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In that hour, when night is calmest,
Songs of triumph, and ascriptions, Such as reached the swart Egyptians, When upon the Red Sea coast Perished Pharaoh and his host.
And the voice of his devotion
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, Float ships, with all their crews,
No more to sink nor 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; The foulest, rankest weeds,
That choke Life's groaning tide!
These are the woes of Slaves;
They glare from the abyss; They cry, from unknown graves,
“We are the Witnesses !”
THE QUADROON GIRL. The Slaver in the broad lagoon
Lay moored with idle sail ;
And for the evening gale.
And all her listless crew
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;
He seemed in haste to go.
In yonder broad lagoon ;
And the rising of the moon.”
In timid attitude,
A Quadroon maiden stood.
Her eyes were large and full of light,
Her arms and neck were bare ;
And her own long raven hair.
And on her lips there played a smile
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 accursèd gains,
Whose blood ran in her veins.
He took the glittering gold !
Her hands as icy cold.
He led her by the hand, . .. ]
In a strange and distant land!
THE WARNING. BEWARE! The Israelite of old, who tore,
The lion in his path,—when, poor and blind,
Shorn of his noble strength and forced to grind
Upon the pillars of the temple laid
His desperate hands, and in its overthrow
A cruel mockery of his sightless woe;
There is a pois strength, andeb, raise his b
There is a poor, blind Samson in this land,
Shorn of his strength, and bound in bonds of steel, Who may, in some grim revel, raise his hand,
And shake the pillars of this Commonweal,
BALLADS, SONGS, AND SONNETS.
WHEN descends on the Atlantic
The toiling surges,
Of sunken ledges,
The Orkneyan skerries,
On the shifting
Of sandy beaches !
* Strike the ocean
In its vastness,
From the far-off isles enchanted,
Heaven has planted
On the shifting
They, like hoarded
THE DAY IS DONE. THE day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight. I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist, And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist: "
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain, And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay, . That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime, Whose distant footsteps écho
Through the corridors of Time. For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest