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Long since, beyond the Southern Sea
Their outbound sails have sped,
Now earns her daily bread.
That clothe her with such grace ;
That shines upon her face.
THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL SWAMP.
In dark fens of the Dismal Swaup
The hunted Negro lay!
And a bloodhound's distant bay.
In bulrush and in brake;
Is spotted like the snake;
Or a human heart would dare,
Like a wild beast in his lair.
A poor old slave, infirm and lame;
Great scars deformed his face ;
Were the livery of disgrace.
All things above were bright and fair,
All things were glad and free;
With songs of Liberty !
From the morning of his birth ;
And struck him to the earth!
THE SLAVE SINGING AT MIDNIG IT.
Loud he sang the psalm of David !
In that hour when night is calmest,
Songs of triumph, and ascriptions,
And the voice of his devotion
Paul and Silas, in their prison,
But, alas! what holy angel
In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands, Lie skeletons in chains,
With shackled feet and hands.
Beyond the fall of dews,
Deeper than plummet lies, Float ships, with all their crews,
No more to sink or rise.
There the black Slave-ship swims,
Freighted with human forms, Whose fettered, fleshless limbs
Are not the sport of storms,
These are the bones of slaves !
They gleam from the abyss; They cry, from yawning waves,
" We are the Witnesses !"
Within Earth's wide domains
Are markets for men's lives; Their necks are galled with chains,
Their wrists are cramped with gyves.
Dead bodies that the kite
In deserts makes its prey ; Murders, that with affright
Scare schoolboys from their play!
All evil thoughts and deeds;
Anger, and lust, and pride;
That choke Life's groaning tidel,
These are the woes of Slaves ;
They glare from the abyss;
THE QUADROON GIRL.
The Slaver in the broad lagoon
Lay moored, with idle sail ; He waited for the rising moon,
And for the evening gale.
Under the shore his boat was tied,
And all her listless crew Watched the gray alligator slide
Into the still bayou.
Odours of orange-flowers, and spice,
Reached them from time to time, Like airs that breathe from Paradise
Upon a world of crime.
The Planter, under his roof of thatch,
Smoked thoughtfully and slow; The Slaver's thumb was on the latch,
He seemed in haste to go.
He said, “My ship at anchor rides
In yonder broad lagoon;
And the rising of the moon."
Before them, with her face upraised,
In timid attitude,
A Quadroon maiden stood.
Her arms and neck were bare ;
And her own long raven hair.
As holy, meek, and faint,
The features of a saint.
“The soil is barren—the farm is old,"
The thoughtful Planter said;
And then upon the maid.
With such accursed gains;
Whose blood ran in her veins.
But the voice of nature was too weak,
He took the glittering gold !
Her hands as icy cold.
He led her by the hand,
In a strange and distant land!