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POEMS ON SLAVERY.

1842. [The following Poems, with one exception, were written at sea, in the latter part of October. I had not then heard of Dr. Channing's death. Since that event the poem addressed to him is no longer appropriate. have decided, however, to let it remain as it was written, a feeble testimony of my admiration for a great and good man.) TO WILLIAM E. CHANNING.

They clasped his neck, they kissed his The pages of thy book I read,

cheeks, And as I closed each one,

They held him by the hand ! My heart, responding, ever said,

A tear burst from the sleeper's lids * Servant of God! well done!”

And fell into the sand. Well done! Thy words are great and And then at furious speed he rode bold;

Along the Niger's bank; At times they seem to me,

His bridle-reins were golden chains, Like Luther's, in the days of old,

And, with a martial clank, Half-battles for the free.

At each leap he could feel his scabbard

of steel Go on, until this land revokes

Smiting his stallion's flank.
The old and chartered Lie,
The feudal curse, whose whips and Before him, like a blood-red flag,
yokes

The bright flamingoes flew;
Insult humanity.

From morn till night he followed their

flight, A voice is ever at thy side

O’er plains where the tamarind grew, Speaking in tones of might, Like the prophe voice, that cried,

Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,

And the ocean rose to view. To John in Patmos, “Write!

At night he heard the lion roar, Write ! and tell out this bloody tale ; And the hyæna scream; Record this dire eclipse,

And the river-horse, as he crushed the This Day of Wrath, this Endless Wail,

reeds This dread Apocalypse.

Beside some hidden stream;

And it passed, like a glorious roll of THE SLAVE'S DREAM.

drums, BESIDE the ungathered rice he lay,

Through the triumph of his dream. His sickle in his hand;

The forests, with their myriad tongues, His breast was bare, his matted hair

Shouted of liberty; Was buried in the sand.

And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud, Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep, With a voice so wild and free, He saw his Native Land.

That he started in his sleep and smiled Wide through the landscape of his

At their tempestuous glee. dreams

He did not feel the driver's whip, The lordly Niger flowed ;

Nor the burning heat of day; Beneath the palm-trees on the plain For death had illumined the Land of Once more a king he strode ;

Sleep, And heard the tinkling caravans

And his lifeless body lay Descend the mountain-road.

A worn-out fetter that the soul He saw once more his dark-eyed queen

„Had broken and thrown away! Among her children stand;

THE GOOD PART,
THAT SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY.
She dwells by Great Kenhawa's side,

In valleys green and cool;
And all her hope and all her pride

Are in the village school.
Her soul, like the transparent air

That robes the hills above,
Though not of earth, encircles there

All things with arms of love.
And thus she walks among her girls

With praise and mild rebukes;
Subduing e'en rude village churls

By her angelic looks.
She reads to them at eventide

Of one who came to save;
To cast the captive's chains aside,

And liberate the slave.
And oft the blessed time foretells

When all men shall be free;
And musical, as silver bells,

Their falling chains shall be.
And following her beloved Lord,

In decent poverty,
She makes her life one sweet record

And deed of charity.
For she was rich, and gave up all

To break the iron bands
Of those who waited in her hall,

And laboured in her lands.
Long since beyond the Southern sea

Their outbound sails have sped,
While she, in meek humility,

Now earns her daily bread. It is their prayers, which never cease,

That clothe her with such grace; Their blessing is the light of peace

That shines upon her face.

And the cedar grows, and the poisonous

vine Is spotted like the snake ; Where hardly a human foot could pass,

Or a human heart would dare, On the quaking turf of the green morass He crouched in the rank and tangled

grass, Like

a wild beast in his lair. A poor old slave, infirm and lame;

Great scars deformed his face; On his forehead he bore the brand of

shame, And the rags, that hid his mangled frame,

Were the livery of disgrace. All things above were bright and fair,

All things were glad and free; Lithe squirrels darted here and there, And wild birds filled the echoing air

With songs of Liberty!
On him alone was the doom of pain,

From the morning of his birth;
On him alone the curse of Cain
Fell, like a flail on the garnered grain,

And struck him to the earth!

THE WITNESSES. In Ocean's wide domains,

Half buried in the sands, Like 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;

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!

They cry,

THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL

SWAMP.
In dark fens of the Dismal Swamp

The hunted Negro lay;
He saw the fire of the midnight camp,
And heard at times a horse's tramp

And a bloodhound's distant bay. Where will-o'-the-wisps and glow

worms shine, In bulrush and in brake; Where waving mosses shroud the pine,

All evil thoughts and deeds;

The planter, under his roof of thatch, Anger, and lust, and pride;

Smoked thoughtfully and slow; The foulest, rankest weeds,

The Slaver's thumb was on the latch, That choke Life's groaning tide!

He seemed in haste to go. These are the woes of Slaves;

He said, “My ship at anchor rides They glare from the abyss;

In yonder broad lagoon; They cry, from unknown graves, I only wait the evening tides, "We are the Witnesses?"

And the rising of the moon."

Before them, with her face upraised, THE SLAVE SINGING AT

In timid attitude,

Like one half curious, half amazed, MIDNIGHT.

A Quadroon maiden stood. Loud he sang the Psalm of David !

Her eyes were large, and full of light, He, a Negro and enslaved,

Her arms and neck were bare ; Sang of Israel's victory,

No garment she wore save a kirtle Sang of Zion, bright and free.

bright, In that hour, when night is calmest, And her own long, raven hair. Sang he from the Hebrew Psalmist,

And on her lips there played a smile In a voice so sweet and clear

As holy, meek, and faint, That I could not choose but hear.

As lights in some cathedral aisle Songs of triumph, and ascriptions,

The features of a saint. Such as reached the swart Egyptians,

The soil is barren,-the farm is old ?” When upon the Red Sea coast

The thoughtful Planter said ; Perished Pharaoh and his host.

Then looked upon the Slaver's gold, And the voice of his devotion

And then upon the maid. Filled my soul with strange emotion;

His heart within him was at strife For its tones by turns were glad,

With such accursèd gains; Sweetly solemn, wildly sad.

For he knew whose passions gave her Paul and Silas, in their prison,

life, Sang of Christ, the Lord arisen,

Whose blood ran in her veins.
And an earthquake's arm of might
Broke their dungeon-gates at night.

But the voice of nature was too weak; But, alas ! what holy angel

He took the glittering gold ! Brings the Slave this glad evangel?

Then pale as death grew the maiden's And what earthquake's arm of might

cheek, Breaks his dungeon-gates at night?

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

He led her by the hand,
THE QUADROON GIRL. To be his slave and paramour
The Slaver in the broad lagoon

In a strange and distant land !
Lay moored with idle sail ;
He waited for the rising moon,

THE WARNING.
And for the evening gale.

BEWARE! The Israelite of old, who tore Under the shore his boat was tied,

The lion in his path,—when, poor and And all her listless crew

blind, Watched the gray alligator slide Into the still bayou.

He saw the blessed light of heaven no

more, Odours of orange-flowers, and spice, Shorn of his noble strength and forced Reached them from time to time,

to grind Like airs that breathe from Paradise In prison, and at last led forth to be Upon a world of crime.

A pander to Philistine revelry,

Upon the pillars of the temple laid
His desperate hands, and in its over-

throw
Destroyed himself, and with him those

who made A cruel mockery of his sightless 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, Who may, in some grim revel, raise his

hand, And shake the pillars of this Common

weal, Till the vast Temple of our libcrties A shapeless mass of wreck and rubbish

lies.

woe;

THE SPANISH STUDENT.

LARA}

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.
VICTORIAN
HYPOLITO)

Students of Alcalá.
THE COUNT OF LA

Gentlemen of Madrid.
DON CARLOS.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF TOLEDO.
A CARDINAL.
BELTRAN CRUZADO .

Count of the Gipsies.
BARTOLOME ROMAN

A young Gipsy.
THE PADRE CURA OF GUADARRAMA
PEDRO CRESPO.

Alcalde.
PANCHO

Alguacil.
FRANCISCO

Lara's Servant.
CHISPA

Victorian's Servant.
BALTASAR

Innkeeper.
PRECIOSA

A Gipsy Girl.
ANGELICA

A poor Girl.
MARTINA

The Padre Cura's Niece.
DOLORES.

Preciosa's Maid.
'Gipsies, Musicians, &c.

ACT I.
SCENE I.-The COUNT OF LARA's

chambers. Night. The Count in
his dressing-gown, smoking, and
conversing with Don Carlos.
Lara. You were not at the play to-

night, Don Carlos;
How happened it?
Don C.

I had engagements elsewhere. Pray who was there?

Lara. Why, all the town and court. The house was crowded ; and the busy

fans Among the gaily dressed and perfumed

ladies Fluttered like butterflies among the

flowers,
There was the Countess of Medina Celi;
The Goblin Lady with her Phantom

Lover,
Her Lindo Don Diego; Doña Sol,
And Doña Serafina, and her cousins. 1

step fell

Don C. What was the play?
Lara.

It was a dull affair ; One of those comedies in which you see, As Lope says,* the history of the world Brought down from Genesis to the Day

of Judgment. There were three duels fought in the

first act, Three gentlemen receiving deadly

wounds, Laying their hands upon their hearts,

and saying, "Oh, I am dead!” a lover in a closet, An old hidalgo, and a gay Don Juan, A Doña Inez with a black mantilla, Followed at twilight by an unknown

lover, Who looks intently where he knows

she is not! Don C. Of course the Preciosa

danced to-night! Lara. And never better. Every footAs lightly as a sunbeam on the water. I think the girl extremely beautiful. Don C. Almost beyond the privilege

of woman! I saw her in the Prada yesterday. Her step was royal, en-like,-and

her face As beautiful as a saint's in Paradise. Lara. May not a saint fall from her

Paradise,
And be no more a saint?
Don C.

Why do
Lara. Because I have heard it said

this angel fell, And, though she is a virgin outwardly, Within she is a sinner ; like those panels Of doors and altar-pieces the old monks Painted in convents, with the Virgin

Mary, On the outside, and on the inside Venus! Don C. You do her wrong; indeed,

you do her wrong! She is as virtuous as she is fair. Lara. How credulous you are! Why, look you, friend,

*“La cólera de un Español sentado no se templa, sino le representan en dos horas hasta el final juicio desde el Génesis.”

-Lope de Vega.

There's not a virtuous woman in

Madrid, In this whole city! And would you

persuade me That a mere dancing-girl, who shows

herself, Nightly, half-naked, on the stage, for

money, And with voluptuous motions fires the

blood
Of inconsiderate youth, is to be held
A model for her virtue?
Don C.

You forget
She is a Gipsy girl.
Lara.

And therefore won The easier.

Don C. Nay, not to be won at all! The only virtue that a Gipsy prizes Is chastity. That is her only virtue. Dearer than life she holds it. I re

member A Gipsy woman, a vile, shameless bawd, Whose craft was to betray the young

and fair; And yet this woman was above all

bribes. And when a noble lord, touched by her

beauty, The wild and wizard beauty of her race, Offered her gold to be what she made

others, She turned upon him, with a look of

scorn, And smote him in the face ! Lara.

And does that prove That Preciosa is above suspicion ? Don C. It proves a nobleman may

be repulsed When he thinks conquest easy. I

believe That woman, in her deepest degrada

tion, Holds something sacred, something

undefiled, Some pledge and keepsake of her higher

nature, And, like the diamond in the dark, re

tains Some quenchless gleam of the celestial

light!
Lara. Yet Preciosa would have

taken the gold.
Don C. (rising). I do not think so
Lara.

I am sure of it.

you ask?

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