« PreviousContinue »
By our blood in Afric wasted, -
Ere our necks receiv'd the chain;
By the mis’ries that we 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
Önly 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,
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 or rum?
Especially sugar, so needful we see?
at, give up our desserts, 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 multiplied still.
If foreigners likewise would give up the trade, Much more in behalf of your wish might be said; But, while they get riches by purchasing blacks, Pray tell me why we may not also go snacks?
Your scruples and arguments bring to my mind
A story so pat, you may think it is coin'd,
On purpose to answer you, out of my mint;
But I can assure you I saw it in print.
A youngster at school, more sedate than the rest,
Had once his integrity put to the test;
His comrades had plotted an orchard to rob,
And ask’d him to go and assist in the job.
“You speak very fine, and you look very grave,
But apples we want, and apples we’ll have;
If you will go with us, you shall have a share,
If not, you shall have neither apple nor pear.”
They spoke, and Tom ponder’d—“I see they will go;
Poor man! what a pity to injure him so!
Poor man! I would save him his fruit if I could,
But staying behind would do him no good.
* If the matter depended alone upon me, His apples might hang, till they dropp'd from the tre
e But, since they will take them, I think I’ll go too, He will lose none by me, though I get a few.” His scruples thus silenc'd, Tom felt more at ease, And went with his comrades the apples to seize; He blam’d and protested, but o in the plan; He shar'd in the plunder, but pitied the man.
'Twas in the glad season of spring,
Asleep at the dawn of the day,
I dream'd what I cannot but sing,
So pleasant it seem’d as I lay.
I dream’d, that, on ocean afloat,
Far hence to the westward I sail'd,
While the billows high-lifted the boat,
And the fresh-blowing breeze never fail’d.
In the steerage a woman I saw,
Such at least was the form that she wore,
Whose beauty impress'd me with awe,
Ne'er taught me by woman before.
She sat, and a shield at her side
Shed light, like a sun on the waves,
And, smiling divinely, she cried—
à i go to make freemen of slaves.”—
Then raising her voice to a strain
The sweetest that ear ever heard,
She sung of the slave's broken chain,
Wherever her glory appear'd.
Some clouds, which had over us hung,
Fled, chas'd by her melody clear,
And methought while she liberty sung,
"Twas liberty only to hear.
Thus swiftly dividing the flood,
To a slave-cultur'd island we came,
Where, a demon, her enemy, stood—
Qppression his terrible name.
In his hand, as the sign of his sway,
A scourge hung with lashes he bore,
And stood looking out for his prey
From Africa's sorrowful shore.
But soon as approaching the land
That goddess-like woman he view’d,
e scourge he let fall from his hand,
With blood of his subjects imbru’d.
I saw him both sicken and die,
And the moment the monster expir’d,
Heard shouts that ascended the sky,
From thousands with rapture inspir’d.
Awaking, how could I but muse
At what such a dream should betide?
But soon my ear caught the glad news, .
Which serv'd my weak thought for a guide—
That Britannia, renown'd o'er the waves
For the hatred she ever has shown
To the black-sceptred rulers of slaves,
Resolves to have none of her own.
THE NIGHTINGALE AND GLOW-WORM.
A NIGHTINGALE, that all day long
Had cheer'd the village * his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far .# upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
So, stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangu'd him thus, right eloquent—
“Did you admire my lamp,” quoth he,
“As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For ’twas the self-same pow'r divine
Taught you to sing and me to shine;
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night.”
The songster heard his short oration,
And warbling out his approbation,
Releas'd him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.
Hence jarring sectaries may learn
Their ...] int’rest to discern;
That brother should not war with brother,
And worry and devour each other:
But sing and shine by sweet consent,
Till life's poor transient night is spent,
Respecting in each other's case
The gifts of nature and of grace.
Those Christians best deserve the name,
Who studiously make peace their aim ;
Peace both the duty and the prize
Of him that creeps and him that flies.
ON A GOLDFINCH,
STARVED TO DEATH IN His CAGE.
TIME was when I was free as air,
The thistle's downy seed my fare,
My drink the morning dew;
I perch’d at will on ev'ry spray,
form genteel, my plumage gay,
M. strains for ever new.
But gaudy plumage, sprightly strain,
d form genteel, were all in vain,
And of a transient date;
For caught, and cag'd, and starv'd to death,
In dying sighs my little breath
Soon pass'd the wiry grate.