Page images

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!



But let us all concur in this one sentiment,
That things sacred be inviolate.

HE lives, who lives to God alone,

And all are dead beside ;
For other source than God is none

Whence life can be supply'd.

To live to God is to requite

His love as best we may ;
To make his precepts our delight,

His promises our stay.

But life, within a narrow ring

Of giddy joys compriz'd,
Is falsely nam'd, and no such thing,

But rather death disguis’d.

Can life in them deserve a name,

Who only live to prove
For what poor joys they can disclaim

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
The better part of man, unbless'd

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
Sabbaths profan'd without remorse,

And mercy cast away.



FORC'D from home, and all its pleasures,

Afric's coast I left forlorn ;
To increase a stranger's treasures,
O'er the raging billows borne.

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;
All sustain'd by patience, taught us

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 !


Video meliora proboque
Deteriora sequor.

I OWN I am shock'd at the purchase of slaves,
And fear those who buy them and sell them are

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,
For how could we do without sugar and rum ?
Especially sugar, so needful we see?
What! give up our deserts, our coffee, and tea !
Besides, if we do, the French, Dutch, and Danes,
Will heartily thank us, no doubt, for our pains;
If we do not buy the poor creatures, they will,
And tortures and groans will be multiply'd still.

« PreviousContinue »