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Dew-drops may deck the turf that hides the bones,
But tears of godly grief ne'er flow within.
Learn then, ye living ! by the mouths be taught
Of all these sepulchres instruction true, That, soon or late, DEATH also is your lot;
And the next opening grave may yawn for you!
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.
FOR THE YEAR
But let us all concur in this one sentiment,
HE lives, who lives to God alone,
And all are dead beside ;
Whence life can be supply'd.
To live to God is to requite
His love as best we may ;
His promises our stay.
But life, within a narrow ring
Of giddy joys compriz'd,
But rather death disguis’d.
Can life in them deserve a name,
Who only live to prove
An endless life above ?
Who much diseas'd, yet nothing feel,
Much menac'd, nothing dread; Have wounds, which only God can heal,
Yet never ask his aid ?
Who deem his house a useless place,
Faith, want of common sense ; And ardour in the Christian race
A hypocrite's pretence?
Who trample order, and the day
Which God asserts his own, Dishonour, with unhallow'd play,
And worship chance alone ?
If scorn of God's commands, impress'd
On word and deed, employ
With life that cannot die ;
Such want it, and that want incurr'd
Till man resign his breath, Speaks him a criminal, assur'd
Of everlasting death.
Sad period to a pleasant course !
Yet so will God repay
And mercy cast away.
FORC'D from home, and all its pleasures,
Afric's coast I left forlorn ;
Men from England bought and sold me,
Paid my price in paltry gold ; But, though theirs they have enroll'd me,
Minds are never to be sold,
Still in thought as free as ever,
What are England's rights, I ask, Me from my delights to sever,
Me to torture, me to task?
Fleecy locks and black complexion
Cannot forfeit nature's claim; Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.
Why did all-creating Nature
Make the plant for which we toil? Sighs must fan it, tears must water,
Sweat of ours must dress the soil.
Think, ye masters, iron-hearted,
Lolling at your jovial boards;
Think how many backs have smarted
For the sweets your cane affords.
Is there, as ye sometimes tell us,
Is there one who reigns on high? Has he bid you buy and sell us,
Speaking from his throne the sky? Ask him, if your knotted scourges,
Matches, blood-extorting screws, Are the means which duty urges
Agents of his will to use?
Hark! he answers Wild tornadoes,
Strewing yonder sea with wrecks ; Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,
Are the voice with which he speaks.
He, foreseeing what vexations
Afric's sons should undergo, Fix'd their tyrants' habitations
Where his whirlwinds answer (No.
By our blood in Afric wasted,
Ere our necks receiv'd the chain ; By the mis'ries we have tasted,
Crossing in your barks the main ;
By our suff'rings since ye brought us
To the man degrading mart;
Only by a broken heart :
Deem our nation brutes no longer
Till some reason ye shall find Worthier of regard and stronger
Than the colour of our kind.
Slaves of gold, whose sordid dealings
Tarnish all your boasted pow’rs, Prove that you have human feelings,
Ere you proudly question ours !
PITY FOR POOR AFRICANS.
Video meliora proboque
I OWN I am shock'd at the purchase of slaves,
knaves ; What I hear of their hardships, their tortures, and
groans, Is almost enough to draw pity from stones.
I pity them greatly, but I must be mum,