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

A.R. Abbott, "'Neath the Crown and Maple Leaf" (1901)

A SIGH is breathed from million heart.
   From Slavery's chains set free:
A million tongues now sadly cry,
   Great teen, we weep for thee'

Our Queen is dead; for her all mourn.
   In hamlet, palace, hall.
My Queen is dead!" a warrior cries,
   In a lonely Zulu Kraal.

Though high of race, in power and place.
   Thy woman's love, O Queen,
O'er every land. from Britain's Isle
   To Afric's sand was seen.

The lowliest found in thy domain
   Justice to Truth allied;
Tyrants who boast that " might is right."
   Soon pass beyond thy tide.

Thy virtue set a nobler goal,
   Which all might seek to find;
Man calls his fellowman his friend,
   Nor asks his hue or kind.

Ye heard, sad victims of man greed.
   Her Sovereign voice, which said
"On Britain's sacred soul the slay
   In chains shall never tread"

"Soon as the bondman's weary feet
   Shall press its holy crust.
That moment he a free man stand-
   This shackles fall to dust

On snow-clad [illegible] the North Star smiles
   Our guide in days of grief.
But sorrow fled, and joy was found
   Neath the Crown and Maple leaf

And now in solemn silence be
   Bengali, Bedouin;
In palm-clad isles; 'neath Orient skies
   Proud Turk and Fellaheen.

While Afric's sons, wherever found,
   In free and blest manhood,
Revere the name of England's Queen:
   Victoria the Good.

Published in Colored American Magazine, March 1901

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