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[262] who, having superior strength, beat him until he was nearer dead than alive.

After suffering all the vicissitudes of slavery,— hunger, nakedness, stripes; after bravely and nobly bearing up against that slow, dreadful process which reduces the man to a thing, the image of God to a piece of merchandise, until he had reached his thirty-eighth year, he was unexpectedly released from his bonds. Some literary gentlemen in Havana, into whose hands two or three pieces of his composition had fallen, struck with the vigor, spirit, and natural grace which they manifested, sought out the author, and raised a subscription to purchase his freedom. He came to Havana, and maintained himself by house-painting, and such other employments as his ingenuity and talents placed within his reach. He wrote several poems, which have been published in Spanish at Havana, and translated by Dr. Madden, under the title of Poems by a Slave.

It is not too much to say of these poems that they will bear a comparison with most of the productions of modern Spanish literature. The style is bold, free, energetic. Some of the pieces are sportive and graceful; such is the address to The Cucuya, or Cuban firefly. This beautiful insect is sometimes fastened in tiny nets to the light dresses of the Cuban ladies, a custom to which the writer gallantly alludes in the following lines:—

Ah!—still as one looks on such brightness and bloom,
On such beauty as hers, one might envy the doom
Of a captive Cucuya that's destined, like this,
To be touched by her hand and revived by her kiss!

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