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THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL SWAMP.
In dark fens of the Dismal Swamp
The hunted Negro lay ;
And a bloodhound's distant bay.
Where will-o'-the-wisps and glowworms shine,
In bulrush and in brake; Where waving mosses shroud the pine, And the cedar grows, and the poisonous vine
Is spotted like the snake ;
Where hardly a human foot could pass
Or a human heart would dare, On the quaking turf of the green morass He crouched in the rank and tangled grass,
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 were glad and free;
With songs of Liberty !
From the morning of his birth;
And struck him to the earth !
THE SLAVE SINGING AT MIDNIGHT.
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
THE WITNESSES. 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,
No more to sink or rise.
Freighted with human forms,
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.