O God of mercy, throned in glory high,His best and noblest production is an ode To Cuba, written on the occasion of Dr. Madden's departure from the island, and presented to that gentleman. It was never published in Cuba, as its sentiments would have subjected the author to persecution. It breathes a lofty spirit of patriotism, and an indignant sense of the wrongs inflicted upon his race. Withal, it has something of the grandeur and stateliness of the old Spanish muse.
On earth and all its misery look down:
Behold the wretched, hear the captive's cry,
And call Thy exiled children round Thy throne!
There would I fain in contemplation gaze
On Thy eternal beauty, and would make
Of love one lasting canticle of praise,
And every theme but Thee henceforth forsake!
Cuba!—of what avail that thou art fair,
Pearl of the Seas, the pride of the Antilles,
If thy poor sons have still to see thee share
The pangs of bondage and its thousand ills?
Of what avail the verdure of thy hills,
The purple bloom thy coffee-plain displays;
The cane's luxuriant growth, whose culture fills
More graves than famine, or the sword finds ways
To glut with victims calmly as it slays?
Of what avail that thy clear streams abound
With precious ore, if wealth there's none to buy
Thy children's rights, and not one grain is found
For Learning's shrine, or for the altar nigh
Of poor, forsaken, downcast Liberty?
Of what avail the riches of thy port,
Forests of masts and ships from every sea,
If Trade alone is free, and man, the sport
And spoil of Trade, bears wrongs of every sort?
Cuba! O Cuba!—when men call thee fair,
And rich, and beautiful, the Queen of Isles,