African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Frances E.W. Harper, "Poems" (1871)

(Provenance: HathiTrust. Author Page: Frances E.W. Harper)

Frances E.W. Harper


Merrihew & Sons, Printers
No. 135 North Third Street 




HAVE the bright and glowing visions
Faded from thy longing sight,
Like the gorgeous tints of ev'n
Mingling with the shades of night?

Didst thou hope to see thy country
Wearing Justice as a crown,
Standing foremost ’mid the nations
Worthy of the world's renown?

Didst thou think the grand fruition
Reached the fullness of its time,
When the crater of God's judgment
Overflowed the nation's crime?

That thy people, purged by fire,
Would have irur! -nother path,
Careful, lest their feet should stumble
On the cinders of God's wrath?

And again the injured negro
Grind the dreadful mills of fate,
Pressing out the fearful vintage
Of the nation's scorn and hate?

Sadder than the crimson shadows
Hung for years around our skies,
Are the hopes so fondly cherished
Fading now before thine eyes.

Not in vain has been thy hoping,
Though thy fair ideals fade,
If, like one of God's tall aloes,
Thou art rip’ning in the shade.

There is light beyond the darkness,
Joy beyond the present pain;
There is hope in God's great justice,
And the negro's rising brain.

Though before the timid counsels
Truth and Right may seem to fail,
God hath bathed his sword in judgment,
And his arm shall yet prevail.


WHEN a dark and fearful strife
Raged around the nation's life,
And the traitor plunged his steel
Where your quivering hearts could feel,
When your cause did need a friend,
We were faithful to the end.

When we stood with bated breath,
Facing fiery storms of death,
And the war-cloud, red with wrath,
Fiercely swept around our path,
Did our hearts with terror quail?
Or our courage ever fail?

When the captive, wanting bread,
Sought our poor and lowly shed,
And the blood-hounds missed his way,
Did we e'er his path betray?
Filled we not his heart with trust
As we shared with him our crust?

With your soldiers, side by side,
Helped we turn the battle's tide,
Till o'er ocean, stream and shore,
Waved the rebel flag no more,
And above the rescued sod
Praises rose to freedom's God,

But to-day the traitor stands
With the crimson on his hands,
Scowling 'neath his brow of hate,
On our weak and desolate,
With the blood-rust on the knife
Aiméd at the nation's life.

Asking you to weakly yield
All we won upon the field,
To ignore, on land and flood,
All the offerings of our blood,
And to write above our slain
"They have fought and died in vain."

To your manhood we appeal,
Lest the traitor's iron heel
Grind and trample in the dust
All our new-born hope and trust,
And the name of freedom be
Linked with bitter mockery.


A ROCK, for ages, stern and high,
Stood frowning 'gainst the earth and sky,
And never bowed his baughty crest
When angry storms around him prest.

Morn springing from the arms of night
Had often bathed his brow with light,
And kissed the shadows from his face
With tender love and gentle grace.

Day, pausing at the gates of rest,
Smiled on him from the distant West,
And from her throne the dark-browed Night
Threw round his path her softest light.
And yet he stood unmoved and proud,
Nor love, nor wrath, his spirit bowed;

He bared his brow to every blast
And scorned the tempest as it passed.
One day a tiny, humble seed-
The keenest eye would hardly heed-
Fell trembling at that stern rock’s base,
And found a lowly hiding place.
A ray of light, and drop of dew,
Came with a message, kind and true;
They told her of the world so bright,
Its love, its joy, and rosy light,
And lured her from her hiding place,

To gaze upon earth's glorious face.
So, peeping timid from the ground,
She clasped the ancient rock around,
And climbing up with childish grace,
She held him with a close embrace;
Her clinging was a thing of dread;
Where'er she touched a fissure spread,
And he who'd breasted many a storm
Stood frowning there, a mangled form;
So Truth dropped in the silent earth,
May seem a thing of little worth,
Till, spreading round some mighty wrong,
It saps its pillars proud and strong.


'Twas a fearful night—the tempest raved
With loud and wrathful pride,
The storm-king harnessed his lightning steeds,
And rode on the raging tide.

The sea-king lay on his bed of death.
Pale mourners around him bent,
They knew the wild and fitful life
Of their chief was almost spent.

His ear was growing dull in death
When the angry storm he heard,
The sluggish blood in the old man's veins
With sudden vigor stirred.

"I hear them call,” cried the dying man,
His eyes grew full of light,
"Now bring me here my warrior robes,
My sword and armor bright.

"In the tempest's lull I heard a voice,
I knew ’t was Odin's call.
The Valkyrs are gathering round my bed
To lead me unto his hall.

"Bear me unto my noblest ship,
Light up a funeral pyre;
I'll walk to the palace of the braves
Through a path of flame and fire.”

O! wild and bright was the stormy light
That flashed from the old man's eye,
As they bore him from the couch of death
To his battle-ship to die.

And lit with many a mournful torch
The sea-king's dying bed,
And like a banner fair and bright
The flames around him spread.

But they heard no cry of anguish
Break through that fiery wall,
With rigid brow and silent lips
He was seeking Odin's hall

Through a path of fearful splendor,
While strong men held their breath,
The brave old man went boldly forth
And calmly talked with death.


Light! more light! the shadows deepen,
And my life is ebbing low,
Throw the windows widely open!
Light! more light! before I go.

Softly let the balmy sunshine
Play around my dying bed,
E'er the dimly lighted valley
I with lonely feet shall tread.

Light! more light! for death is weaving
Shadows round my waning sight,
And I fain would gaze upon him
Through a stream of earthly light.

Not for greater gifts of genius,
Nor for thoughts more grandly bright,
All the dying poet whispers
Is a prayer for light, more light.

Heeds he not the gathered laurels,
Fading slowly from his sight;
All the poet's aspirations
Centre in that prayer for light.

Blessed Jesus, when our day dreams
Melt and vanish from the sight,
May our dim and longing vision
Then be blessed with light, more light!


"In heaven the angels are advancing continually to the spring-time of their yonth, so that the oldest angel appears the youngest." --SWEDENBORG.

Not for them the length’ning shadows
Falling coldly round our lives,
Nearer, nearer through the ages
Life's new spring for them arrives.

Not for them the doubt and anguish
Of an old and loveless age,
Dropping sadly tears of sorrow
On life's faded, blotted page.

Not for them the mournful dimming
Of the weary, tear-stained eye,
That has seen the sad procession
Of its dearest hopes go by.

Not for them the hopeless clinging
To life's worn and feeble strands,
Till the last has ceased to tremble
In our agéd, withered hands.

Never lines of light and darkness
Thread the brows forever fair,
And the eldest of the angels
Seems the youngest brother there.

There the stream of life doth never
Cross the mournful plains of death,
And the pearly gates are ever
Closed against his icy breath.


CRUEL in vengeance, reckless in wrath,
The hunters of men bore down on our path;
Inhuman and fierce, the offer they gave
Was ireedom in death or the life of a slave.
The cheek of the mother grew pallid with dread,
As the tidings of evil around us were spread,
And closer and closer she strained to her heart
The children she feared they would sever apart.
The brows of our maidens grew gloomy and sad;
Hot tears burst from eyes once sparkling and glad.
Our young men stood ready to join in the fray,
That hung as a pall 'round our people that day.
Our leaders gazed angry and stern on the strife,
For freedom to them was dearer than life.
There was mourning at home and death in the street,
For carnage and famine together did meet.
The pale lips of hunger were asking for bread,
While husbands and fathers lay bleeding and dead.
For days we withstood the tempests of wrath,
That scattered destruction and death in our path,
Till, broken and peeled, we yielded at last,
And the glory and strength of our kingdom were past.
But Zombi, our leader, and warlike old chief,
Gazed down on our woe with anger and grief;
The tyrant for him forged fetters in vain,
His freedom-girt limbs had worn their last chain.
Defiance and daring still flashed from his eye;
A freenan he'd lived and free he would die.
So he climbed to the verge of a dangerous steep,
Resolved from its margin to take a last leap;
For a fearful death and a bloody grave
Were dearer to him than the life of a slave.
Nor went he alone to the mystic land-
There were other warriors in his band,
Who rushed with him to Death's dark gate,
All wrapped in the shroud of a mournful fate.


Thank God that thou hast spoken
Words earnest, true and brave,
The lightning of thy lips did smite
The fetters of the slaye.

I thought the shadows deepened,
Round the pathway of the slave,
As one by one his faithful friends
Were dropping in the grave.

When other hands grew feeble,
And loosed their hold on life,
Thy words rang like a clarion
For freedom's noble strife.

Thy words were not soft echoes,
Thy tones no syren song;
They fell as battle-axes
Upon our giant wrong.

God grant thy words of power
May fall as precious seeds,
That yet shall leaf and blossom
In high and holy deeds.


We would see Jesus; earth is grand,
Flowing out from her Creator's hand.
Like one who tracks his steps with light,
His footsteps ever greet our sight;
The earth below, the sky above,
Are full of tokens of his love;
But ’mid the fairest scenes we've sighed,
Our hearts are still unsatisfied.

We would see Jesus; proud and high
Temples and domes have met our eye.
We've gazed upon the glorious thought,
By earnest hands in marble wrought,
And listened where the lying feet
Beat time to music, soft and sweet;
But bow'rs of ease, and halls of pride,
Our yearning hearts ne'er satisfied.

We would see Jesus; we have heard
Tidings our in most souls have stirred,
How, from their chambers full of night,
The darkened eyes receive the light;
How, at the music of his voice,
The lame do leap, the dumb rejoice.
Anxious we 'll wait until we've seen
The good and gracious Nazarene.


THEY robed her for another groom,
For her bridal couch, prepared the tomb;
From the sunny love of her marriage day
A stronger rival had won her away;
His wooing was like a stern command,
And cold was the pressure of his hand.
Through her veins he sent an icy thrill,
With sudden fear her heart stood still;
To his dusty palace the bride he led,
Her guests were the pale and silent dead.
No eye flashed forth a loving light,
To greet the bride as she came in sight,
Not one reached out a joyous hand,
To welcome her home to the mystic land.
Silent she sat in the death still hall,
For her bridal robe she wore a pall;
Instead of orange-blossoms fair,
Willow and cypress wreathed her hair.
Though her mother's kiss lay on her cheek,
Her lips no answering love could speak,
No air of life stirred in her breath,
That fair young girl was the bride of death.


THANK God for little children,
Bright flowers by earth's wayside,
The dancing, joyous lifeboats
Upon life's stormy tide.
Thank God for little children;
When our skies are cold and gray,
They come as sunshine to our hearts,
And charm our cares away.
I almost think the angels,
Who tend life's garden fair,
Drop down the sweet wild blossoms
That bloom around us here,
It seems a breath of heaven
Round many a cradle lies,
And every little baby
Brings a message from the skies.
The humblest home with children
Is rich in precious gems,
That shame the wealth of monarchs,
And pale their diadems.
Dear mothers, guard these jewels,
As sacred offerings meet,
A wealth of household treasures
To lay at Jesus' feet.


SLOWLY o'er his darkened features
Stole the warning shades of death,
And we knew the mystic angel
Waited for his parting breath.
He had started for his freedom,
And his heart beat firm and high;
But before he won the guerdon
Came the message-he must die.
He must die when just before him
Lay the longed-for precious prize,
And the hopes that lit him onward
Faded out before his eyes.
For awhile a fearful madness
Rested on his weary brain,
And he thought the hateful tyrant
Had rebound his galling chain.
Then he cried in bitter anguish,
Take me where that good man dwells,
For a name to freedom precious
Lingered ’mid life's shattered cells.
But as sunshine gently stealing
On the storm-cloud's gloomy track,
Through the tempests of his bosom
Came the light of reason back.

And, without a sigh or murnur
For the friends he'd left behind,
Calmly yielded he his spirit
To the Father of mankind.
Thankful that so near to freedom
He with eager feet had trod,
Ere his ransom'd spirit rested
On the bosom of his God,


MAKE me a grave where'er you will,
In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill,
Make it among earth's humblest graves,
But not in a land where men are slaves.

I could not rest if around my grave
I heard the steps of a trembling slave:
His shadow above my silent tomb
Would make it a place of fearful gloom.

I could not rest if I heard the tread
Of a coffie gang to the shambles led,
And the mother's shriek of wild despair
Rise like a curse on the trembling air.

I could not sleep if I saw the lash
Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,
And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
Like trembling doves from their parent nest.

I'd shudder and start if I heard the bay
Of blood-hounds seizing their human prey,
And I heard the captive plead in vain
As they bound afresh his galling chain.

If I saw young girls from their mothers' arms
Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.

I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
Can rob no man of his dearest right;
My rest shall be calm in any grave
Where none can call his brother slave.

I ask no monument, proud and high,
To arrest the gaze of the passers by;
All that my yearning spirit craves,
Is bury me not in a land of slaves.


Ring, aye, ring the freedom bell,
And let its tones be loud and clear;
With glad hosannas let it swell
Until it reach the Bondman's ear.
Through pain that wrings the life apart,
And spasms full of deadly strife,
And throes that shake the nation's heart,
The fainting land renews her life.
Where shrieks and groans distract the air,
And sods grow red with crimson rain,
The ransom'd slave shall kneel in prayer
And bury deep his rusty chain.
Where cheeks now pale with sickening dread,
And brows grow dark with cruel wrath,
Shall Fredom's banner wide be spread
And Hope and Peace attend her path.
White-robed and pure her feet shall move
O'er rifts of ruin deep and wide;
Her hands shall span with lasting love
The chasms rent by hate and pride.

Where waters, blush'd with human gore,
Unsullied streams shall purl along;
Where crashed the battle's awful roar
Shall rise the Freeman's joyful song.
Then ring, aye, ring the freedom bell,
Proclaiming all the nation free;
Let earth with sweet thanksgiving swell
And heaven catch up the melody.


He stood at Jesus' feet,
And bathed them with her tears,
While o'er her spirit surg'd
The guilt and shame of years.
Though Simon saw the grief
Upon the fair young face,
The stern man coldly thought
For her this is no place.
Her feet have turned aside
From paths of truth and right,
If Christ a prophet be
He'll spurn her from his sight.

And silently he watched
The child of sin and care,
Uncoil upon Christ's feet
Her wealth of raven hair.
O Life! she sadly thought,
I know thy bane and blight,
And yet I fain would find
The path of peace and right.
I've seen the leper cleansed,
I've seen the sick made whole,
But mine's a deeper wound-
It eats into the soul.
And men have trampled down
The beauty once their prize,
While women pass me by
With cold, averted eyes.
But now a hope of peace
Steals o'er my weary breast,
And from these lips of love
There comes a sense of rest.
The tender, loving Christ
Gazed on her tearful eyes,
Then saw on Simon's face
A look of cold surprise.

Simon," the Saviour said,
"Thou wast to me remiss,
I came thy guest, but thou
Didst give no welcome kiss.
"Thou broughtest from thy fiunt
No water cool and sweet,
But she, with many tears,
Hath bent and kissed my feet.
" Thou pouredst on my head
No oil with kindly care,
But she anoints my feet,
And wipes them with her hair.
"I know her steps have strayed,
Her sins they many be,
But she with love hath bound
Her erring heart to me.”
How sweetly fell his words
Upon her bruised heart,
When, like a ghastly train,
She felt her sins depart.
What music heard on earth,
Or rapture moving heaven
Were like those precious words--
" Thy sins are all forgiven !"


Oh, my soul had grown so weary
With its many cares opprest,
All my heart's high aspirations
Languish'd in a prayer for rest.
I was like a lonely stranger
Pining in a distant land,
Bearing on her lips a language
None around her understand.
Longing for a close communion
With some kindred mind and heart,
But whose language is a jargon
Past her skill, and past her art.
God in mercy looked upon me,
Saw my fainting, pain and strife,
Sent to me a blest evangel,
Through the gates of light and life.
Then my desert leafed and blossom'd,
Beauty decked its deepest wild,
Hope and joy, peace and blessing,
Met me in my first-born child.
When the tiny hands, so feeble,
Brought me smiles and joyful tears,
Lifted from my life the shadows,
That had gathered there for years.
God, I thank thee for the blessing
That at last has crown'd my life,
Soothed its weary, lonely anguish,
Stay'd its fainting, calm’d its strife.
Gracious Parent! guard and shelter
In thine arms my darling child
Till she treads the streets of jasper,
Glorified and undefiled.


She leaned her head upon her hand
And heard the king's decree-
"My lords are feasting in my halls,
Bid Vashti come to me.
"I've shown the treasures of my house,
My costly jewels rare,
But with the glory of her eyes
No rubies can compare.

" Adorn'd and crown'd I'd have her come,
With all her queenly grace,
And, 'mid my lords and mighty men,
Unveil her lovely face.

"Each gem that sparkles in my crown,
Or glitters on my throne,
Grows poor and pale when she appears,
My beautiful, my own!"

All waiting stood the chamberlains
To hear the Queen's reply,
They saw her cheek grow deathly pale,
But light flash'd to her eye:

"Go, tell the King,” she proudly said,
" That I am Persia's Queen,
And by his crowds of merry men
I never will be seen.

"I'll take the crown from off my head
And tread it ’neath my feet
Before their rude and careless gaze
My shrinking eyes shall meet.

"A queen unveil'd before the crowd !-
Upon each lip my name ! -
Why, Persia's women all would blush
And weep for Vashti's shame!

"Go back !" she cried, and waived her hand,
And grief was in her eye:
"Go, tell the King,” she sadly said,
"That I would rather die."

"They brought her message to the King,
Dark flash'd his angry eye;
’T was as the lightning ere the storm
Hath swept in fury by.

Then bitterly outspoke the King,
Through purple lips of wrath-
What shall be done to her who dares
To cross your monarch's path ?”

Then spake his wily counsellors-
"O King of this fair land!
From distant Ind to Ethiop,
All bow to thy command.

"But if, before thy servants' eyes,
This thing they plainly see,
That Vashti doth not heed thy will
Nor yield herself to thee,

"The women, restive 'neath our rule,
Would learn to scorn our name,
And from her deed to us would come
Reproach and burning shame.

"Then, gracious King, sign with thy hand
This stern but just decree,
That Vashti lay aside her crown,
Thy Queen no more to be.”

She heard again the King's command,
And left her high estate,
Strong in her earnest womanhood,
She calmly met her fate,

And left the palace of the King,
Proud of her spotless name-
A woman who could bend to grief,
But would not bow to shame.


The blue sky arching overhead,
The green turf 'neath my daily tread,
All glorified by freedom's light,
Grow fair and lovely to my sight.
The very winds that sweep along
Seemed burdened with a lovely song,
Nor shrieks nor groans of grief or fear,
Float on their wings and pain my ear.
No more with dull and aching breast,
Roused by the horn--I rise from rest
Content and cheerful with my lot,
I greet the sun and leave my cot.
For darling child and loving wife
I toil with newly waken'd life;
The light that lingers round her smile
The shadows from my soul beguile.
The pratile of my darling boy
Fills my old heart with untold joy;
Before his laughter, mirth and song
Fade out long scores of grief and wrong.
Oh, never did the world appear
So lovely to my eye and ear,
'Till Freedom came, with Joy and Peace,
And bade my hateful bondage cease!


COME ņearer to me, husband,
Now the aching leaves my breast,
But my eyes are dim and weary,
And to-night I fain would rest.
Clasp me closer to your bosom
Ere I calmly sleep in death;
With your arms enfolded round me
I would yield my parting breath.
Bring me now my darling baby,
God's own precious gift of love,
Tell her she must meet her mother
In the brighter world above.
When her little feet grow stronger
To walk life's paths untrod,
That earnest, true and hopeful,
She must lay her hands on God.
Tell my other little children
They must early seek His face;
That His love is a strong tower,
And His arms a hiding place.
Tell them—but my voice grows fainter--
Surely, husband, this is death--
Tell them that their dying mother
Bless'd them with her latest breath.


MEN of the North! it is no time
To quit the battle-field;
When danger fronts your rear and van
It is no time to yield.

No time to bend the battle's crest
Before the wily foe,
And, ostrich-like, to hide your heads
From the impending blow.

The minions of a baffled wrong
Are marshalling their clan,
Rise up! rise up, enchanted North !
And strike for God and man.

This is no time for careless ease;
No time for idle sleep;
Go light the fires in every camp,
And solemn sentries keep.

The foe ye foiled upon the field
Has only changed his base;
New dangers crowd around you
And stare you in the face.

O Northern men! within your hands
Is held no common trust;
Secure the victories won by blood
When treason bit the dust.

'T is yours to banish from the land
Oppression's iron rule;
And o’er the ruin'd auction-block
Erect the common school.

To wipe from labor's branded brow
The curse that shamed the land;
And teach the Freedman how to wield
The ballot in his hand.

This is the nation's golden hour,
Nerve every heart and hand,
To build on Justice, as a rock,
The future of the land.

True to your trust, oh, never yield
One citadel of right!
With Truth and Justice clasping hands
Ye yet shall win the fight!


It shall flash through coming ages;
It shall light the distant years;
And eyes now dim with sorrow
Shall be clearer through their tears.
It shall flush the mountain ranges;
And the valleys shall grow bright;
It shall bathe the hills in radiance,
And crown their brows with light.
It shall flood with golden splendor
All the huts of Caroline,
And the sun-kissed brow of labor
With lustre new shall shine.
It shall gild the gloomy prison,
Darken’d by the nation's crime,
Where the dumb and patient millions
Wait the better coming time.
By the light that gilds their prison,
They shall seize its mould’ring key,
And the bolts and bars shall vibrate
With the triumphs of the free.
Like the dim and ancient chaos,
Shrinking from the dawn of light.
Oppression, grim and hoary,
Shall cower at the sight.
And her spawn of lies and malice
Shall grovel in the dust,
While joy shall thrill the bosoms
Of the merciful and just.
Though the morning seemed to linger
O'er the hill-tops far away,
Now the shadows bear the promise
Of the quickly coming day.
Soon the mists and murky shadows
Shall be fringed with crimson light,
And the glorious dawn of freedom
Break refulgent on the sight.


Tell me, did the angels greet thee?
Greet my darling when she smiled ?
Did they whisper, softly, gently,
Pleasant thoughts unto my child ?
Did they whisper, 'mid thy dreaming,
Thoughts that made thy spirit glad ?
Of the joy-lighted city,
Where the heart is never sad ?
Did they tell thee of the fountains,
Clear as crystal, fair as light,
And the glory-brightened country,
Never shaded by a night?
Of life's pure, pellucid river,
And the tree whose leaves do yield
Healing for the wounded nations-
Nations smitten, bruised and peeled ?
Of the city, ruby-founded,
Built on gems of flashing light,
Paling all earth's lustrous jewels,
And the gates of pearly white ?
Darling, when life's shadows deepen
Round thy prison-house of clay,
May the footsteps of God's angels
Ever linger round thy way.


He stood before his finished work;
His heart beat warm and high;
But they who gazed upon the youth
Knew well that he must die.
For many days a fever fierce
Had burned into his life;
But full of high impassioned art,
He bore the fearful strife.
And wrought in extacy and hope
The image of his brain;
He felt the death throes at his heart,
But labored through the pain.
The statue seemed to glow with life-
A costly work of art;
For it he paid the fervent blood
From his own eager heart.
With kindling eye and flushing cheek
But slowly laboring breath,
He gazed upon his finished work,
Then sought his couch of death.
And when the plaudits of the crowd
Came like the south wind's breath,
The dreamy, gifted child of art
Had closed his eyes in death.


COME speak to me of Jesus,
I love that precious name,
Who built a throne of power
Upon a cross of shame.
Unveil to me the beauty
That glorifies his face-
The fullness of the Father
The image of his grace.
My soul would run to meet Him;
Restrain me not with creeds;
For Christ, the hope of glory,
Is what my spirit needs.
I need the grand attraction,
That centres 'round the ciosa,
To change the gilded things of earth,
To emptiness and dross.
My feet are prone to wander,
My eyes to turn aside,
And yet I fain would linger,
With Christ the crucified.
I want a faith that's able
To stand each storm and shock--
A faith forever rooted,
In Christ the living Rock.


BENEATH the burden of our joy
Tremble, O wires, from East to West!
Fashion with words your tongues of fire,
To tell the nation's high behest.

Outstrip the winds, and leave behind
The murmur of the restless waves;
Nor tarry with your glorious news,
Amid the ocean's coral caves.

Ring out! ring out! your sweetest chimes,
Ye bells, that call to prayer;
Let every heart with gladness thrill,
And songs of joyful triumph raise.

Shake off the dust, rising race!
Crowned as a brother and a man;
Justice to-day asserts her claim,
And from thy brow fades out the ban.

With freedom's chrism upon thy head,
Her precious ensign in thy hand,
Go place thy once despised name
Amid the noblest of the land.

O ransomed race! give God the praise,
Who led thee through a crimson sea,
And ’mid the storm of fire and blood,
Turned out the war-cloud's light to thee.


JUDGMENT slumbered. God in mercy
Stayed his strong avenging hand;
Sent them priests and sent them prophets,
But they would not understand.
Judgment lingered; men, grown bolder,
Gloried in their shame and guilt;
And the blood of God's poor childrep
Was as water freely spilt.
Then arose a cry to heaven,
Deep and startling, sad and wild,
Sadder than the wail of Egypt,
Mourning for the first-born child.
For the sighing of the needy
God at length did bare his hand,
And the footsteps of his judgments
Echoed through the guilty land.
Oh! the terror, grief and anguish;
Oh! the bitter, fearful strife,
When the judgments of Jehovah
Pressed upon the nation's life.
And the land did reel and tremble
Neath the terror of his frown,
For its guilt lay heavy on it,
Pressing like an iron crown.
As a warning to the nations,
Bathed in blood and swathed in tire,
Lay the once oppressing nation,
Smitten by God's fearful ire.


Night closed o'er the battling army,
But it brought them no success;
Victory perched not on their banners;
Night was full of weariness.
Flushed and hopeful in the morning,
Turned they from their leader's side:
Routed, smitten and defeated,
Care they back at eventide.
Then in words of bitter mourning
Joshua's voice soon arose :
" Tell us, I thou God of Jacob,
Why this triumph of our foes?”
To his pleading came the answer
Why the hosts in fear did yield:
" 'Twas because a fearful trespass
'Mid their tents did lie concealed.”
Clear and plain before His vision,
With whom darkness is as light,
Lay the spoils that guilty Achan
Covered from his brethren's sight.
From their tents they purged the evil
That had ruin round them spread;
Then they won the field of battle,
Whence they had in terror fled.
Through the track of many ages
Comes this tale of woe and crime;
Let us read it as a lesson
And a warning for our time.
Oh, for some strong-hearted Joshua !
Faithful to his day and time,
Who will wholly rid the nation
Of her clinging curse and crime.
Till she writes on every banner
All beneath these folds are free,
And the oppressed and groaning millions
Shout the nation's Jubilee.


You've heard no doubt of Irish bulls,
And how they blunder, thick and fast;
But of all the queer and foolish things,
O'Reiley, you have said the last.
You say we brought the rebs supplies,
And gave them aid amid the fight,
And if you must be ruled by rebs,
Instead of black you want them white.
You blame us that we did not rise,
And pluck war from a fiery brand,
When Little Mac said if we did,
He'd put us down with iron hand.
And when we sought to join your ranks,
And battle with you, side by side,
Did men not curl their lips with scorn,
And thrust us back with hateful pride?
And when at last we gained the field,
Did we not firmly, bravely stand,
And help to turn the tide of death,
That spread its ruin o'er the land?
We hardly think we're worse than those
Who kindled up this fearful strife,
Because we did not seize the chance
To murder helpless babes and wife,
And had we struck, with vengeful hand,
The rebel where he most could feel,
Were you not ready to impale
Our hearts upon your Northern steel?
O'Reiley, men like you should wear
The gift of song like some bright crown,
Nor worse than ruffians of the ring,
Strike at a man because he's down.


YE are builders little builders,
Not with mortar, brick and stone,
But your work is far more glorious—-
Ye are building freedom's throne.
Where the ocean never slumbers
Works the coral 'neath the spray,
By and by a reef or island
Rears its head to greet the day
Then the balmy rains and sunshine
Scatter treasures o’er the soil,
"Till a place for human footprints,
Crown the little builder's toil.

When the stately ships sweep o'er them,
Cresting all the sea with foam,
Little think these patient toilers,
They are building man a home.
Do you ask me, precious children,
How your little hands can build,
That you love the name of freedom,
But your fingers are unskilled?
Not on thrones or in proud temples,
Does fair freedom seek her rest;
No, her chosen habitations,
Are the hearts that love her best.
Would you gain the highest freedona?
Live for God and man alone,
Then each heart in freedon's temple,
Will be like a living stone.
Fill your minds with useful knowledge,
Learn to love the true and right;
Thus you'll build the throne of freedom,
On a pedestal of light.


DEAR father, I hear a whisper,
It tells me that I must go,
And my heart returns her answer
In throbbings so faint and low.
I'm sorry to leave you, father,
I know you will miss me so,
And the world for you will gather
A gloomier shade of woe.
You will miss me, dearest father,
When the violets wake from sleep,
And timidly from their hedges
The early snow-drops peep,
I shall not be here to gather
The flowers by stream and dell,
The bright and beautiful flowers,
Dear Father, you love so well.
You will miss my voice, dear father,
From every earthly tone,
All the songs that cheered your darkness,
And you'll be so sad and lone.

I can scarcely rejoice, dear father,
In hope of the brighter land,
When I know you 'll pine in sadness,
And miss my guiding hand.
You are weeping, dearest father,
Your sobs are shaking my soul,
but we'll meet again where the shadow
And night from your eyes shall roll.
And then you will see me, father,
With visions undimmed and clear,
Your eyes will sparkle with rapture--
You know there's no blindness there.
WE'VE room to build holy altars
Where our crumbling idols lay;
We've room for heavenly visions,
When our earth dreams fade away.
Through rifts and rents in our fortune
We gazed with blinding tears,
Till glimpses of light and beauty
Gilded our gloomy fears.

An angel stood at our threshold,
We thought him a child of night,
Till we saw the print of his steps
Made lines of living light.
We had much the world calls precious;
We had heaps of shining dust;
He laid his hand on our treasures,
And wrote on them moth and rust.
But still we had other treasures,
That gold was too poor to buy,
We clasped them closer and closer,
But saw them fade and die.
Our spirit grew faint and heavy,
Deep shadows lay on our years,
Till light from the holy city,
Streamed through our mist of tears.
And we thanked the chastening angel
Who shaded our earthly light,
For the light and beautiful visions
That broke on our clearer sight.
Our first view of the Holy City
Came through our darken'd years,
The songs that lightened our sorrows,
We heard ʼmid our night of tears.


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