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

Josephine Heard, "The Black Samson" (1890)

Editor's Note: The 1890 version of the poem was published as "The Black Sampson." The version published in Colored American Magazine has it spelled as "The Black Samson." 

Josephine Heard, "The Black Samsson" 

There's a Samson lying, sleeping in the land, 
He shall soon awake, and with avenging hand, 
In an all unlocked for hour, 
He will rise in mighty power; 
What dastard can his righteous rage withstand? 

E'er since the chains were riven at a stroke, 
E'er since the dawn of Freedom's morning broke, 
He has groaned, but scarcely uttered, 
While his patient tongue ne'r muttered, 
Though in agony he bore the galling yoke. 

O, what cruelty and torture has he felt? 
Could his tears, the heart of his oppressor melt? 
In his gore they bathed their hands, 
Organized and lawless bands-— 
And the innocent was left in blood to welt.
 
The mighty God of Nations doth not sleep, 
His piercing eye its faithful watch doth keep, 
And well nigh His mercy's spent, 
To the ungodly lent: 
"They have sowed the wind, the whirlwind they shall reap." 

From His nostrils issues now the angry smoke, 
And asunder bursts the all-oppressive yoke; 
When the prejudicial heel 
Shall be lifted, we shall feel, 
That the hellish spell surrounding us is broke. 

The mills are grinding slowly, slowly on, 
And till the very chaff itself is gone; 
Our cries for justice louder, 
'Till oppression's ground to powder — 
God speed the day of retribution on! 

Fair Columbia's filmy garments all are stained; 
In her courts is blinded justice rudely chained; 
The black Sampson is awaking, 
And his fetters fiercely breaking; 
By his mighty arm his rights shall be obtained. 


Published in Morning Glories, 1890
Also published in Colored American Magazine, April 1907
 

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