Leslie Pinckney Hill, "Vision of a Lyncher" (1912)
[Written for The Crisis and dedicated to His Excellency, the Governor of South Carolina.]
Once looked I into hell--'twas in a trance
Throughout a horrid night of soul-wrought pain;
Down through the pit I saw the burning plain,
Where writhed tortured swarm without one glance
Upward to earth or God. There in advance
Of all the rest was one with lips profane
And murderous, bloody hands, marked to be slain
by peers that would not bear him countance.
'God,' cried I in my dream, 'what soul is he
Doomed thus to drain the utmost cup of fate,
That even the cursed of Tartarus expel?'
And the great Voice replied: 'The chastity
Of dear, confiding Law he raped; now Hate,
His own begotten, drives him forth from hell."