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James Madison Bell, "Poetical Works" (1901)
12023-05-24T09:25:12-04:00Amardeep Singhc185e79df2fca428277052b90841c4aba30044e12131plain2023-05-24T09:25:12-04:00Amardeep Singhc185e79df2fca428277052b90841c4aba30044e1Editor's Note: This file needs significant formattting and editing.
The POETICAL WORKS OF
JAMES MADISON BELL
Press of Wynkoup Halienback Crawford Co. Lansing, Michigan
APOSTROPHE TO TIME.
O, fleeting Time! whence art thou come?
And whither do thy fotsteps tend ?
Deep in the past where was thy home,
And where thy future journey’s end?
Thou art from vast eternity,
And unto boundless regions found;
But what and where’s infinity ?
And what know we of space unbound ?
The furrowed brow betokens age;
But who thy centuries can tell?
Was ancient seer or learned sage In wisdom’s lore e’er versed so well?
From childhood hast thou wandered thus, Companionless and lone, through space, With mystery o’er thy exodus,
And darkness ’round thy resting place?
What lengthened years have come and gone, Since thou thy tireless march began? Since Luna’s children sang at dawn,
The wonders of creation’s plan?
How many years of gloom and night Had passed, long ere yon king of day Had reigned his fiery steeds of light,
And sped them on their shining way ?
Thou knowest—Thou alone, O thou!
Omniscient and eternal Three!
To whose broad eye all time is now—
The past, with all eternity;
In whose dread presence shall I stand, When time shall sink to rise no more,
In that broad sea of thy command, Whose waves roll on, without a shore. (January 3, 3.)
Deep in the unrecorded past,
There was an age of darkness vast,
And boundless as the realms of space.
An age that held in its embrace,
And in an embryotic state,
All worlds and systems, small and great.
An inorganic age, a night
In which no star or ray of light,
In all the myriad ages gone,
Had rose or smiled that night upon.
A dismal, shoreless waste and void,
Where nature, crude and unemployed,
A shapeless, heterogenous mass Had lain for ages, that surpass The numerate skill of all the line Of men or angels to define.
But when in spirit the mighty God Moved o’er the dark, abysmal flood,
And raised his omnific voice of might,
And said to the deep, ‘‘Let there be light!”
Lo! a bright orb of deathless flame From out the womb of darkness came,
And ere the silence was restored,
In radiant beams of light were poured Upon a drear and cheerless waste,
Where gloom and chaos had long embraced.
“Let there be light!” and God’s first born, Clothed in the princely garb of morn, Assumed his long pre-ordered place,
And dropped the mantling from his face.
Grim darkness saw, and filled with dread,
Her ebon pinions widely spread,
And flew" with terror-stricken fright Before the piercing beams of light.
“Let there be light!” and high in heaven,
Sun, moon and stars, and planets seven, Stood in their lots, moved in their spheres, And time began his march of years.
As nature law immured in gloom,
And rayless as the lifeless tomb,
Until the orient dawn of light
Dispelled the darkness of the night.
E’en so, in ignorance groped mankind,
Till reason’s torch illumed the mind.
They saw the burning sun at noon,
And the ever-changing moon,
And saw the myriad stars that blaze And fill with their resplendent rays
The deep nocturnal vaults on high,
But never thought or questioned why.
Thought makes the man, ’tis thought that soars Reason, the realms of thought explores.
Oh, reason ! wondrous attribute,
Thou land-mark drawn ’twixt man and brute
Thou art creation’s highest test,
Her universal alchymist;
For by thy torch mankind may trace Nature e’en to her secret place,
And there with meek, becoming pride,
May cast the mystic veil aside;
May check the lightning in its speed,
Make it subservient to his need;
Measure the sun as with a chain,
Prognosticate the snow, the rain;
Distance the earth from pole to pole,
And mark the seasons as they roll.
Oh, thou ! eternal source of light,
Ineffable and infinite,
Whom angels praise and saints adore,
Whose glory is and was before.
Before the morning stars in songs sublime, Chanted the wondrous birth of time,
Whose glory is, was and shall be,
When time has filled his destiny;
And when the orbit lamps above,
Those burning children of thy love, Shall fade from out the vaulted sky,
And sun and moon any systems die;
Creation sink in rayless gloom,
And night and chaos their reign resume, Still wilt Thou all changeless be,
God, Jehovah, Deity.
Where e’er the fetter has been broken,
Where e’er the bondsman has been freed, Where e’er a sentence has been spoken In behalf of human need.
Whether on towering, snow-capped mountain, Or in the soft and flowery vale,
Whether beside the gurgling fountain,
Or ’long the streamlet’s watery trail.
Whether amid, the leafy wildness Of Bashan’s sturdy oaks and pines,
Or ’midst the sheen and plastic mildness Where art presides and genius shines.
*This poem was delivered by the author at the Freed¬ man’s and Union Commission picnic, Park hotel grounds, Alamed, Tuesday, May 15, 6.
In grand effect they still are living, Unblurred by age or flight of time;
And unto earth are ever giving Lessons, wondrous and sublime.
Like trees of fadeless beauty growing,
In all their grand omnific pride,
Whose fruits of life and joy bestowing,
Have blest the land and blest the tide.
Those noble acts, through all the ages Have lived, all worthy to commend,
And the true historian’s pages,
With such, shall glow ’till time shall end.
For there’s a link that binds together All the peoples of this our earth,
A band which nothing can dissever,
The germ of man’s primeval birth;
A deathless kinship—a relation,
A brotherhood that knows no bounds,
Pervading earth in every station Where e’er the human form is found.
And there, without regard to nation, Without respect to birth or hue,
Man stands sublime in his creation,
Begirt with freedom as his due.
The ox and yoke have some relation,
As do the horse and curbing rein.
But in the day of man’s formation He was not fashioned for the chain.
And nowhere, save through base perversion Of the grand “wherefore” he was made,
Has dark presumption’s foul coercion E’er dared his freedom to invade.
That freedom which to him was given Ere Eden’s first-born rose had died,
Or sin the human heart had riven,
Or man his Maker had defied.
Given, and with it came dominion O’er all the fish that throng the sea,
O’er all the birds of downy pinion,
O’er all the prowling beasts of prey;
And o’er the cattle wildly roving,
And over every creeping thing;
And o’er the earth with God’s approving Smile, man was crowned Creation’s king.
And yet, in all this vast arrangement,
In all the amplitude of plan,
No grant is found for the estrangement Whereby man lords it over man.
“I am the Lord!” said the Eternal.
“Worship thou no God but me!
Nor in thy memory hold supernal Aught of all thy destiny.”
And wheresoever an invasion
’Gainst this injunction has been planned*
Heaven has made it the occasion
For rendering bare his chastening hand.
And oh! how dire the retributions Which have followed evermore,
Intestine wars and revolutions
Have drenched the earth with human gore.
Egypt, and Greece, and Rome, and Carthage, This heaven injunction set at naught,
And where are they ? The merest vestige Remains of all they proudly wrought.
Those rock-bound cities whose proud basis Seemed all impervious to decay,
Time’s mighty besum, that erases The pride of man, has swept away.
Nor has our birth-land been excepted,
Her hundred fields all bathed in blood, Bear the impress of truth rejected,
And scourgings of an angry God.
The chastenings of a God whose justice And fearful judgments move apace,
And faithful ever in their office To vindicate an injured race.
Beware! if God has built this nation,
All its constituents are good And needful to its preservation,
Whether they be stone or wood.
We may not comprehend the structure In full minutia and design,
‘Nor trace its varied architecture ' • •In*arris, groove, and curve, and line.
Be faithful and the great Grand Master Will on his trestle-board make plain
All that’s obtuse, but no whit faster Than ’twere needful to explain.
But, we'll not pain the ear by telling Of all the wrongs they have endured,
Of all the brutal, fiend-impelling
Outrage, to which they’ve been inured.
No, these shall form their own dark story,
The which, like spectres from the dust,
Shall haunt this nation, bruised and gory,
Till all her laws are pure and just.
Till there shall be no class restriction,
Her statutes free from every flaw,
Her native sons without distinction,
Stand equals all—before the law.
That those from whom the chains are falling May be inspired with a zeal
Commensurate with the lofty calling,
Which every patriot heart should feel.
The chain, thank God! the chain is broken,
Its severed links may do us harm;
But the Grand Fiat has been spoken,
And free forever is the arm.
Though free from chains, yet there are thousands Poor, homeless, clotheless and unfed,
And these, in praying us to aid them,
They plead the merits of their dead.
They plead their feeless toil and labor, Conducive to this nation’s worth,
Whereby she stands today a neighbor,
Courted by all the realms of earth.
And they plead the noble daring
Of their two hundred thousand brave
Warriors, who with manly bearing Went forth, a struggling land to save.
And hence, their deathless claim upon us, Claims such as we can ne’er forego;
Ay, claims that truth doth urge upon us,
The just assuagement of their woe.
Though poor they be, and very many,
Their care and keeping’s in our hands,
The rich man’s pound, the poor man’s penny, If not withheld when need demands.
But freely tendered and with kindness,
To these, the long and sore oppressed,
Know that our land with heaven’s benignness, In rich abundance shall be blest.
Though poor they be, yet their condition And of its wherefore, know we all,
We know the base of their petition,
The truth and justness of their call.
And if we fail in our high station,
And turn a deaf ear to their cry,
And death remove them through starvation, Know we that God, the God Most High,
Will charge to us the “deep damnation”
Of their death so premature;
And we shall perish as a nation,
As sure as truth and heaven are pure.
But since a far more righteous era Has dawned upon our erring land,
And one whose morning sun shines clearer Than when it shone upon the brand.
Therefore, in view of all the sorrows;
In view of all the grief and pain ;
In view of all the nameless horrors,
Foul emanations of the chain.
O let us toil with might unceasing Until the land which gave us birth,
Whose glorious sunlight is increasing, Becomes the flower of all the earth.
Until beneath her spreading pinions,
And outstretched folds of liberty,
Men of all nations and dominions Shall dwell in peace and unity.
To this great end, then, let us labor, Knowing the fruits of our employ,
Shall raise up many a prostrate, neighbor, And fill their grateful hearts with joy.
And then the “Union Aid Commission,” Whose worthy object is to bless
And change the hapless, sad condition Of all the sons of wretchedness,
Shall in its mission work a marvel,
In seeking out the passing poor,
Of roofless cabin, hut and hovel,
And blessings leave at every door.
O wondrous mission, high and holy!
Never is labor so sublime As when it seeks to lift the lowly,
Without regard to class or clime,
And thus forgeteth self for others,
And labors for a common good, Regarding all mankind as brothers,
And earth as one great neighborhood.
God bless that mission! may it prosper And spread its. wings o’er land and seas, Till like the gentle dews of vesper,
Its joys are felt in every breeze.
THE BLACK MAN’S WRONGS.
Breathe softly on my harp, O Muse!
In gentle strains now clothe its songs,
And thy inspiring* force infuse,
While singing of the black man’s wrongs
Wrongs that defy the painter’s skill,
Nor can the tongue e’er tell them o’er, They seem at first a tiny rill,
And then a sea without a shore.
But here the feelings of the soul Defy the language of the tongue.
Therefore if we in part unroll
The black man’s wrongs, our task is done.
First view him in the Torrid Zone,
Sporting amid luxurious groves
Where nature delveth all alone,
And man in search of pleasure roves.
While there his every meal was spread By genial nature’s bounteous hand,
Where he from childhood’s morn had fed, With all her gifts at his command.
At noon beneath the spreading palm,
Or prostrate in some shady bower,
His soul inhaled the fragrant balm,
By zephyrs brought from fruit and flower.
No raging sea of sorrow there
Had e’er their muddy billow swept,
Over his soul’s instilling fear,
Nor had the man of pleasure wept.
But alas! this home was entered,
Entered by Christians wise and bold;
Christians, whose great heart was centered On their nation’s god of gold.
By Christians he was borne away,
In fetters o’er the trackless main,
To where the gospel’s blaze of day Looks smilingly on blood and pain.
Then begins a tale of weeping,
Qf rapine and of woe,
Only known to him that's keeping The record of man’s acts below.
For since he crossed the rolling flood,
And landed on Virginia’s shore,
His path presents a scene of blood Unknown to history’s page of yore.
His dearest friends are crushed and torn Asunder, ne’er to meet again.
Fettered and branded, gazed and borne Where moral death and darkness reigned.
Their wailing cries afflict the ear,
Their groans and sighs so pain the heart,
Till often the unconscious tear
For these poor hapless, sad ones start.
Tis not in mortal man to paint
The damning scenes transacted there,
At thought of which the heart grows faint And clouds the brow with dark despair.
Were all the gags, bolts, bars and locks,
The thumbscrews, handcuffs and the chain,
The branding-iron and the stocks That have increased the Afric’s pain,
Piled up by skillful smith or mason With care in one great concave heap,
Those gory gyves would form a basin Unnumbered fathoms wide and deep.
Could all their blood and tears alone Flow in this basin, deep and wide,
The proudest ship the world hath known Could on that basin's bosom ride.
And then, could all their groans and sighs. Their anguished wailings of despair,
But freight that ship, just where she lies, 'Twould sink that mammoth vessel there.
Their blood and tears are treasured up
Where all their sighs and groans are stored, And will from retribution's cup Upon this guilty land be poured.
America, where is thy blush ?
Or, is thy very heart of stone?
Will not thy millions cease to crush The sable outraged few that groan?
Should they, because their skins are dark, Forever wear the galling chain?
Has hope for them no cheering spark That wrong will one day cease to reign ?
Thou great Goliath, stay thy frown!
Boast not thyself in thy great strength,
The brooklet's stone may bring thee down! Thy sword may clip thy head at length!
Gone forth, long since, is the decree That binds my shattered hopes in one, Though I shall sleep, yet time will be,
What God has spoken, He will have done.
“Judgment is mine! I will repay!”
Thus saith the builder of the sky,
Although his judgments still delay,
With every sun they're drawing nigh.
Though hand in hand the wicked join,
“They shall be punished,” saith the Lord.
Although like floods their strength combined, They cannot stay the scourging cord.
For wrongs and outrage shall surcease;
The millions shall not cry in vain,
For God the captive will release
And break the bondsman's galling chain.
From 'neath the lash thev shall extend Their bleeding, trembling hand to God,
And He will to their rescue send This retributive, chastening rod.
For if the blood of Abel slain
When crying, reached the Eternal's ear,
And was avenged on guilty Cain,
Has not this land great cause to fear?
And if the soul poured out in prayer, Together with the falling tear,
Be objects of kind Heaven’s care,
Then surely, retribution’s near.
And if the darkest hour of night Is just before the misty dawn,
Which flies away for morning light,
To gild and glad the fragrant dawn.
Then soon will freedom’s clarion burst,
In sweet clear strains of liberty,
For of all time this is the worst And darkest night of slavery.
Then, lo! the sages of your land Assembled in your highest court,
There leagued in sacrilegious band,
Send to the world the foul report,
Which funded with the horse and cow,
And merchandise of every name,
All men who wear the sable brow, Regardless of their rank or fame.
Because the negro’s skin is dark They say he’s made but for a slave;
They felt not this when he, a mark,
On Bunker Hill stood ’mid the brave;
Nor felt they thus when Attucks fell In seventeen seventy—fifth of March,
When proud Boston tolled a bell
That caused each freeman’s brow to arch.
Attucks, that brave and manly black, Whose heart’s blood was the first to flow
When England made her first attack On Boston’s freemen, years ago.
Then, then, was that proposal made
Which drew those black men in the field,
Who gladly joined the great crusade And learned to die, but not to yield.
They said, “To all who will bear arms,
And fight in freedom’s holy war,
Will liberty with open arms
Receive, and crown with freedom’s star.”
Then bondmen threw their chains aside,
Grasped a sword without a sheath,
And to the siege rushed on with pride To fight for liberty, or death.
And when old England’s ships of war Came dashing through the crested foam, Threatening to blot out every star
That gemmed and decked their father’s home.
Then, black and white men stood abreast,
A massive wall of living stone,
And on, with earthquake tread, they pressed And wrung this land from England’s throne.
They, at the siege of Lexington,
At Bunker Hill and Brandywine,
At Monmouth and at Bennington,
Marched in freedom’s battling line.
Nor. did they sheathe their reeking sword.
Nor lay their heavy armor down,
Till the last booming cannon roared
That swept the English from Yorktown.
Black warriors lay amid the host
That slumbers now near Bunker’s heights.
Who fell contending at their post For liberty and equal rights.
And on every hard-fought field,
Where freedom’s noble sons were slain,
There, stretched beside their battle shield,
Lay black and white men on the plain.
When pestilential famine’s breath
Swept through the camp at Valley Forge,
There black and white men slept in death,
And gentle Schuylkill sang their dirge.
In days of yore, when carnage stared This then great nation in the face,
Then blacks, as men they did regard,
And classed them with the human race.
But now they have no wars to fight,
No “Independence” to be won;
Sweet, smiling peace veils Bunker’s heights. And all their battling work is done.
Now from this nation’s hall of state Comes Roger Tanney’s vile desire,
Composed of all the pith and hate Of that dark land of slavery.
With him this guilty land unites
In trampling down the wronged and wrecked.
By claiming Negroes have no rights That bind the white man to respect.
And thus, the men whose father’s fought,
Of tyranny this land to rid,
They crushed to earth without a thought Of the'great deeds their father’s did.
Alas! are there no meeds of praise For freedom’s heroes who have died,
Who bore the burden in those days
When bravest men’s brave hearts were tried
Is gratitude forever dead
If not, would they thus destroy
The men whose father’s fought and bled For blessings that they now enjoy?
Look on the face of men like Ward,
Day, Douglas, Pennington, and then
Tell me whether these should herd With beasts of burden, or with men?
Why not in view of all the lights
That mirror forth the black man’s wrongs,
Extend to them those sacred rights That justly to a man belongs?
They say he’s veiled in sable hues,
And hence, with them of sinners chief,
They’re more fastidious than the Jews,
Who hung the Christ and spared the thief.
Consistency, spread, spread thy wings!
Fly! fly! thou hast no mission here!
Fly to the land of pagan kings
And unfurl thy bright credentials there.
Thou hast no mission in a land
Where man is crushed for being black;
As well go preach among the damned,
Or sing songs to a maniac!
But, oh, how long, great God! how long, Shall this sad state of things remain? How long shall right succumb to wrong? How long shall justice plead in vain?
How long! Oh, may we live to see That natal day of jubilee,
When every fetter shall be riven,
And every heart praise God in heaven.
THE DAWN OF FREEDOM.*
When summer’s hot and sultry rays Are burdening our summer days,
And men and beast are sore oppress’d,
And vainly sigh and pant for rest;
Rest from the turbid cares of life,
Their wild convulsions and its strife—
Then something whispers in our ear,
And tells us of a covert near;
A quiet, soft and cool retreat,
Where morn and evening dew drops meet; Where Nature in her gorgeous dress,
Stands forth in all her loveliness;
And where the gentle zephyrs play,
And sport with leaflets all the day:
^Delivered at River Park, Toledo, August 3, 8, at the grand festival in commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the British West India Isles.
Oh! who would not for such a scene Of artless beauty, native sheen,
Turn from the busy haunts of men,
And from the city’s noxious fen,
And hie to some sequestered nook,
Some peaceful dell beside the brook,
Or bask within the ample shade Of some proud monarch of the glade, Where every passing breath of air,
Comes fraught with odors rich and rare; Though housed beneath this sylvan bower, Where Sol's hot rays lose half their power, And where the green sward at our feet, Invites us to an humble seat?
Yet come we not from homes afar,
By coach and boat and flying car,
These native scenes to eulogize,
I-Iow much soe’er their wealth we prize— ’Tis not of thee my native land,
Nor of thy triple folds so bright,
Nor of thy legions proud and grand,
That slew oppression in the fight.
’Tis not of thee, though worthy thou,
Of many a song and plighted vow.
'Tis not of thee that we have ta’en,
Our harp to wake its humble strain;
But of a land and far away,
Bathed by the ever restless sea—
A land where freedom’s sons to-day,
Are met in gladsome jubilee.
With them we would commemorate An epoch in the march of years,
An epoch ever proud and great,
The chief of freedom’s pioneers.
A day that saw a million chains
Fall from a million shackled limbs,
And heard a million glad refrains,
Of mingled shouts and prayers and hymns.
A day that saw a million men
Stand up in God's pure sunlight free,
Who never in all their lives till then,
Had breathed one breath of liberty.
The driver’s horn, at early morn,
Had bid them to their task repair,
Where oft the lash, and many a gash Was waiting their arrival there.
And thus they had from youth to age,
And from the cradle to the tomb,
Been driven forth from stage to stage,
Through moral night and mental gloom.
The day that saw their fetters riven—
The day that saw their gloom depart,
And heard their prayers and thank shouts given, To freedom’s God fresh from the heart. They’ve met to-day to celebrate,
And while they sing our songs shall rise,
And bowing, we shall venerate A common parent in the skies.
Hail! hail! glad day, thy blest return,
We greet with prayer and speech and song, And while from eulogies full urn,
We drink to thee, march proudly on:
March proudly on as heretofore,
Thou Black man's borrowed day of joy,
For long our native land was poor,
Too poor to yield such grand employ; Columbia had her many days
Of frolic, sport and joy, and glee But none of universal praise—
No soul-inspiring jubilee—
No day on which from palace dome,
And from the lowly thatched-roof tent,
Would mutual heartfelt greetings come, Memorial of some grand event.
She had her Independence day,
But what was July's Fourth to him Whose class and kind and kindred lay,
All fetter-bound in mind and limb;
And what the pilgrim’s yearly feast,
And what the birth of Washington,
To him whose grievous bonds increased With each new day’s unfolding sun?
He had no day—there was not one Of all the days that formed the year, Which did not point to wrongs begun,
And oft beguile him of a tear.
And thus ten score of years passed by,
And yet no star of hope arose—
No rainbow arched his gloomy sky,
Nor respite offered to his woes.
Hence, when at length the British Isles, Burst forth in shouts of liberty,
He set at naught a thousand miles,
And joined them in their jubilee.
Glad but to know on God’s green earth,
One spot was consecrate and free,
Where Truth and right had given birth, Unto a*black man’s jubilee!
Though subjects of another land,
And dwellers ’mid a tropic sea,
Yet they, like him, had worn the brand, And now were what he longed to be.
And in that act he faintly scan’d The outstretched arms of Deity; Extending t’ward his native land,
The golden wand of Liberty,
And dimly saw four million chains,
In broken wild disorder lay.
And Slavery’s blight with all its stains, Banished his native land for aye—
Hence, when upon the wheels of time,
The glorious First would roll its round,
His gladsome notes with theirs would chime, And cause the-valleys to resound—
In honor of that day and deed When Briton’s swarthy sons were freed— That day when Justice wrenched from Might The keys of power so long detained,
And clothed on man his every right,
Which foul oppression had restrained.
That day, when, after twenty years’ Persistence, pleading and appeal,
Midst all the scorn and taunt and jeers That selfish bigots dare reveal—
When those who pleaded had grown gray, And many, alas! had passed away—
Passed away, and left undone The work their noble hearts begun.
But Wilberforce—long live his name!
With trembling voice, still pressed his claim In Parliament, in Court, or Hall;
His theme was, LIBERTY FOR ALL!
He claimed that Briton had no right To suffer man, nor black nor white,
To wear perforce a slavish chain Within her realm, by land or main That such too long had been the case.
And even then, to her disgrace,
A group of Isles, far out from land,
And sheltering ’neath her own command/ Were pouring forth a piteous wail On every breeze and passing gale.
His voice at length Britannia heard,
And lo! her mighty heart was stirred—
Stirred for the tale so often told,
And unto thousands had grown old,
Fell for the first time on her ear,
And from her heart compelled a tear— Compelled a tear for the man enchained— Compelled a tear for the sin which stained The proud escutcheon of her land,
And stamped it with a slaver’s brand.
Then swiftly went an edict forth,
Of grave importance, matchless worth;
Close followed by that proud decree Which swept the land and swept the sea, Where’er the British flag unfurled Throughout the regions of the world,
And there established in the name Of Briton’s throne, of Britain’s fame,
Upon the purest, broadest plan,
ETERNAL LIBERTY FOR MAN!
Then Freedom’s joyous angel flew
With lightning speed o’er land and wave, And loud her clarion trumpet blew,
And woke to life each panting slave.
Woke them to life? They did not sleep,
But there in anxious silence stood,
Waiting the welcome sound to sweep Athwart Atlantic’s briny flood.
And when the sound fell on their ear,
They laughed, they wept, they knelt in prayer And rising from their bended knees,
They sang in joyous ecstacies,
Till hill and vale and distant plain Gave back the gladsome sound again.
Oh! for a Raphael’s hand to draw
The matchless grandeur of that sight, That earth might see as angels saw From off the parapets of light;
For shining ones of heavenly birth Bent o’er the jasper walls on high,
And caught the jubilant songs of earth And bore them upward to the sky;
And Heaven gave audience to the strain Of those fair minstrels as they sang, Gathering up the glad refrain
With which the hills and valleys rang,
And sending them forever on,
And on, and on, eternally;
For Heaven itself can boast no song Of sweeter strain than Liberty.
The heart with exultation glows,
Discanting on the joyous theme Of broken chains and buried woes—
’Twere glorious, though ’twere but a dream. But since it is a truth sublime,
On history’s page inscribed as such,
And brightening with the march of time,
We cannot say in praise too much.
We cannot laud the truth too high,
Nor praise too much the noble deed;
Nor can we brand too deep the lie Where innocence is caused to bleed Nor can we say too much in praise Of Britain’s bloodless victory;
Nor of the glow and halo blaze Which circling India's Jubilee,
When Freedom waved her wand and spoke, And lo! a million chains were broke.
No weary interregnum lay
Twixt Slavery’s night and Freedom’s day;
But when their fetters fell to earth,
’Twas followed by a very birth.
And in the change which there began,
Stood up a Briton and a man—
A Briton, in fact, in every sense,
His new creation to commence.
Though great as was this noble deed, Whereby a million souls were freed,
And a million Britons made
Of men whom crime had long betrayed.
Yet ’twas no action based upon Some worthy deed these may have done— Some service rendered in a time Of revolution, blood and crime.
No, these had no such claims to press— Their only plea was their distress;
They ne’er had fought ’gainst Scot or Dane, That British freedom might obtain;
Nor had they in dread peril’s hour,
When bravest hearts were wont to cower, Been called to take a patriot's stand And quell the treason of the land.
Yet, when their liberties were given ’Twas like the genial rays of heaven—
So pure, so just—no rights denied;
’Twas Freedom, broad, unqualified.
Yes, Freedom in its broadest sense,
Of unrestrained significance;
No force work that—no soulless cheat;
But thorough, once done and complete!
In this, Britannia’s proudest act,
The world beheld a noble fact;
They saw what truth had long required— Humanity had long desired—
They saw it, and they understood,
For Britain did it as she should;
She broke the yoke, banished the chain,
And left no link thereof remain!
No, not in all her broad spread land Left she a relic of the brand!
But let us here a question press:
Could she, in justice, have done less Could she a single right suppress And not have made a mockery Of all her towers of Liberty?
Would not the whole, from base to dome, Become the meanest cheat, a sham, a gnome Whereon the finger of disdain Might trace the link-marks of the chain? Though men may prate of Blacks and Whites, There is no such thing as halving rights!
All partial justice is unjust,
And merits man's profound distrust!
In truth there is no safety short Of freedom's unrestrained resort;
All less than this is tyranny—
All more than that is bigotry.
The principle that dare withold The least known rights, on growing bold Would grind the subject to a brute And e'en the claim to life dispute,
Despite all vain prerogatives!
Despite the fame which power gives — Despite the verdict of the throng.
What e’er curtails a right is wrong And quite as wrong in temperate zone As 'twere beneath a tropic sky;
'Neath a Republic or a Throne
'Twere but the same, a heartless lie! 'Gainst which in Truth all conquering might The brave should arm themselves and fight For manhood, self-hood and the right,
Valiant and fearless, though all alone, Knowing that if they battle on,
That in the future ever near To those who fight, and trust and fear,
Success will crown their work of love, And God, in smiling from above,
Will say, “Well done, faithful and true, A crown of stars and a robe's thy due!" Now cast your eyes o’er this fair land, Where hopes and fears alternate rise, Where long the demon of the brand Stalked boldly forth in native guise. Here, where in opulence he sat,
And waved his ebon rod of might,
And waved it where our rulers met,
And many trembled at the sight Their trembling fed his arrogance And flattered his ambitious dream,
Till puffed with vain intolerance,
He dared aspire to rule supreme,
And seized the dictatorial chair—
Blandished the weapons of his power, And by his own vain greatness swore To rule or ruin from that hour.
Then rose the legions of the North In all their majesty and might,
And ’gainst his minions and the South Went forth to battle and to fight;
And after much of wasted life,
Attended by a fearful cost,
The South, o’ercome, gave up the strife, And all her hopes as staked and lost. Had then this land her duty done,
In justice and without delay,
There would have been beneath the sun No land so free as this today.
Not only would the chain be broke,
But veil be rent and wall removed,
And all that would the taunt provoke In simple justice disapprove
All the base relics of the night,
Of barbarism’s foulsome reign;
We should have banished at the sight Of reason’s torch and freedom’s train, For there’s no spot where in its pride Yon tri-hued starry flag doth wave, That manhood’s claims should be denied, Or rights withheld the recent slave. The yester bondsman must be made Not only part, but wholly free:
There must not live a single shade To dim his manhood’s liberty;
When such obtains, throughout the land, Then shall this gladsome song be sung By myriad voices proud and grand,
The aged mingling with the young: “The long black night of bondage,
With all its fiendish train,
Of nameless wrongs and outrage,
At length has ceased to reign;
And Freedom has arisen,
And gone forth in her might,
Nor left a slavish prison
Her glorious name to blight;
And chains that were enthralling,
The friendless and the poor,
And yokes that were so galling,
Have changed to molten ore,
And o’er our mighty nation Now and forever free,
Floats proud in exultation,
Our Bird of Liberty.
Throw out your starry banners,
And let them float the gale,
Sweeping our broad Savannas,
With freedom in their trail—
Out, out! on every flag-staff,
Or low or towering grand,
Out and let the welkin laugh In honor of our land;
And you, ye lofty mountains,
And gorgeous vales profound, Where gush forth crystal fountains, Your gladsome notes resound;
And lake and flowing river,
And streamlets everywhere,
In ripling wavelets quiver The joys ye would declare;
And merry woodland songsters,
And beast and lowing kine,
And fish and ocean monster Your varied notes combine—
Then shall the sons of gladness,
Five millions, wronged, arise,
And with the shouts of gladness All nature vocalize,
Until the hosts of Heaven Shall catch the joyous strain, Floating aloft unriven,
From mountain, vale and main; And by that crystal river,
And on that glassy sea,
Where harpers stand forever,
For O, there is in earth or Fleaven No sweeter note or purer key To mortals known, or angels given, Than peerless, chainless Liberty !” Now in conclusion e’er we lay Our shattered harp in silence by,
To westward turn the mental eye, And once more greet the far away.
Though years have passed since freedom’s morn, First dawned on those glad Isles at sea,
Yet there to-day is upward borne,
The grateful peans of the free—
To God, who holds within his hands The destiny of men and lands;
The destiny of every sphere In heaven’s blue fields remote or near—
To Him, God of the earth and skies,
To-day their songs and prayers arise.
And thus we stretch our puny arm,
Across the broad, unfathomed deep,
With heart-congratulations warm,
For all the free-born joys they reap.
Long may their Island-home remain,
As now, beneath the fostering care Of Freedom’s wise and glorious reign,'
Where each his manly rights may share.
Long may the banner of the free,
Wave o’er them in its purity—
Pure as the zephyrs in their flight—
Chaste as the radiant stars of night.
The Poet laments the discord of his Harp, and its disuse, until answering Freedom's call he again essays its harmony. He portrays the conflict, and - gives thanks to God for the dawning day of Free¬ dom. He rejoices that Columbia is free; he eulogizes the moral heroes, and describes how America is “marching on" in the footsteps of the warlike “Hero John."
The cause of this fratricidal war is next given, and the challenge of Slavery to Liberty. He then invokes the spirits of our “sleeping sires" from their “beds of dust," and bids the nation listen to their warning voices. He concludes by prophecying that a glorious peace will be secured when Liberty is inscribed upon the banners of the Union.
Emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia and in the British West Indian Isles.
Harp of my soul, though thou hast hung Suspended from the willow bough Till much distorted, warped and sprung,
And discord reigns within thee now,
Yet glad I take thee thence again,
Responsive to the joyous call Which comes from isles far o’er the main,
And from this nation’s stately hall.
Thy shattered chords I strive to mend,
That they may no preventive be.
And all thy latent powers I’ll bend To chant one song to Liberty.
O, Liberty! inspiring theme,
Thou innate boon from God to man! Without thee joy were but a dream,
And life—a drear and wretched span.
But with thee, every breeze that’s given Seems wafted from some sunny isle;
They swell the heart with joyous leaven,
And paint the cheek with pleasure’s smile. Oh! heavenly boon, destined to be This erring nation’s honored guest,
When shall the blessings of the free Pervade the millions now oppressed?
Hark, hark! what sounds are those that sweep Thitherward o’er the vasty deep?
Louder by far than aught before—
Terrible as the thunder’s roar!
Lo! ’tis the clash of Freedom’s stars Rushing on to the field of Mars;
Rushing on with a force unknown—
Rushing on through the torrid zone;
Legion’s their name, and in their wake The heavens veil and the mountains quake, And streamlets, long before run dry,
Now flood the land with crimson dye,
While ’long their banks, o’er field and plain, Are thickly strewn the recent slain,
And from the breath which they exhale A rank miasma fills the vale.
Thank God! a glorious dawn betides Oppression’s long and rayless night,
And one that promise well provides With many a hoped for ray of light—- A light that bids far to extend,
E’en to the deepest, darkest vales,
And from visual orbits rend All vile accumulated scales.
For Liberty, though long enthralled,
Is rending now each servile band,
And will, ere long, become installed Proud monarch of this glorious land;
The tiny cloud, the promise star,
Are now above the horizon—
Behold them, through the ranks of war,
In graceful triumph marching on.
Unfurl your banners to the breeze—
Let Freedom’s tocsin sound amain!
Until the islands of the seas Reecho with the glad refrain:
Columbia’s free! Columbia’s free!
Her teeming streets, her vine-clad groves, Are sacred now to Liberty
And God, where every right approves.
Thank God, the Capital is free;
The slaver’s pen, the auction block,
And gory lash of cruelty
No more this nation’s pride shall mock;
No more within those ten miles square Shall men be bought and women sold,
Or infants sable-hued and fair,
Exchanged again for paltry gold.
Today the Capital is free!
And free those halls where Adams stood And plead for man’s humanity,
And for a common brotherhood;
Where Sumner stood, whose world wide fame And eloquent philosophy Has clustered round his deathless name, Bright laurels for eternity;
Where Wilson, Lovejoy, Wade and Hale,
And other lights of equal power,
Have stood, like warriors clad in mail,
Before the giant of this hour,
Co-workers in a common cause,
Laboring for their country’s weal By just enactments, righteous laws,
And burning, eloquent appeal;
To whom we owe, and gladly bring,
The grateful tributes of our hearts.
And while we live to muse and sing,
These in our songs shall claim their parts. For now Columbia’s air doth seem Much purer than in days agone,
And now her mighty heart, I deem,
Has lighter grown by marching on!
Marching on! through blood and strife, Marching on! through wasted life, Marching on! to the glorious day When the last foul brand is swept away. Marching on! o’er the graveless dead, Marching on! through streamlets red— Red with the vain hearts ebbing tide Of rebels slain in their vaunted pride.
Marching on! with a foot as firm As that which careless treads the worm, With sword unsheathed and power to wield, And a dauntless heart that will not yield. Thus Liberty goes marching on,
Step for step, with the “hero John!”
In whom oppression basely slew The bravest son e’er freedom knew.
He fell—but Freedom set her price, Counting his silver threads o’er thrice; She pledged to each and ev^ry one A heartless tyrant sire or son,
But while her lenient wrath delayed,
Still fiercer grew oppression’s raid,
And when denied the Chair of State,
He boldly donned the guise of hate.
And forthwith armed his minions all,
With rifle, cannon, bomb and ball,
And in the frenzy of his ire,
On Sumpter rained a storm of fire.
Thus slavery threw the gauntlet down,
And stripped it bare of every guise,
Then rent a star from Freedom’s crown And closed the door of compromise.
Though Liberty indignant grew,
Yet, with an all-forbearing hand,
She strove to tame the ranting shrew,
And save the glory of her land.
But no! a tyrant’s cup of guilt Was now preparing to run o’er —
The sheathless sword, from point to hilt, Must revel in the purple gore.
From warnings oft they’d nothing learned,
In sin more sinful still had grown,
Till Heaven’s displeasure they have earned, And lo! their blood must now atone. Warned by all their sleeping sires,
Whose lives were pledged ’gainst tyranny, Who taught beside their homestead fires The dread results of slavery;
Who drew from reason living facts,
Based on the ever present past,
To prove that sure destruction tracks Oppression’s train, however vast,
And floating down the lapse of years,
Their voice of warning calls to us,
In tones expressive of their fears—
Fears for their country’s future—thus:
“We find within the Book of Fate This page of small uncertainty:
At any risk, however great,
Ere long the bondmen will be free:
For when the measure of their grief Will not contain another tear,
And bitter groanings call rejief,
Then surely God will interfere.
“Beware, lest what ye deal to those,
At length upon yourselves recoil—
The arm of right will interpose,
And then the spoiled will reap the spoil. For wrong doth execute with wrong,
And surely will he execute,
Though retributions tarry long—
Yet fail they never in their fruit.
“When we the future contemplate,
And then reflect that God is just,
We tremble for our country's fate.”
Thus speak they from their beds of dust. Nor could they, even had the cloud Which veils the future from our view Been quite removed, and they allowed To range beyond, spoke aught more true.
What if the dead, the noble dead,
Keep watch above their former state; Would these no spirit-tears have shed O'er scenes enacted here of late?
Think you that shriek and dying groan Arising from the gory sward,
Could sweep athwart their spirit zone And stir no sympathetic chord ?
But wherefore this unmeaning strife, And wherefore all this waste of life?
The richest blood of northern veins Is pouring out like heaven’s rains;
And still their braves are rallying round The stripes and stars, at the bugle sound; But still we press the question, why Are all these brave ones called to die?
Why, is the bristling bayonet Upon the death charged rifle set?
Why does the deafening cannon’s roar, Reverberate from shore to shore?
And why (the question still is pressed), Why is the nation sore distressed?
Thine own undoing thou hast wrought, For all thy wrongs to Africa This cup has fallen to thy lot,
Whose dregs of bitterness shall last Till thou acknowledge God in man;
Till thou undo thine iron grasp,
And free thy brother and his clan.
Till thou restore again the pledge,
The garment, and the golden wedge;
Till Achan, and his latest kin,
Without the camp shall meet their sin.
Till then, this fratricidal war,
Which all so justly should abhor,
Will neither change its wasting mood, Nor with a shallow truce conclude.
No! no! there ne’er will come a peace,
Nor will this war of brothers cease,
While on Columbia’s fair domain,
A single bondsman clanks his chain.
For God, who works through fire and sword, And through the spirit of His word,
Has witnessed all their bitter grief,
And now has come to their relief.
To hasten freedom’s glorious time,
And save in treasure and in life,
Count Hunter’s policy no crime;
Arm each and all to end the strife.
Upon your rallying banner’s write,
The magic words of liberty—
And thousands, panting for the fight,
Will press to war and victory.
Then will the Northern loyal blacks,
Who anxious are to join the fray,
Soon buckle on their haversacks,
/ And shoulder arms, and hie away.
And then the war which bids to last Through years to come, will soon be past And rolling years shall but increase In permanence our glorious peace.
For the land shall bloom when the foe is slain, And peace, long exiled, shall return again; And the door of Janus again shall close,
And the crimson’s sword in its sheath repose And the galling chain, and yoke of the slave, Shall pollute no more the home of the brave. Till then let us pray—till then let us trust Ever in God, who is faithful and just.
THE DAY AND THE WAR.
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THE IMMORTAL
Captain JOHN BROWN,
THE HERO, SAINT AND MARTYR OF HARPER’S FERRY,
The following poem is most respectfully inscribed, by one who loved him in life, and in death would honor his memory.
The Poet laments the long- years of enslave¬ ment of his race, but rejoices that the Emancipa¬ tion Proclamation is the harbinger of the good time coming, and has at length given him
“A fitting day to celebrate.”
He shows how this wicked Rebellion, instituted to perpetuate Slavery, will cause “the final aboli¬ tion’' of the accursed institution.—The Colored
people are incited to prove themselves worthy of the position they must assume, by patriotism, for¬ titude and virtue.
The deceitful policy of the European Govern¬ ments is examined and criticised—their jealousy of the growing power of the American Union; their sympathy with the Rebels; the material aid and comfort they render unto the Confederacy, and their desire to effect the dismemberment of the Republic. England, remembering the loss of the Colonies, is covertly aiding the Rebellion, and, while professing neutrality, is supplying them with ships and munitions of war.
He next sings of the heroism of the colored troops—their deeds of valor at Milliken’s Bend— bravery of Miller’s men, of which company all save one were either slain or wounded—and of the heroic achievements of the Black Brigade.
He relates a vision of the War, and portrays in vivid colors the horrors of a battlefield after the fight. An angel appears, who announces the advent of Peace. The warrior returns from the carnage of battle; his sword is turned into a plow¬ share, his spear into a reaping-hook, and a “real Republic” is formed.
In conclusion, he eulogizes the God-approving act of President Lincoln in issuing the great Emancipation Proclamation, and predicts that when posterity is enumerating the benefactors of mankind, “great Lincoln’s name will lead the host.”
P. A. BELL.
THE DAY AND THE WAR.
Twelve score of years were long to wait A fitting day to celebrate:
’Twere long upon one’s natiye soil A feeless drudge in pain to toil.
But Time that fashions and destroys,
And breeds our sorrows, breeds our joys, Hence we at length have come with cheer, To greet the dawning of the year—
The bless’d return of that glad day, When, through Oppression’s gloom, a ray Of joy and hope and freedom burst, Dispelling that insatiate thirst Which anxious years of toil and strife Had mingled with the bondman’s life.
A fitting day for such a deed,
But far more fit when it shall lead
To the final abolition
Of the last slave’s sad condition:
Then when the New Year ushers in,
A grand rejoicing shall begin;
Then shall Freedom’s clarion tone Arouse no special class alone,
But all the land its blast shall hear,
And hail with joy the jubilant year;
And maid and matron, youth and age, Shall meet upon one common stage,
And Proclamation Day shall be A National Day of Jubilee.
No longer ’neath the weight of years—
No longer merged in hopeless fears—
Is now that good time, long delayed,
When right, not might, shall all pervade. Drive hence despair—no longer doubt,
Since friends within and foes without Their might and main conjointly blend To reach the same great, glorious end—
The sweeping from this favored land The last foul chain and slavish brand.
No longer need the bondman fear,
For lo! the good time’s almost here,
And doubtless some beneath our voice Shall live to hail it and rejoice;
For almost now the radiant sheen Of freedom’s glad hosts may be seen The ear can almost catch the sound,
The eye can almost see them bound,
As thirty million voices rise In grateful peans to the skies.
But of the present we would sing,
And of a land all bathed in blood—
A land where plumes the eagle’s wing, Whose flaming banner, stars bestud—
A land where Heaven, with bounteous hand, Rich gifts hath strewn for mortal weal, Till vale and plain and mountain grand Have each a treasure to reveal:
A land with every varying clime,
From torrid heat to frigid cold—
With natural scenery more sublime Than all the world beside unfold,
Where vine-clad France may find a peer, And Venice an Italian sky,
With streams whereon the gondolier His feather'd oar with ]oy may ply.
O, heaven-blest and favored land,
Why are thy fruitful fields laid waste?
Why with thy fratricidal hand
Hast thou thy beauty half defaced ?
Why do the gods disdain thy prayer?
And why in thy deep bitterness Comes forth no heaven-clothed arm to share A part, and help in the distress ?
Hast thou gone forth to reap at noon And gather where thou hadst not strewn Hast thou kept back the hireling’s fee And mocked him in his poverty ?
Hast thou, because thy God hath made Thy brother of a different shade,
Bound fast the iron on his limb,
And made a feeless drudge of him ?
Hast thou, to fill thy purse with gold,
The offsprings of his nature sold?
And in thy brutal lust, beguiled His daughter and his couch defiled ?
For all this wrong and sad abuse,
Hast thou no offering of excuse?
No plea to urge in thy defense 'Gainst helpless, outraged innocence?
Then fearful is thy doom indeed,
If guilty thou canst only plead.
Thy sin is dark, and from the law No dint of pity canst thou draw.
If thou are charged, 'twill hear thy suit;
If guilty, swift to execute,
Eye for an eye and tooth for tooth;
Yet, Oh forbid it, God of truth:
Let not thine arm in anger fall,
But hear a guilty nation’s call;
And stay the vial of wrath at hand,
Pour not its contents on the land;
Should they the last dregs in the cup Of bitterness be called to sup,
And all the contents of the vial Of thy just wrath be poured the while,
With all the tortures in reserve,
’Twould scarce be more than they deserve, For they have sinned ’gainst thee and man. But wilt thou not, by thy own plan,
Bring them past this sea of blood,
Ere they are buried ’neath its flood?
America! I thee conjure,
By all that’s holy, just and pure,
To cleanse thy hands from Slavery’s stain, And banish from thy soil the chain.
Thou canst not thrive, while with the sweat Of unpaid toil thy lands are wet,
Nor canst thou hope for peace or joy Till thou Oppression doth destroy.
Already in the tented field Are thy proud hosts that will not yield— Already are they sweeping forth,
Like mighty whirlwinds from the North, And from the East and West afar With earthquake tread they press to war, Until from where Atlantic raves,
And wildly beats his rock-bound shore,
To where the calm Pacific laves A land of fruits and shining oar,
The thundering voice of Mars is heard, And echoing vales repeat each word,
And mountains tremble to their base!
For lo! in arms a mighty race,
Of mighty genius, mighty strength,
Have ta’en the field as foes at length,—
A nation, whom but yesterday The bands of union joined in one,
Now clad in war’s dread panoply,
Their marshaling hosts to battle run.
But not as blind ambition’s slaves Rush wildly on those breathing waves: Nor as the dread sirocco’s breath,
All indiscriminate in death—
But they (as freemen should and must, When ruthless, ruffian hands assail Their rightful cause of sacred trust,
And ’gainst that cause would fain prevail), Have seized the rifle, sword and spear, And charged upon the foeman near.
And Europe’s clans all interest grew, When North and South their sabres drew, For they had long with jealous fear Marked this vast Republic here,
And watched its almost magic growth, Compared with their dull rounds of sloth; Flence, when the bomb on Sumter fell, They felt a half-unconscious swell Of exultation flame the heart,
And inly hoped that bomb might part The web and woof which bound in one Their greatest rival ’neath the sun.
For where’s the monarch that could rest Secure beneath his royal crest,
And see a land like this of ours— Radiant with eternal flowers,
With hills and vales of solid gold,
That centuries yet will scarce unfold,
And holding out a welcome hand To all the subjects of his land,
And they responding to the call Like the sear’d foliage of the fall—
And feel no inward joy or pride In aught that promised to divide,
And e’en to tatter’d fragments rend,
The land where all those virtues blend? For scarce a wave that sweeps the sea, However small or great it be,
Nor scarce a sail that drinks the spray, But bears some despot’s slave away.
Hence to the North their word of mouth, While heart and soul’s been with the South Been with the South from first to last,
And will be till the war is past,
Despite non-intervention’s cry,—
Which, by-the-way, a blacker lie Ne’er came from Pandemonium’s cell Nor from the foulest niche in hell,
Than ’twere for Europe to affirm That she has wholly neutral kept,
The while this dark and fearful storm Of civil war has o’er us swept;
Not intervene, and still erect Rebel warships by the score,
And give them succor, and protect Upon her coast as many more?
Not intervene! Whence the supply Of war munitions by the ton,
That sweep our blocking squadrons by, And into Southern harbors run?
Not intervene, and ’neath her dock Shelter a well-known privateer—
And to prevent her capture, mock
With self-raised queries till she’s clear?
Not intervene! and yet propose To recognize the South when she Discards the source of half her woes,
And sets her long bound captives free ?
If this non-intervention is,
Then O may Jeff deliver us:
For better had we bow as his,
Than fall where nations reason thus.
All this was done, but wonder not The half-healed wound is ne’er forgot;
It may assume perfection’s state And e’en the heart with joy elate;
While crouched beneath a gauze-like crest,
Its germ and root and fibres rest;
Where slightest scratch or bruise or sprain May wake them into life again.
Thus Britain wounded years before, Remembers still the painful sore,
And were the time more opportune, Columbia’s sun she’d veil at noon.
She’s envious of her growing wealth,
Her fruitful fields, her joy, her health,
Her mighty rivers grand and free,
Creation’s highways to the sea:
And fain would sway her sceptred hand,
And bring them all ’neath her command;
For kindred spirits there are none,
Twixt a Republic and a throne.
Then wonder not that Europe’s choice,
Her strength of purse, her strength of voice, Have favored every foul excess
Through which this nation might grow less. And that this wasting war proceed,
And to the utter ruin lead
Of this Republic, they have prayed,
And praying lent the South their aid;
And hence the war is raging still,
And the nation's good or ill Hangs on the issue of the fight—
The triumph of the wrong or right.
Many have been the grounds of strife Where man has sacrificed his life,
And many causeless wars have been Since Michael fought and conquered sin;
Yet many battles have been fought,
And many lands that blood have bought, Through wars that have been justified,
Where struggling thousands fought and died fought and died, and were proud that they On the shrine of truth had a life to lay;
Fought and died, nor trembling came They to the life-devouring flame,
But, like Winkleride of yore,
Their sheathless breasts they bravely bore.
For he who battles for the right,
When in the thickest of the fight Doth feel a God-approving glow,
Which bids defiance to the foe;
And though he falls beside his shield,
Fie sleeps a victor on the field.
And Freedom is that sacred cause,
Where he that doth his lancet poise,
Shall, living, reap the world's applause,
Or, dying, win unclouded joys.
But now the query to be solved Is, shall the Union be dissolved?
Shall this fair land our fathers gave Ungrudgingly their lives to save From kingly rule and tyranny,
Be rent in twain by Slavery?
And shall the line of Plymouth stock— Whose sires trod that hoary rock,
Which rendered sacred e'en the soil Whereon they after deign’d to toil—
Allow this refuge of black lies,
Quintessence of all villanies,
To rear thereon his demon throne,
Or claim one footprint as his own?
What though the dark and foulsome raid Of South Carolina should pervade The whole entire South, and they,
Like hungry wolves in quest of prey,
Rush down upon the Union fold,
Rivaling e’en the Gauls of old ?
Shall we, because of that dark raid,
See Freedom’s shrine in ruins laid,
And her long-spread banner furl’d,
To grow the butt of all the world:
And passive keep, the while this horde,
From mountain height and valley pour’d,
Ride rampant over field and plain,
Dread carnage strewing in their train,
Until they plant their standard where Old Bunker rears his head in air?
To gain this zenith of their pride,
Through human gore waste-deep they’d ride. Waist-deep! aye, more—they love the sin, And some would brave it to the chin,
Could they upon old Bunker’s mound Dole out their man flesh by the pound! Nor would they with their souls demur, E’en though the venal purchaser Should in his fiendish lust demand The fairest daughters of the land;
Nor would they scruple as to hue,
But eyes of jet and eyes of blue,
And fair-brow’d maids with flowing hair, Such as Anglo-Saxons wear,
Would grace as oft their auction-blocks As those less fair with fleecy locks.
But never ! never ! never, no!
No, never while the North winds blow, Shall vile oppression desecrate One foot of earth in that old State!
Not while the gallant Fifty-fourth,
In all the spirit of the North,
Stand pledged Secession to defy,
Or in the cause of Freedom die;
Not while a single hand remains To grasp the sword or touch the spring, Shall that foul dagon god of chains Thither his courts and altars bring.
To this audacious end they’ve bent Their ever-craven, vulturous eye,
Till now their fiendish, dark intent, Stands out before the noonday sky; And all equip’d for death and war,
With rifle, bomb and cimeter,
They boldly stand on Richmond’s height, And claim secession as a right.
But, whether right or wrong, still they Have sworn no longer to obey
Edict sent or mandate given,
From any court this side of Heaven,
Except that court in concert be With chains and endless slavery.
At length the war assumes a phase, Though long apparent, oft denied:
We speak it in the nation’s praise—
The land they never can divide. Therefore this fact should none surprise— If Slavery lives, the Union dies;
And if the Union’s e’er restored,
’Twill be when Freedom is secured;
And liberty, man’s rightful due,
Is not proscribed by grade nor hue.
Hence he that would avert the doom,
And rescue from sepulchral gloom His freedom, must, with sword in hand, March ’gainst the slavery of this land.
Then gird thy loins, for lo! thy course,
O brother, long oppress’d by force,
With stalwart arm and ebon brow,
\vas never half so plain as now:
Nor half so ominously bright
With Hope’s refulgent beams of light—
For with each deafening cannon’s roar,
Thy hated chains grow less secure:
And, like the fumes of war, shall they Dissolve ere long, and pass away. Meanwhile, from thraldom’s gloomy slough Millions shall come forth such as thou,
And Fame a laurel wreath shall twine For many a brow of Afric line.
But prate thou not of liberty,
While still in shackled slavery The most remote of all thy kin Bow down beneath its damning sin!
Nor make thy boast of English birth,
Nor French descent, nor Celtic worth;
This leave for English, French or Dane, Whose kindred wear no galling chain.
But thou, O man of Afric hue,
This vaunting spirit pray subdue,
And bide thy time to boast till he,
Thy last chained brother, shall be free.
Not only free from lash and yoke,
But free from all that should provoke The just, indignant wrath of those Who now his budding rights oppose;
Not only free to shoulder arms,
When foeman thick as locusts swarm, Securely wrapped in coats of mail,
Seem almost certain to prevail;
Not only free to pay a tax To each scrip-monger, who exacts His hard-earned dollar as a rule,
For purposes of State oi* school:
While they the children of his loins,
Through some base act which hate enjoins, Are not allowed within the door Where Wisdom sits to bless the poor!
Not only free to tell the truth Where Justice, mocked at, sits forsooth!
But free from all that should impair The rights of freemen anywhere!
Till then, thou shouldst not, must not boast, But rather at thy lowly post,
With zeal and fortitude combined, Discharge the duties there assigned. Should struggling Freedom call for thee, Come forth with proud alacrity;
Gird on dread war’s habiliments,
And nobly stand in her defense,
And thereby thou shalt win a place For thee and for thy injured race,
Above the vulgar taunt and jeer,
That grates so harshly on thy ear.
Though Tennyson, the poet king,
Has sung of Balaklava’s charge,
Until his thund’ring cannons ring
From England’s center to her marge, The pleasing duty still remains To sing a people from their chains—
To sing what none have yet assay’d,
The wonders of the Black Brigade.
The war had raged some twenty moons, Ere they in columns or platoons,
To win them censure or applause,
Were marshal’d in the Union cause— Prejudged of slavish cowardice,
While many a taunt and foul device Came weekly forth with Harper’s sheet,
To feed that base, infernal cheat.
But how they would themselves demean, Has since most gloriously been seen.
’Twas seen at Milliken’s dread bend,
Where e’en the Furies seemed to lend To dark Secession all their aid,
To crush the Union Black Brigade.
The war waxed hot, and bullets flew Like San Francisco’s summer sand,
But they were there to dare and do,
E’en to the last, to save the land.
And when the leaders of their corps
Grew wild with fear, and quit the field, The dark remembrance of their scars Before them rose, they could not yield: And, sounding o’er the battle din,
They heard their standard-bearer cry— '‘Rally! and prove that ye are men!
Rally! and let us do or die!
For war, nor death,- shall boast a shade To daunt the Union Black Brigade!”
And thus he played the hero’s part,
Till on the ramparts of the foe A score of bullets pierced his heart,
He sank within, the trench below.
His comrades saw, and fired with rage, Each sought his man, him to engage In single combat. Ah! ’twas then The Black Brigade proved they were men For ne’er did Swiss! or Russ! or knight!
Against such fearful odds array’ed, With more persistent valor fight,
Than did the Union Black Brigade!
As five to one, so stood their foes,
When that defiant shout arose,
And ’long their closing columns ran, Commanding each to choose his man!
And ere the sound had died away,
Full many a ranting rebel lay Gasping piteously for breath— Struggling with the pangs of death,
From bayonet thrust or shining blade, Plunged to the hilt by the Black Brigade.
And thus they fought, and won a name— None brighter on the scroll of Fame;
For out of one full corps of men,
But one remained unwounded, when The dreadful fray had fully past—
All killed or wounded but the last!
And though they fell, as has been seen, Each slept his lifeless foes between,
And marked the course and paved the way To ushering in a better day.
Let Balaklava’s cannons roar,
And Tennyson his hosts parade,
But ne’er was seen and never more
The equals of the Black Brigade!
Then nerve thy heart, gird on thy sword, For dark Oppression’s ruthless horde And thy tried friends are in the field—
Say which shall triumph, which shall yield. Shall they that heed not man nor God— Vile monsters of the gory rod —
Dark forgers of the rack and chain:
Shall they prevail—and Thraldom’s reign, With all his dark unnumber’d ills,
Become eternal as the hills?
No! by the blood of freemen slain,
On hot-contested field and main,
And by the mingled sweat and tears, Extorted through these many years From Afric’s patient -sons of toil—
Weak victims of a braggart’s spoil—
This bastard plant, the Upas tree,
Shall not supplant our liberty!
But in the right, our sword of power We’ll firmly grasp in this dread hour, And in the life-tide’s crimson flow Of those that wrong us, write our No! No! by all that’s great and good;
No! by a common brotherhood,
The wrong no longer shall prevail,
Its myriad horrors to entail!
Better in youth pass off life’s stage, Battling ’gainst a tyrant’s rage,
Than live to three-score years and ten, Disown’d of God, despised of men; Better that cities, hamlets, towns,
And every hut where life abounds,
In conflagration’s ruins lie,
Than men as things should live and die; Better the whetted knife be brought, And quick as lightning speeds a thought, Hurl life all wreaking from its throne, Than live their manhood to disown, Sooner than bear a hell of pain,
And wear a festering, galling chain,
To hoary age e’en from their birth,
And die the meanest thing on earth.
There is no deed they should not do, Could they thereby obtain the clue,
The motive power and the might To set their outraged people right! Then grasp the sword, discard the sheath, And strike for Liberty or Death!
But what is death? ’Tis, after all,
The merest transit from this ball To some bright state or gloomy sphere, Remote, perhaps—perhaps quite near.
And what is life? Hath it a charm,
While fetters gall the neck and arm,
And from no species of contempt,
However base, to be exempt?
Tis true a noble bard hath said
That to the regions of the dead
“What dreams may come, now give us pause.
But who can so thwart Nature’s laws
As to evade that dread unknown,
Through aid or effort of his own?
But is there aught to haunt a dream, That man should so unwelcome deem,
As to regard it worse than stripes—
Worse than slavery’s mildest types?
No, no! there’s nothing, rest assured,
In life or death to be endured—
There are no tortures to excel The fires of a Southern hell!
The lash, the yoke, the gag, the chain,
May each produce a world of pain;
But what are these, though all combined,
To gross sterility of mind?
To chain and scourge this mortal frame,
It were a sin and burning shame;
But who can estimate the doom Of those that quench and shroud in gloom The only lamp which God hath giverr,
To light the soul in earth or heaven ?
While this external will expand,
In proud defiance of the brand,
The mind, that germ of tender growth— That plant of far transcendent worth,
Will neither bud nor bloom nor bear,
Where thraldom’s breath infects the air.
Then onward roll, thou dreadful War,
If thou, and thou alone, canst bring The boon of Freedom from afar;
Roll darkly on, while we sing:
We would not have thee slack thy speed, Nor change the tenor of thy way,
Till each infernal law and creed That fosters wrong, is swept away!
If needs be, lay proud cities waste!
And slay thy thousands at a meal!
But in thy wake let Freedom haste,
With oil to soothe and balm to heal.
And here permit me to diverge From real to fancy’s flow’ry marge,
And sing of what I seem’d to see While there enshrined in reverie.
The past, and what is yet to be Reveal’d in blank futurity,
Swept like a phantom through my brain, Of which some shadows still remain:
And to those shadows let me call The eye and silent ear of all.
One evening,, wrapp’d in pensive mood, On fancy’s wing I soar d afar,
Till, seeing and unseen, I stood Amid the hidden springs of War:
And there upon a canvas vast I saw this cruel war sweep past—
Its former battles fought again,
With all the unfought in their train.
Upon the sea and on the shore
Each battle scene was marked with gore;
And bleaching there on sea and plain,
Lay mangled bodies of the slain.
Of some were nothing save their trunk,
Whose life the thirsty earth had drunk:
With legs and arms all torn away By some dread shell’s destructive play;
And massive trees ball-riven stood,
All draped with powder, drenched with blood, While clotted hair and flesh still clung Their sear’d and shattered boughs among.
And ’neath the deep and angry waves, Thousands had found their liquid graves:
And sleeping there ’mid shoals and rocks,
Were many braves with fleecy locks.
Of such were many of the slain,
On every battle-field and plain.
But wild to pierce futurity,
Its deep veiled ultimatum see,
And learn the final of this war—
The waning of our evil star—
I turned the tardy canvas from,
And sped me on, when lo! a bomb,
Deeper in tone than aught I’d heard—
So deep the very earth was stirr’d,
As though the gods, in wrath or sport,
Had touch’d some pillar of her court.
Of Peace it was the harbinger—
The long-prayed, welcome messenger.
But eager still, I onward sped,
Unknowing why, or whither led,
Till in my path an angel rose,
My further progress to oppose.
His form was tall and passing fair—
His raiment like the driven snow,
And trod he’ on the ambient air As mortals walk the earth below.
His voice, though soft, seemed to expand, And e’en in compass to increase,
Till every nook of our fair land Rang with the joyous song of Peace!
Peace! and the loud-mouth’d cannon’s roar In silence slept, to wake no more!
Peace! and the soldier quits the field,
And doffs his corslet, sword and shield,
And in the burden of his lay,
The din of battle died away:
And lilies bloom’d and olives spread In rich profusion o’er the dead.
The dark Rebellion had been crushed,
And every-wailing sound was hushed;
And there was not a slavish chain In all Columbia’s fair domain.
And then and there I saw unfold,
All fresh and bright from. Freedom’s mould, A real Republic—such a one As should have passed from sire to son;
A real Republic—free ! uncurs’d !
The sole intention of the first—
In which the bright Damascus blade Became the farmer’s plowing spade:
And with the spear he pois’d of yore His golden harvest did secure.
And far away as the eye could span,
In its vast sweep from strand to strand,
I saw no South, North, East nor West,
But one broad land, all free and blest;
And there was not a jarring sound In all the vastitude profound—
No wail, no sob, no sigh, no tear, - To dim the eye or mar the ear.
And violets bloomed the banks along,
And the lark poured forth his matin song, And the lowly cot and massive dome Had each the air of a joyous home;
And temples rear’d their spires on high, Pointing away to the clear blue sky;
And myriad souls had gathered there, Whose grateful hearts went up in prayer To the God of love, whose gracious hand Had clothed in peace their bleeding land.
With one allusion, we have done The task so joyously begun:
It is to speak, in measured lays,
Of him the Nation loves to praise.
When that inspired instrument,
The subject of this great event,
Forth from the Halls of Congress came, With even justice as its aim,
’Twas deem’d by some a fiendish rod, But otherwise adjudged of God,
Who, turning earthward from His throne, Beheld great Lincoln all alone,
With earth-bent brow, in pensive mood, Pondering o’er some unsubdued And knotty problem, half dissolved, And half in mystery yet involved.
The interest of a continent,
All broken lip by discontent—
His own dear land, land of his love,
The fairest ’neath the realms above— Weighed down his form and rack’d his brain. And filled his patriot heart with pain.
But when his mind conceived the thought To WRITE FOUR MILLION CAPTIVES FREE !
An angel to his conscience brought Approving smiles of Deity;
And ere he had with flesh conferr’d,
He gave the bright conception birth,
And distant nations saw and heard,
And bless’d his mission on the earth.
And we today reiterate,
With warmth of heart and depth of soul,
God bless Americ’s Magistrate!
Long may he live to guide, control;
Long may that arching brow and high—
That spiritual and piercing eye:
That tall, majestic, manly form—
Live, our rainbow ’midst the .storm;
And when the roar of battle's pass’d;
When vain Secession’s breath’d his last; When peace and order are restored,
And Freedom sits at every board;
And when the Nation shall convene In mass, as ne’er before was seen,
And render eulogistic meeds To worthy heroes’ noble deeds,
A lengthened train shall claim their boast,
But Lincoln’s name shall lead the host!
His name shall grow a household word, Where’er the human voice is heard;
And tribes and peoples yet unborn,
Shall hail and bless his natal morn.
ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
Thank God! from our old ensign Is erased one mark of shame,
Which leaves one less to rapine,
One less to blight our fame.
For two and sixty summers
Has our broad escutcheon waved,
Amid the ceaseless murmurs And wails of the enslaved;
But in the blest hereafter Shall our oft afflicted ears,
Be solaced with bright laughter,
With gladsome praise and cheers.
For freedom's altar’s basis More permanent shall be,
When rid the gaunt embraces Of fell barbarity.
% % * * * * *
If Congress hath the power
To expel from ten miles square The Goliah of the hour,
And charge the tainted air With the pure breath of freedom,
As to baffle all return,
Should she not e’en from Sodom The vaunted monster spurn?
Roaring like distant waters Which no power can repress,
Up from ten thousand quarters Comes the responsive yes!
Yes! yes; our nation’s banner
We should purge from all its stains,
Nor yield to might nor manner,
Till Right triumphant reigns.
THE PROGRESS OF LIBERTY.
Dedicated to Rt. Rev. Jabez Pitt Campbell, bishop of the A. M. E. church, as a slight tribute to his many noble qualities, his exalted piety, and his labors in be¬ half of his oppressed race.
The “Progress of Liberty” is delineated in the events of the past four years—the overthrow of the rebellion, the crushing of the spirit of anarchy, the total extinction of slavery, and the return of peace and joy to our beloved country.
The invincibility of Liberty is illustrated in the beautiful episode of the Swiss patriot, William Tell, wherein the goddess is personified by an eagle tower¬ ing amidst the clouds.
The poet claims the full enfranchisement of his race from political, as well as personal thraldom, and de¬ clares that the “Progress of Liberty” will not be com¬ plete until the ballot is given to the loyal freedmen.
The noble actions and self-sacrificing spirit of the immortal Lincoln is next sung, and in mournful strains the poet bewails his martyrdom. This concludes with a touching eulogy on our sainted martyr.
The reconstruction policy of President Johnson i6 reviewed, and, while objecting, the poet does not wholly condemn his motives, but warns the ruling powers that unless the spirit of rebellion is wholly ob¬ literated and every vestige swept away, it will only slumber to awake again with renewed ferocity.
THE PROGRESS OF LIBERTY.
Never, in all the march of time,
Dawned on this land a more sublime And grand event, than that for which Today the lowly and the rich From thrice ten thousand altars send Their orisons to God, their friend.
The severance of the bondsman’s chain;
The opening wide the prison door,
And ushering in this glorious reign Of liberty from shore to shore,
Has formed an epoch in the life
Of this great nation that shall stand And consecrate to sanguine strife The full redemption of the land.
Hail! hail! glad day! thy blest return We greet with speech and joyous lay.
High shall our altar-fires burn,
And proudly beat our hearts today.
And thou, thou ancient holiday!
We hail thee with a new delight,
Since hope’s bright beams and freedom’s ray Have dawned upon the bondsman’s night— Dawned on his night and interspersed A deathless yearning to be free;
A heaven-approved and burning thirst,
That naught can quench but liberty.
O, Liberty, what charm so great!
One radiant smile, one look of thine Can change the drooping bondsman’s fate, And light his brow with hope divine. His manhood, wrapped in rayless gloom, At thy approach throws off its pall,
And rising up, as from the tomb,
Stands forth defiant of the thrall.
No tyrant’s power can crush the soul Illumed by thine inspiring ray;
The fiendishness of base control
Flies thy approach as night from day.
Ride onward, in thy chariot ride,
Thou peerless queen; ride on, ride on— With Truth and Justice by thy side— From pole to pole, from sun to sun!
Nor linger in our bleeding South,
Nor domicile with race or clan;
But in thy glorious goings forth,
Be thy benignant object Man.
Of every clime, of every hue,
Of every tongue, of every race,
’Neath heaven’s broad, etheral blue;
Oh! let thy radiant smiles embrace:
Till neither slave nor one oppressed Remain throughout creation’s span,
By thee unpitied and unblest Of all the progeny of man.
We fain would have the world aspire To that proud height of free desire,
That flamed the heart of Switzer’s Tell (Whose archery skill none could excel), When once upon his Alpine brow,
He stood reclining on his bow,
And saw, careering in his might—
In all his majesty of flight—
A lordly eagle float and swing Upon his broad, untramelled wing.
He bent his bow, he poised his dart,
With full intent to pierce the heart;
But as the proud bird nearer drew,
His stalwart arm unsteady grew,
His arrow lingered in the groove—
The cord unwilling seemed to move,
For there he saw personified
That freedom which had been his pride;
And as the eagle onward sped,
O’er lofty hill and towering tree,
He dropped his bow, he bowed his head;
He could not shoot—’twas Liberty!
For men have ever been disposed
To crush their weaker fellows down;
Their selfish natures stand opposed To the heart’s free, aspiring bound.
For e’er since Time his march began Or mighty rivers seaward ran,
In greater or in less degree The world’s been cursed by slavery.
Nor has the system been confined To any nation, race or kind;
The Celt, the Saxon and the Dane,
Each, in their turn, have worn the chain;
Each have been slaves—each bought and sold; Their blood-price paid in paltry gold,
And from their kinships, loved and lorn,
To distant lands by strangers borne,
Where suffered they full many a wrong— And where in bondage served they long. Though long enthralled, yet there remains Not e’en a vestige of their chains;
And were it not for history’s lore,
The buried fact none could explore.
Freedom has swept their chains away Arid clothed them with a brighter day.
For in despite all efforts made,
There e’er has been a certain grade In the enslavement of a race,
At which reaction takes its place;
A point at which the crushed to earth, Impelled by irate manly worth,
Throw off the yoke, discard the brand,
And claim their peerage in the land!
They rise, and fate proclaims the hour;
They seize the reigns and march to power.
As in the past, so shall it be
Through all the unborn years afar;
Till earth is wholly purged and free,
Will man ’gainst man go forth to war. Wake, in your minds the sleeping world,.
From Eden’s banished pair till now, Behold war’s crimson flag unfurled On every plain and mountain brow.
The sword has been the pioneer—
The civilizer of mankind—
The John the Baptist sent to clear The way and fix the erring mind;
And the priest, ' with Bible spread,
Walks more securely where the tread Of the swordsman in his wrath Has left his foot-prints in the path.
Nor could the sciences unfold
Their wings that’s purer far than gold,
Had not the savage in the breast Of savage men been put to rest.
Thus, on her even-tenored way
Fair truth has ever kept her course,
Battling now with fell delay—
Now sweeping on with matchless force.
In mystic armor, bright and fair,
Her braves stand mailed ’gainst dread despair. Hence, they who battle for the right Are always stronger than the foe,
And only need the radiant light Of liberty their strength to know.
Although its light may be withdrawn,
And error’s blackening clouds increase,
Yet time will bring the glorious dawn Of Liberty and Truth and Peace.
Their strength, numerically viewed,
May seem but nothing in the scale;
Yet, if their hearts are each imbued With liberty, they cannot fail;
For they who fight for liberty,
They fight to conquest or to death,
And gain their proudest victory
When the cause receives their breath.
Though error’s numerous hosts array The march of freedom to impede,
’Twere vain : no forces can delay
A Heaven-commissioned mortal need.
The wrong cannot forever last—
The right is mightier than the chain,
And in the future, as in the past,
Liberty must and shall obtain.
The tyrant’s hand may firmly clasp And strive to hold within his grasp Those whom his baseness has betrayed—
His fiendish nature helped degrade—
Yet, in power and might and main,
Liberty must and shall obtain.
The bondsman’s gloomy night has passed;
The slavery of this land is dead;
Nor tyrant’s power, however vast,
Can wake it from its gory bed.
For in the order of events,
And after an ignoble reign,
It died. None mourned its going hence, Nor followed in its funeral train;
Ignoble birth, ignoble life,
Ignoble death, ignoble doom!
Conceived by fiends in deadly strife,
And cast into a nameless tomb.
Though slavery’s dead, yet there remains A work for those from whom the chains Today are falling one by one;
Nor should they deem their labor done, Nor shrink the task, however hard,
While it insures a great reward,
And bids them on its might depend For perfect freedom in the end.
Commend yourselves through self-respect;
Let self-respect become your guide: * Then will consistency reflect
Your rightful claims to manhood’s pride. But while you cringe and basely cower, % And while you ostracise your class, Heaven will ne’er assume the power To elevate you as a mass.
In this yourselves must take the lead;
You must yourselves first elevate;
Till then the world will ne'er concede Your claims to manhood’s high estate. Respect yourself ; this forms the base Of manhood’s claim to man’s regard.' Next to yourself, respect your race,
Whose care should be your constant ward; Remember that you are a class Distinct and separate in this land,
And all the wealth you may amass,
Or skill, or learning, won’t command That high respect you vainly seek,
Until you practice what you claim—
Until the acts and words you speak Shall, in the concrete, be the same.
Screen not behind a pallid brow;
Paint lends no virtue to the face;
Until the Black’s respected, thou With all the branches of his race,
Must bow beneath the cruel ban And often feel the wrinkled brow Bent on you be a fellow-man Not half so worthy, oft, as thou.
Away with caste, and let us fight As men, the battles of the free,
And Heaven will arm you with the might And power of man’s divinity.
There may be causes for distrust,
And many an act that seems unjust;
But who, when taking all in all,
And summing up our present state,
Would find no objects to extol,
No worthy deeds to emulate?
If such there be, deem him confessed Before the shrine of liberty As one that would the truth arrest And crush to earth humanity;
For who, unless their sympathies Are with the spoilers of the poor,
Could heedless pass realities
So fraught with freedom's genial lore? Although the car of freedom moves Less swift by far than we desire,
Yet stations gained and passed should prove The destined goal is drawing nigher.
What though upon some distant verge,
Or in some ray less cave or den,
The cruel, fiendish tyrant's scourge Doth still afflict the poor of men :
Has not the conquering arm of Right Become the power behind the throne?
Shall not the fell oppressor, Might,
For all his ruthless acts atone?
To solve this query, ask not Tyre,
Nor wander back to Greece or Rome;
But of the living now enquire,
And read those foot-prints 'round your home.
Read but the record that appears Upon the scroll of four short years,
And truth enough, I vow, you'll find To satisfy an honest mind.
Four years ago fell slavery's reign Within this land was absolute;
The brand, the fetter and the chain Were forged for man as for the brute.
And in those ten miles square of earth, Which ever sacred should have been To liberty and manly worth,
The statesman sold and bought his kin; For there the auction-block was seen, And hard by stood the whipping-post, Where oft, alas! from fiendish spleen, The poor have yielded up the ghost.
Four years have gone, and now that square Of two-score miles in circuit round,
Freights every passing breath of air With freedom’s grand and joyous sound.
The whipping-post, the slaver’s mart,
The scourge, the brand, the yoke, the chain, Have all been banished from the heart Of fair America’s domain.
Four years ago, and there was not A sable freeman in this land;
Though thousands gloried in their lot,
Yet were they all beneath the brand.
That foul rendition law, which gave To avarice unquestioned right To seize the:man deemed as a slave,
And drag him down to thraldom’s night, Exposed six hundred thousand souls To insult, outrage and abuse,
In view of all the perjured scrolls That fiends incarnate could adduce;
But that base law and baser hearts Of those who gave it prominence,
Have each on earth performed their parts,
And gone to their dread recompense.
Nor is this all that has been done In four short years beneath the sun: Liberia has been recognized—
Also the Haytian’s island home;
And lo*! a Negro undisguised
Has preached within the nation’s dome! And proud Columbia’s highest court Receives a counselor elect,
Which gives the lie to the report That fain would rob us of respect,
While Taney, with curses on his grave, Has gone to stand that Judge before, At whose dread bar the poorest slave Is judged a man, and he—no more.
Like Cana’s wine, the last and best,
And far transcending all the rest,
Is that grand act for which we meet Each New Year day to laud and greet— The issuance of that blest decree Through which the millions now are free. We laud the act and laud the worth Of the noble heart which gave it birth;
For which today we gladly raise Our hands and hearts in grateful praise To Him who spake, and lo! ’twas done; Whose work is finished—e’er begun;
And while innumerous songs shall rise In grand memorials to the skies,
The burden of all our songs shall be To Lincoln, God and Liberty!
Sing, oh! my harp, one song of cheer To that fond name we all revere;
Sing of his trust, sing of his love,
O, sing of his home in the realms above! High on the towering spire of fame,
In bold relief stands out a name Which time can ne’er efface or dim:
It is the peerless name of him Who dared his frowning land despite,
Do what his conscience deemed as right; Who dared proclaim, that all might hear, The dawn of freedom’s jubilant year.
And when the glorious news went forth,
It fell, like Heaven’s benignant dew,
Upon the bondsmen of the south,
And all that wore the sable hue—
Not only those of sable hue,
But every lover of the right Grasped his unsheathed sword anew,
And nerved his heart with tenfold might, Determined to wipe out the stain —
The vile excresence to remove—
And free from each obnoxious ban The home and country of his love.
Yon proclamation of the free Is now the living testament Of that great soul of liberty,
Whose heart conceived its continent, Whose mission was to rend the chain And let the long oppressed go free;
And having wholly filled his reign,
He laid aside mortality And donned the vesture of the spheres, And passed beyond our mortal ken,
To regions far remote from men—
Where all that’s great and good appear. Though gone from earth, he is not dead;
The great, the good, they never die;
But when these transient forms they shed, In fadeless youth they bloom on high.
Oh! could we pass beyond the doom And range through fields forever fair, Arrayed in Heaven's eternal bloom,
We'd find our benefactor there.
The Moses kind Heaven in mercy had lent To lead us away from our discontent,
For we, like Israel, were oppressed,
And long our bleeding hearts' unrest Has fallen on the dewy night While pleading with the Infinite.
The orbit-lamps which burn on high And flood with joy the azure sky—
The silver moon and clouds that sweep Athrough the far-off realms so deep,
Are all familiar with our woe,
And of our griefs how much they know:
For when from pleasure’s jovial round The careless world lay slumber-bound, We’ve knelt and looked up through our tears, And asked of Heaven, how many years Shall vile injustice basely reign?
How many years from 'neath the chain Shall Godlike man, a creature made But one step lower in the grade Of wisdom’s all-creative skill Than those bright heralds of His will Which stand His throne forever by,
Or on their spotless pinions fly;
Pour forth upon the midnight air The doleful wail of his despair;
And oft from out the lunar heaven Glad signs of promise have been given.
A Moses has been typified—
A prophet and a people’s guide;
And we by faith have looked away Beyond the night to the glorious day When in His strength the arm of God Should rend the chain and break the rod,
And lead the oppressed from ’neath the brand To manhood's joy in freedom's land.
Although intense the darkness grew,
As nearer still and nearer drew The rising dawn ordained to bring The day of promise on its wing,
And every hand against us turned,
And on us every passer spurned,
Yet, was our deathless trust the same In Him who gave the sun his flame,
And spake from dark chaotic gloom Bright worlds on worlds to live and bloom, And by some deep, unfathomed source Bound them forever to their course,
And on their broad and convexed face To all the breathing tribes gave place;
To these that ply their finny oar,
And live where ocean thunders roar;
To those that float upon the breeze
And build their homes ’mid rocks and trees;
To those that prowl in quest of prey,
When night has closed the eye of day,
And those that serve and blessings bring, With every beast and creeping thing,
And holds forever in His hands The destiny of men and lands—
The destiny of every sphere In heaven’s blue fields, remote or near, While every creature He has made Commands His care and special aid.
A God like this, we’d fain adore;
His friendship ours, our cause is sure.
As Israel, when they neared that sea Whose waves rolled back with majesty,
And stood congealed in all their pride,
A liquid wall on either side;
Assembled on the farther strand,
And holding up their leader’s hand,
They prayed, harped, danced and sung,
The aged mingling with the young,
While this refrain was heard afar,
‘'The Lord, the Lord’s a Man of war,
And like no other God is He;
God of the whirlwind and the sea!”
And while they danced did Miriam sing:
“The Lord’s my strength, the Lord’s my king!” Like them, we’ve halted on the shore,
To sing and tell our triumphs o’er.
The bondsman’s chains at length are riven,
The fettered limbs forever free;
Shout thou, O Earth, and thou, O Heaven, Proclaim the gladsome jubilee! #
Now, to that feature of our lay Involving interests of today— Involving interests of the state— Interests small and interests great; The interest of the rich and poor— Their interest now and evermore.
The rebels—crushed in their endeavor To rend in twain this glorious land—
Are still its foes, and will forever Upon the side of treason stand,
Till all the streets which lead to power Freedom shall firmly barricade;
They’ll wait in hope and pray the hour Auspicious to their fiendish raid.
The panther changeth not his nature,
Though chained, is still a treacherous beast, Seeking ever for his capture
And on his captor’s life to feast.
To this extent doth bloody treason Pervade the powerless rebel’s heart;
They still are traitors, and bide their season To hurl at truth their poisoned dart.
Look to those streets which lead to office:
’Tis long those by-paths they would come; . Place there a strong and trusty police;
Guard well the nation’s classic dome.
Raise no seceder to position,
Place no foul traitor in command,
And thereby hinder a sedition
Deep as the base-work of our land.
Oh, let it not in truth be spoken,
For four long years we’ve war’d in vain;
The gordian knot remains unbroken,
And we are yet beneath the chain,
And they, the plotters of secession,
Have still their rods above our head, Extorting from us a concession E’en in the face of all our dead.
Where is that fiend-like will which fostered The dark rebellion at the first?
Deem it not dead, or e’en exhausted—
It waits its time to slake its thirst,
And in an hour the least expected,
And from a source we little deem—
When liberty’s the least protected,
’Twill start again the crimson stream.
Unless the roots are all extracted,
The cancer will return again;
For partial surgery, when enacted,
Imperils life, engenders pain.
Unless the causes which incited This fearful war we now remove,
The torch again will be ignited—
And peace an airy bubble prove.
Of what avail is their parolment—
What vow so sacred could they make,
That, once released from war’s controlment, Their perjured natures would not break?
There are no oaths, nor vows can alter The life-long purpose of the heart;
Though firmly pledged, man will not falter When chance proclaims to play his part.
Go, ferret out those vile seceders—
Seek them anear, and seek them afar,
And bring to justice all their leaders—
Base plotters in this bloody war.
Be they bishops, priests, or laymen,
Bring them, nor through pity spare;
Confine them where the truth placed Haman— Confine them in the middle air.
There let them swing from early morning Till night shall wrap the earth in gloom,
A fit rebuke and needful warning To all who chance escape their doom;
That ne’er again while Sol illumines The regions of unbounded space,
May dark, mysterious, fearful omens O’erspread our land with such disgrace.
Oh, ye, who claim to scan the future,
And read for man—unborn events,
Pray tell us what shall be the nature Of the bondsmen’s future tense;
Shall they from whom the yoke has fallen,
From whom the fetter has been loosed, Aspire to no loftier calling,
But still live on to be abused?
And will this land of boasted freedom,
In whose defense our braves have died,
Now, when the cause no more doth need them, Remand them back without a guide,
And institute no laws to shield them From the brutal acts of those Who long in abject bondage held them,
Whose heart no love nor pity knows?
Those swarthy troops, who bore their rifles,
And bravely fought the nation’s foe, Regarding e’en their lives as trifles Compared with freedom’s overthrow,
Won them laurels, and should inherit The ballot as their rightful due;
Aye, should inherit, if deeds of merit E’er merit aught that’s good and true.
Tis not enough, to rend the fetter;
’Tis not enough, to part the chain— The soldier merits something better—
A full erasure of his stain,
That future years, in their enfolding, May of those wrongs no vestige find— No shadowy clue to base withholding Of human rights from human kind.
There is no civil right that can equal The ballot in a freeman’s hand;
It is the apex and the sequel
To all that’s noble, great and grand. The poorest of the land invested With the ballot, may stand erect,
And pass this life through unmolested, Commanding ever a respect.
Rescind all systems of oppression;
Raise all men to a common plain;
And there will not of vain secession Nor root, nor limb, nor branch remain. O! give Columbia’s swarthy subjects— The valiant-hearted and the true—
A noble base for future prospects;
Give them the ballot—as their due.
Their due for deeds of manly bearing, Whene’er the chances were revealed, And for their brave, chivalric daring On many a hot-contested field.
Give it for victories won the nation,
And often, too, ’gainst fearful odds, Such as, at times, to keep their station Appeared a mystery to the gods.
Now, in four memories backward wander, And near Fort Hudson take your stand; Where you may in safety ponder Upon the fearful and the grand.
Hark! hark! that deafening sound pervading The hills anear and hills afar;
Lo! ’tis the charge and cannonading Of the veteran hosts of war.
Look you kindly on that battle—
The former slaves are in that fight!
They who have herded long with cattle Are warring for the freeman’s right.
From off the earthworks of the foemen,
See how the grape and bullets fly—
Mowing down my hardy yeomen As doth the scythe the autumn rye;
But onward ! onward ! nothing daunted,
Sword unsheathed or hand on spring,
To where those murderous guns are planted, Whose mighty force those missiles fling.
Now, see them, as the foe advances,
With sabres drawn, on hurried feet;
They halt, and now they poise their lances, And now the fierce combatants meet.
The former slave and former master—
See how furiously they rave;
Which shall outlive the disaster,
The master or his former slave?
List to their swords and sabres clashing,
As slave confronts his tyrant lord;
See! see them, at each other dashing—
Now, see them writhing on the sward!
See the struggling; hear the screaming;
Hear the curse and hear the prayer;
See the crimson life-tide streaming
From their sword-points through the air.
Now the blacks are beaten backward— Backward beaten by the foe;
And now again they rally onward;
On to the breastwork, on they go!
The walls are gained, their braves have scaled, them;
Behold the stars and stripes on high!
The former .masters’ hearts have failed them;
See! see! before their slaves they fly.
See on the field the dead, the wounded—
Fallen, fallen to rise no more;
Beside them, see their sabres grounded,
All reeking still with human gore.
And shall the heroes of such battles,
Who fought for liberty for all,
Again be classed with goods and chattels—
With beasts of burden in the stall?
Shall patriots have their rights contested,
And thereby forced to wear a brand,
While heartless rebels are invested With all the honors of the land ?
Ye men who prize Columbia’s honor;
Ye who should guide her in the right:
Oh, suffer not this base dishonor;
Let naught so foul her glory blight.
Remove your doubts, dispel your fears, And in the right move bravely on;
For ere one round decade of years Have passed, full liberty shall dawn. Your every right shall be obtained,
And you respected here shall be;
Here in this land, where long enchained, You’ve worn the badge of slavery; While here we sing of liberty Upon this far-off western strand,
The soul-inspiring symphony Is welling up o’er all the land.
For lo! Arkansas doth rejoice,
And Texas sings with cheerful voice,
And Mississippi’s heart doth swell,
And hail with joy the rising knell Now sounding on her gulf-bound coast— The dirge of a departed ghost.
And Louisiana’s fields of cane Doth wave in triumph the refrain;
And Alabama’s lofty pines,
And Florida’s sweet-scented vines Today doth joyously exhale Rich odors on each passing gale.
And Georgia, freed from every vice,
Now offers up her fields of rice—
And South Carolina—first to err— Repentant of the days that were,
Now waves her chainless hands on high, In praise of freedom’s victory.
And North Carolina’s Dismal Swamp, Arrayed in rich and gorgeous pomp, Doth hail with pride the loud acclaim, And sweetly sing in freedom’s name. And Old Virginia, proud and grand,
With her fair sister, Maryland,
Doth chant the chorus, swell the song,
The which today shall roll along In paeans deep, and loud, and strong,
O’er every hill and vale and plain Throughout the land, from Gulf to Maine, And in one grand halo of sound,
Sweep fair Columbia’s distant bound,
And on the radiant wings of light Soar upwards to the Infinite,
And pour upon the Eternal’s ear One song and shout of grateful cheer.
And now, my muse, thy song resume,
’Twixt hope and doubt, ’twixt joy and fear, ’Twixt morning gray and twilight gloom, Along a path nor dark, nor clear—
Sing now of him in high estate,
On whom is bent the nation’s eye—
Where all her glories culminate To form a radiance for her sky.
The now incumbent of that chair
Where he, our good friend, sat before— Has spoke full oft and loud and clear,
Within the audience of the poor.
And poorer none than those that wait And feeless serve his native state—
A shoeless, coatless, hatless throng,
Who ne’er have deemed the journey long,
If ’twere to catch his words and smiles, Between them lay a score of miles;
With hasty feet they’d wend their way—
No child in heart more blessed than they With but one word, or e’en a look From him who had his friends forsook,
And stood apledged before high Heaven,
That he would see their fetters riven:
That he would be their fathful guide,
And lead them past the crimson tide,
Athrough the wilderness that lay Between their night and that bright day Which shines forever on the rest Of all the worthy, free and blest;
That he their Moses would become And bring them to the freeman’s home— That he their cause would ne’er forsake,
Nor his pledge nor promise break,
Till every bondsman in the land Should on the plains of freedom stand— Pledged to the sacred cause of truth;
Pledged in the early days of youth;
Pledged by the summer, the winter and spring, And pledged by all that truth may bring.
And now, that he sits in high estate And holds the interests of the great;
The interest of the passing poor —
Their interest now and evermore Within the hollow of his hand,
Oh! will he, will he firmly stand?
Or, in the mantlings of the just Will he betray his sacred trust?
Forbid it, Pleaven! O, Heaven, forbid!
And moisten not the trusting lid With scalding teardrops from the heart,. Which needs must flow should he depart Now, from the sacred cause of truth,
And from the pledges of his youth.
To these, oh, may he ever stand!
Firm as the mountains of his land!
And from his high, majestic place,
Look favoring on an injured race,
And use his Heaven-entrusted might,
To raise them from oppression’s night,
And in this all-auspicious hour,
Invest them with a freeman’s power:
Whereby they may themselves protect Against the wiles of base neglect,
And cause this glorious land to be,
In fact, the home-land of the free.
Then shall mankind call him blest,
And when he sinks to his quiet rest,
From that bright, hoary autumn, he will look back and see
This broad land—all happy and free.
MODERN MOSES, OR “MY POLICY” MAN.
There is a tide in men's affairs,
Leading to fame not wholly theirs—
Leading to high positions, won Through noble deeds by others done.
And crowns there are, and not a few,
And royal robes and sceptres, too,
That have, in every age and land,
Been at the option and command Of men as much unfit to rule,
As apes and monkeys are for school.
For seldom an assassin’s blow Has laid a benefactor low Of any nation, age or clime,
In all the lengthened march of time,
That has not raised to power and might, Some braggart knave or brainless wight, Whose acts unseemly and unwise,
Have caused the people to despise And curse the hours of his reign,
And brand him with the marks of Cain. And yet to crown the mystery,
All these have had a Policy.
Though Cain was treaclTrous and unjust,
And smote a brother to the dust—
’Tis not of him we wish to speak,
Nor of the wife he went to seek;
Nor of the blood his Nimrod spilt,
Or famous city which he built.
But choose we rather to discant,
On one whose swaggish boast and rant, And vulgar jest, and pot-house slang,
Has grown the pest of every gang Of debauchees wherever found,
From Baffin’s Bay to Puget Sound.
And yet he occupies a sphere And fills a more exalted chair,
(With arrogant unworthiness,
To his disgrace, I must confess),
Than any officer of State,
Or king, or princely magistrate Of royal blood or noble birth,
Throughout the kingdoms of the earth.
But how he chance attain’d that hight, Amid the splendor and the light,
The effulgent glory and the ray Of this the nineteenth century,
May, to the superficial mind,
Seem much complexed and undefined; But when the dark and shameless truth,
Is properly ascribed to Booth,
The strangeness vanishes in haste,
And we through murder stand disgraced. Disgraced! Perhaps some other word, Or milder term should be preferred; And if preferred, that term might be Exposed to My Policy.
But there’s a legend much in vogue,
The act of some knave, wit or rogue,
A sort of fabled heresy,
Clothed in the garb of prophecy;
In which ’tis said that “in the day,
When kith and kindred shall array,
Their hostile armies and engage In deadly contest, youth and age,
Lo! from the people shall arise,
One of the people in disguise;
A man loquacious in his way,
And greatly given to display;
A self-wrought garment he shall wear, And beverage be his constant fare; Akin his normal state shall be,
To a ship unballas’d and at sea.
And he shall favor all that's mean,
Or low, or vicious and obscene;
And pay to neither age nor youth,
A due regard, nor e’en to truth—
And he shall by his subtle vows, Induce the people to arouse,
And bear him in their confidence, Toward a lofty eminence.
Just here occurs a short hiatus,
And then concludes the legend thus— And he shall owe to tragedy,
His zenith of felicity;
And unto gross apostacy,
The basis of My Policy.”
But this is so obtuse, of course;
No one can really see its force;
And if they could, what is there in it To claim attention for a minute—
Or, by which to point the hand,
To him the Chief of all the land?
In reason’s name, in what relation Could it refer to his high station, Unless some bloody-handed fray,
Had to his office paved the way?
For you and I are well aware,
Just how he chanced obtain that chair;
P"or any rustic lad of skill,
Who knows the way to the nearest mill, Would not regard the thing a task,
But say in substance, were he asked,
First and foully, through a stub and twist, And then as the farmer claims his grist,
By being second on the list;
Why, ’tis just as plain to sanity,
As the logic of My Policy.
But as for Mose, he has been
And is to-day as free from sin
As that fond friend who kissed his Lord,
In presence of a Roman horde.
Tis true he did somewhat disguise His real intentions, and surprise The loyal voters of the North,
By feigning hatred to the South;
Through which he gained their confidence, And won that lofty eminence.
Tis said, and yet I know not why,
His fingers wear a crimson dye,
The which retraced, would likely lead Aback to some unlawful deed,
And only back perhaps, alas,
To constant pressure of the glass —
Or to his deep intensity,
Of interest in My Policy.
But, lest the treachery of the mind Should chance forget a liege so kind,
We deem this quite a fitting place To draw a picture of his grace.
His age, since men so far excel,
Their seemings none can rightly tell;
And some there are, on earth’s broad stage, Who do not really know their age;
Others who would not like their’s told,
Lest some gay flame should deem them old.
But to the physiognomy Of him, my liege, My Policy,
Of rather more than medium size,
A blooming nose and hazel eyes,
And mien, that one might think him given To beverage, morning, noon and even’;
And judge that his proboscis wore Its crimson from the overstore;
For there are some rare nectars known
And taken to impart a tone
To the stomach, which will produce,
By repetition and abuse,
The like results; hence, many think His glow the sad effects of drink;
Others, more prone to charity,
Ascribe it to My Policy .
’Tis said he wanders why it is,
That all the land makes such a phiz,
And why they keep in strict reserve,
A shield for the olfactory nerve;
When e’er My Policy is brought Within the radius of their thought.
They surely do not see the point,
But act as though some out-of-joint Machine had gained the track,
And now was keeping progress back.
O, is it not a burning shame,
That any folks with such a name For science and philosophy,
To thus regard My Policy.
Sumner he claims is much at fault,
And Stevens plotting a revolt Of Congress ’gainst the President,
And ’gainst his noble sentiment—
With which e’en Davis doth agree,
And all his learned constituency;
Hence, Sumner must not there remain,
And Stevens’ might we ought restrain,
And Phillips should not be allowed To exercise before the crowd,
His foul bombastic heresy,
In variance to My Policy.
His life he deems quite insecure,
And such a thought long to endure,
Is torturous in the extreme,
And breeds full many a fitful dream. .
He fears some hireling knave may prove Recreant to pretended love,
And give for brandy, water instead,
And thus consign him to the dead,
With all his virtue on his head.
His friends have counseled ’gainst alarm, And ’gainst all apprehended harm,
And well they might, since few are more From hurt and violence secure.
For those who practice lawless deed,
And on the life of virtue feed,
Are not accounted with his foes,
But now and e’er have been of those
Who would through nameless years protract His office and his life intact—
The dauntless sons of chivalry,
Who glory in My Policy.
Tis said, that in the days agone,
Pie pledged himself to the forlorn;
He pledged himself the bondsman’s friend, And one on whom they might depend For counsel, succor or redress,
In all their hours of wretchedness,
And swore that he would be their guide,
And lead them past the crimson tide,
And through the wilderness that lay Between their night and that blest day That shines forever on the rest Of all the worthy, free and blest;
That he their Moses would become,
And lead them to a freeman’s home And swore that he would ne’er forsake Them, nor his pledge or promise break,
Till every bondsman in the land Should on the plains of freedom stand.
Pledged to the sacred cause of truth ;
Pledged in the early days of youth;
Pledged by the summer, winter, spring,
And pledged by all the truth may bring;
With all these pledges on his soul,
And clothed with power to control The future destiny of those,
His wards by all his recent oaths.
Mark well his action when for aid Their suppliant prayer to him was made? Witness an instance of his love,
And all your former doubts remove.
Mark when that bill for the supply Of starving millions met his eye;
A breadless, clotheless, houseless throng, Thus rendered by his nation’s wrong. Does he the bill in haste receive And sign, their suff’rings to relieve?
Yes, if withholding of the cup From parched lips, whereof one sup Would quite allay an inward pain,
And quite restore to health again A prostrate mortal, doomed to die, Unless his needs met swift supply,
Can be accounted as relief—
Then he in their deep hour of grief,
Did them relieve and kept his vow;
When with a dark and wrinkled brow, He stamped his veto on their prayer, And doomed the suppliants to despair.
O, what a “Moses” he has been!
How strenuously against the sin Of his fathers he has fought;
And how ingeniously besought The nation in this trying hour,
To invest with all their wonted power Our late rebellious, loving foes,
And in meek gratitude should fall Prostrate before them in the dust,
And yield the nation to their trust;
And to enforce the reason why,
That we should not this boon deny, Propounds with matchless dignity,
His ineffable —My Policy.
School’d in his childhood to regard Foul treason worthiest of reward,
And loyalty an empty name,
Meriting dark reproach and shame; Therefore, he deems the rebels more Worthy positions than before;
Before their nameless deeds of horror Spread o’er our land the veil of sorrow; And fain would from the very scurf, E’en as from the rising surf Of rebeldom, at once create Grand officers of high estate,
And bring them to the nation’s court, His grave My Policy to support.
’Tis said the clergy everywhere,
Have held up holy hands in prayer For his redemption from the thrall, And pit of his apostate fall;
But recently by dream or word,
Have been most signally assured,
That there are no blest agencies Of grace, outside the promises,
And in that almost boundless plan, Salvation offered unto man,
Are no provisions that embrace A proffered pardon in his case;
That it were madness to bewail,
Since all their efforts can but fail;
For he, to use a term uncivil,
Has long been mortgaged to the Devil;
But the fact which no one knows,
Is why the deuce he don’t foreclose. Perhaps he entertains a doubt,
And fears that Mose might turn him out; Hence, His Satanic Majesty’s Endorsement of My Policy.
He claims that suffrage, if applied To Negroes, should be qualified;
That they diplomacied, should hail From Dartmouth, Harvard or from Yale, Before entrusted for an hour With manhood’s great elective power.
But every rebel in the land,
From Maine to Georgia’s distant strand; Though dark their minds as rayless night, Should exercise this manly right,
Though destitute of reason’s force As Balaam’s ancient riding horse:
On these the boon he would confer, Without a scruple or demur,
Because these gentlemen, quoth he,
Are members of My Policy.
His vetoes—gracious! what a list! Never in time did there exist Such an array of negative,
Bombastic and explanative;
’Tis said their reasons are profound, Their logic almost passing sound;
And that such lucid rays they shed, They’re understood before they’re read.
The Bureau Bill is deemed the first Of numerous acts, by him reversed;
The power that bill sought to confer On him, provoked his just demur,
And for this strange, unlikely fault,
His meekness rose in fierce revolt,
And flamed with wrath and power to kill,
He hurled his veto at the bill;
For actions of humanity,
Accord not with My Policy.
He next reversed the bill of rights,
Lest all the girls—that is the whites— Should Desdemonia’s become,
And fly each one her cherished home,
And take to heart some sooty moor,
As Fathers did in days before.
If but the legal right were given,
He fears that six in every seven Of all the maids in all the land,
Would give the matrimonial hand Unto some swarthy son or other,
And some, perhaps, might wed a brother.
This horrid thought his wrath excites,
And swearing ’gainst all “woman’s rights,” He grasped the veto in his ire,
And doomed the bill to endless fire;
For all such reciprocity,
Was foreign to My Policy.
This ghost-like thought preyed on his soul, And robbed him of all self control,
Till from his fears, lest they obtain,
He got the veto on the brain;
The inflated type, the very worst,
With which a mortal e’er was cursed.
And hence, when e’er an act is brought, For which his signature is sought,
How plain soever the device,
He fancies that he “smells a mice,”
And forthwith runs the trap to bring My Policy , and sets the spring,
And waits with pain-suspended cough,
To see the curious thing go off.
And when the fancied mouse is caught Within his fancied trap of thought,
To hear him in that frenzied laugh,
And see that full three-fingered quaff Pass down the lining of his throat,
And find a lodgment ’neath his coat, Would crimson o'er the cheek with shame, And send a tremor through the frame,
The which would cause the heart to yield To poignant truth so oft revealed,
And in that act confess they see The secrets of My Policy.
The little giant of the West—
His labor done, was laid to rest,
And to eternalize his fame,
And thus immortalize his name,
Moses, with vassals of renown,
Comes swinging past from town to town And makes a quite imposing tour,
Save that he proves himself a boor At divers times in divers ways,
# All through his eagerness for praise,
For e’en despite the peerless Grant,
And monument he came to plant,
All those that were not wholly blind, Could see he had an axe to grind;
The monument was but a ruse,
A subtle means to introduce My liege of graceless dignity,
The author of My Policy .
Tis said that he at times would come To cities which were not “to home,”
From which long ere the pageant closed.
The peerless Grant grew indisposed,
And to the banks of Erie’s Lake,
Repaired for reputation’s sake.
But be this statement false or true,
It has the smallest part to do With the matter of fact at hand,
Which is this, when through the land He’d gone and played the knave and clown , In every city, village, town,
And felt My Policy was sure To win by virtue of the tour,
The people rise in mass and vote,
And thus most signally denote By their vote and by their voice,
And by the subjects of their choice,
That they had blindly failed to see The beauties of My Policy.
Hence, when the massive cavalcade Swung round and round in grand parade, With much chagrin, they’re all dispensed, Just where their fruitless tour commenced. ’Tis said that Moses had a dream,
The which has been his constant theme Of thought, and converse ever since,
It seems as though he can’t convince Himself that there in truth is not Some pre-arranged, mischievous plot
In embryo, a thing accursed;
And yet, ere long destined to burst On him and from his famed renown And apec glory, drag him down;
Though but a dream, ’twas so akin Unto a fact that should have been,
And because he does not know But what it really may be so,
And like the general that was “lame,”
Who started ere the foeman came,
Has suddenly become distres’t
With pains and achings in the breast—
J Tis said when night had laid him down (His sainted form) in sleep profound,
There stole athwart his fevered brain A dream which caused his spirit pain;
It seemed that 'reft of every doubt,
His myriad sins had found him out,
And charged with numerous crimes and blood, Before the bar he trembling stood,
And heard he all the evidence,
The prosecution and defense,
And heard the verdict of the court,
And felt the truth of their report;
But that which seemed to pain him most,
And deepest heartfelt anguish cost,
Was not to find the charge sustained,
But 'twas to find himself constrained Forthwith to abdicate and be A martyr to My Policy.
The mansion rose in all its pride,
With all its sweetness multiplied Its grand exterior, spotless white,
A nation’s glory and delight—
Its massive portals swinging round,
Without a jar or grating sound—
Its Brussels carpet, velvet chairs,
Downy couches, levees and fairs,
O, from such rare joys to part,
It seemed as though ’t would break his heart.
What next occasioned much regret,
Was the receptions which he met;
For while he knew full many there,
Not one but with a scornful air,
Spurned on him as they passed him by,
As though they feared in coming nigh Contamination might ensue,
And they grow leprosied and untrue;
Such ingrate acts were rather more Than he could bear His cup ran o’er,
And streaming down his blooming face,
He felt the hot tears of disgrace;
He thought of Willy, and ran in haste,
But found that he had been displaced;
He next sought Revey, Vail and Wood ,
But found them in a sullen mood,
Red-eyed and swollen, as though the three Had been in perfect sympathy;
Before them sat a demijohn,
Partly filled and partly gone—
Twas quite enough; he’d found the place, He held the huge thing to his face,
Till through his hands it slipped and broke,
And springing forward, he awoke
And found himself stretched on the floor,
And loudly rapping at the door
Were wardens, whom from sleep profound,
Had been affrighted by the sound;
And to each other wildly calling,
To learn what ponderous thing had fallen. “Go way,” from the within was said,
“No one is hurt —confound that bed;”
Then gathering up his graceless form, Exhausted some, and somewhat worn,
And opening wide his hazel eyes,
And gazing round in glad surprise,
Poured on the night’s tranquility,
This strange and marked soliloquy—
“Can these bright scenes belie their seeming What means all this—have I been dreaming? Surely, this is the mansion still,
Despite their numerous threats of ill;
Despite him and his numerous wiles,
I’m still the heir of fortune’s smiles,
Despite them and their myriad threats,
Their aimless, soulless epithets;
I am still the President Of proud Columbia’s vast extent.”
And forthwith from his breast a flask He drew, and stripped it of its mask,
All sparkling to its very fill,
A goodly half-pint, less a gill,
The which in oriental style,
Dispatched he at a single smile;
Then threw the needless flask aside,
And with a pompous look of pride,
And seeming consequential air,
He sank into an easy chair,
And gravely mused upon the past,
And mused on subjects far too vast,
Except for some learned debauchee,
Or adept in My Policy.
O, were I but a dramatist,
What stores of thought I would enlist What telling words I would indite,
And what a play my pen should write I’d hie me to the nation’s dome;
Amid its splendors I would roam,
Discant on palace, hall and court,
And on the nation’s grave support,
Until I placed upon the stage The grandest burlesque of the age;
"Moses ! Moses!” should be my theme;
Not He that through the crimson stream Led out from Egypt Israel’s host;
But "our Mose” of rant and boast,
Who from the nation’s balcony,
Cajoled a drunken revelry,
In telling words of pothouse lore,
The which had ne'er been heard before,
Since Kidd, the terror of the wave,'
Placed men’s life-chart within the grave
Oh, Demosthenes! in silence rest Henceforth "our Mose” shall be the test Of all oratorical display,
And for a sample, by the way,
Witness his chaste and classic art,
In his description of sweetheart,
And Penny nibbling at his heels,
And then how graphic he reveals
His wond’rous buncombe, and his pluck,
In that grave story of the duck.
And when you have read, O think of the stage, And the wonderful star of a wonderful age!
The wonderful change that has taken place in the political character of the United States, in the last ten years, is well calculated to excite the Poetic feelings of any man having a spark of Poesy in him.
The march of events have been peculiarly ro¬ mantic, outstripping all human expectations, and leaving even prophecy in the rear.
The present Poem is given to the public with the hope of perpetuating, to some extent, the remembrance of the “good time/’ and of send¬ ing to the future some little knowledge of the trials, struggles, and triumph of Liberty in our land.
The Author felt his incompetency to do justice to the task—it being an unexplored field—but he has opened the way, and leaves to others the duty of following, if they will.
This Poem was written during hours snatched from other occupations. Still, we send it forth, confident that the theme of which it treats, and the earnest sincerity of the Author, will win for it the public approbation. It is a statement of facts—not fiction—and, gentle reader, we ask you to follow it to the close, trusting it may nerve you anew for the right, and encourage you in the cause of humanity.
HON. JOHN D. RICHARDS.
THE TRIUMPH OF LIBERTY.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY
HENRY P. BALDWIN,
Governor of the State of Michigan,
As a slight testimonial to his generosity of heart and nobleness of mind, the following Poem is most respectfully inscribed.
That truth, than fiction, is more strange,
There's not the shadow of a doubt,
When we regard the wondrous change One short decade has brought about.
The leopard may have changed his spots,
Or the Ethiop changed his skin,
And would far less excelled our thoughts,
Than those great changes which have been. For nought exists in earth or air Or ocean’s depths of endless shade,
With which we justly can compare The changes of the last decade.
Had one deep-skilled in mystic lore,
Some favored heir or providence,
Proclaimed abroad from door to door The last decade’s unborn events,
The multitudes who may have heard His auguries, though chastely clad,
Would have pronounced them most absurd,
And their prognostic author mad.
Or, had an angel of the sky
Left for a time his watch and ward,
And from some towering mountain high Cried mightily, thus saith the Lord!
Columbia’s sons, a million strong Shall panoply themselves for war,
And o’er their hills and vales ere long To battle rush from near and far!
The century bound and fettered slave Shall grasp the hilt of freedom’s sword And rush amid the struggling brave And write his liberties restored;
He shall have faith where others doubt And onward press to lead the van,
Till slavery’s stain he washes out In treason’s gore, and stands a man.
And ere one full decade has passed The land redeemed shall proudly see,
Of slavery’s relics e’en the last
Engulfed in freedom’s boundless sea.
Would we have deemed the message true Brought by the heavenly ward so near, And gave to it that reverence due A message from the glory sphere?
We might have lent a patient ear
And thus the message have received, We might have felt a sense of fear But never would our hearts believed:
It would have been impossible,
So wedded were we to the wrong,
Our hearts had grown invulnerable To all appeals however strong.
No message sent from hell or heaven, Brought by the living or the dead, Could e’er the mighty spell have riven By which dark wrong and we were wed
Our natures had been schooled to look Adversely on each phrase of right,
Until our hearts could proudly brook The truth made bare in reason’s light—
For error’s potent chords had twined About our hearts from early age,
Till like the tillers of the mind
Our guides were they in every stage—
We could not comprehend the thought,
That freedom was of native mold,
Heaven inspired and heaven taught
Which neither chains nor cells can hold: Therefore we could not reconcile The seeming gross absurdity,
That he, the slave and long reviled,
Nursed yet the germs of liberty.
If not how could he rise above His present status of disgrace,
Or what incentive could him move The all auspicious to embrace?
But changes of the recent past Have swept our theories away,
And crowned with wonders unsurpassed The radiant glories of to-day.
Within the lapse of one decade More history we have lived and made Than during all the years before,
Since first our fathers sped them o’er The deep blue ocean’s heaving breast, And came to this proud land, the West.
And we have grown in moral hight When viewed by heaven’s or freedom’s light More in these years a thousand fold Than during all the years of old.
- One decade back and every eye That scann’d us closely saw the lie,
And turned from our spread banner’s face To men in chains, and cried disgrace,
And, hissing, pointed with disdain At Freedom forging slavery’s chain.
One decade back and slavery’s beck Alike held State and Church in check,
How grave or trivial the affair On no account would either dare To move one hair-breadth in extent Till clothed with his august consent—
When e’er he waved his Sceptered hand The mighty millions of our land Were filled with wonderment and awe And eager to obey his law—
He stamped his foot, and Liberty Trembled as doth the aspen tree,
When old Boreas from his cave,
Begirt with wrath comes forth to rave.
The court, to do him honor, made
Him a license to invade
The lowly cot and palace dome,
And sacred precincts of each home,
Where ever found upon our soil In quest of his assumptive spoil.
• And men who ranked in high estate Would breathless on his bidding wait,
And all our proud official corps,
Like blood-hounds, ran from door to door,
And often forced their presence where E’en decency would cry forbear;
And all for what? Why, simply This, and nothing more—Liberty!
Innate and deathless as the soul Had swelled beyond the chains control,
And e’en inspired the base born slave To seek for freedom or the grave.
Our prisons, too, whose chief intent Was crime to punish and prevent,
Became the slave-pens of the land,
To which the Tyrant of the brand
To check-mate human liberty
Held in his grasp both lock and key.
Besides all this, a hoary sage,
A highly honored legal chief Just passing from this earthly stage,
Gave this as his profound belief:
“Blacks have no rights , not life except , Which bind the zvhite man to respect ”
This formed the climax of support Which slavery drew from Freedom’s Court. While thus the Court strained every nerve Her wonted fealty to preserve,
The Church was not a whit behind;
For she, with all her strength combined, Was moving earth and fiends and hell In order that she might excel The baseness of the Court , and rise Pre-eminent in Slavery 3 s eyes.
To do him honor prelates came Of nearly every creed and name,
All decked in sacerdotal gear,
Each rivaling each as to appear,
While void of ostentatious pride,
Most potent, grave and dignified.
And each to Court his reverence bowed,
And prayed to him both long and loud;
And temples reared they in his name,
And grand memorials to his fame,
Whose every brick and massive stone Was purchased with a human bone,
And all the mortar ’twixt their layers Was mingled flesh and blood and tears Of captives whom dark wrong had slain To rear up Slavery’s Godless fain.
And thus with rant hypocrisy And sacrilegious blasphemy,
The Church sought to surpass the Court In crowning slavery with support Oh, if the cheek was ever flushed Of devils, then they must have blushed At these base scenes of mammon greed Which hell itself could scarce exceed!
For there, midst all this mock display,
This scowl upon the face of day,
The truth lay prostrate, and the right Was chained and gagged, while reason’s light Shone like a taper in a tomb,
And half extinguished by the gloom.
Oh! ne’er did goodly land thus sink As ours so near to ruin’s brink.
Our fathers might have wept, and did,
If earthly scenes are not all hid
From eyes of those blest ones who stand
Or near or far in glory land.
But unto God that’s ever near,
The righteous are His special care;
And in our land there were a few Firm friends of Freedom, tried and true.
A few who ne’er had bowed the knee Nor sacrificed to Slavery;
A faithful, zealous noble band.
The salt and savors of our land,
Whose meritorious deeds should blaze In letters of undying praise.
But while we thus them all revere,
Of two we’d fain make mention here.
ONE decade back there lived a man,
A strict, unswerving Puritan;
And though as brave as Ammon’s son, No gods had he to serve but one,
The God of Justice, God of Truth,
Whom he had served from early youth.
His heart was not inured to wrong, Though he had seen and felt it long;
Yet had he oft implored the time When there should be an end to crime, When Truth should rise, assert her claim, And wrong sink down to whence it came.
At length he grew to feel inspired To what his heart had long desired,
To strike one blow for Liberty,
Where it should end in victory;
Though he should perish in the deed,
He felt that he could plant the seed From which the harvest would arise,
And shrank not from the sacrifice;
Him call enthusiast, if you will,
Fanatic, or something- wilder still,
It will not blur his deathless name,
Nor bar his onward march to fame.
For when he felt the hour had come He left his fair North Elba home And with e’en less than a score of men, Went forth, and in the very den And citadel of Slavery Unsheathed his sword for Liberty.
This, this was old John Brown, the brave Whom great Virginia hanged, to save Through sacrifice to Slavery,
Her panic stricken chivalry.
For from the night on which he made Their State the center of his raid,
Until the law pronounced him dead,
Of him they lived in constant dread.
Although confined within a cell,
By many a bolt and lock as well,
And prostrate on a fevered cot,
Through consequences ill-begot,
From care and pain and loss of blood, And from the much he had withstood, Besides all this, of armed men,
To guard that ancient veteran,
A regiment were scattered round,
All o’er that half enchanted ground,
Lest he should from his mat of straw, Come forth and by his presence awe, And terrify e’en unto death Famed Chivalry’s half-suspended breath.
Although like Sampson he was ta’en, And by the base Philistines slain,
Yet he in death accomplished more Than e’er he had in life before.
His noble heart, which ne’er had failed, Proved firm, and e’en in death prevailed; And many a tear drop dimmed the eye Of e’en his foes who saw him die—
And none who witnessed that foul act Will e’er in life forget the fact.
Twas on a clear December day,
So mild it seemed, that gentle May Had, in respect for that dread hour, Donated one from her sweet bower.
No clouds were seen in all the sky,
Save one, and that was hovering nigh,
As though its mission w^s to screen From angels’ ken the awful scene.
For when upon the scaffold bare,
The hero stood, that cloud was there,
But when the throng pronounced him dead That mystic cloud and screen had fled.
His lifeless form his friends besought, And far, far from that wretched spot,
And from those scenes of suffering To which such dreadful memories cling, And to a freer, purer soil,
Uncursed by sweat of unpaid toil,
And to an unfrequented nook,
Whereon no craven eye may look,
Where Freedom doth her vigil keep, They laid him down to dreamless sleep.
Scarce had his friend in calm repose Entombed his form, when there arose A restless spirit, which obtained Where e’er of liberty remained,
A single spark of honest thought,
Too sacred to be sold or bought.
And thus the truths for which he died Spread everywhere, and multiplied,
And rolled on like a foaming sea,
Until the Sons of Liberty In all their majesty came forth,
And styled themselves the mighty North; And from their ranks selected one,
An unassuming woodman’s son,
Who bore their standard midst the feud, And mighty contest which ensued.
He was from nature’s plastic mold,
What kings and mighty men of old Through lengthened years of toil, in vain Had sought and striven to attain;
All that a language could express Of noble-hearted faithfulness.
There was no grace he did not court,
Nor blemish in his manly port,
Tall, and of commanding form
And Heaven ordained to rule the storm.
There was a calm serenity,
A kind, persuasive, artless art Pervading the Divinity
Which filled his great and manly heart.
All manly forms that graced his sight,
He deemed them men or black or white; He bowed to all with deference,
And won a world of reverence.
He was that Son of Liberty,
Whose Heaven-approved fidelity Made every act of his sublime.
And safely might we challenge Time,
With his deep, enveloped page,
The annals of a nameless age,
To bring forth one of purer mold,
Or one who had a stronger hold Upon his country’s throbbing heart,
Then he whose native, artless art Has carved his own undying name Upon the deathless scroll of fame.
Need I here that name pronounce,
Where if each heart would speak at once, The glorious, grand response would be “Lincoln, the friend of Liberty!”
If Fame’s all glorious scroll were lost,
And there remained the merest ghost Of all the present, of all the past,
If deathless liberty could last,
Her share of glory to receive,
Great Lincoln’s name would also live!
But to return, when slavery’s hosts Saw how that all their plans had failed, And how that he, they envied most, Had e’en despite their wiles prevailed; They grew incensed, and madly blind, And swore by all that had been done To rend the sacred bands which bind Our many glorious states in one,— And in their stead, build of their own A time enduring dynasty,
Whose spreading base and corner stone Should rest on human slavery.
To such an epoch they had bent,
For thirty years their vulturous eye,
And well-provisioned the event,
With every species of supply.
The arsenals were in their hands,
And in their hands were all the spoil,
And all the soldiery of our lands Were rendezvousing on their soil,
With these unique advantages,
And deeming their success as sure,
Like Hell-inspired savages
Upon the nation’s flag they pour Volleys of grape and canister,
Then seized the navy, and reversed Its purpose, so as to deter The North, then dared them to their worst.
The news spread forth with speed of thought In all directions o’er the land;
Nor nook nor point was there forgot.
It swept its length from strand to strand, The State was like the storm-lashed sea, Chafing itself with wild unrest,
No bounds were there to the degree Of rage, apparent and expressed.
All business lay in blank suspense;
And men stood idly here and there,
With no apparent deference To secular pursuit or care.
No ships of war, nor arms nor men,
The treasury in a broken state;
And every post a rebel den,
Where treason brawled in high debate,—
Is but a picture faintly drawn,
Too faint by far except to cull Some scattered fragments of the dawn Of Lincoln's first inaugural.
Now, as our chief executive,
His first great office to perform Was on the moment to conceive
A means by which to check the storm,
Which soon would burst from its confines,
And sweep along our northern lines With lightning flash and thunder roar,
More terrible than aught before.
He called for loyal men of war,
Five and seventy thousand strong:
'Twas heralded anear and far,
And answered by a mighty throng.
They came of every clime and race Of which our glorious land can boast,
With anxious hearts to take their place In freedom's cause at any post.
And some there came of Afric’s hue,
Though born and reared upon our shore,
Who eager were to don the blue,
As they had done in days before.
As they had done at Lexington,
At Bunker Hill and Brandywine,
At Monmouth and at Bennington,
'Midst freedom’s boasts in freedom's line.
As they had done at New Orleans,
And on Lake Erie’s troubled waves,
And in a word, 'midst all the scenes,
Made sacred through our struggling braves.
But prejudice and foul disdain
Rebuked and scorned their proffered aid.
And taunting, urged that slavery’s chain Bore no relation to the raid.
And thus they grew, the jeer and butt Of the derisive and the vile;
And suffered many a cruel cut
From rostrum and from press the while.
These prated of a White Man’s war,
And claimed that Negroes feared to die;
That face of those zvho placed the scar Upon their backs would make them fly.
Such was the feelings which possessed The loyal heart when Sumpter’s fort
By rebel soldiers was distressed,
And we could render no support.
And such the feeling which prevailed Up to our sad Bull Run retreat;
For ever yet our arms had failed The rebel forces to defeat.
Our dead lay bleaching on the plains,
By scores of. thousands slept they there,
While liberty, with plaintive strains,
Was calling fresh recruits to war.
Our hospitals were running o’er
With all our sick and wounded braves;
And in one line a thousand score Of stalwart, hail and idle slaves.
Of these their masters some were dead, And prisoners some, but all were foes,
Who from their slaves and homes had fled, The Union forces to oppose.
O Prejudice! thou art to blame For half of all the noble braves Who fell in Freedom's sacred name;
’Twas thy base deeds that dug their graves!
Witness thy truckling course, and then Defer thy case to honest men;
To judge betwixt thy soul and mine.
Behold within the Union line Scores of thousands of brawny arms Held up in view of war’s alarms,
Pulsating with their force of life,
And anxious for the scenes of strife,—
Anxious to wield the battle sword ’Gainst vile oppression’s murderous horde, Praying heaven, and praying earth To grant them license to go forth And bear their part where freedom’s braves Were falling in untimely graves.
Alas! alas, their humble prayer Fell heedless on the murky air,
And met no answer in return,
Except a cold and heartless spurn.
And yet, while thou wert scorning these,
Our forces, both by land and seas,
Were being worsted in the fight,
And pressed at times e’en unto flight,
Leaving behind their graveless dead,
And wounded braves, uncared or fed.
And yet thou hold’st at thy command,
Ready whereon to lay thy hand,
A hundred thousand stalwart blacks Eager to don their haversacks
And rush with muskets to the field,
Or swords dissevered from their shield,
And there to pledge ’neath Heaven’s blue sky To conquer treason’s host or die.
And yet they were denied the right— Denied the privilege to fight ’Gainst rebels who had veiled in gloom Full many a Northern heart and home.
And wherefore were they thus denied Until the glory and the pride Of all our mighty North was taken And lifeless strewn o’er many a plain?
Oh! Prejudice! thou art to blame For half of all the noble braves Who fell in fredom’s sacred name;
’Twas thou, foul fiend, that dug their graves
But for thy forked tongue of guile
Blood would have flowed not half the while;
But for thy craven heart of guilt
Not half the blood would have been spilt;
Yet, in despite thy rant’and boast
The right shall live when e’en thy ghost,
Thy hated ghost, thou cursed thing,
Shall to the drift of raiment cling!
^ j|c >;< *
The mission of the war was plain,
But prejudice so dimmed our sight That long we blindly strove in vain, Groping our way amidst the light.
The mission of the war was this—
To force the bolt, unbar the door,
And let the long oppressed go free ;
It was no veiled hypothesis,
But plain, so plain that all might see,
E’en to the poorest of the poor.
And some did see, and feigned they saw it not, While others saw and cursed their hapless lot. But those who long in darkness dwelt,
And those who in death’s shadow stood,
Saw its bright beams; they saw and felt,
And well its purpose understood.
For straight they took their harps once more From off the boughs where they had hung,
And ran their stiffened fingers o’er
Their chords, to which the moss had clung, When lo! to their too great surprise,
Those chords possessed their wonted glee And chanted to the very skies The rising dawn of jubilee.
But those who dwelt upon the plain,
Or sported on the mountain high,
When prejudice had left his stain,
Saw no bright bow of promise nigh.
For we had sought to crush the South,
Without the black man or his aid,
And to this end had taxed the North,
And West and East to quell the raid,
And yet the rebels kept the field With reinforcements in reserve,
Before our troops they would not yield,
Nor widely from their purpose swerve.
Full twenty moons had waxed and waned, And war had darkened many a home, Before the anxious black obtained The right, a soldier to become.
But not till we had vainly tried To reconcile our traitorous foe:
Not until we, with humbled pride,
Had really begged them to forego,
And e’en were driven to destroy Their institution of support,
Did we a single black employ,
In rank or navy, field or fort.
But when the time had quite expired;
The hundred days of the decree,
And God and justice now required The bondsman’s promised liberty—
Then noble Lincoln, armed with might, And clothed with honor, truth and right, Stretched forth his hand, and took the quill, And tracing it along the page,
He framed, with heaven-admiring skill,
The crowning feature of his age—
That God inspired instrument!
Charter of manhood—Liberty!
Heaven ordained and heaven sent To rid our land of slavery!
The news thereof spread far and wide, And filled each humble slave’s abode With the grand and joyous tide
Of blessings which had been bestowed.
Then wild the Union to assist,
As regulars or volunteers,
The blacks rushed forward to enlist
’Midst thunder shouts and deafening cheers.
Old Massachusetts’ Fifty-fourth
Filed into line, and swelled the ranks, And charged so nobly on the South As to extort the Nation’s thanks.
Then came the arming of the slaves, •
The noble Butler's “contrabands,”
Who proved themselves not only braves,
But ranked the soldiers of our lands.
Then black men went as substitutes While timid white men staid at home;
Thus swelled the ranks of all recruits,
Till bloody treason met its doom.
Two hundred thousand strong they stood,
And fought for liberty and right,
And quite as freely shed their blood As those proud braves whose skins were white.
They bravely fought! And is that all That truth can say in their defense?
They drank the very dregs of gall,
And bore a world of insolence.
And yet of Liberty’s tried friends,
They ranked the truest of the true;
Ne’er having swerved for selfish ends,
Nor coupled treason with their hue.
For twelve score years in feeless toil,
They labored for our country’s good, Delved in our mines, wrought on our soil, And fertilized our fields with blood.
In all our wars they bore their part,
Nor shrank from dangers imminent, Mingling the life-blood of their heart With that of braves most eminent.
And yet, through all those lengthened years Their life was one of grief and pain* And groans, and sighs, and bitter tears, And worse than all, a life of chains.
But there’s to every day an eve,
And unto every night a morn,
And joys there are for those who grieve, Howe’er dejected and forlorn!
The wrong may triumph for a while,
But right comes uppermost at last,
And love shall bloom, and peace shall smile. When error’s hated reign is past.
Lift up your hearts, ye long oppressed,
And hail the gladsome rising dawn,
For Slavery’s night, that sore distressed And tortured you, has passed and gone!
And Liberty’s refulgent blaze
Lights up our broad, unbroken land, And nowhere ’neath her spreading rays Lives there a fetter or a brand!
All hail! the land has been redeemed
From thraldom's foul and ruthless sway; And Freedom's radiant light has streamed Along the bondman’s gloomy way!
And in those dungeons of dispair,
Whence every ray of hope had fled,
Blest Liberty had entered there And breathed new life into the dead.
And o’er those regions of the brand,
Where toil was recompensed with scorn, Has waved abroad her flaming wand;
And lo! a nation there is born—
And clothed upon with sacred rights;
Those sacred rights of jealous care,
In whose defense the torch she lights,
And strips her arm of vengeance bare.
O, Liberty! thou peerless queen!
Thou quenchless essence of the soul, Preside o’er these in every scene,
And ward them ’gainst all base control;
Plant in their hearts a love of thought,
An anxious spirit to acquire Those mighty truths that are only bought With per&everance and desire.
Move them to grasp with hand and heart, And with a deathless will beside,
Each mode of science, skill and art, Consistent with our Nation’s pride:
So that the world may ne’er regret
The mighty work that’s been performed,
And so that Time his seal may set Upon their future all adorned.
* ❖ * ❖ * * *
There is no right a freeman has So purely sacred as his choice.
How e’er bereft he’ll cling to this,
And in its potency rejoice:
For in its exercise he stands
The peer of titled wealth and state,
How e’er possessed of spreading lands,
Or gifted they in high debate—
He is their peer, however grand,
Or much upon themselves they dote,
For there’s no station in our land Which ranks a man above his vote.
The right to exercise a right;
The right to choose ’twixt man and man
The right to battle for the right,
And in the right do what we can,
Is manhood clothed with liberty—
The just, inherent right of all,
Regardless of ability,
Or age, or sex, or great or small!
That right today the black man wields With gratitude, though long denied,
For deep within his heart he feels A sacredness of joy and pride.
Nobly the war has done its work,
And nobly the Republicans,
With no apparent wish to shirk,
Have canceled Freedom’s high demands.
They took the fetters in their hand,
And wrenched them from the bleeding limb;
Then took the slave ’neath their command, And nurtured and disciplined him.
They gave subsistence to his wife,
And to his little ones gave bread,
And thus amid the scenes of strife
Were countless thousands clothed and fed.
They formed the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill, Which placed the letter in his hand,
And gave him schools, despite the will Of him, the tyrant, in command.
They framed the Bill of Civil Rights,
By which his living was secured
Against those vile malevolent whites Whose souls to treason were inured.
Then toward our fundamental laws They bent their hearts in zealous toil,
And thereunto affixed a clause
Which banished slavery from our soil.
This nobly done, they still propose Our charter further to amend,
By making citizens of those
The law had proffered to defend.
Though ’twas a grave step in the right, The party claimed it none the less, And girding well their loins with might, They fought the issue to success.
This contest, proudly fought and won, Left one just claim uncanceled yet, Before the world-wide shout, well done! Would ring from freedom’s minaret.
To council this, the final claim,
And merit freedom’s grand applause, And win a fadeless wreath of fame,
Through noble deeds in manhood’s cause; They concentrated all their might,
Which great Ulysses deigned to lead? And claimed the Franchise as a right,
And just investment of the freed.
To every State went forth the claim,
How e’er convenient or remote,
And everywhere, in freedom’s name,
They pressed the freedman’s right to vote.
State after State endorsed the fact, Which lent new ardor to their zeal—■ A zeal which no incentive lacked To strengthen or enforce appeal.
Full thirty States at length filed out,
And proudly stood on manhood’s side; And Freedom raised the joyous shout, “Well done ! All hail! All satisfied !”
This was the crowning act of all;
And placed upon one common base,
Of all this mighty rolling ball A specimen of every race.
Freedom’s proud temple’s now complete, Crowned with the long-rejected stone; And we are here to hail and greet
The master minds bv which ’twas done.
Hail! Master Workmen, noble band !
And hail the key-stone, and the arch, The pride and glory of our land!
And hail, to manhood’s onward march!
The night of gloom, the night of sorrow, The night of wrong, the night of chains, At length has passed, and lo! the morrow Of joy has dawned, and Freedom reigns.
For, in our nation’s Senate Hall,
A Negro has his seat today,
Where, e’en in memory’s brief recall,
Sat Calhoun, Webster, Cass and Clay.
Rejoice, O land, bought by the sword, Redeemed and by the sword set free! Let all thy sons, with one accord,
Be jubilant o’er thy victory.
That we should have a member, where One decade back, ’twere worth the head Of such as he, to even dare
Within those sacred halls to tread,
Proves that the world doth surely move, And proves that men of worth may rise From low estate, and soar above
Their former selves in nature's guise.
How wondrous the coincident,
That from the Great Arch Rebel's home, His erring State to represent,
Our first Black Senator should come,
A seat of office to complete,
Made vacant through Jeff's recreancy.
O, for the privilege to greet That Negro in that Rebel’s seat!
'Twere worth the distance and expense.
But this, is not the only post By Negroes filled, deserving boast:
We have a Judge upon the seat,
And Ministers in foreign lands,
At home, a Governor, to greet,
And Legislators e’en in bands.
The prayed-for time has come at last— The time of which we used to sing,
The good time talked of in the past,
Is here today upon its wing—
The ballot's in the black man’s hand;
Promotion waits him at his door,
And peace and plenty crown our land,
And freedom reigns from shore to shore.
Strike all your bells, ye lofty spires!
Wave all your banners, freedom wave! Loose your tongues, ye tell-tale wires,
And you, ye thundering cannons rave!
America, the land of science,
The land of every nation's love,
Has formed with Freedom an alliance So pure, ’tis registered above!
Lift up your heads, ye lofty mountains! Clap your glad hands, ye mighty seas!
Leap for joy, ye crystal fountains,
And odors waft sweet balmy breeze!
The crowning work is now accomplished, The builders have received the stone!
Dark Slavery’s fame has been demolished, And all his Dagon gods o’erthrown!
And on its base a mighty temple,
Gorgeous, grand, sublime and free!
O’er whose proud dome and lofty steeple Presides eternal Liberty!
Stand proudly up, aged sire!
Be filled with hope, elastic boy;
Bring forth the lute and tune the lyre,
And let us have a feast of joy!
For lo! the hand that held the musket, And strangled treason in the fight,
Flas laid aside the war-worn corselet,
And taken the ballot as a right!
And the right at his discretion
To wield it as his faith may guide
Responsible for each digression,
To God, his country, and his pride!
And now, in conclusion, accept a brief line Inscribed to our country, thy country and mine.
Hail! hail mighty Land with thy proud destiny! Enduring as time, all chainless and free!
Hail! hail to thy mountains majestic and high, Reclining their heads against the blue curtained sky.
And hail to thy valleys so fragrant and fair, With wild flowers blooming and scenting the air! And hail to thy prairies, outspreading and wide, Resembling the Ocean's broad billowless tide.
And hail to thy Streamlets, all wending their way Adown to their Rivers, more mighty than they; And hail to thy Rivers as onward they sweep Through th’ low valley lands to their home in the deep!
And hail to thy Oceans, all dotted with sails, Their white wings extended, inviting the gales! And hail to thy Commerce, the pride of the world, And hail to thy Standard so proudly unfurled!
And hail to thy Cities all teaming with life, Where the interest of all is the center of strife. And hail to thy Railroads and steam-driven trains That sweep through thy mountains and dash o'er thy plains!
And hail to thy Telegraph, thy glory and prime, Defying all distance, and outstripping Time, Extending its arms through the heart of the sea And binding all Realms to the Land of the Free!
And hail to thy Magistrates, Judges and Courts,
And Armies and Navies, thy strength and sup¬ ports.
And hail to thy Congress, where thy statesmen are met,
Where thy wisdom for ages in Counsel have sat.
And hail to thy Chief, the Bright Crown of thy State,
The gallant Ulysses, all glorious and great!
And hail, once again, thy glory and pride!
Bright Banner of Freedom, out-spreading and wide!
There's not a dark spot on thy features today!
As pure as the heavens, and radiant as they!
Thus, ever proud Banner, exultingly wave!
Thou glory and pride of the unfettered slave!
In commemoration of the death of Abraham Lincoln, delivered at the great public meeting of colored citizens on Tuesday evening, April 18, 5, Sacramento, Cal.
Wherefore half-mast and waving sadly And seeming ill-disposed to move,
Are those bright emblems which so gladly Were wont to wave our homes above?
And why is all this lamentation?
And why those outward signs of woe ?
And why is this all-glorious nation Thus in her hour of hope bowed low?
Wherefore those marks of grief and sorrow So visible on every face?
To what foul deed of bloody horror Do all those gloomy signs retrace ?
Aback to the walls and lofty spire!
Back to the Nation’s Halls of State!
Back to our country’s bleeding sire!
Back to our dying Magistrate!
We know not why God has permitted This tragic scene, this bloody deed;
An act so seemingly unfitted,
In this auspicious hour of need.
Though none perhaps may the intention,
Or the wonderous purpose tell,
Of this direful life-suspension—
Yet God, the Lord, doeth all things well!
Our Nation’s Father has been murdered!
Our Nation’s Chieftain has been slain! By traitorous hands most basely ordered;
And we, his children, feel the pain.
Our pain is mixed with indignation,
Our sorrow is not purely grief,
And nothing short of a libation
From Treason's heart can bring relief.
And we, in sight of earth and heaven,
On bended knee, with lifted hand,
Swear as we hope to be forgiven,
To drive foul Treason from the land! And that fair land so long polluted By the sweat of unpaid toil,
Shall be by liberty uprooted,
And thickly spread with freedom’s soil.
Thus we’ll avenge the death of Lincoln, His noble principles maintain,
Till every base inhuman falcon
Is swept from freedom’s broad domain; Until from tower and from turret,
From mountain height and prairie wide, One flag shall wave—and freedom’s spirit In peace and love o’er all preside!
THE FUTURE OF AMERICA, IN THE UNITY OF THE RACES.
Respectfully dedicated to BISHOP BENJAMIN W. ARNETT,
A life-long and devoted friend and a noble and loyal citizen whose work for God and the good of the race is bearing its fruits, presenting to the present generation of colored youth an inspiring example for their honest, earnest, individual effort.
Once in a time along the Jordan,
And e'en from Beersheba to Dan,
The question rife and all-absorbing Hither and thither wildly ran,
What think you of this Christ, this Jesus?
What of his intercourse with man?
The which to solve full many a thesis Has been the sport of mind and pen.
But we today would feign a question Bring home to each American;
No deep-veiled, mystified suggestion,
But simply, what think you of man?
Not of the angels high and holy,
Not of the streets of shining gold,
Nor of the doomed in hades lowly,
Nor of time, with his step so bold.
These were themes for speculation,
On which the mind might cogitate And weary e’en imagination,
With heights, and depths, and breadth so great. But what of man, is he thy brother,
In all his variableness of hue?
And is thy God and God thy Father,
Alike his God and Father, too?
Is he entitled and deserving
In all that's common to the race,
Whether in ruling or in serving,
Adjudged by fitness in the case?
These are the questions of the hour,
And these the issues of the day;
On these the wisdom, skill and power Of this great nation deigns to play.
For here, not only the religion,
But each man’s patriot faith and creed,
Will blazen forth in his decision Till even he that runs may read.
Therefore, let him within whose nature An impulse lives, though weak, to do Aright by every living creature,
Cherish that impulse and be true—
True to a grand and generous manhood;
True to the spirit of the age,
Whose motto is untrammeled selfhood For human life in every stage,
And on this heaven-established basis
Whoever builds near need not make haste,
For coming freedman’s glorious trace,
Too radiant are to be defaced.
Too high within the mortal heaven Has risen the star of destiny,
And far too wide has spread the leaven Of freedom and equality.
We may not with a will concede it,
As from the fullness of our hearts,
But freedman’s God has thus decreed it And the boon we must impart.
No combined power of human effort Can turn the joyous time aside,
Laden with fruits of hope and comfort To anxious millions long denied.
As well confront the mighty ocean,
Lashing with rage his rock-bound shores, And strive to curb his wild commotion, Or drown the thunder of his roar,
As to resist the coming morrow Which liberty, and truth, and God Have promised these dark sons of sorrow So long enchained and ’neath the rod.
Must we put forth our vain endeavors And waste our efforts on the wind,
And learn too late that mortals never Can change what heaven has designed? We may provoke God’s indignation,
And cause the heavens again to frown, Till his avenging visitations
Cause us in sorrow to bow down,
Yet on and on will sweep the current, Now putting in from Freedom’s sea, Rushing onward like a torrent,
Flooding the land with liberty.
We may attempt to drive them from us, Beyond the confines of our shore,
For even now are there among us Monsters with thoughts so vile in store.
But dare we do it, these jester's slave-men, Poor dupes of unrequited toil,
When we can no longer deprave them, Drive them to other lands, the spoil Of a miasma wildly raging
Beneath an endless summer's sun,
Where listless sloth has been enslaving The mind of man since time begun?
Dare we do this, and righteous heaven Pour out on us new vials of wrath,
Until our land, all rent and riven,
Shall welter in a crimson bath?
Oh, stand in awe of God's displeasure;
Our sure destruction we may buy.
And through our baseness fill the measure Of our guilt, and cursed of heaven die.
The means of life and self destruction Are placed in every nation’s reach, While error, the bane of reproduction, Insinuates at every breach.
Beware! If God has built this nation All its constituents are good And needful to its preservation,
Whether they be stone or wood.
We may not comprehend the structure In full minutial design,
Nor trace its varied architecture In arris, groove, and curve, and line.
Be but faithful, and the Great Grand Master Will on his trestle board make plain All that's obtuse, but no whit faster Than ’twere needful to explain.
But can we not perceive a purpose In the peopling of this land,
Destined of God to be the foremost And the grandest of the grand?
And have we not beheld the nations In spreading o’er the vastly sphere,
That as they spread them weaker traces Of their varied types appear?
There is a principle in nature,
And demonstrative everywhere, Inanimate and breathing creature,
The self-established truth declare;
All branches of the common center Diminish and weaken in their course, The germ in every part doth enter,
But ever with abated force.
Behold the oak with spreading branches, The trunk-life lives in every branch,
But as in length each limb advances It loses strength and sustenance.
The giant oak’s unbroken forces Within no single branch is found,
And faultless nature ne’er reverses This law in all her varied round.
The huge oak’s branches closely blended, And all completely unified,
Would rival all the force expended And varied life so long supplied.
Turn to those early peopled regions— To Europe, Asia, Africa:
The home of science and religions,
And tell us what of them today? Where now is all their former glory ?
And where that grandeur and renown That radiates the page of story,
As diamond jettings doth a crown?
Where now their sculptures and their sages, Their painters and their orators?
And where the pride of all the ages—
Their poets and philosophers?
Where now the minds that planned their temples. The proud Colossus reared at Rhodes,
Grand .architectural examples
And ever-living sculptural modes ?
Their day of grandeur has departed;
Their sun of glory has gone down,
And passed away the valiant hearted,
Their mighty men of great renown.
Their wondrous temples are in ruins, Apollo sleeps beneath the sea;.
For time has here wrought sad undoings And carved on all degeneracy.
The branch had here become too distant From the great Adamic tree,
And hence the germ and life assistant Had grown too meagre in degree; For where man lives in isolation, Though vast possessions he embrace, As family, tribe, kingdom or nation, Degeneracy has marked the race.
Hence, while the clannish tribes were sweeping The wide-spread east in their unrest,
Heaven for a glorious end was keeping In blest reserve the mighty west;
But not until their wasted powers Gave evidence of sure decay,
Was this wealth-flowing land of ours Thrown in a wandering seaman’s way, Wherein a branch of every nation
And tongue and tribe beneath the sun,
, Should spend the days of their probation And finally converge into one—
One, wherein the scattered forces Of the great Adamic tree,
With all its varied life resources, Should blend in perfect harmony.
And by that unifying process,
Give earth once more a glorious type Of wisdom, grace and noble prowess Co-equal with the architype;
A genius of a new creation,
Whom all shall hail with loud acclaim, Whose boast shall be a blood relation To all the kindred sons of fame. Toward this seeming innovation Point all the dial hands of fate,
And to its final consummation
On fleeting Time’s revolving plate.
It may be years, it may be ages,
The finale is with God alone,
Who measures not by dates and pages, But by the fiat of his throne;
For in the near and distant future Of all those tribal branches here,
Scarce aught will live in speech or feature Of what their great ancestors were.
For with the unity of branches Will come a unity of speech,
Correcting old and groundless fancies Discordant tongues could never reach.
Dependent are we on each other And parts essential to a whole,
Strive as we may this fact to smother,
The truth will brook all vain control.
One man, Jehovah, God created,
In whom all graces did combine,
To whom earth’s myriads are related E’en as the branch is to the vine.
And as the thrifty vine while growing Round distant limbs its fibers twine, With all its wealth of shade bestowing, Comprises but a single vine.
So, in the light of heaven’s deeming, Whose broad eye doth creation span Earth’s tribes in all their varied seeming, Combine to form a single man.
We are not independent creatures;
Our brothers’ keepers are we all, Bearing the likeness and the features Of God, our Maker, great and small;
Though darker than the shades of blackness, Or fairer than the morning light,
It matters not, in strict exactness,
God’s image are we, black or white.
The inspirations of our natures,
Declare to us, though erring creatures,
Of each we are integral parts.
Then here, where fortune has assigned us, ’Neath God’s blue dome of liberty,
Let deathless bands of friendship bind us In bonds of blest fidelity,
That in the future grand unfolding,
When all our dark, perplexing fears Respecting rights and their withholding Are buried in the grave of years,
Man shall arise in all his grandeur,
In all his native dignity, •
And go forth daring fear or danger,
The ward of peace and liberty.
THE YOUTHFUL VILLAGER AND THE HERMIT.
Once on a clear autumnal day,
With weary heart and spirit bowed,
I sought a silent scene away
From all the turmoil of the crowd.
And where a rent primeval rock
Reared high its head o’er spire and dome, Which seemed majestic and to mock The structure of my plebeian home.
I bent in gaze my straining eye,
And yielding to a transient freak,
Resolved within my soul to try
And scale the towering cloud-capped peak.
What tiresome moments, more or less,
I toiled in gaining half its height,
When lo! a shadowy, deep recess Allured and filled me with delight.
And turning from my onward march I found it easy of access,
And passing ’neath a rural arch,
I gained a scene of loveliness.
It might have been a warrior’s home,
The home of chiefs who dealt in scars,
Its walls were antique and its dome Was flaming with a thousand stars.
I scanned its countless beauties o'er,
And turning from a scene too grand,
I passed again its arching door
And gazed upon my own loved land.
I saw beneath, amid the throng,
The poor man subject to the proud;
And while I thought of right and wrong, I, all forgetting, thought aloud.
Till then, alas; I little knew Of man’s inhuman acts to man,
But from that panoramic view I, half complaining, thus began:
“If there were less of selfishness,
If friends were less untrue;
How much of all earth’s wretchedness Would vanish from our view.
The rich man then would cease to grind The fate of him that’s poor;
And soon the wretch, and wandering hind Would vanish from our door.
And if the stream of kindness ran More freely through the heart,
Then, erring man would feel for man And act a brother’s part;
The golden rule he would obey,
And seek the poor man’s cot;
And with his kindly aid assay To change his hapless lot.
For there’s enough for every one;
Enough, and some to spare. Enough of comforts ’neath the sun For all that breathe to share.
Were only half that’s vainly spent To make an empty show,
Amid the haunts of sorrow sent, ’Twould heal a world of woe.
And oh! how fragrant would become Each balmy breath of morn,
If every hovel was a home,
And there were none forlorn.
As fair as Eden’s blooming grove, Would this sad world appear;
If'man to man would only prove,
In all his acts, sincere.
But man! oh, selfish, sordid man!
How like a fiend at heart,
Deep skilled in every wily plan,
He plays a demon’s part.
See him exulting in his might Of pageantry and pride,
Passing unmoved amid the blight Of hunger unsupplied.
The orphan’s cry for charity;
The widow’s lonely moan, Awakes no chord of sympathy Within his heart of stone.
Although his basket and his store Have plenty in supply,
He doth unto the aged poor A crust of bread deny.
O Thou! the source of every cause In air, and earth, and sea!
Whose ceaseless and unerring laws Move all in harmony;
Why do thy gifts to man on earth Unequal still appear?
Why go some toiling from their birth, E’en to their graves in fear?
While others, decked in fine array, Drink deep at pleasure’s court,
And pass this life as but a day,
In idle glee and sport!
Why do the thousands starve and thirst, And others die of cold?
And last of all, and still the worst,
Why are the millions sold ? '
Perchance there lies some latent good Beyond my feeble ken,
By angels seen and understood,
But not perceived by men.
Yet why should not the culprit know Wherefore he stands arraigned ?
Why should the expiating blow Fall on him unexplained?
Fain would we hope in Adam’s fall To have seen the problem solved;
But find alas! his guilt for all In life’s great cup dissolved.
For of one blood all men were made,
To dwell in all the earth;
And Adam’s sin was shared and laid At each man’s door at birth.
Condemned to toil were all the race;
But is it thus with all ?
The gilded idler struts apace Mid rank and pomp and ball.
Their, oh ! from whence hath man the power. The absolute control,
To play the mock-god for an hour O’er human heart and soul ?”
* * * * ❖ *
The sun had rolled his golden car Adown behind the western hill;
And I, amid the rocks afar,
Stood wrapped in meditation still.
While o’er the landscape far and near A greyish, sombre veil had spread,
Suggesting to the soul the drear And awful silence of the dead.
Fair Cynthia with her smiling face,
And all her diamond-spangled train,
Were pouring from the fields of space Their silver beams o’er hill and plain.
Just as I turned to leave the scene And seek again my humble cot,
I spied a man with hoary mien,
The hermit of some lonely grot.
‘'Be not in haste,” said he, “young man;
Thy task is incomplete.
In quest of truth thou oughtest scan Beneath the surface sheet.
And that thine age may ne’er undo The labors of thy youth,
Learn this, no superficial view Hath e’er revealed a truth.
There is a source for every stream,
A cause for every woe,
But veiled in mist they often seem To mortals here below.
Canst thou behold yon silvery moon And all the stars above,
And still the omniscient God impugn With motives less than love?
Those stars are worlds, for aught we know, And peopled like our own;
And move and live within the glow And presence of God’s throne.
For earth is but a speck of sand Compared to all the spheres
That ushered from Jehovah’s hand When time began his years.
And canst thou think! Ah, think again! Casnt thou believe that he
The God of all yon starry train,
Would work thy misery?
But thou wouldst know why wrongs abound, And whence man hath the power
To crush his fellow to the ground,
And like a beast, devour.
Thou mayst find in Adam’s fall A key for every ‘why/
Of blood and want and woe, with all The wrongs beneath the sky.
For man, the last and crowning sheaf,
The sixth day’s work of Heaven,
Was made by God, and crowned a chief,
And wide dominion given.
Made like his God, God of his will,
With reason for his guide,
And power to choose the good or ill,
Or either cast aside.
Thus crowned was he when first he trod Fair Eden’s vale and wood,
And wore the image of his God,
And God pronounced him good.
Good was the earth and all its bowers,
Good every cool retreat;
And all the birds and beasts and flowers With goodness were replete.”
TRIUMPHS OF THE FREE.
Hail, thou observed of many lands,
Let all thy banners be unfurled,
This brilliant act of thine commands The commendations of the world;
And all the brave of every tongue Shall heap encomiums on thy name,
While many a lute shall there be strung To chant the wonders of thy fame.
No victory won by land or sea,
No battle fought since war began,
Idas done so much for liberty—
So much for humanizing man—
And never while that old flag waves,
Proud ensign of the noble free,
Wilt thou achieve for all thy braves A more ennobling victory.
For lo! the lightning spark which flew
With thought-like speed from east to west, Brought to the honest, good, and true,
Glad tidings—while to the oppressed And writhing bondsman 'neath the yoke,
It was as when o'er Bethlehem's plains An angel-choir the silence broke,
And charmed the shepherds with their strains.
To them, poor, hopeless, and forlorn,
It seemed a Savior had been given—
A very Jesus had been born,
The gift of God—a child of heaven.
For all the hopes of all their race,
Swung on the slender thread of choice, But interposing heavenly grace Controlled events, hence we rejoice.
Rejoice! rejoice! the bondsmen’s free,
The last foul link in their last chain, This glorious Union victory Will change to molten ore again.
Rejoice! rejoice! our prayer’s been heard;
Let all who love the truth rejoice,
For lo! the man our hearts preferred Becomes again the nation’s choice.
Her choice to fill that high estate,
Grand place of trust, most lofty sphere, Commandant and chief magistrate O’er all her interest far and near;
Her choice, but not from blood or birth, Or vague hereditary claim;
But chosen by the mighty North For honest truth and patriot fame!
Chosen because he loved this land,
Dear home of his progenitors—
Too well to countenance a band Of traitorous conspirators;
Too well to see that noble flag,
Beneath whose folds his fathers fought, Insulted as a worthless rag,
And thrust beneath the earth to rot.
Chosen again, though not as when The nation only deemed him true;
For now since all the skill of men Combined with treason’s dastard crew.
In vain for four long years have tried His god-like truth to compromise,
He's grown a struggling nation's pride Whom millions love and idolize.
Whom millions love—why should they not ?
And though they verge idolatry,
When we compare their present lot With that of chains and slavery,
We scarcely can prefer a charge,
'Tis so in keeping with the race That whence they draw in blessings large, Thither their hearts best loves we trace.
But what had Lincoln done for those— Those weltering 'neath the gory rod?
Who through their chains and cruel blows, Had long been looking up to God?
This hath he done, by Truth's control,
Gave Earth and Heaven the best decree, Which though it fail to reach the soul,
Has rent the veil of Slavery.
Surely the gods have interposed,
And surely heaven has answered prayer, Else why are mercy's doors unclosed;
And why this seeming special care;
And why this steady onward march Of Justice, Truth and Liberty;
And why doth heaven’s o’er-spreading arch Look down with such complacency?
And why this overwhelming vote
By which great Lincoln’s been retained, Whose wondrous acts of world-wide note Bears freedom to the long enchained?
God grant to him an arm of strength Co-equal to his mighty heart;
Then shall our bleeding land at length Bloom like the rose in every part.
To whom save him could we commit The nation's weal till strife is closed,
And feel that he, in every whit,
Was equal to the task imposed ?
Or, taking all our ills in view,
Together with this fiendish war,
Of all our noble heroes, who
Would we exchange our Lincoln for?
There’s valiant Sherman, Grant and Sigel, Each have bright laurels from the field, For which of them could we our legal Claim upon our faithful Lincoln yield? Believe it, ye who will or may,
Of all earth's millions there are none For whom America today
Would change her honest woodman's son.
He stands preeminently high,
With her the first of living men,
And at his will her warriors fly To beard Secessia in his den.
And not until the monster lay As docile as a crouching cur,
Would he command those braves away, Urged on by each incentive spur.
But ere his office shall expire,
Or he its onerous tasks resign,
May Slavery die, and War retire,
And six and thirty States combine,
And blend in one unbroken Union,
Based on the equal rights of man,
Where discontent or vain delusion
Shall ne’er unsheath their swords again.
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE CON¬ TRABANDS?
Shall we arm them? Yes, arm them!. Give to each man
A rifle, a musket, a cutlass or sword;
Then on to the charge! let them war in the van, Where each may confront with his merciless lord,
And purge from their race, in the eyes of the brave,
The stigma and scorn now attending the slave.
I would not have the wrath of the rebels to cease, Their hope to grow weak nor their courage to wane,
Till the contrabands join in securing a peace, Whose glory shall vanish the last galling chain,
And win for their race an undying respect
In the land of their prayers, their tears and neglect.
Is the war one for Freedom? Then why, tell me why,
Should the wronged and oppressed be debarred from the fight?
Does not reason suggest, it were noble to die In the act of supplanting a wrong for the right ?
Then lead to the charge! for the end is not far, When the contraband host are enrolled in the war.
“LIBERTY OR DEATH/'
Virginius, the Roman Father,
With beating heart, though brave,
Beheld his fair Virginia doomed,
To be a tyrant s slave.
Despair had gather’d on his brow, Commingled with regret;
A gleam of hope ran through his soul, I may redeem her yet.
Come hither, belov’d Virginia,
Ere we forever part;
He clasp’d her to his beating breast, Then stab’d her to the heart.
Thus, did a Roman Father slay,
The idol of his soul,
To screen her from a tyrant’s lust,
A tyrant’s foul control.
Though this was done in days of yore, The act was truly brave;
What value, pray, is life to man,
If that man be a slave?
Go and ask of Margaret Garner, Who’s now in prison bound,
(No braver woman e’er hath trod, Columbia’s slave-cursed ground:)
Why did she with a mother’s hand Deprive her child of breath?
She’ll tell you, with a Roman’s smile. That slavery’s worse than death.
O! that every bondman now,
Through all that slave-cursed land,
Had each a heart like Margaret’s, Their freedom to demand.
Then the Jubilee year would come; On spire and dome you’d see
Inscribed in blazing characters,
That all mankind are free.
Long live the name of Margaret,
In every freeman’s breast;
And when her days are numbered here, May she in heaven be blest!
A HOLY MESSENGER.
Dedicated to Rev. Thomas M. D. Ward.
The voice of Macedonia
From California o’er the seas,
And yet, to help her, there was none;
No, none that offered to appease Her anguish, and with words of cheer,
A cordial bring for all her fear.
At length that voice fell on thy heart,
And yielding to its plaintive strain,
I see thee with thy kindred part—
Resolved to cross the dashing main,
And plant life’s crimson banner, where Sin’s dark pollutions taint the air.
Then all thy life, or short or long—
Then all thy powers, small or great,
To God, to whom they all belong,
Anew thou didst them dedicate;
And o’er the broad and trackless deep Came hither both to sow and reap.
Thy coming found us poor indeed,
Unsheltered from the blasts that blow,— No sacred Zion where in need,
Earth’s sad and sorrowing ones might go; And leave this world of care and doubt,
With all its carking fears without.
Thou didst not come as many came,
Alone to fill thy purse with gold,
Thy mission and thy noble aim,
God’s glorious Gospel to unfold,
And through His aid, to seek and save The lost and wrecked on ruin’s wave.
Hence, with thy cross of faith upreared, Thy book of promise widely spread; While godless thousands scoffed and jeered, Thou didst portray the life Christ led, And how he bore sin’s chastening rod To win the erring back to God.
Though many scoffed, yet some gave heed;
Though many scorned, yet some have prayed. And found in that dread hour of need Thy Christ, their refuge and their aid;
Their friend, while passing through that vale Where all our mortal friendship fail.
And thus thy labors have been crowned— Crowned with many a signal good; While error’s hosts have darkly frowned, Many have joined the angelhood;
And in life’s morn, for each of them,
A star shall deck thy diadem.
Meanwhile thy toils have reared on high, In grand memorial of thy name,
Our bethel, where, as years sweep by, Shall live the record of thy fame— The record of thy godly zeal,
That all may see, and know, and feel.
And now that duty calls thee hence, Once more to cross the briny wave, Once more to stand in our defense, Amidst the holy, loved and brave;
Go, and may his presence be thy stay, Whom maddening waves and winds obey.
SONS OF ERIN.
Ye sons of Erin who have come To this fair land to make your home,
Look back upon your native shore,
Where lordling rule makes thousands poor, And tell me why ye stand arrayed With those who would your rights invade? With those who would extend a course Of human bondage, tenfold worse Than England’s Land Monopoly,
All o’er this land of Liberty.
Know ye not that with the class Known as the Democratic mass Stand your uncompromising foes,
And source of all our country’s woes? Tyrants, whose avaricious lust,
Would fain have ground you to the dust, Long ere time’s dial marked this hour, Had their best wishes been their power.
Remember great O’Connell’s name! And sully not his world-wide fame By any glaring act of shame; Remember how he once returned To Southern planters moneys earned By the bondman ’neath the yoke,
And all those burning words he spoke; And let your great example be His life and marked consistency.
ELIZA HARRIS’ PARENTAL LOVE.
When February’s chilling winds Swept through the forest glen,
And nothing save the smoking hut Marked the abodes of men,
I through my lattice chanced to peep;
And far amid the storm A slender female shape advanced With something in her arms.
An unexpected sight like this Won my attention o’er,
And wistfully I stood till she Rapped lightly at the door.
She entered bearing in her arms A little sportive boy,
Whose jetty locks, though all disheveled, Revealed a face of joy.
Can I be ferried o’er the stream?
Sad news I’ve heard of late
About one of my children/ sir,
I’m fearful of his fate.
She spoke this so imploringly That loath I felt to say,
The perils of the ice-gorged stream I cannot brave today.
At length I said, if possible Most freely I would go,
The floating ice is so condensed The boat cannot pass through.
’Twas evening, and the sun sunk fast Toward the western mound,
And e’er an hour could have past
Night’s gloom would spread around.
She lay her babe upon the bed And threw her bonnet by,
Then from the center of the soul Came one despairing sigh.
The tramp of horses’ feet was heard Upon the frozen ground.
She stood aghast, then seized her child And made a fearful bound.
Tis he, ’tis he, she wildly cried,
Oh! save my darling child;
While towards the water’s edge she ran Like one far more than wild.
She saw the tyrant pressing hard,
Her Harry was his slave;
She then resolved to cross the stream Or perish ’neath the wave.
From slab to slab of floating ice She leaped amid its roar,
Till witli her Harry in her arms She reached the other shore.
While he who caused this fearful scene Stood speechless as a plank,
And saw the object of his chase Born safely up the bank.
She's free, and nobly has she won The boon by nature given.
May she be blest while here on earth, And doubly blest in heaven.
THE FIRST OF AUGUST.
Hail! hail thou glorious first!
Proud day of Liberty,
Thy dawning wakes the burst Of India’s jubilee;
And calls to mind that happy morn
When Freedom’s thousand sons were born.
That morn when o'er the main Bless’d Freedom’s angel flew,
And rent each galling chain,
And loud her tocsin blew;
When hoary age became a boy,
And every heart leaped up for joy.
Hail! hail thou glorious day,
We greet thy blest return,
With speech and gladsome lay,
And fervent hearts, that burn To join with those amid the sea,
Whose songs and shouts are Liberty!
Speed, Lord, the glorious day When o’er our native land Fond Liberty shall sway Her sceptre of command;
And every yoke and galling chain,
Shall vanish ’neath her peaceful reign.
TRIBUTE TO REV. WILLIAM PAUL QUINN,
Late Senior Bishop, African M. E. Church.
Death is the common lot of all,
Yet nothing do we so much dread; Nothing that doth our frames befall
From which we shrink as from the dead.
Though all familiar with the fact That death is everywhere unseen,
Yet from his touch we stagger back
And strive to thrust long years between.
But why this weakness on our part?
And why does nature thus recoil?
And why are we so loath to part
From this vain world of pain and toil?
This always was a house of death,
And e’er has been a vale of tears;
Here sorrow mingles with our breath,
And poisons life in all its years.
And yet from death frail nature shrinks,
And still the finite man complains,
And e’en the spirit man, that thinks,
Clings to his prison and his chains.
And why? The vast beyond is dark And veiled in deepest mystery,
And reason's lamp reveals no mark Decisive of our destiny.
There is but one remedial course By which we may and can obtain
From dread of death a full divorce,
And evermore absolved remain.
Implicit confidence imposed In Jesus, God’s anointed Son,
Will fill the heart to doubt disposed With deathless joys on earth begun,
For faith in Christ dispels the gloom,
And hope extends her spotless sails
And finds with God beyond the doom A heaven and life that never fails.
This mortal shall immortal wear,
Corruption incorruption take,
And saints of God with Christ shall share The boundlessness of his estate.
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But why is this fair temple clad In these habiliments of woe?
And why are all our faces sad,
Bereft of their accustomed glow?
And why those dirge tones from the choir? And why are all these people here?
What strange and burdensome desire Has thus induced them to appear
Where all doth seemingly partake Of some unusual widespread gloom,
That to our awe-struck natures wake The sad reflections of the tomb?
With all the dread solemnities Associated with that word,
The severance of affinities,
Life-loves and friendships long preferred.
This spreading pall, these gloomy scenes, Those dirge tones falling on the ear,
Are but the more impressive means Of telling us that death is here.
Although no shrouded corpse is brought Within this sacred fane today,
To demonstrate what death hath wrought Upon man’s frail impassioned clay;
Yet, to our Zion, death has come,
And ta’en away from our embrace One loved abroad and loved at home,
The Father Bishop of our race.
And hence, dear friends, we’ve come to pay A parting tribute of respect,
And thus our humble offering lay Upon the shrine of God’s elect.
Fain would we speak in terms of praise Of one whose life has been bestowed In countless efforts to upraise A people writhing ’neath a load.
As Moses saw, in Egypt’s land,
The hardships that his people bore,
And rather chose with them to stand Than heir the wealth of Pharaoh’s store.
So felt the valiant, youthful Quinn When he beheld oppression’s horde (Steeped to the very lips in sin)
Defile the altars of the Lord.
For Slavery’s Pharisaic hand
Had closed the book of life and light, And all the churches of our land Had bowed submissive to his might.
And there was neither court nor fane Where God’s lorn sons of ebon hue, Though ne’er so humble, could obtain A place of worship as their due.
And Macedonia’s cry was heard On every breeze, and everywhere,
“Oh, come and break to us the word Of life, and lead our hearts in prayer.”
He rose, like the intrepid Paul,
And in the vigor of his youth, Resolved, whatever might befall,
To bear to these the words of truth.
Although his purse was ill-supplied With means sufficient for the call,
Yet, he on heavenly grace relied,
And God, the Lord, arranged it all.
God was his friend, his guard and guide,
His refuge and his mighty tower,
And well he knew He would provide For every need and trying hour;
And hence he left all else behind,
Save God and His abounding grace.
And started forth to heal and bind The bruises of his injured race.
Now, from the dread abyss of time,
Call back the flight of three-score years And, lo! all clothed in grace sublime,
A weird and beardless youth appears.
He's tall, and for commanding mien,
A finer mold is seldom seen;
His brow is high, his locks are jet,
His eyes are fierce, his lips are met.
His words are rapid in their flow,
Confined to neither high nor low,
But of that modulated form Which always tempers to the storm.
Where’er he moves he rears on high The ensign of his ministry,
And thousands throng to hear his speech, And learn whereof he came to teach
The matchless story of the cross,
Compared to which all else is dross, Comprise the burden and refrain,
And many hear and hear again.
And wonder at his matchless zeal,
His fervent prayer, his strong appeal, And as he pictures forth the doom Of sin, which kills beyond the tomb-
Many are pricked e'en to the heart And, jailor-like, the cry doth start:
"Sir, to be saved, what shall I do?
For all these burning words are true.
And I am wretched and undone.
O, whither shall I fly to shun The wrath of an avenging God,
Just retribution's chastening rod?"
Pie points them to the crimson tide,
And to a Savior crucified,
And says to all: "Repent, believe, Forsake your sins and you shall live."
And as he goes forth, here and there, New altars rise up unto prayer;
Though rude and meagre, yet are they In all things equal to the day.
And as the years move on apace He stands the center of a race Whose faces are upturned to God, Praying heaven to break the rod And overturn the powers of sin And let the jubilant year come in.
Near three-score years on Zion's walls A faithful sentinel he stood,
And all his sermons, prayers and calls Were mingled with atonino- blood.
He was, in truth, a burning light,
And sinners trembled in his sight;
For nothing earthly could deter,
Nor friends persuade him to defer,
What duty urged him to perform In weal or woe, in calm or storm.
But oh ! how changed ; his raven hair Is thin and bleached as white as snow,
His face is furrowed deep with care,
His frame is weak, his steps are slow.
Thus bowed beneath the weight of years,
He brings his cross and lays it down At Jesus’ feet ’midst angels’ cheers,
And on his brow receives a crown—
A crown of life, bestud with stars,
The trophies of his conquest here Midst earth’s interminable wars,
Where all the foes to life appear.
He conquered in the Christian fight,
He ran the Christian race and won,
And in the realms of endless light
Has heard the gladsome sound : “Well done.
Well done, for faithful hast thou been O’er all things given to thy care;
Heir of my Father’s house, come in,
And all its blest provisions share.”
Although our aged bishop’s gone,
And we on earth shall meet no more,
Yet heaven hath many a vale and lawn,
And friendships that have gone before—
Gone to the realms of holy love,
Where all are known and all is fair.
For in our Father’s house above There are no spirit strangers there.
Though gone from earth he is not dead— The great and good they never die;
But when their mortal forms they shed,
In fadeless youth they bloom on high.
O, could we pass beyond the doom,
And range through fields, forever fair, Arrayed in heaven’s eternal bloom,
We’d find our sainted bishop there.
Then, O, my friends, rejoice to know,
Where he has gone we all may go,
And move through heaven as he doth now With life’s fair crown upon our brow.
For heaven’s blest plans are ample quite For all whom mercy doth invite;
And every son of Adam’s race The invitation may embrace.
For in our Father’s house there’s room For all his children, all may come.
And crowns there are for all to wear,
And palms there are for all to bear,
And robes there are of radiant hue;
Go up and claim them as your due.
Farewell, dear bishop, till the day When death shall roll the stone away,
And this poor soul released shall fly To hail thee in the realms on high.
TEIE UNION AND THE RIGHT.
(A Campaign Song.)
We’ve placed upon our banner,
The banner of the free,
Harrison and Morton,
Success and victory.
And they shall bear our standard Throughout the coming fight,
And this shall be our watchword,
The Union and the Right,
The Union and the Right,
Harrison and Morton,
The Union and the Right,
Brave sons of honored sires,
Well known in days of old,
And tried as in a furnace,
And found as pure as gold;
Tried ’mid the din of battle,
Or in the halls of state,
By whatsoever standard,
The twain were truly great.
And they shall bear our standard Throughout the coming fight,
The Union, etc.
Our coats we’ve doffed for battle,
And don’t propose to yield Until the latest foeman Is banished from the field.
With Harrison and Morton To lead our countless host,
To rally is to conquer,
With each man at his post.
And they shall bear our standard Throughout the coming fight, The Union, etc.
Go, bear the news to Grover,
And tell him that the boys Are shouting loud for Harrison, Are making lots of noise;
And will in next November,
Unless they’re much deceived, Permit his arduous labors To be somewhat relieved,
For Harrison and Morton Are leaders in the fight.
And this shall be our watchword, The Union, etc.
And tell him that his vetoes Don’t suit the boys in blue;
As at the time of voting He’ll find it doubly true ;
For he who snubs a soldier Shall feel a soldier’s wrath, With many thorns and briars Strewn thickly in his path;
For Harrison and Morton, etc.
Take hence that foul bandanna, With all its filth and slime,
And give us the starry stripes,
Flag of our olden time;
Then with our gallant leader, The son of Tippecanoe,
We’ll show you in November What patriots can do.
For Harrison and Morton Are leaders in this fight,
And this shall be our watchword : The Union and the Right.
SONG FOR THE FIRST OF AUGUST.
With cheerful hearts we’ve come From many a happy home,
Our friends to greet;
And pass a social hour Beneath this leafy bower,
Where many a shrub and flower In fragrance meet.
We come to joy with those Whose gloomy night of woes Have past away,
And render worthy meeds To men whose noble deeds First cast the genial seeds Of Liberty.
Then let our heart’s best song In acclamations strong,
Reach heaven’s height,
In honor of that hour When Slavery’s massive tower Crumble beneath the power Of truth and right.
This is proud Freedom’s day! Swell, swell the gladsome day, Till earth and sea Shall echo with the strain, Through Britain’s vast domain; No bondman clanks his chain, All men are free.
God hasten on the time When Slavery’s blighting crime And curse shall end;
When man may widely roam Beneath the arching dome,
And find with man a home,
In man a friend.
DESCRIPTIVE VOYAGE FROM NEW YORK TO ASPINWALL.
Farewell, for now my gallant bark,
Loosed from her mooring, quits the shore
Amid a fog and mist as dark
As that which spread old Egypt o’er.
On this black and fearful night,
She dare not venture out to sea
Lest on some rock or reef she might,
At early dawn, all foundered be.
Hence till the mist and fog had fled;
Until the morning rays had spread
Pier genial rays o’er land and tide,
My anchored bark doth proudly ride.
’Tis morn and now my goodly ship,
With spreading canvas all unfurled,
Like frighted deer doth bound and skip;
Old Neptune’s waves doth proudly hurl,
While smiles of peace and calm resign Paints every cheek or decks the brow;
And of the Hundreds none repine,
But all seems resignation now.
A steady, brisk, increasing gale Spreads to the compass all our sail And bears us o’er the trackless main From friends we hope to meet again.
Tis night and now, it forged in wrath And on destruction’s errand sent,
The mountain waves that sweep our path Could scarcely be more violent;
But while she reels thus to and fro The sickest of the sick am I And from my system would I throw It’s last contents, or even die.
Oh, of all that’s known or heard Of sickness in its varied form,
The last of all to be preferred ~ Is sea sick-sickness in a storm.
Too sick to live, nor can we tell Why in this neither state we dwell.
For life seems scarcely worth the breath That severs our sad state from death.
And were it not for superstition,
We’d claim some Jonah somewhere stored; And yet ’tis true our sad condition
Changed not till one leaped over board.
Yes, on that night of winds and tide,
One poor unfortunate and unknown Leaped from our vessel’s wave-washed side And found his coral bed alone.
O ! Thou eternal mystery,
Thou grand, sublime, though awful sea, Alas, how oft thy fury smothers The last fond hope of wives and mothers.
’Tis morn the fourth and calm’s the sea As though some talesmanic wand Had quelled the waves inebriety By virtue of the wielder’s hand;
For e’er had bloomed the misty morn,
Fair Luna sweeping o’er the main Had caught the fierce winds in her horn, And bound the mad waves with a chain.
Then old Atlantic calmed his raid,
As though some shrewd Philistine maid Had won his heart and ta’en away His bristling waves and angry spray—
’Tis moonlight on the deep blue sea,
And, skimming o’er the curling wave,
My gallant bark moves blithe and free As mind could wish or heart could crave.
Nor lays she for the sluggish breeze That fain would seek a night’s repose. Impelled by steam she beats the seas,
With her huge arm thus on she goes.
And bears me toward that sunny clime, Where grows the orange and the lime And flowers of every varied hue From lily white to violet blue.
’Tis morn, the seventh and the last,
And here my Baltic voyage must end; Through calms and storms and death she’s past To reach this hot and sultry clime;
For Aspinwall is a sultry place,
Where noxious vapors taint the air,
And peopled by a tribal race , Most thinly clad with little care;
And yet the denizens you find Residing here are wondrous kind,
And versed in many a tender word • By which the heart to love is stirred.
Yet Aspinwall’s a sultry place,
For here the sunshine and the rain Meet each other and embrace As lovers do,—then part again.
For, in the space of one brief hour,
The sun will shine and then a shower Of rain will fall so thick and fast,
You’d think the clouds would weep their last.
But O, if in her gorgeous dress,
Nature in all her loveliness
The world encomium should command,
’Tis on this narrow frith of land;
For rarer fruits and fairer flowers Scarce ever bloomed in Eden bowers,
Than bud and bloom and ripen here Through all the seasons of the year.
For there's no rose without a thorn,
Nor much of joy without regret;
For where our brightest hopes are born, Sacl disappointments oft are met.
Nor have we an exception found In this bright land so seeming fair,
For here while beauty paints the ground, A foul miasma taints the air;
And oft so direful in their sway That hundreds perish in a day.
O, Land of sunshine and of showers,
Of rarest fruits and fairest flowers,
Adieu ! Adieu, for at the quay A vessel waits to bear away,
Not only me, but many a score
That fain would leave thy fevered shore.
PADDLE YOUR OWN CANOE.
A Red chief dwelling near a lake,
Beneath a Western sky,
Felt soon his hold on life must break,
And he lay down and die—
He called around his wigwam door His warriors brave and true
And gave to each a tiny oar,
Saying, “Paddle your own canoe,”
For I your brave who taught the bow And how to poise the dart,
And how the bearded shaft to throw With many a needful art,
Am full of years and cannot stand As I were wont to do;
I soon must try the spirit land So “Paddle your own canoe.”
Then lowly bowed each warrior’s head, And a deep long sigh he drew,
-And started forth with measured tread To paddle their own canoe.
High rose the waves on either side,
Loud screamed the wild sea mew;
But naught could daunt their warrior pride, They paddled their own canoe—
O’er rugged heights they onward sped, And mazy forests through,
And whereso’er their duty led,
They paddled their own canoe.
And oft in fancy's bark they’d speed Back through the waters blue,
And once again their chieftain heed Saying, “Paddle your own canoe."
Should friends forsake, should fortune fail Or loved one’s prove untrue,
Then nerve your heart and cburage take, And paddle your own canoe.
For the world with many a snare is set For the honest and the true,
And they alone escape the net Who paddle their own canoe.
VALEDICTORY ON LEAVING SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.
There is no cord, however strong,
That time will not its fibers rend,
Nor weary road, however long,
But constant march will find its end.
As with the cord, and with the road,
E'en so with all our friendships here; Howe’er so worthily bestowed.
Our loves may be as fond and dear,
We deem the object of our trust;
There is a time, and come it must,
An hour of parting on the wing,
And friendship’s heart must feel the sting.
For life is one continuous change;
There’s nothing stable, nothing sure, Nothing in all our mortal range That we can grasp and feel secure.
The rose will wither in its prime,
The violet droop its head and die;
The century oak, at touch of time
Will prostrate fall and mouldering lie.
And e’en the granite by the shore,
Lashed by the mad waves evermore,
Will waste away, grain after grain,
Till nothing of the rock remain.
And yet, with all these facts at hand,
How friends, solicitous are we,
Weaving with care the silken band As though ’twas for eternity.
What pains we take to mold a friend,
.To stamp our image on the heart;
And e’er the anxious task we end,
Stern fate, or duty, bids us part.
Alas! how weather-like is life;
Eternal sunshine is unknown.
Our joys and sorrows room with strife,
And we alternate, laugh and mourn.
Alas! alas! how much we owe To that of which we little know.
The circumstances of an hour!
These, these are far beyond our power.
And yet in these we widely roam,
Or owe to them our lengthened stay;
And few within this sacred dome,
Who have not yielded to their sway.
E’en ’gainst the teachings of their youth;
Against the pledges of the soul;
Against the urgencies of truth,
How oft we’ve bowed to their control.
Nor will time affect their claim,
But all through life will wield the same Matchless power and mystic spell, Producing many a sad farewell.
Farewell, oh land of my sojourn!
And you, the many friends I’ve met; My wandering footsteps homeward turn, With joys commingled with regret.
I joy in sweet, prospective bliss,
Of meeting soon the loved and true,
And sigh for friendships I shall miss In bidding this fair land adieu.
But ocean waves, nor time nor place,
Can e’er from memory’s page erase The kindly acts and friendly care Bestowed since first I landed here.
I came a stranger to your land,
A wanderer from a foreign shore,
With neither card nor scrip in hand Your recognition to secure;
But he who cares for finite dust,
The wise, the infinite, the just,
Has willed each humble heart a friend Where’er his wandering footsteps tend.
And I have met upon your shore The willing hand and open door,
And many a word of kindly cheer Has greeted my arrival here.
Farewell! farewell! the hour has come!
The ship that waits to bear me home Lies anchored in her berth at bay;
And soon, as dashing through the foam, And peradventure through the storm, She’ll bear me on my homebound way.
Yet, on and on till the land shall die,
And nothing save the sea and sky Shall come within my vision's range;
Not e'en a bird to rise or change E’en for a moment's space of time The all monotonous, sublime!
Yet on, and on, with my trust in Him Who laid his hand on the ocean’s brim And said to the rolling waves, “Be still!”
And the wind and waves obeyed His will;
Then trustingly on o'er the restless tide,
On to the land of my youthful pride!
Then joyously on o'er the glorious earth,
Till my feet shall stand on my homestead hearth.
But should occasion e’er recall
The memory of my presence here;
If from your annual festive hall
Is missed the shattered voice you hear;
Know that that voice, if vocal, still Its humble mission to fulfil,
Somewhere, in God’s great providence.
Is trilling in the poor's defense.
Farewell, farewell! my task is o'er;
And if on earth I meet you never,
Then, them upon that pearly shore,
Where time cannot our friendships sever, Where fadeless blooms the tree of life,
Where enters never care nor strife,
There may I meet you, every one,
Father, mother, daughter, son,
Where never shall rise from the notes that swell The heartrending sighs of a sad farewell.
Biographical Sketch and Introduction. 3
Apostrophe to Time. 15
Creation Light. 16
Admonition ... 19
The Black Man’s Wrongs. 26
The Dawn of Freedom. 35
The Emancipation of Slaves in the West Indies and
District of Columbia. 49
The Day and the War. 57
Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia. 81
The Progress of Liberty. 82
Modern Moses, or My Policy Man.
The Triumph of Liberty.
The Death of Lincoln.
The Future of America, in the Unity of the Races....