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

Joseph S. Cotter, Sr., "The Negro's Loyalty" (1898)

 Disloyal to my native land?  
 A traitor to the stripes and stars? 
 I lift this tried and sturdy hand 
 To forge my brother's prison bars? 
 Perish the hellish thought! 
 My all shall go as a true patriot's ought. 
 For him who doth unwisely prate 
 Of my good will to bloody Spain, 
 I brew the patriot's righteous hate, 
 And hurl it at him with disdain. 
 May the avenging rod 
 Wed his foul dust to the o'er-welcome sod. 
 Justice at times may slightly swerve, 
  And turn the course of freedom back, 
 Her blinded presence tend to nerve 
 The mob that puts me to the rack; 
 Yet, I am what I am — 
 A force to guard the rights of Uncle Sam. 
 My faith looks up through blood and tears 
  And tarries at the golden dawn 
 Whose beams slant out across the years, 
 Proclaiming freedom fully born. 
 I must do what I can 
 To hasten on this boon to struggling man. 
 God bless this land of corn and wine! 
 God bless her loyal, fighting sons! 
 May each one say : '"The cause is mine; 
 I'll stand beside the roaring guns, 
 And play a hero's part 
 In striking terror to Spain's cruel heart." 

Published in Joseph S. Cotter, "Links of Friendship" (1898)

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