Page images

But the voice of Nature was too weak;

He took the glittering gold !
Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek

Her hands as icy cold.
The Slaver led her from the door,

He led her by the hand,
To be his slave and paramour

In a strange and distant land!


In Ocean's wide domains,

Half buried in the sands,
Lie skeletons in chains,

With shackled feet and hands.

Beyond the fall of dews,

Deeper than plummet lies,
Float ships with all their crews,

No more to sink nor rise.

There the black Slave-ship swims,

Freighted with human forms,
Whose fettered, fleshless limbs

Are not the sport of storms.
These are the bones of Slaves;

They gleam from the abyss;
They cry, from yawning waves,

“We are the Witnesses!"

Within Earth's wide domains

Are markets for men's lives;
Their necks are galled with chains,

Their wrists are cramped with gyves.

Dead bodies, that the kite

In deserts makes its prey;
Murders, that with affright

Scare schoolboys from their play.
All evil thoughts and deeds;

Anger, and lust, and pride;
The foulest, rankest weeds,

That choke Life's groaning tide!
These are the woes of Slaves;

They glare from the abyss;
They cry from unknown graves,

We are the Witnesses!'

THE WARNING. Beware! The Israelite of old, who tore

The lion in his path,—when, poor and blind,
He saw the blessed light of heaven no more,

Shorn of his noble strength and force to grind
In prison, and at last led forth to be
A pander to Philistine revelry,–
Upon the pillars of the temple laid

His desperate hands, and in its overthrow Destroyed himself, and with him those who made

A cruel mockery of his sightless woe; The

poor, blind Slave, the scoff and jest of all,
Expired, and thousands perished in the fall!
There is a poor, blind Samson in this land,
Shorn of his strength, and bound in bonds of steel,

in some grim revel, raise his hand,
And shake the pillars of this Commonweal,
Till the vast Temple of our liberties
A shapeless mass of wreck and rubbish lies,

Who may,



AS Sone who, walking in the twilight gloom,

Hears round about him voices as it darkens,
And, seeing not the forms from which they come,

Pauses from time to time, and turns and hearkens;

So walking here in twilight, O my friends!

I hear your voices, softened by the distance, And pause, and turn to listen, as each sends

His words of friendship, comfort, and assistance.

If any thought of mine, or sung or told,

Has ever given delight or consolation, Ye have repaid me back a thousand fold,

By every friendly sign and salutation.

Thanks for the sympathies that ye have shown!

Thanks for each kindly word, each silent token, That teaches me, when seeming most alone,

Friends are around us, though no word be spoken.

Kind messages that pass from land to land;

Kind letters, that betray the heart's deep history, In which we feel the pressure of a hand,

One touch of fire,-and all the rest is mystery:

The pleasant books, that silently among

Our household treasures take familiar places, And are to us as if a living tongue

Spake from the printed leaves or pictured faces :

With eye

Perhaps on earth I never shall behold,


sense, your outward form and semblance; Therefore to me ye never will grow old,

But live for ever young in my remembrance.

Never grow old, nor change, nor pass away!

Your gentle voices will flow on for ever, When life grows bare and tarnished with decay,

As through a leafless landscape flows a river.

Not chance of birth or place has made us friends,

Being oftentimes of different tongues and nations, But the endeavour for the selfsame ends,

With the same hopes, and fears, and aspirations.

Therefore I hope to join your seaside walk,

Saddened, and mostly silent, with emotion; Not interrupting with intrusive talk

The grand, majestic symphonies of ocean.

Therefore I hope, as no unwelcome guest,

At your warm fireside, when the lamps are lighted, To have my place reserved among the rest,

Nor stand as one unsought and uninvited!

By the Seaside.

THE BUILDING OF THE SHIP. “Build me straight, O worthy Master !

Staunch and strong, a goodly vessel, That shall laugh at all disaster,

And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!”

The merchant's word
Delighted the Master heard ;
For his heart was in his work, and the heart
Giveth grace unto every art.
A quiet smile played round his lips,
As the eddies and dimples of the tide
Play round the bows of ships,
That steadily at anchor ride.
And with a voice that was full of glee,
He answered, “ Ere long we will launch
A vessel as goodly, and strong, and staunch,
As ever weathered a wintry sea!”

And first with nicest skill and art,
Perfect and finished in every part,
A little model the Master wrought,
Which should be to the larger plan
What the child is to the man,
Its counterpart in miniature;
That with a hand more swift and sure
The greater labour might be brought
To answer to his inward thought.
And as he laboured, his mind ran o'er
The various ships that were built of yore,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »