and blue,’ A. D. 1154-1864.

A strong and mighty Angel,
     Calm, terrible, and bright,
The cross in blended red and blue
     Upon his mantle white!

Two captives by him kneeling,
     Each on his broken chain,
Sang praise to God who raiseth
     The dead to life again?

Dropping his cross-wrought mantle,
     ‘Wear this,’ the Angel said;
“Take thou, O Freedom's priest, its sign,—
     The white, the blue, and red.”

Then rose up John de Matha
     In the strength the Lord Christ gave, [251]
And begged through all the land of France
     The ransom of the slave.

The gates of tower and castle
     Before him open flew,
The drawbridge at his coming fell,
     The door-bolt backward drew.

For all men owned his errand,
     And paid his righteous tax;
And the hearts of lord and peasant
     Were in his hands as wax.

At last, outbound from Tunis,
     His bark her anchor weighed,
Freighted with seven-score Christian souls
     Whose ransom he had paid.

But, torn by Paynim hatred,
     Her sails in tatters hung;
And on the wild waves, rudderless,
     A shattered hulk she swung.

‘ God save us! ’ cried the captain,
     “For naught can man avail;
Oh, woe betide the ship that lacks
     Her rudder and her sail!

Behind us are the Moormen;
     At sea we sink or strand:
There's death upon the water,
     There's death upon the land! “

[252] Then up spake John de Matha:
     “God's errands never fail!
Take thou the mantle which I wear,
     And make of it a sail.”

They raised the cross-wrought mantle,
     The blue, the white, the red;
And straight before the wind off-shore
     The ship of Freedom sped.

‘God help us!’ cried the seamen,
     “For vain is mortal skill:
The good ship on a stormy sea
     Is drifting at its will.”

Then up spake John de Matha:
     “My mariners, never fear!
The Lord whose breath has filled her sail
     May well our vessel steer!”

So on through storm and darkness
     They drove for weary hours;
And lo! the third gray morning shone
     On Ostia's friendly towers.

And on the walls the watchers
     The ship of mercy knew,—
They knew far off its holy cross,
     The red, the white, and blue.

And the bells in all the steeples
     Rang out in glad accord,
To welcome home to Christian soil
     The ransomed of the Lord.

[253] So runs the ancient legend
     By bard and painter told;
And lo! the cycle rounds again,
     The new is as the old!

With rudder foully broken,
     And sails by traitors torn,
Our country on a midnight sea
     Is waiting for the morn.

Before her, nameless terror;
     Behind, the pirate foe;
The clouds are black above her,
     The sea is white below.

The hope of all who suffer,
     The dread of all who wrong,
She drifts in darkness and in storm,
     How long, O Lord! how long?

But courage, O my mariners!
     Ye shall not suffer wreck,
While up to God the freedman's prayers
     Are rising from your deck.

Is not your sail the banner
     Which God hath blest anew,
The mantle that De Matha wore,
     The red, the white, the blue?

Its hues are all of heaven,—
     The red of sunset's dye,
The whiteness of the moon-lit cloud,
     The blue of morning's sky.

[254] Wait cheerily, then, O mariners,
     For daylight and for land;
The breath of God is in your sail,
     Your rudder is His hand.

Sail on, sail on, deep-freighted
     With blessings and with hopes;
The saints of old with shadowy hands
     Are pulling at your ropes.

Behind ye holy martyrs
     Uplift the palm and crown;
Before ye unborn ages send
     Their benedictions down.

Take heart from John de Matha!
     God's errands never fail!
Sweep on through storm and darkness,
     The thunder and the hail!

Sail on! The morning cometh,
     The port ye yet shall win;
And all the bells of God shall ring
     The good ship bravely in!


Laus Deo!

On hearing the bells ring on the passage of the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. The resolution was adopted by Congress, January 31, 1865. The ratification by the requisite number of States was announced December 18, 1865.

it is done!
     Clang of bell and roar of gun
Send the tidings up and down. [255]
     How the belfries rock and reel!
How the great guns, peal on peal,
     Fling the joy from town to town!

Ring, O bells!
     Every stroke exulting tells
Of the burial hour of crime.
     Loud and long, that all may hear,
Ring for every listening ear
     Of Eternity and Time!

Let us kneel:
     God's own voice is in that peal,
And this spot is holy ground.
     Lord, forgive us! What are we,
That our eyes this glory see,
     That our ears have heard the sound!

For the Lord
     On the whirlwind is abroad;
In the earthquake He has spoken;
     He has smitten with His thunder
The iron walls asunder,
     And the gates of brass are broken!

Loud and long
     Lift the old exulting song;
Sing with Miriam by the sea,
     He has cast the mighty down;
Horse and rider sink and drown;
     ‘He hath triumphed gloriously!’

Did we dare,
     In our agony of prayer, [256]
Ask for more than He has done?
     When was ever His right hand
Over any time or land
     Stretched as now beneath the sun?

How they pale,
     Ancient myth and song and tale,
In this wonder of our days,
     When the cruel rod of war
Blossoms white with righteous law,
     And the wrath of man is praise!

Blotted out!
     All within and all about
Shall a fresher life begin;
     Freer breathe the universe
As it rolls its heavy curse
     On the dead and buried sin!

It is done!
     In the circuit of the sun
Shall the sound thereof go forth.
     It shall bid the sad rejoice,
It shall give the dumb a voice,
     It shall belt with joy the earth!

Ring and swing,
     Bells of joy! On morning's wing
Send the song of praise abroad!
     With a sound of broken chains
Tell the nations that He reigns,
     Who alone is Lord and God!



Hymn for the Celebration of Emancipation at Newburyport.

not unto us who did but seek
The word that burned within to speak,
Not unto us this day belong
The triumph and exultant song.

Upon us fell in early youth
The burden of unwelcome truth,
And left us, weak and frail and few,
The censor's painful work to do.

Thenceforth our life a fight became,
The air we breathed was hot with blame;
For not with gauged and softened tone
We made the bondman's cause our own.

We bore, as Freedom's hope forlorn,
The private hate, the public scorn;
Yet held through all the paths we trod
Our faith in man and trust in God.

We prayed and hoped; but still, with awe,
The coming of the sword we saw;
We heard the nearing steps of doom,
We saw the shade of things to come.

In grief which they alone can feel
Who from a mother's wrong appeal, [258]
With blended lines of fear and hope
We cast our country's horoscope.

For still within her house of life
We marked the lurid sign of strife,
And, poisoning and imbittering all,
We saw the star of Wormwood fall.

Deep as our love for her became
Our hate of all that wrought her shame,
And if, thereby, with tongue and pen
We erred,—we were but mortal men.

We hoped for peace; our eyes survey
The blood-red dawn of Freedom's day:
We prayed for love to loose the chain;
Tis shorn by battle's axe in twain I

Nor skill nor strength nor zeal of ours
Has mined and heaved the hostile towers;
Not by our hands is turned the key
That sets the sighing captives free.

A redder sea than Egypt's wave
Is piled and parted for the slave;
A darker cloud moves on in light;
A fiercer fire is guide by night!

The praise, O Lord! is Thine alone,
In Thy own way Thy work is done!
Our poor gifts at Thy feet we cast,
To whom be glory, first and last!



After the war.

The peace Autumn.

Written for the Essex County Agricultural Festival, 1865.

thank God for rest, where none molest,
     And none can make afraid;
For Peace that sits as Plenty's guest
     Beneath the homestead shade!

Bring pike and gun, the sword's red scourge,
     The negro's broken chains,
And beat them at the blacksmith's forge
     To ploughshares for our plains.

Alike henceforth our hills of snow,
     And vales where cotton flowers;
All streams that flow, all winds that blow,
     Are Freedom's motive-powers.

Henceforth to Labor's chivalry
     Be knightly honors paid;
For nobler than the sword's shall be
     The sickle's accolade.

Build up an altar to the Lord,
     O grateful hearts of ours!
And shape it of the greenest sward
     That ever drank the showers.

Lay all the bloom of gardens there,
     And there the orchard fruits; [260]
Bring golden grain from sun and air,
     From earth her goodly roots.

There let our banners droop and flow,
     The stars uprise and fall;
Our roll of martyrs, sad and slow,
     Let sighing breezes call.

Their names let hands of horn and tan
     And rough-shod feet applaud,
Who died to make the slave a man,
     And link with toil reward.

There let the common heart keep time
     To such an anthem sung
As never swelled on poet's rhyme,
     Or thrilled on singer's tongue.

Song of our burden and relief,
     Of peace and long annoy;
The passion of our mighty grief
     And our exceeding joy!

A song of praise to Him who filled
     The harvests sown in tears,
And gave each field a double yield
     To feed our battle-years!

A song of faith that trusts the end
     To match the good begun,
Nor doubts the power of Love to blend
     The hearts of men as one!


To the Thirty-Ninth Congress.

The thirty-ninth congress was that which met in 1865 after the close of the war, when it was charged with the great question of reconstruction; the uppermost subject in men's minds was the standing of those who had recently been in arms against the Union and their relations to the freedmen.

O people-chosen! are ye not
     Likewise the chosen of the Lord,
To do His will and speak His word?

From the loud thunder-storm of war
     Not man alone hath called ye forth,
But He, the God of all the earth!

The torch of vengeance in your hands
     He quenches; unto Him belongs
The solemn recompense of wrongs.

Enough of blood the land has seen,
     And not by cell or gallows-stair
Shall ye the way of God prepare.

Say to the pardon-seekers: Keep
     Your manhood, bend no suppliant knees,
Nor palter with unworthy pleas.

Above your voices sounds the wail
     Of starving men; we shut in vain
Our eyes to Pillow's ghastly stain.

What words can drown that bitter cry?
     What tears wash out the stain of death?
What oaths confirm your broken faith?

[262] From you alone the guaranty
     Of union, freedom, peace, we claim;
We urge no conqueror's terms of shame.

Alas! no victor's pride is ours;
     We bend above our triumphs won
Like David o'er his rebel son.

Be men, not beggars. Cancel all
     By one brave, generous action; trust
Your better instincts, and be just!

Make all men peers before the law,
     Take hands from off the negro's throat,
Give black and white an equal vote.

Keep all your forfeit lives and lands,
     But give the common law's redress
To labor's utter nakedness.

Revive the old heroic will;
     Be in the right as brave and strong
As ye have proved yourselves in wrong.

Defeat shall then be victory,
     Your loss the wealth of full amends,
And hate be love, and foes be friends.

Then buried be the dreadful past,
     Its common slain be mourned, and let
All memories soften to regret.

[263] Then shall the Union's mother-heart
     Her lost and wandering ones recall,
Forgiving and restoring all,—

And Freedom break her marble trance
     Above the Capitolian dome,
Stretch hands, and bid ye welcome home!

November, 1865.

The hive at Gettysburg.

in the old Hebrew myth the lion's frame,
     So terrible alive,
Bleached by the desert's sun and wind, became
     The wandering wild bees' hive;
And he who, lone and naked-handed, tore
     Those jaws of death apart,
In after time drew forth their honeyed store
     To strengthen his strong heart.

Dead seemed the legend: but it only slept
     To wake beneath our sky;
Just on the spot whence ravening Treason crept
     Back to its lair to die,
Bleeding and torn from Freedom's mountain bounds,
     A stained and shattered drum
Is now the hive where, on their flowery rounds,
     The wild bees go and come.

Unchallenged by a ghostly sentinel,
     They wander wide and far, [264]
Along green hillsides, sown with shot and shell,
     Through vales once choked with war.
The low reveille of their battle-drum
     Disturbs no morning prayer;
With deeper peace in summer noons their hum
     Fills all the drowsy air.

And Samson's riddle is our own to-day,
     Of sweetness from the strong,
Of union, peace, and freedom plucked away
     From the rent jaws of wrong.
From Treason's death we draw a purer life,
     As, from the beast he slew,
A sweetness sweeter for his bitter strife
     The old-time athlete drew!


Howard at Atlanta.

right in the track where Sherman
     Ploughed his red furrow,
Out of the narrow cabin,
     Up from the cellar's burrow,
Gathered the little black people,
     With freedom newly dowered,
Where, beside their Northern teacher,
     Stood the soldier, Howard.

He listened and heard the children
     Of the poor and long-enslaved [265]
Reading the words of Jesus,
     Singing the songs of David.
Behold!—the dumb lips speaking,
     The blind eyes seeing!
Bones of the Prophet's vision
     Warmed into being!

Transformed he saw them passing
     Their new life's portal!
Almost it seemed the mortal
     Put on the immortal.
No more with the beasts of burden,
     No more with stone and clod,
But crowned with glory and honor
     In the image of God!

There was the human chattel
     Its manhood taking;
There, in each dark, bronze statue,
     A soul was waking!
The man of many battles,
     With tears his eyelids pressing,
Stretched over those dusky foreheads
     His one-armed blessing.

And he said: “Who hears can never
     Fear for or doubt you;
What shall I tell the children
     Up North about you?”
Then ran round a whisper, a murmur,
     Some answer devising;
And a little boy stood up: “General,
     Tell 'em we're rising!”

[266] O black boy of Atlanta!
     But half was spoken:
The slave's chain and the master's
     Alike are broken.
The one curse of the races
     Held both in tether:
They are rising,—all are rising,
     The black and white together!

O brave men and fair women!
     Ill comes of hate and scorning:
Shall the dark faces only
     Be turned to morning?—
Make Time your sole avenger,
     All-healing, all-redressing;
Meet Fate half-way, and make it
     A joy and blessing!


The Emancipation group.

Moses Kimball, a citizen of Boston, presented to the city a duplicate of the Freedman's Memorial statue erected in Lincoln Square, Washington. The group, which stands in Park Square, represents the figure of a slave, from whose limbs the broken fetters have fallen, kneeling in gratitude at the feet of Lincoln. The group was designed by Thomas Ball, and was unveiled December 9, 1879. These verses were written for the occasion.

amidst thy sacred effigies
     Of old renown give place,
O city, Freedom-loved! to his
     Whose hand unchained a race.

[267] Take the worn frame, that rested not
     Save in a martyr's grave;
The care-lined face, that none forgot,
     Bent to the kneeling slave.

Let man be free! The mighty word
     He spake was not his own;
An impulse from the Highest stirred
     These chiselled lips alone.

The cloudy sign, the fiery guide,
     Along his pathway ran,
And Nature, through his voice, denied
     The ownership of man.

We rest in peace where these sad eyes
     Saw peril, strife, and pain;
His was the nation's sacrifice,
     And ours the priceless gain.

O symbol of God's will on earth
     As it is done above!
Bear witness to the cost and worth
     Of justice and of love.

Stand in thy place and testify
     To coming ages long,
That truth is stronger than a lie,
     And righteousness than wrong.


The Jubilee Singers.

A number of students of Fisk University, under the direction of one of the officers, gave a series of concerts in the Northern States, for the purpose of establishing the college on a firmer financial foundation. Their hymns and songs, mostly in a minor key, touched the hearts of the people, and were received as peculiarly expressive of a race delivered from bondage.

voice of a people suffering long,
The pathos of their mournful song,
The sorrow of their night of wrong!

Their cry like that which Israel gave,
A prayer for one to guide and save,
Like Moses by the Red Sea's wave!

The stern accord her timbrel lent
To Miriam's note of triumph sent
O'er Egypt's sunken armament!

The tramp that startled camp and town,
And shook the walls of slavery down,
The spectral march of old John Brown!

The storm that swept through battle-days,
The triumph after long delays,
The bondmen giving God the praise!

Voice of a ransomed race, sing on
Till Freedom's every right is won,
And slavery's every wrong undone!




The earliest poem in this division was my youthful tribute to the great reformer when himself a young man he was first sounding his trumpet in Essex County. I close with the verses inscribed to him at the end of his earthly career, May 24, 1879. My poetical service in the cause of freedom is thus almost synchronous with his life of devotion to the same cause.

the storm and peril overpast,
     The hounding hatred shamed and still,
Go, soul of freedom! take at last
     The place which thou alone canst fill.

Confirm the lesson taught of old—
     Life saved for self is lost, while they
Who lose it in His service hold
     The lease of God's eternal day.

Not for thyself, but for the slave
     Thy words of thunder shook the world;
No selfish griefs or hatred gave
     The strength wherewith thy bolts were hurled.

From lips that Sinai's trumpet blew
     We heard a tender under song;
Thy very wrath from pity grew,
     From love of man thy hate of wrong.

Now past and present are as one;
     The life below is life above;
Thy mortal years have but begun
     Thy immortality of love.

[270] With somewhat of thy lofty faith
     We lay thy outworn garment by,
Give death but what belongs to death,
     And life the life that cannot die!

Not for a soul like thine the calm
     Of selfish ease and joys of sense;
But duty, more than crown or palm,
     Its own exceeding recompense.

Go up and on! thy day well done,
     Its morning promise well fulfilled,
Arise to triumphs yet unwon,
     To holier tasks that God has willed.

Go, leave behind thee all that mars
     The work below of man for man;
With the white legions of the stars
     Do service such as angels can.

Wherever wrong shall right deny
     Or suffering spirits urge their plea
Be thine a voice to smite the lie,
     A hand to set the captive free!

1 The reader may, perhaps, call to mind the beautiful sonnet of William Wordsworth, addressed to Toussaint L'Ouverture, during his confinement in France.

“Toussaint!—thou most unhappy man of men!
     Whether the whistling rustic tends his plough
Within thy hearing, or thou liest now
     Buried in some deep dungeon's earless den;
O miserable chieftain—where and when
     Wilt thou find patience?—Yet, die not, do thou
Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow;
     Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
     Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies,—
There's not a breathing of the common wind
     That will forget thee; thou hast great allies.
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
     And love, and man's unconquerable mind.”

2 The Northern author of the Congressional rule against receiving petitions of the people on the subject of Slavery.

3 There was at the time when this poem was written an Association in Liberty County, Georgia, for the religious instruction of negroes. One of their annual reports contains an address by the Rev. Josiah Spry Law, in which the following passage occurs: ‘There is a growing interest in this community in the religious instruction of negroes. There is a conviction that religious instruction promotes the quiet and order of the people, and the pecuniary interest of the owners.’

4 The book-establishment of the Free. Will Baptists in Dover was refused the act of incorporation by the New Hampshire Legislature, for the reason that the newspaper organ of that sect and its leading preachers favored abolition.

5 The senatorial editor of the Belknap Gazette all along manifested a peculiar horror of ‘niggers’ and ‘nigger parties.’

6 The justice before whom Elder Storrs was brought for preaching abolition on a writ drawn by Hon. M. N., Jr., of Pittsfield. The sheriff served the writ while the elder was praying.

7 The academy at Canaan, N. H., received one or two colored scholars, and was in consequence dragged off into a swamp by Democratic teams.

8 ‘Papers and memorials touching the subject of slavery shall be laid on the table without reading, debate, or reference.’ So read the gag-law, as it was called, introduced in the House by Mr. Atherton.

9 The Female Anti-Slavery Society, at its first meeting in Concord, was assailed with stones and brickbats.

10 The election of Charles Sumner to the United States Senate ‘followed hard upon’ the rendition of the fugitive Sims by the United States officials and the armed police of Boston.

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