Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

Gordon to the Oppressed Natives


[Editor's note]

O, you sons of Afric's soil, 
Dyin' in a foreign land,
Crushed beneat' de moil and toil,
Break, break de oppressors' hand!

Wake de lion in your veins,
De gorilla in your blood;
Show dem dat you ha' some brains,
Though you may be course and rude.

Wilberforce has set you free,
Sharpe an' Buxton worked for you;
Trample on de tyrannny
Still continued by a few!

Keep before you Clarkson's name!
Ef your groans caan' win de fight,
Jes' to put do'n dis great shame
Lawful 'tis to use our might.

England paid you' ransom down,
Meant to save you from the pain;
Now, freed men o' England's crown,
Burst de cruel tyrant's chain!

Never would an English mind
Bow beneat' such tyranny;
Rise, O people of my kind!
Struggle, struggle to be free!

Shake de burden off your backs,
Show de tyrants dat you're strong;
Fight for freedom's rights, you blacks,
Ring de slaves' old battle-song!

Gordon's heart here bleeds for you,
He will lead to victory;
We will conquer every foe,
Or togeder gladly die. 

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  1. George Gordon to the Oppressed Natives