Poetical Works
Elizabeth Margaret Chandler:

With a
Memoir of her Life and Character,

By Benjamin Lundy.

Shall we behold, unheeding,

Life’s holiest feelings crush’d?

When woman’s heart is bleeding,

Shall woman’s voice be hush’d?

Page 64.

Published by T. E. Chapman.New York: Baker, Crane & Day.18451845.

1(1)v 1(2)r


In offering to the public a collection of the Poetical Works
of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler
, it is considered unnecessary
to say much in explanation of the motives which have influenced
those concerned in the compilation.—Among the
female writers of modern times, who have distinguished
themselves in philanthropy and moral excellence, few, indeed,
if any, have presented stronger claims to favourable notice,
than the amiable author of the valuable essays and miscellaneous
pieces comprised in this volume. Personally, she was
unknown to the literary world—and even her name was not
familiar to the reading community; yet the beautiful and excellent
productions of her pen, emanating from a refined and
highly cultivated mind, will be found worthy an attentive
perusal; and their merit will, no doubt, be properly appreciated
by the virtuous and discriminating. The philosophic
and sentimental piety manifested in them; the liberal principles
of charity and benevolence which they inculcate; and
the lessons of justice, humanity, and active philanthropy, that
are taught by them, cannot fail to recommend the book to
the libraries of the learned, the circles of literary taste, and to
readers, in general, who take an interest in the march of human
improvement, and the welfare and happiness of mankind.

These considerations, it may be presumed, will afford a
sufficient inducement for the humane and the philanthropic to
acquaint themselves with the contents of the volume.—And
that they may be found profitable in awakening and increasing
the disposition to spread the light of Christian philanthropy,
and in promoting more zealous efforts to meliorate the condition
of oppressed and suffering humanity, is the ardent desire
and truly cherished hope of

The Publisher.

3 1(2)v 1(3)r


By B. Lundy.

Elizabeth Margaret Chandler was born at Centre, near
the town of Wilmington, in the State of Delaware, on the 1807-12-2424th
day of the Twelfth Month (December) 1807
. She was the
daughter of Thomas Chandler, a very respectable farmer, who
possessed a handsome competency, and lived in easy circumstances,
though he was not reputed wealthy as to the riches of
this world. He received a liberal education, and also studied
medicine; but while he resided in the country, he devoted his
attention principally to agriculture. The name of her mother
was Margaret Evans, who was born at the city of Burlington,
in the State of New-Jersey. Both the Chandler and Evans
families were of English origin, their ancestors having migrated
to this country at an early period of its settlement by the

Thomas Chandler and his wife resided at Centre a number
of years after their marriage, where they were highly respected
by their acquaintance generally. They were both exemplary
members of the religious society of Friends, and lived in strict
conformity with its established rules of order and discipline.
They were blessed with three fine healthy children, of whom
the subject of this memoir was the youngest, and only daughter.
But although their prospects were highly flattering, while the
peaceful enjoyment of connubial happiness lightened the burthens
of worldly care, the bright anticipations of this worthy
family were destined to be of short duration.—The mother died
while the daughter was still in her infancy.—Elizabeth was
then too young to be sensible of the irreparable loss which she
thus sustained. How applicable to her infantile bereaved condition
were the following elegant lines of Barton!—

7 1(4)v 8 “Blessings rest on thee, happy one! All that parental love Could ask, or wish, since life begun, Be given thee from above. And when, through childhood’s path of flowers, Thy infant steps have trod, Thy soul shall be, in after hours, Prepared to learn of God.”

Soon after the death of his wife, Thomas Chandler removed
to Philadelphia, where he was for some length of time successfully
engaged in the practice of medicine. He placed his infant
daughter under the care of her grandmother, Elizabeth
, who then resided in the same place. Here she remained
a number of years. Every possible care was taken respecting
her morals and education, by her friends, with whom she was
a particular favourite. Her natural disposition was mild, yet
lively, and her temper calm and even. Her faculties were bright
and vigorous, and her perceptions quick and penetrating. As
soon as she was old enough, she was put to school, where she
made rapid progress in acquiring the rudiments, and afterwards
a knolwedge, of the higher branches of a common or general
school education.

At the age of about nine years, she was so unfortunate as to
lose her father, in addition to the previous loss of her mother.
She was now left an orphan, with her two elder brothers, to
buffet the cheerless frowns of a troublesome world, without the
aid of parental advice or protection. She was still of too tender
and age fully to estimate the great bereavement which this double
misfortune occasioned. But these sorrowful vicissitudes, no
doubt, made their wonted impressions on her susceptible mind,
and in all probablility, contributed largely to give it that seriously
reflective turn, which appeared in her after-life as one of the
most distinguishing traits in her character.

The schools which she attended, were established by the
society of Friends, and conducted by teachers, selected especially
with reference to their exemplary character, and their
competency for the station. This was evidently a great advantage
to the youthful pupil, in both a moral and religious point
of view. Considering the situation in which Elizabeth was
now placed, it was, to her, a matter of momentous concern. In 1(5)r 9
addition to the care of her pious, yet fond and doating grandmother,
she experienced the kind attention and wholesome admonitions
of her three aunts, Ruth, Jane, and Amelia Evans,
the sisters of her deceased mother. But all their efforts to
guard her against the temptations and allurements of a deceitful
world, might possibly have failed, without the aid of these
excellent institutions, surrounded as she was by the giddy,
thoughtless votaries of fashion and vitiating amusement, in the
gay metropolis of Pennsylvania. We do not learn that she
made greater proficiency in the more scientific studies, than
many others of her contemporaries. The bent of her mind,
even at this tender age, was religiously contemplative; and she
was more inclined to view with admiration and gratitude, the
works of the adorable Author of Nature, as they were unfolded
to her mental or corporeal vision, than to pry into the mysteries
of creation, and strive to attain to a higher degree of knowledge
than was, perhaps, vouchsafed by the Creator. She manifested
a particular fondness for literary pursuits, and very early gave
evidence of a rare talent for poetical composition. When she
was but little over nine years of age, she wrote several stanzas,
(the first noticed by her friends,) upon the occurence of a violent
tempest. They were so well composed, for one so young,
that they excited the admiration of all who read them. Very
shortly afterwards, she wrote another piece, on the same subject,
which she entitled, Reflections on a Thunder-gust. The
following extract will give some idea of both her natural capacity,
and pious train of thought:—

“When lightnings flash, and thunders roll, To God I will direct my soul. When sorrows assail my troubled mind, In God I can a refuge find. Preserved by him from every snare, I’ll join him in Heaven, with angels there.”

She left school at about the age of twelve or thirteen years;
but still entertaining an ardent desire for literary improvement,
she read much, and frequently employed her pen on various
subjects. As the powers of her intellectual faculties were thus
developing, her writings further attracted the attention of her
friends and acquaintances, who often solicited, and occasionally
obtained permission, to publish articles which she selected from 1(5)v 10
among them. Yet, such was her retiring modesty, and native
diffidence, that she did not, for a considerable length of time,
permit her name to be used publicly, as an author. Some of
the most popular periodicals of the day were thus enriched by
the productions of her pen, while she was almost entirely unknown
to the world. She began to write, particularly for the
press, at about the age of sixteen years; and some of her articles
were extensively copied and circulated in various parts of
America, and considerably in Europe. Though she was by no
means deficient in prose, either for elegance of diction, or force
of expression, she excelled in poetry. Her style was easy and
graceful, while the flights of her fancy were lofty and soaring,
and her imagery natural and pleasing. The touches of her
pencil were generally and truly original, appropriate, and

In the year 18271827, she experienced another bereavement, in
the death of her pious and affectionate grandmother. This
must have been a severe shock, to a mind so refined and susceptible
of impression as hers. The decease of both her parents
had occurred at early periods of her life, while she was incapable
of appreciating the magnitude of the deprivation: yet,
as she advanced to maturer age, the recollection of those circumstances
exhibited to her mental vision the loneliness of an
orphan’s state and condition, and the portraiture had awakened
reflections which served to make lasting impressions on her
memory.—But now, her mind was alive to the sorrowful denouement
of these mortal visitations, and the awful consequences
of Death’s doings. Well might she exclaim, in the
language of one, whose mind had previously been familiar
with the oft-repeated havoc of the inexorable Destroyer in his
family connexion:— “Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?Thy shaft flew thrice; and thrice my peace was slain.” Young.

For some length of time after the death of her grandmother,
she resided with her aunt Ruth Evans, and her brother Thomas
, in Philadelphia. Though studiously inclined,
and habitually reserved, she had selected a few, among the
most worthy of her contemporary female acquaintances, as her
intimate and confidential friends.—With these, particularly
Hannah Townsend, and Anna Coe, of Philadelphia, she spent 1(6)r
a portion of her time in social intercourse, and also corresponded
with them freely. She very seldom frequented the places of public
resort, except the religious assemblies of the society of Friends
—of which she was a birthright member—and meetings for
philanthropic purposes. She became a member of a Female
anti-slavery Society, in Philadelphia; but did not take a very
active part in its public proceedings. The scenes of gayety,
of splendid exhibition, or of volatile and transient amusement,
had few attractions for her. The leisure moments which a
relaxation from her studies and other avocations afforded, were
more profitably, and, to her, much more agreeably occupied,
in conversation or epistolary communion with the friends of
her choice. She was warmly and most affectionately attached
to her brothers, (especially the youngest, with whom she
resided,) and also to her aunt Ruth Evans, to whom, more than
any one else, she was indebted for the care extended towards
her, during the periods of infancy and youth. Thus situated,
she pursued her literary studies—not as a source of pecuniary
gain, nor yet of worldly fame—but for the amusement and
rational gratification of her own mind. Her secluded habits
and persevering resolution (in most cases) in withholding her
name from the public, prevented her from acquiring that notoriety,
as an author, which her superior talents and excellent
principles were calculated to obtain for her.

But we are, henceforth, to view her character and exercises
in a different and more interesting light than formerly. The
course of her reading and study had never been confined to
any one particular subject.—And although she was peculiarly
fond of noting the incidents connected with the history of her
native country; of delineating the manners and customs of its
aboriginal inhabitants, and tracing the progress of events relating
to the existence, dispersion, or extinction of their various
tribes; we now see her turning her attention to the degraded
and suffering condition of the African race, in America. To
enable the reader to form a correct idea of the time and manner
in which her mind was first impressed with the high importance
of attending to this momentous subject, we copy the statement
which she has given of it herself. In a letter to her friend,
Hannah Townsend, at a subsequent period, she remarks as

“In looking over one of thy notes, I observe that thou mentions 1(6)v 12
having copied The Slave Ship from my album. See this beautiful article in the collection of poetry. It was written
when she was about eighteen years of age.
am glad thee did so, as that piece, on some accounts, is interesting
to me; and was indirectly the cause, perhaps, of our
present acquaintance. It was written about five years since, and
was published shortly afterwards in the Casket, having received
the award of one of the premiums offered by the editors
of that work—and mightily indignant, too, I was at the time,
that it was adjudged only to the third rank! and, by the bye,
though I have forgotten the insult, I still consider it equal to those
which were exalted above it—but that matters little. It was
copied into the Genius of Universal Emancipation; when
the signature was recognized by a friend of mine, who acquainted
the editor (B. Lundy) with the name of the author, and
conveyed me a request from him, to write occasionally for the
paper. An introduction and acquaintance afterwards followed;
and I continued to write, sometimes, for the poetical department,
until I was formally installed into the editorship of the Ladies’
—and our own friendship has been the result. But
I forgot to commence by telling thee, that it was the first piece
I ever wrote upon the subject of slavery—and was, if my
memory serves me correctly, the effect of reading a sermon
delivered by a minister of the society of Friends.”

We have now, indeed, to commence a new era in her biography,
and introduce her to the world—not merely as a contributor
to the popular, yet light and transient, literature of the
day—but as an able author, and editor; in fact, one of the most
accomplished and powerful female writers of her time. It is
not enough to say, that her productions were chaste, eloquent,
and classical.—Her language was appropriate, her reasoning
clear, her deductions logical, and her conclusions impressive
and convincing. Her appeals were tender, persuasive, and
heart-reaching; while the strength and cogency of her arguments
rendered them incontrovertible. She has given her own
account of the manner in which her attention was drawn to
the great and important question of the abolition of slavery.
We now proceed to a review of her labours in that righteous
cause, during the brief period in which she so zealously advocated
it. She was the first American female author that ever 2(1)r 13
made this subject the principal theme of her active exertions
and it may safely be affirmed, without the least disparagement
to others, that no one of her sex, in America, has hitherto contributed
as much to the enlightenment of the public mind, relative
to this momentous question, as she has done. In short, she
ranked as second to none, among the female philanthropists
of modern times, who have devoted their attention to it, if we
except the justly celebrated Elizabeth Heyrich, of England:—
and had her valuable life been prolonged, there can be no doubt
that her well-merited fame would soon, at least, have rivalled
that of the distinguished and eminently philanthropic author,
just named.

Her correspondence with the editor of the Genius of Universal
commenced in the early part of the year
18261826. Though she had previously written the prize poem, on
the subject of slavery, as aforesaid, her mind had not then been
fully awakened to the nature of the system; neither had it
been much occupied in contemplating the proper means to be
used for its extinction. The articles which she furnished for
the pages of the work, embraced a variety of subjects in the
field of general and miscellaneous literature. Among the first
of her contributions, expressly designed for it, the pieces entitled,
The Treaty of Penn, and the Appeal of the Choctaw,
exhibited the effusions of a tender and feeling heart, alive to the
multiplied wrongs and outrages heaped upon the forest race, as
well as an intimate acquaintance with the Indian character.
The articles headed, The Wife’s Lament, Midnight, and
The Depths of the Sea, were also among her earlier communications
for the same work, and afford specimens of varied
talents and the rich stores of a highly cultivated mind. The
following lines are extracted from one of them, All other articles here alluded to, will be found in the succeeding
entitled, A
Paraphrase of part of the INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Nineteenth Chapter of 2d Kings.

The delineation is graphic, and the strains sublime.—

“The screaming eagle fled across the sky, And left the scene of havoc far behind; The crush of wide spread ruin rose on high— But He, Jehovah, was not in the wind. 2 2(1)v 14 The cavern echoes rang a hollow sound, Or thunder’d back the crash of falling rock; The valleys rose—the waves forgot their bound— But God was not within the earthquake’s shock. Then came a fire—the sheeted flames ascend, And spread across the sky a lurid glare; The glowing forests in one ruin blend, And sink to nothing—but God was not there. The came a still small voice—the whisper’d word Not even silence from her slumber broke, Yet was distinctly by the prophet heard— And in that voice, the Lord, Jehovah, spoke.”

As she now had an opportunity to acquire more particular
information concerning the nature and tendency of slavery, by
a perusal of the facts, &c. inserted in the periodical work above
mentioned, the horrible evils of that system were gradually
unfolded to her view, and her attention was forcibly attracted
to the subject. The articles entitled, The Negro Father’s
Lament over the body of his Infant Son
, The Recaptured
and Pharaoh, were some of the first which she furnished
upon this subject. Many others might be enumerated,
evincive of the deep sympathy that she entertained for the degraded
and suffering slave, and the strong desires that she felt
for his improvement and emancipation. In a communication
inserted on the 1827-07-04Fourth of July, 1827, relating to the question
of slavery, she presents a most striking contrast between the
principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence, and
the acts of the government of the United States, in relation to
the perpetuation of slavery. Few writers upon this subject, if
any indeed, have exhibited clearer of more comprehensive views,
or even expressed their sentiments in more appropriate and
forcible terms, than she has done. With what lively emotion,
and patriotic ardour, does she pour forth the genuine effusions
of exalted philanthropy, in the following beautiful lines!—

“My Country! I behold thee now, as when Thy wastes were trodden but by savage men; When through thy blooming bowers of green and shade, The Indian only, free, and fearless, stray’d— 2(2)r 15 And o’er thy sleeping waters silence hung, Save when the screaming wild-fowl upwards sprung, Or when the light canoe was launch’d, that bore The soil’s untutor’d lords from shore to shore; When thy bright bowers in rich luxuriance smiled, A blooming waste—a paradisal wild;— But now, when over thee I bend my glance, And think how like a dream of young romance Hath been thy history, warm feelings start, And proud emotions steal around my heart. Oh! I do fondly love thee! I would twine Thy weal and woe with every thought of mine, Rejoice to see thee crown’d with glory’s wreath, Or cling to thee in wretchedness and death. Did not the brightness of thy starry skies First shed their splendour on my infant eyes? Did not thy forest’s bloom, thy zephyr’s blow, First wake within my heart its rapturous glow? And all of beautiful and fair in thee, First lift my thoughts from earth to Deity! Thus have I felt—but list!—methought a groan— Some suffering victim’s agonizing moan, Burst on my ear—or was it fancy’s voice? Is there one heart too wretched to rejoice On this bright day? the theme of many a tongue! By many a bard in living numbers sung! Hath not imagination borne me back To scenes of war, the charge, the wild attack? No! ’t was indeed the tyrant’s lash that rung That groan of anguish from his victim’s tongue! Oh! I could lay me in the very dust, And weep in sadness o’er the cankering rust That sheds its blighting influence o’er thy fame, And sinks thee down to infamy and shame. My guilty Country! these loud triumphs hush, Think on this foul dishonouring blot, and blush! Poor injured Afric! Freedom frowns on thee, In this bright land, where all beside are free. My Country! rouse thee from thy guilty sleep, And with hot tears thy sullied honour weep, 2(2)v 16 Nor weep alone—remove the dark disgrace, That calls the burning blushes o’er thy face; Yet for the Afric’s tears of blood atone, And make him worthy to be call’d thy son.”

She continued to write pretty regularly for the Genius of
Universal Emancipation,
as a correspondent, until the Autumn
of the year 18291829. At the solicitation of the editor, she then
consented to superintend a female department in that work.
She did not permit her name to be generally known as an editor;
—yet it was not owing to a want of moral courage, nor a
doubt concerning the propriety of occupying the station, that
she was induced to withold it from the public, in this case.
Her resolution was purely the result of an anxious desire to
avoid an ostentatious appearance, and to check, even in her
own breast, the slighest dictate of vanity in looking to public
notoriety. On commencing the editorial management of her
department, as aforesaid, she issued a brief address to the public,
in which she says,—

“The subject of African slavery is one, which, from its
very nature, should be deeply interesting to every American
female,—for to which of the numberless sympathies of woman’s
bosom may not the slave appeal? Man may bring to the conflict
moral or political feelings, or he may come forward to
oppose the demon, clad in the divine armour of wide-spread
philanthropy. But by all the holy charities of life is woman
called upon to lend her sympathy and her aid to the victims of
a widely extended evil. We know that there are few, we would
hope none, who openly advocate the system of slavery—but
will Christian sisters, and wives, and mothers, stand coldly
inert, while those of their own sex are daily exposed, not only
to the threats and revilings—but to the very lash of a stern, unfeeling
task-master? They cannot—they will not!—they have
tears, they have prayers, and in their eloquence they will plead
the cause of the oppressed.”

Very shortly afterwards she published an article which she
entitled, An Appeal to the Ladies of the United States. This
may indeed be viewed as a most happy effort, in awakening
female philanthropy. It is thrilling, persuasive, and convincing.
We here insert this excellent production entire. What lady,
possessing a just sense of the dignity of her sex, or the genuine 2(3)r 17
feelings of maternal affection, can peruse it without experiencing
a kindling emotion of sorrow, or the glow of virtuous
indignation, at the multiplied wrongs and cruelties to which
the slave is subjected. But she does not rest in merely arousing
their sympathies. She points out clearly the mode in which
their influence may be exercised, in producing a reformation in
the community, and extinguishing the system in which those
abuses and mal-practices have their origin and support.

“An Appeal
to the Ladies of the United States.
It has been frequently asserted, that, to the heart of woman,
the voice of humanity has never yet appealed in vain—that
her ear is never deaf to the cry of suffering, nor her active
sympathies ever unheeded when called upon, in behalf of the
oppressed. If this be true, then surely we have no reason to
fear, that she will listen with cold, careless inattention to our
appeal for those who are among the outcasts of creation—our
African slave population.
It will be unnecessary to enter very deeply into a discussion
respecting the merits or demerits of the case before us—
for we presume that there are few, especially among our own
sex, who will not readily acknowledge the injustice of the slave
system. It is admitted by the planters themselves,—it must be
felt by every thinking mind;—nor is it an outrage merely
against the laws of humanity, but it is destructive and ruinous,
both in its moral and political effects, alike to the master and
to the victim of his oppression. We might bid you look abroad
over a large section of our country, and you would behold
fields lying waste and uncultivated—here and there a lordly
domain rising in proud eminence, surrounded by clusters of
miserable tenements, whose still more miserable inhabitants
are toiling indolently and unwillingly to feed the luxury of
their possessor—and we might bid you listen, for a moment,
and you would hear the clank of chains, and the low deep
groan of unutterable distress, mingling with the exulting hurras
that tell of our country’s liberty. We might tell you of more
than this—we might tell you of females, ay, females—maidens
and mothers, kneeling down before a cruel taskmaster, while
the horsewhip was suspended over them, to plead for mercy— 2* 2(3)v 18
for mercy which was denied them: but we do not wish to
arouse you to a sudden burst of indignation, or we might tell
you of far darker and more fearful tales than these.—We wish
to impress you with a firm, steady, conviction of the manifest
injustice and pernicious effects attendant on slavery, and with
a deep sense of your own responsibility in either directly or
indirectly lending it your encouragement. But it may be,
that some among you do not behold this subject in the light
in which we wish to point it out to you. Many of you have
been educated to believe this system natural and right—or if
not right, at least a necessary evil. You observe the dark
countenances of the slaves lighted up with smiles; you hear
the sounds of merriment proceeding from their cabins; and
you therefore conclude that they cannot be otherwise than
happy;—as if the bitterst things of earth never wore a veil
of brightness, or the mask of gaiety never served to conceal
a bursting heart!—What! can the slave be happy?—happy
‘while the lash unfolds its torturing coil’ above his head?
—happy—while he is denied the blessings of liberty—while
he is condemned to toil, day after day, week after week, and
year after year, with a scanty sustenance for his only reward
—while even the few fragments of bliss which he may have
gathered are dependant for their existence on the precarious
will of a tyrant? Happy! no, never! He may mingle rejoicingly
in scenes of merriment, and the loud laugh of unreflecting
mirth may seem to burst exultingly from his lips; but it
would be a profanation of the name of happiness to say, that
her abode was ever in the bosom of the slave. We appeal to
yourselves to know what it is that forms the deepest bliss of
your life—and will you not, one and all of you, answer, that
it is the exercise of the social affections?—Then how can the
slave be happy! How may he garner up his affections like
holy things, when one word from his fellow-man may lay the
sanctuary of his heart all waste, and bare, and desolate!—
Mother, look down at that infant slumbering by your side;—
have not its smiles become, as it were, a portion of your existence?
Could you not sit hour by hour, and day by day,
living upon the innocent expressions of its confiding affection
—watching the gay dimples sporting over its laughing face,
and the shadows of its silky curls lying so beautifully upon its
polished forehead? Look at that rounded arm, thrown so 2(4)r 19
gracefully over its peaceful little bosom!—and see, he smiles
in his slumbers!—that happy dream has broken his rest—and
now his blue eye is visible beneath the white cloud that was
resting upon it: he sees the mother, and his exulting laugh
rings musically out, and he springs joyously to the arms that
are stretched out to receive him. Does not fancy look forward
to the time, when thou shalt behold him in the pride of manhood,
when he shall be the soother of thy griefs, and the
promoter of thy happiness, and when his grateful affection
shall be as a canopy under which thou mayst shelter thy declining
years? Yet, were it told to thee that just when he has
arisen into bold, glad boyhood, when those beautiful bright
eyes have begun to kindle with awakening intellect and early
knowledge, when the deep feelings of his heart are beginning
to gather themselves together,—and reason and gratitude to
mingle with his instinctive love—wert thou told, that then he
should be torn from thee, and borne away forever into hopeless,
irremediable slavery—wouldst thou not rather that death
should at once set his cold signet upon him, there, where he
sleeps in his innocent beauty in the cradle by thy side? And
yet this is the lot of hundreds—nay of thousands of human
mothers—and that, too, in this our land, which we so proudly
proclaim to be the only free country on the face of the globe.
But you may perhaps argue—‘We admit all the evils of
which you so loudly complain; we acknowledge that the system
of slavery is alike disgraceful and unjust; but it is to men, not
to us, that you should appeal—to our statesmen, and to those
who are the immediate supporters of the wrongs, the planters
themselves. We can only lament over the blot on our country’s
fair scutcheon, but our tears will never efface it—our power is
inadequate to the subtracting of one single item from the sum
of African misery.’
Believe us, you deceive yourselves. No
power to meliorate the horrors of slavery! American women!
your power is sufficient for its extinction! and oh! by every
sympathy most holy to the breast of woman, are ye called
upon for the exertion of that potency! Are ye not sisters, and
daughters, and wives, and mothers? and have ye no influence
over those who are bound to you by the closest ties of relationship?
Is it not your task to give the first bent to the minds of
those, who at some future day are to be their country’s counsellors,
and her saviours, or, by a blind persistence in a career
of injustice—her ruin!
2(4)v 20 There are many, who endeavor to silence the upbraidings
of conscience, by persuading themselves that, be the consequences
of slavery what they may, they at least are innocent
of them; they have no slaves under their immediate charge;
and so they sit quietly down, and satisfy their delicate feelings
—too sensitively refined to bear a description of the horrors of
slavery—by railing at those more directly concerned, and on
whom, therefore, they choose to fling the whole weight of responsibility
for the crime. Now we assert, that they all are
implicated, who are consumers of the produce obtained through
the medium of slave labour; and that therefore all, though not
perhaps in an equal degree, must be sharers in the guilt. Do
you demand, ‘What are we to do? how can we avoid thus
indirectly becoming supporters of slavery? and in what manner
would you have us to exert our influence?’
We would
have you exert your influence, by instilling into the minds of
your offspring a deep-felt sense of their duty as men and christians,
to perform that glorious office of breaking the fetters of
the oppressed, which the prejudices of their fathers left unaccomplished.
You may altogether avoid lending your support
to the slave system, by refusing to be benefited by its advantages;
and you can aid its extinction, by giving on every
occasion the preference to the products of free labour. But you
are still unpersuaded!—You think, even if our statement be
true, that slavery will never be abolished by such means; and
especially, that your own individual sacrifices could have no
effect; and to submit to such privations would therefore be
useless. Is a conscience pure in the sight of Heaven, to be
considered, then, as nothing? Surely not; nor will your individual
exertions be of as little avail as you consider them. There
are numbers, who have already ranged themselves under the
banner of Emancipation, who will gladly hail any accession
to their strength. We do not require of you any painful sacrifices;
we do not wish to deprive you of your cherished luxuries
—we entreat you only, whenever it may be in your power,
to give the preference to products of free labour, and to persuade
your friends to do likewise. Let societies be formed among
you to promote this; let the use of such articles be rendered
fashionable, and they will soon become easily procurable. It
is true, some inconveniences will at first be unavoidable; the
texture of your garments will perhaps be coarser than that of 2(5)r 21
your accustomed wear, but they will cling less heavily around
your forms, for the sighs of the broken-hearted will not linger
among their folds. And who will dare to cast one scornful
sneer upon that garb, which beauty and fashion have looked
upon with approving smiles? As soon as a sufficient inducement
is held out, free labour will be liberally employed; the
experiment of its comparative advantages with that of the slave
may then be fairly tried; and the slaveholders thus deprived of
what is, at least to themselves, one of their most forcible arguments
—that of the absolute necessity of maintaining slaves.
The demand for free products will become greater than for
those of the other class: they may then be afforded cheaper,
and Emancipation must necessarily follow, for Interest herself
will then plead for the manumission of the slave.
Will you, then, remain sunk in guilty apathy, when such is
the glorious guerdon held out as a reward for your exertions?
Will you let the groans of the guiltless sufferer still rise up
before the throne of heaven in accusation against you? or
will you not stand boldly and nobly forth, in the face of the
world, and declare that American women will never be tamely
made the instruments of oppression?”

Soon after she commenced her editorial labours, she found
herself engaged in a controversy with a lady of great celebrity,
as an author, residing in New England. This lady had objected
to the propriety of females becoming public advocates
of Emancipation. Elizabeth reviewed one of her letters in a
manner which displayed her superior tact and skill in argument,
as follows:—

“Opinions. We have been so long accustomed to consider the duty of
the female sex, with regard to slavery, as entirely plain, that
we had almost imagined it must be equally so to any unprejudiced
thinker upon the subject. Not that we expected to
find no difference of feeling, or contrariety of sentiment;
apathy and prejudices we were prepared for; but we certainly
had not thought that the interference of woman in behalf of
suffering humanity, could be seriously objected to, as improper,
and at variance with right principles. Yet this we are sorry to
find is the light in which it is regarded by one of our own sex
—a lady, whose talents and character we respect very highly, 2(5)v 22
and whose approbation of the course we are pursuing, we
should be proud to have obtained. But as this is withheld, and
it is probable she may not be singular in her opinions, we have
taken the liberty of quoting some of her sentiments, and appending
to them a statement of our own ideas on the same
‘Should you inquire why I do not devote myself more sedulously to
promote the cause of emancipation?—I would tell you, that I think it is
a work which requires the energies of men.’
And so it does; but it requires also the influence of woman.
She was given to man ‘to be a helpmeet for him;’ and
it is therefore her duty, whenever she can do so, to lend him
her aid in every great work of philanthropy. In this her cooperation
may be of essential service, without leading her one
step beyond her own proper sphere. Free Labour, one of the
most efficient means of abolishing slavery, may be encouraged
by her, even better than by men—for it is her task to provide
for the wants of her household, and of course optional to give
the preference to goods of this class.
‘It is a subject so connected with those of government, of law and
politics, that I should fear the direct or even apparent interference of my
own sex, would be a departure from that propriety of character which
nature, as well as society, imposes on woman.’
It is true that it is a question of government and politics, but
it also rests upon the broader basis of humanity and justice;
and it is on this ground only, that we advocate the interference
of women. We have not the least desire to see our own sex
transformed into a race of politicans; but we do not think
that in this case such consequences are in the least to be apprehended.
To plead for the miserable, to endeavour to alleviate
the bitterness of their destiny, and to soften the stern bosoms
of their oppressors into gentleness and mercy, can never be unfeminine
or unbefitting the delicacy of woman! She does not
advocate Emancipation because slavery is at variance with the
political interests of the state, but because it is an outrage
against humanity and morality and religion; because it is
criminal, and her own supineness makes her a sharer in the
; and because a great number of her own sex are among
its victims. It is therefore, that she should steadily and conscientiously
rank among the number of its opponents, and refuse
to be benefited by its advantages. She does not by this 2(6)r 23
become a partizan of any system of policy—she seeks only to
shield from outrage all that is most holy in her religion! She
does not seek to direct, or share with men, the government of
the state; but she entreats them to lift the iron foot of despotism
from the neck of her sisterhood; and this we consider not
only quite within the sphere of her privileges, but also of her
positive duties. Yet even if there was good ground for apprehension
of the danger alluded to, would it not be better that
women should lose somewhat of their dependent and retiring
character, than that they should become selfish and hard-
hearted? Should our wise lawgivers see fit to reduce us to the
same condition as our southern female slaves, would the dread
of violating the softness and propriety of the female character
deter us from remonstrating against the tyranny, and demanding
an immediate restitution of our rights and privileges? We
should scarcely consider such conduct unlady-like as to be
actually placed in a situation where the very name of refinement
would be a mockery, and compelled to drudge through
the lowest masculine labours; and it is impossible that it can
be improper for us to solicit for another, what under the
same circumstances it would be right to seek for ourselves.
In fact, if we confine our views to the female slaves, it is a
restitution of our own rights for which we ask:—their cause is
our cause—they are one with us in sex and nature—a portion
of ourselves; and only deprived by injustice of the immunities
which we enjoy. Therefore as they cannot protect themselves
it becomes an imperative duty to claim for them the respect
due to the female character, and we should feel her indignity
as painfully as though nature had placed no distinguishing
mark of colour between us.
‘The Saviour permitted and blessed the ministering of charity by
women; but though they were “last at his cross, and earliest at his grave,”
he did not enjoin on them the necessity of becoming teachers and reformers.
He did not appoint them to be apostles; the burden of government
in the church was not laid on them; neither is it for them to direct the
affairs of state.’
If the Saviour not only permitted but blessed the exercise of
charity, when he was personally among men, we must surely
believe that he would do so still; for his laws were expressly
given to extend throughout all time. What then is charity?
Is it not to comfort the afflicted—to share the cup of our blessings 2(6)v 24
with those who are perishing for want—to lend our arm
for a support to the maimed; and to lead those who are groping
in darkness into the pathway of God? It is for this that we
would have our sex, every one of them, zealous advocates of
Emancipation; and it cannot be that this will violate the character
of feminine propriety! It is true we were not expressly
required to become ‘teachers and reformers,’ but we were commanded
to ‘do justly, and love mercy,’ and ‘to do unto others
as we would that they, in like manner, should do unto us.’
then, men refuse to abide by the laws of God, our responsibility
to do so is not in any degree lessened, because custom or even
nature has made us subordinate to them.
Again: ‘I certainly never felt this exclusion as derogatory—but the reverse
—that women were privileged by having their duties circumscribed to
the domestic sphere: it is, as it were, removing them from many temptations
of the world, and allowing them more opportunities to commune
with their own hearts and with heaven. Such being my sentiments, you
will understand why I should from principle as well as sentiment regard
it inexpedient, if not dangerous, to awaken the ambition of my own sex
with the idea that they can and may become leaders in the cause of
It is because we highly prize, and, we hope, feel properly
grateful for the domestic privileges of our sex, that we would
have them extended to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
We are thankful for our blessings, but we would not
have them confined exclusively to ourselves. We would have
the name of Woman, a security for the rights of the sex.
These rights are withheld from the female slave; and as we
value and would demand them for ourselves, must we not ask
them for her? She may be a mother—but how can she nurture
up her offspring in the fear and admonition of the Lord, when
her own soul is in darkness? What may she know of the high
and most holy affections of life; of filial and parental piety,
of sisterly affection; or of the sacred refinements of friendship?
Where is the quietness and retirement in which she may
‘commune with her own heart and with heaven?’ Is it when
the fear of the whip is urging her through the performance of
her task? or when she is endeavouring to forget in the rude
jollity of the evening the weariness of the past day? Propriety!
—surely the fear of passing one step beyond the arena of domestic
life should never be balanced against such degradation and 3(1)r 25
suffering as is endured by the slave! Such being our opinion
it is a matter of ‘principle, as well as sentiment,’ to endeavour
to awaken our own sex to the reflection, that there are nearly
one million females, living under the same government, and yet
debarred from her most cherished privileges. We would impress
them with the knowledge that they ‘can and may become’
helpers in the task of rescuing so many of their fellow mortals
from a debasing slavery; and we would inspire them with
what we consider the laudable ‘ambition’ to become ‘binders
of sheaves, and carriers of water’
to those of their brethren
who must bear the ‘heat and burden of the day,’ in the field
of Emancipation.”

The ability which she displayed in conducting her department
of the periodical aforesaid, may be learned and best appreciated,
by a reference to the work itself. But it is proper
to observe that she did not confine her labours to selecting and
writing for it as an editor. Most of the original articles,
which appeared in the Ladies’ Repository, as the communications
of various correspondents, were the productions of her
own pen. With talents of a high order, a genius versatile, a
mind expansive, she was disposed to treat upon a subject so
transcendantly important, in all the variety of forms calculated
to catch the eye, arouse the feelings, and enlist the sympathetic
attention of all classes of readers. She was, herself, fond of
promenading the flowery paths of literature; and knowing the
eagerness of many to peruse the tales of fancy—so highly
prized in the literary circles—she occasionally wrote a piece
of that character for their amusement and edification. But
she always took especial care to choose the subject, and present
the narration, so as to leave a moral impression on the
mind of the reader, favourable to the cause of humanity. In
the allegorical style she was peculiarly happy and successful.
The following article will serve as a sample of her excellent
performances in that style of composition:—

“The Tears of Woman.
An Allegory.
The Angel of Justice stood before the throne of the Most
High. ‘Father,’ said she, ‘behold the creatures whom thou hast
made. Lo! the children of earth have lifted up their hearts to 3 3(1)v 26
oppression; their hands are full of wrong and violence, and
they have laden their brother with heavy fetters, that he might
be to them a bondman forever. I called unto them; I warned
them of the evil of their way, but they refused to hearken to
my voice; give me, therefore, my sword, oh Father! that I
may smite them from before thy face.’
‘Oh, not yet, my sister!’ exclaimed the pleading tones of
a sweet voice:—and the young Angel of Philanthropy bowed
himself before her, and looked up from the midst of his fair
curls with a face filled with beseeching earnestness. ‘Not yet,
beloved sister,’
said he, ‘do thou unsheathe thy sword for vengeance.
I will descend to the earth by thy side, and plead
with the erring one for his unhappy brother. I will win for
thee an offering of penitence from the hearts of the guilty, and
with thy blade break asunder the heavy fetters of the slave.’

The eyes of the beautiful boy were suffused with tears while
he addressed her, and Mercy bent over him as he turned towards
the heavenly throne, joining her appealing glance to his
It was well nigh to eventime. The sunlight fell in yellow
gleamings through the branches on the gliding waves of the
stream beside which the Angel of Justice stood leaning on her
empty scabbard.—She was watching with a calm eye the eager
and untiring efforts of Philanthropy as he strove to free the
shackled limbs of a sad group who wept before him. He
called on man to aid him in his exertions. He pointed to the
threatening attitude of Justice as she lifted up her stately brow
and stretched out her hand with a stern glance towards the
sun, whose setting was to be her signal. But prejudice and
selfishness were strong in the human heart; and they to whom
the earnest appeal was sent gazed on idly for a few moments
and departed. Already the hand of Justice was extended to
resume her blade, and her eye bent in lowering anger on the
impenitent oppressor. Yet still the unwearied boy, with the
passionate earnestness of approaching despair, steadily persisted
in his exertions, though at times his eye grew dim, and his heart
sick, as his repeated entreaties were again and again answered
by the same cold repulse. Then he called on woman. He
pointed to her sister—suffering—degraded—miserable—and
stretching out her manacled hands to her for succour. The
call was heard. Slowly, and with uncertain steps, and eyes 3(2)r 27
half averted from the sad spectacle before her, woman approached
him. Her heart was touched with the wrongs of the
injured ones, but she felt that her arm was weak and her
strength powerless; and, bowing down her head, she wept in
pity and sorrow over the objects of her compassion. But her
aid was not in vain. The tears shed rusted the chains on
which they fell!—and the exulting shout of the young angel,
as he again snatched up the sword of Justice, rung like a victorious
battle-cry upon the ear of the oppressor.”

It would be impossible to form an adequate idea of the influence
which her writings had upon the community at large;
but there can be no doubt that it was both extensive and salutary.
In numerous instances, her poetical composition have
been used as hymns in religious and social meetings of the
friends of Universal Emancipation. Many of her articles on
this subject were also copied and widely circulated in some of the
most popular periodical works of her time. In one case, particularly,
her efforts (we presume) had the effect of enfranchising
a number of slaves in the southern country. An aged widow
lady was presented with a file of the Genius of Universal
by a neighbour who had subscribed for it.
The perusal of it so affected her mind, that she immediately
provided for the unconditional emancipation of her slaves (six
in number,) by her will.

Elizabeth continued to reside in Philadelphia until the summer
of the year 18301830. She then removed, with her aunt and
brother, to the Territory of Michigan. They settled in Lenawee
, near the village of Tecumseh, about sixty miles
south-west of Detroit: where her brother purchased land, and
opened a farm. The place which they chose for their residence
was pleasantly situated on the margin of the river Raisin.
She gave it the name of “Hazlebank;” and in future time it
may properly be denominated classic ground. The name of
the stream flowing beside it, and that of the warrior chief, which
the neighbouring village bears, will long be remembered in the
history of the country. Here she sought the traditional relics
of the forest race—traced anew the lineaments of aboriginal
character—made further acquisitions in relation to their legendary
lore. From this, her quiet and secluded retreat, emanated
some of the choicest productions of her pen, that have been 3(2)v 28
submitted to the eye of the public. She had contracted a fondness
for rural life, and delighted in nature’s varied scenery.—
And, though her present location was in a semi-wilderness region,
the contiguous settlements were progressing, and she
spent her time happily with her relatives, and the newly-formed
acquaintances with whom she associated. Notwithstanding she
was now widely separated from the most of those who had
taken the deepest interest in her efforts to promote the cause
of philanthropy, she did not neglect the objects to which her
mind had been so sincerely devoted. She still attended to her
editorial duties, as usual—preparing her articles for the press,
and forwarding them to the office of the publication by mail.
Soon after her change of residence, a friend expressed his apprehensions
that she might, under the circumstances, possibly
forget the hapless condition of the suffering slave. As a reply
to this suggestion, she wrote the beautiful piece, commencing
with the line,— “O tell me not, I shall forget,”
and as long as she lived, she acted in accordance with the sentiments
therein expressed.

In order to acquaint the reader, more particularly, with her
course of reading, the general train of her reflections, and the
various operations of her mind, we have obtained the privilege
of reviewing a portion of her correspondence with one of her
most intimate female friends. Subsequently to her removal from
Philadelphia, they adopted the plan of keeping regular epistolary
journals, which they conveyed to each other, as suitable opportunities
were presented. The friend with whom Elizabeth thus kept
up a diurnal correspondence, and to whose politeness the writer
of this is indebted for the privilege of reviewing it, as aforesaid,
was Hannah T. Longstreth, (formerly Hannah Townsend,)
of whom we have before made mention. In a note, accompanying
the papers which she furnished for review, she observes
as follows:—

“My intimate acquaintance with Elizabeth, previous to her
removal, and our regular correspondence afterwards, afforded
me the opportunity of understanding the bent of her mind, on
various subjects, and I believe, according to my measure, to
appreciate its worth:—and, as we came to an agreement to
journalize, we were accustomed to writing without much formality, 3(3)r 29
under different dates. By these means, our pursuits, observations,
course of reading, &c. were known to each other. Thus,
I believed my treaure, contained in this packet of letters, might
be valuable to whomsoever might undertake her biography.
Her original observations on many important topics, as well as
a variety of elegant selections to illustrate her views, I could
not be satisfied to bury in oblivion, while any avenue presented,
properly to convey them to the reading community.”

The social friendship subsisting between these young lades,
was truly reciprocal; and they were, indeed, on terms of the
closest intimacy. When about to leave Philadelphia, Elizabeth
presented her friend with the very appropriate and charming
piece, entitled Remember Me, which she had previously
prepared. A short time after her arrival in Michigan, she also
forwarded a brief sketch of her journey, which was exceedingly
interesting. Many of the incidents, which she details with
minuteness, are amusing and instructive. The varied scenery,
the manners and appearance of the people, &c. in the different
places through which she passed, are delineated in the most
happy and graphic style. Passing over a considerable part of
her narration, we transcribe her observations on arriving in
view of the shore of Michigan, and thence proceeding to the
place of her intended residence, &c.:—

“I sat at the side of the vessel, gazing on the scenery
that was passing before me, with my thoughts divided between
the land I had left, and that which was in view, now reverting
to the past, and now dwelling on the untried future; and often,
very often, resting with the gathered band at Cherry Street,
amongst whom I supposed thee then to be. The Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society of Philadelphia. As we approached
Detroit, our Governor’s mansion on the bank of the
river, was pointed out to us. It is merely a log building whitewashed;
but the grounds about it have quite the appearance
of a gentleman’s residence. Detroit is rather a dirty-looking
place; here we remained, however, only one night, and set
off early the next morning for Tecumseh. After proceeding
a short distance, the stage suddenly stopped, and the passengers
began, very orderly, to make preparations for leaving it. For
what cause this was done, I was at a loss to determine, as, besides 3(3)v 30
that it was much too early for breakfast, there was no appearance
of a house anywhere in the vicinity. However, we quietly
imitated the example of our fellow travellers, and descended
to terra firma, when it appeared that the measure was one of
prudence, required by our approach to a long series of worn,
loose, and uneven logs, denominated a bridge! and stretching
across a stream dignified by the appellation of the river
Rouge! A real back-woods bridge, this! thought I—and,
as I walked over it, I perfectly acquiesced in the wisdom of dismounting,
as well from a due regard to preserving the flesh
uninjured, and the bones in their proper sockets, as from the
danger of our weight proving too great for the frail structure,
for such at least it seemed, however strong it might in reality
be; at any rate, I have not heard since that it has given way,
neither have any of the others, which we crossed in the same
manner. This was no very favourable augury for the roads
of Michigan; but they were, in general, much better than I
had expected—sometimes rough, but not dangerous; and as
our carriage was sufficiently strong to bear the jolting over
logs and such kind of rail-ways, we arrived at Tecumseh in
the evening, battered, to be sure, in a most ungentle manner,
but at least with undamaged bones, by whatever amount of
sore flesh, reeling of heads, and excessive weariness, they might
have been accompanied. It was so long since I had enjoyed a
night of comfortable sleep, that I was almost worn out, and
could scarcely sit up long enough to drink my tea: yet when
I lay down, the motion of the boat (of which I still retained
the feeling as when actually on board,) interfered sadly with
my rest and my dreams, and caused me to pass the night with
almost as much discomfort, as if actually tempest-tost. On the
next First-day, we attended Meeting. The road wound
through quiet and beautiful openings, dotted occasionally with
log dwellings, and small spots of improved land; but for the
most part, still remaining in their own native loveliness,
crowned with scattered trees, now gathered into picturesque
clumps, leaving a clear space open to the sun-light, then spread
out into an almost regular grove, and sometimes giving place
entirely to a small stretch of bright green prairie, contrasting
finely with the rich, sunlight tint of the sod on the openings,
which seemed coloured, as well as covered, by a profusion of
wild-flowers and yellow ‘braken.’ Yet beautiful as they are, 3(4)r 31
one of the greatest charms of these ‘openings’ is their perfect
tranquillity. Oh, how I wish thee could breathe with me, if it
were only for one short half hour, the exquisite, the religious
quietness of these solitary places!—I never elsewhere felt such a
stillness. There are varieties even of silence, and I dare say
thou hast felt it so. Contrast the hush of a starry midnight,
with that of a moon-lit evening, or of one of our religious meetings,
or of an open field,—and they have each their own peculiar
character.—But the stillness I speak of is like none of
these—and must be felt in order to be understood. It was indeed
almost the only thing I did feel, in attempting to describe
the scenery around me, for some time after leaving Philadelphia.
There were many scenes that I saw were beautiful—
most beautiful—grand, picturesque, or magnificent—and I gave
them my admiration and my praise; but that was all, or nearly
all the sensation they could awaken. There were some spots
on our route that did, indeed, almost arouse a portion of my
former enthusiasm; but it is of what I have witnessed since
our arrival in Michigan, that I have spoken most particularly.”

When she found herself, in a manner, comfortably situated
in her new home at Hazlebank, with her dearly beloved relatives,
she recommenced her Journal of Correspondence, as
before-mentioned,—sundry extracts from which we now give,
without reference to the order of time when they were written.
In the outset, however, she says:—

“I cannot, with my numerous occupations, promise to be
daily regular in the use of my pen; but when I can snatch a
few moments of leisure, I will sketch an occasional outline of
my pursuits, occupations, and the current of my thoughts. I
have been to-day thinking much of the past year. It has been,
to me, not an uneventful one; and with the memory of a more
than usual amount of painful hours, has left me still some
pleasing remembrances:—among the latter, I consider the
formation of our friendship; and though the separation has
broken in somewhat rudely upon its newly formed links, I
think we shall find them elastic enough to stretch over the intervening

She proceeds:—

“I have been looking over The Pleasures of Memory, by
Samuel Rogers.—Hast thou read it? Some passages in it 3(4)v 32
have recalled very forcibly one or two of our conversations
especially that one to which thee alludes in thy letter. The
Poet is supposed to be wandering, at the twilight hour, among
the scenes of his youth, from which he had long been separated.
The voice of the church-clock summons him to the graveyard,— ‘To traceThe few fond lines that time may soon efface:Hush, ye fond flutterings, hush! while here, alone,I search the records of each mouldering stone.Guides of my life! instructors of my youth!Who first unveil’d the hallow’d form of truth;Whose every word enlighten’d and endear’d;In age beloved, in poverty revered;In frienship’s silent register ye live,Nor ask the vain memorial Art can give.’
The last line, it is true, is decidedly in thy favour; but the sum
of the argument is, I think, in mine. Had it not been for the
record, on ‘each mouldering stone,’ what would the place
have been to his affections, in comparison with what it then was?
True, he might have visited there; have gazed upon it, as the
last dwelling-place of many whom he loved; but he would
moralize rather than feel, or if he did feel strongly, there would
be a painful sense of bereavement and loneliness pressing upon
his heart—a sudden thought of the utter undistinguishingness
of the grave, very different from the burst of affectionate emotion
with which he would bend over the last couch of each remembered
sleeper—their words of love, their lessons of wisdom
—never more impressively felt than now—all the hours spent
in their presence, in happiness or grief, and the glances that
even now rise up before the memory with a vividness and almost
trembling reality. Even while he clung, it might be with
almost an erring passionateness of affection, to that sod which
spread its green covering over the form of the beloved one, he
would feel the deadness, the apathy of resignation—if I may
so express it—passing away from his heart, and giving place
to kindling hopes and virtuous resolutions. He might indeed
weep, but the tears which he shed would be such as heal and
purify the heart;—drops of happiness and love, rather than of
grief. A showy and expensive monument would, I think, have 3(5)r 33
the same effect, or nearly so, as not any. There is something
about it cold and repelling to the feelings. The marble seems
effectually to shut the beloved object from your embraces—it
adds chillingness and gloom even to the darkness of the grave.
Why should you seek to lay your cheek against it—to water it
with your tears, or to circle it with your embraces? The form
of the lost one in not there—that has no part with the buried
dust—it is the barrier which still more widely separates you
from the form you loved. The associations, too, which are
connected with it, are full of dreariness and disgust. The proud
momument, with all its grace and beauty, cannot conceal from
the mind’s eye the loathsomeness beneath it—no indeed—no
vain mockery of ornament for the grave! You shudder at the
revolting contrast of its secret chambers. The exhibition of
decaying mortality is brought too forcibily before the mind—the
thought of death is filled with fresh images of terror, and resignation
is again converted into grief. The still green mound,
over which the sunlight plays, and the breeze revels in gladness,
distinguished from its fellows only by the name of the
sleeper who lies below, carved upon the white head-stone—this
is associated with no such images of gloominess—the bright
flower that waves there is like a portion of the cherished dust—
the heart is soothed by the sweet influences of nature, and looks
forward with a fresher hope to another meeting—they leave the
present dreariness of death, to revert to all the happy past, and
to recall all the counsels of the silent sleeper. If it be a stranger
only who is wandering among these memorials of death,
every tablet is an open leaf offering fit subjects for meditation.
If the grave beside which we stand, be that of one of the earth’s
‘master-spirits’—one upon whose words we still hang with
enthusiastic admiration, and whose memory we cherish with
affectionate devotion, where is the heart that will not catch
from the inhumed ashes some kindling of virtuous emulation,
or turn its glance anxiously inward to the inspection of its own
character? Thou wilt say, perhaps, Could we not elsewhere
meditate the same upon his virtues and the lessons that he has
given to the world? Undoubtedly we could. But the mind is
not always in a fitting mood for instruction—there the secret
springs of thought and feeling are touched, and all their secret
chambers lie open. ‘Our thoughts,’ says Rogers, ‘are
linked by many a hidden chain’
‘Awake but one, and lo! what myriads rise!’”
3(5)v 34

“But I have already said enough, perhaps too much, upon the
subject—and after all, I can give only my own feelings respecting
it. Yet I know how much we are the creatures of circumstances
—how much our opinions and our actions are controlled
by strong mental associations. An Italian author is said on the
grave of Virgil to have resolved to dedicate his life to the muses.
When Clarkson dies, will not the young philanthropist who
stands by his grave, feel his pulse beat with a higher and firmer
resolution to follow in his steps?”

Speaking of the dying sayings of Rousseau, as mentioned by
Whittier, in his review of the last illness of that celebrated
philosopher, she very briefly remarks:—

“It seems indeed difficult with many to imagine how the
death-bed of an infidel could be one of serenity. But the mind
of Rousseau was probably so worn out by continual and intense
excitement, that it could not be easily aroused into vivid feeling
of any kind. A high fever is usually succeeded by utter debility
and languor; and the apparent calmness which he exhibited,
may perhaps only have been the effect of apathy and
mental exhaustion.”

In quoting some of the most beautiful and sentimental effusions
of Mrs. Hemans, relative to the imminent perils to which those
engaged in the pearl-fishery are subjected, she makes these
few but appropriate comments:—

“How few calculate the cost of their ornaments at more
than the coin which they have paid for them! A serious estimate
of the effect which they have upon the happiness of others,
would be, I think, the best means of checking an undue fondness
for them. Who would wish to wear pearls with the
thought continually before their minds, that their ‘pale quivering
had perhaps been purchased at the expense of the life
of a fellow creature?—Would it not seem as though the gleam
had been caught from the expiring glace of the victim, and
perpetuated there to turn on them with a keen upbraiding?”

It is said that, to be a poet, a person must be naturally
fond of music. To a casual remark of her friend, in relation
to this subject, Elizabeth replies thus:—

“I had been thinking of what were thy sentiments on this
subject, only a few hours before reading the above sentence. 3(6)r 35
They coincide very nearly with my own;—though had I an
ear, as it is called, for music, I believe I should be more fond
of it. I would allow it the same license that I think can properly
be given to poetry, but nothing futher. When it comes
with a purifying influence over the heart, calming the turbulence
of its passions, cooling the flow of its vain desires and emotions,
erasing with a soft touch some line of folly or care, and bearing
the thoughts on its wing to a better and purer atmosphere,
—then, by whatever name the strains may be called, the enjoyment
or the practice of music is, I think, not culpable. The
further it swerves from this, the more it is liable to, if it does
not always degenerate into, an abuse of the gift.”

She alludes in a most feeling manner to the untimely death
of Lucretia M. Davidson, a young lady of rare poetical genius,
and of high promise, as follows:—

“――Young, amiable, and so highly gifted with intellectual
brightness,—it is almost painful to write the name of death beside
that of so rare a blossom. She died of a poetical malady,
consumption, and while the poetry of life was yet thrilling deliciously
round her heart. I think of her with sadness, yet I cannot
lament; and I have sometimes thought that hers was a singularly
happy fate. Had she lived, she might, it is true, have
devoted her talents to the cause of religion and virtue. She
might have added a worthy tribute to the stores of our country’s
literature, and gathered to her pages bright gems of thought,
and treasures of intellectual wealth—or she might have forgotten
the high gift entrusted to her charge, or wasted it unworthily
—or she might, a few years later, have gone down to the
grave, with her heart’s core scorched to the ashes by the fever of
disappointed hopes and the inward burning of her own spirit.
The unmasking of the world to a highly sensitive and imaginative
mind, is not without danger. But Lucretia escaped this.
She died at sixteen, or earlier, and she had all the brightness,
all the enjoyments of genius, without its bitterness—she has
won a meed of early praise, and sleeps—not unforgotten.

Briefly adverting to her reading, she states:—

“I have been reading No Cross, No Crown, for the first
time quite lately, and have been very much pleased with it. I
think William Penn characterized it rightly, when he recommended
it to his children as possessing ‘true wisdom.’ It is 3(6)v 36
full of excellent advice, and a practical work, which I like
much better than a doctrinal one. I have seldom read a work
of the kind with more satisfaction, or one by which the conduct
could be better regulated.
I have also been looking through the Memoir of Mrs. Judson,
the first female missionary to the Burman empire. Some
parts, descriptive of the character and manners of the Burmans,
are very interesting, as is also a narrative of their situation
during an invasion of the English. Probably thou dost not
feel as much interested in these matters as some others; but I
am sure thee will respond to the wish that arose with me as I
was reading of this female’s zeal and sacrifices in that cause,
—that even one-half as much energy were displayed in loosening
the fetters of our poor slaves, and in giving them the benefits
of education.
At present I am reading Russell’s History of Modern Europe,
a very interesting work, commencing with the fall of the
Roman Empire.
I do not doubt that C. Beecher’s work on education, would
be interesting, for Mental Philosophy, of which I consider that
a branch, and a very important one, is a science in which I
take great delight, though I have had but little opportunity of
indulging my fondness for it. I have lately read a little work
of Reid’s, on the Mind, but which enters into little more than
the alphabet of the science. I intend to get Locke’s Essays as
soon as I can, and should dearly like, were it in my power, to
go through a regular course of reading on the subject. It may
be compared to lifting the veil of another fresh and beautiful
world, or to standing in the midst of a new creation, to be permitted
to gaze in among the hidden feelings, the fine and delicate
perceptions, and the unveiled mysteries of the human mind.
It is like being endowed with a new intellect, or gifted suddenly
with another sense. Such are probably the feelings, on the
first illuminings of every science which is pursued with earnestness,
but with this branch of knowledge, it appears to me particularly

The following remarks will show the humble estimate which
she made of the powers of her own mind, and the ideas she
entertained with respect to worldly fame. So far did she carry
the restriction of the ambitious aspirations of her heart, that it 4(1)r 37
is to be doubted whether she was really conscious either of the
excellency of her own example, the scope and strength of her
intellectual capacity, or the title she had fairly acquired to the
meed of virtuous renown.—She replies to the suggestion, that
she might possibly feel too much humbled at the view of the
weakness and imperfections of her own nature.—

“I reply in the words of a noted author, with whose sentiments
thou art probably familiar:—‘I will not hypocritically
accuse myself of offences which I have no temptation to commit,
and from the commission of which motives inferior to religion
would preserve me. But I am continually humbled in
detecting mixed motives in almost all I do. Such struggling
of pride in my endeavours after humility—such irresolution in
my firmest purposes—so much imperfection in my best actions
—such fresh shoots of selfishness where I hoped the plant itself
was eradicated—such frequent deadness of duty—such
infirmity of will—such proneness to earth in my highest aspirations
after heaven.’
—And I may add to these, so much darkness,
so much ignorance, so great a disproportion between my
wishes and my actions, so many of the rank weeds of prejudice
often very unexpectedly discovered in my own mind, and
the fear of still greater evils lurking undiscovered there, that
I sometimes forget, almost, that there must be some light to
render the darkness visible. Whether it is that formed by nature
to find a happiness in the presence of all natural and mental
beauty, and admiring mental and moral excellence as of the
highest order, to an almost enthusiastic excess, I feel more
painfully the weakness and errors of my own mind, I know
not:—but this I do know,—that when I look upon the imperfections
within—when I think of my oft-repeated resolutions
frittered away into nothing—of the moments and hours wasted
upon trifles, or in sloth or profitless musings—of the risings
of irritation or impatience in a temper which I hoped was better
disciplined—and all the long et ceteras of human weakness
—there is reproach and mortifications in the retrospect. I
would wish myself and all others to reach the highest point
of excellence that God has created human nature capable of
attaining; and that it is this which I feel myself fallen so far short
of. Error and darkness wherever I discover them, whether in
my own mind or those of others, are always painful to me, and 4 4(1)v 38
always excite the desire to have them eradicated. I earnestly
wish to be useful to my fellow creatures, but I am conscious
that I can be so only in proportion as my own mind is enlightened
and elevated.—Oh! how often I have felt the truth of those
beautiful lines of Miss Landon’s―― ‘“We makeA ladder of our thoughts, where angels step,But sleep ourselves at the foot.”’
Point out to me whatever appears incorrect in these sentiments.
I do not agree with Dr. Young, that ‘things unseen
do not deceive us.’
On the contrary, it is undetected errors
that I am most afraid of.
And now for another part of thy letter.—What do I think
of Fame?—I will again answer thee with a quotation, which
for the sentiment it contains is often in my thoughts:—
‘Happy—happier far than thou With the laurel on thy brow, She who makes the humblest hearth Lovely but to one on earth.’ Yet I do not profess to be totally careless of literary distinction,
though I am more so than I have heretofore been, and
that certainly forms, if I know myself, no part of my motives
in advocating the cause of Emancipation. On the contrary,
my interest in that cause is the master feeling which I believe
has done more than any thing else in chasing away the
other. As the one advances, the other declines. By literary
distinction, as mentioned above, I mean only the general approval
of what is in itself good, and calculated for usefulness.
Indiscriminate praise is altogether worthless; deserved praise
may be pleasant, when it is on account of benefit that has
been imparted to others, but it is not to be sought after, nor
earnestly desired, and should never be made an object of

On the subject of slavery she was very frank and communicative
in her correspondence. But as her sentiments relating
to this topic have been extensively published, a few short extracts
must at present suffice. We have before mentioned that
she was a member of a Female Anti-Slavery Society for some 4(2)r 39
length of time, during her residence in Philadelphia. Although
she did not, in consequence of her retired habits, take a very
active part in its public proceedings, she felt a deep and lively
interest in its success, as will more fully appear from what follows.
At various times she expressed her desires for the prosperity
of the institution, as well as for the advancement of the
cause generally, in the most feeling terms. Soon after her
arrival in Michigan, she writes thus:—

“Oh, how often I wish I might be with you in your gatherings!
not because I think I could be of much service, for there
are many and far more useful members than myself to attend
to the business, but it is natural to wish to participate in what
we feel interested about. Still, I will not be discouraged, if
you will hold on to your principles, and persevere in your
efforts. Though you may not seem to do much for a while,
I think you will have a revival after a time and plenty of business
on your hands. I feel exceedingly interested for this
society, and cannot ever think, without pain, of its sinking into
inertness. But do not think that I fear for it, my dear friend,
though I say to thee, persevere in spite of discouragement, in
spite of the coldness and apathy of others, or even of the faltering
of thy own heart. For there is enough, it must be confessed,
to make the heart of any one falter sometimes, when
looking at all the various difficulties that are to be overcome
before our object can be attained; but our cause is a righteous
one, and worth every effort. There are times when I feel as
if I could go unflinching to the stake or the rack, if I might
by that means advance it. I never expected to do ‘great
in this cause—I have never indulged in speculations as
to the effect of what I attempted to do, yet I sometimes feel
as if I had been a mere idle dreamer, as if I had wasted my
time in nothingness—so disproportioned does the magnitude of
the cause appear to all that I have done; so like a drop in the
ocean are my puny efforts. I am not discouraged by these
feelings, because I hope that I have been, and still may be, in
some degree, useful; but I much oftener feel disposed to censure
myself for want of sufficient exertion and interest, than
to indulge in self-complacency.
4(2)v 40 We have had several meetings, and have succeeded in establishing
an association here, which we call The Logan
Female Anti-Slavery Society.
Our members are as yet few,
but an interest in the subject appears to increase through the
neighbourhood; and if we can keep ‘afloat,’ I hope it may
in time be a means of usefulness. B. L. was so good as to
share with me the anti-slavery articles he received from
England, and I almost always display them when an opportunity
offers, and I believe they have, in every instance, been
viewed with interest; and when other free-labour articles are
alluded to, which generally follows in course, the wish has
usually been expressed that more of them were procurable.
The Free-Produce concern is also, I am informed, spreading
very extensively in some of the western parts of New-York.
Our cause, my dear H., the abolition of American Slavery,
is I believe advancing full as fast as may be expected, though
it has never, I think, excited more opposition—but this, though
certainly not pleasant, in my opinion will rather advance than
retard the cause, and if its friends are but faithful, it must triumph.
And surely a more important cause has never called
upon the energies of the nation. I think a large portion of
the rising talents of our country, is taking a decided stand in
its favour, and it will call forth talents that otherwise might
have slept. Terrible in crime and magnitude as the slavery
of our country is, I do not yet despair—apathy must—will
awaken, and opposition die—the course of justice must triumph,
or our country must be ruined.”

We shall now terminate our review of her interesting and
valuable labours, and proceed to notice the closing scene of her
brief, yet exemplary and brilliant career of life. The task is
indeed painful, for among the thousands whose momentary
appearance and speedy exit from the stage of human existence
is recognized by the eye of virtuous discrimination, a case seldom
occurs which more imperatively calls for the expression
of sorrow and regret than the present. This most amiable and
devoted female philanthropist, was summoned from works to
everlasting rewards in the very prime of life, and in the midst
of her usefulness. Her intellectual faculties were but just
fairly developed; the ample powers of her mind were merely 4(3)r 41
beginning to expand; and the influence of her excellent principles
and noble efforts in the cause of philanthropy was only
in the commencement of its extended operations. How often
thus are buds of finest promise nipt by the untimely frost—
the fairest and most delicious flowers withered in their opening
bloom—the brightest rays of genius and moral excellence
extinguished in their morning prime! Indeed, how changeful
and evanescent are all terrestrial scenes! How extremely
uncertain is our hold on time!

“Each moment has its sickle, emulous Of Time’s enormous scythe, whose ample sweep Strikes empires from the root; each moment plays His little weapon in the narrow sphere Of sweet domestic comfort, and cuts down The fairest bloom of sublunary bliss.” Young.

In the spring of 18341834, she was attacked by a remittent fever,
which continued to prey upon her constitution for a period of
several months, before she was entirely confined to her chamber.
The disorder increased so gradually, that strong hopes
of her recovery were entertained, both by herself and her
friends, until very near the close of her life. But these hopes
at length were blasted. The inexorable Destroyer had commenced
his certain work—human aid was vain—human science
and skill were powerless—and her delicate form wasted away
by slow degrees. During the whole period of her protracted
affliction she manifested an uninterrupted tranquillity of mind,
a firm reliance on the truths of Divine revelation, and a perfect
resignation to the will of her Heavenly Master. The following
remarks on the subject of her last illness and final departure,
are extracted from a letter written soon afterwards by her aunt,
for the information of her sister in Philadelphia:—

“Thou canst, my dear sister, sympathize and deeply feel
with me, in my sore affliction; but thou canst not know the
full extent of my loss. She was my heart’s delight—she was
my earthly treasure. She was all goodness—all excellence—
too sweet and too lovely to consign to the cold and silent grave.
Oh! how I have wished that thou couldst have been with her
through her protracted illness, and seen what a perfect pattern 4* 4(3)v 42
of patience she was. Never shall I forget her sweet engaging
countenance, nor her affectionate language. I nursed her faithfully
more than three months, before she was entirely confined
to her bed, but saw with heart-felt sorrow that she was evidently
declining. A few weeks before her departure, she asked me
if I supposed she would recover. I told her I thought she
would be spared, if no new complaint should set in. She replied
that she hoped she should; and if favoured to recover,
she would endeavor to be more thoughtful, and more devoted
to her Maker, than heretofore. I remarked that I did not think
she could have a great deal to do. She answered ‘I know
that I have a merciful Saviour, and all-wise Father, but I feel
as if there was something more for me to do. Yet if I should
be removed, it will be for the best, and I hope I may feel reconciled.’
I believe she cherished the hope that she would recover
until within a week of her decease; but about that time a new
symptom appeared, which still increased her debility, and
afterwards she failed very fast. One of the physicians having
paid her a visit, she asked him what he thought of her case.
He observed there would be a change before many days, which
she seemed rather surprised to hear. I left the room for a moment,
but returned immediately after the doctor had gone out.
She then addressed me in the most affectionate manner, saying,
‘My dear aunt, do not be too much troubled at what the physician
has said; it will no doubt be for the best.’
I seldom left
her bed, except for a few moments at a time. She frequently
addressed me affectionately, saying, ‘Aunt, let me go.’ Two
or three days before her death, we expected it momentarily.
On First-day morning, the 2d inst., she quietly departed, and
was received into the mansions of perfect peace and rest.
Solitary, indeed, do I feel, for in her was centred my earthly
happiness. She approached nearer perfection than human
nature generally attains to—she was all I could desire—and is
much lamented here by all who knew her.”

She died on 1834-11-02the second day of the Eleventh Month (November)
, in the twenty-seventh year of her age. Her remains
were interred near the family residence at Hazlebank,
the chosen place which she herself dedicated to philanthropy
and the Muses. While her ashes repose in the silent grave, 4(4)r 43
beneath her own transplanted forest-vine, The charming and sentimental piece entitled, The Forest Vine,
was one of the latest productions of her pen. It was written during the
period of her affliction, and breathes the loftiest strains of poetic genius
and pious aspiration.
and the fragrant wildflowers
deck its verdant sod, often will imagination visit the
consecrated spot, and drop a tear to the memory of departed
worth. The loss of one possessing such rare talents, superior
mental endowments, and sincere devotedness to the cause of humanity,
though it can never be duly estimated, will long be felt
and deplored in the circle of her acquaintance. And while we
deeply lament the untimely bereavement, let us ever cherish
the fond remembrance of her exalted virtues, under the full
assurance that her immortal spirit is at rest, in the perfect fruition
of unalloyed peace and eternal felicity.

We conclude by presenting the reader with the final effusion
of her pious and sentimental muse. What humility and purity
of heart—what living earnestness of devotion—do we here
perceive! It is especially recommended to the notice of those
who profess and practise the pure Christian principles of philanthropy
which distinguished her own actions. It was the last
that she wrote for the Genius of Universal

“Praise and Prayer. Praise! for slumbers of the night, For the wakening morning’s light, For the board with plenty spread, Gladness o’er the spirit shed, Healthful pulse and cloudless eye, Opening on the smiling sky. Praise! for loving hearts that still With life’s bounding pulses thrill; Praise, that still our own may know— Earthly joy and earthly woe. Praise for every varied good, Bounteous round our pathway strew’d! Prayer! for grateful hearts to raise Incense meet of prayer and praise! 4(4)v 44 Prayer, for spirits calm and meek, Wisdom life’s best joys to seek; Strength ’midst devious paths to tread— That through which the Saviour led. Prayer! for those who, day by day, Weep their bitter lives away; Prayer, for those who bind the chain Rudely on their throbbing vein,— That repentance deep may win Pardon for the fearful sin!”

Poetical Works
Elizabeth Margaret Chandler.

45 4(5)v 4(6)r

Poetical Works
Elizabeth Margaret Chandler.

The Brandywine. A beautiful stream, flowing near the author’s place of nativity.

My foot has climb’d the rocky summit’s height,

And in mute rapture, from its lofty brow,

Mine eye is gazing round me with delight,

On all of beautiful, above, below:

The fleecy smoke-wreath upward curling slow,

The silvery waves half hid with bowering green,

That far beneath in gentle mumurs flow,

Or onward dash in foam and sparkling sheen,—

While rocks and forest-boughs hide half the distant scene.

In sooth, from this bright wilderness ’t is sweet

To look through loop-holes form’d by forest boughs,

And view the landscape far beneath the feet,

Where cultivation all its aid bestows,

And o’er the scene an added beauty throws;

The busy harvest group, the distant mill,

The quiet cattle stretch’d in calm repose,

The cot, half seen behind the sloping hill,—

All mingled in one scene with most enchanting skill.

The very air that breathes around my cheek,

The summer fragrance of my native hills,

Seems with the voice of other times to speak,

And, while it each unquiet feeling stills,

47 4(6)v 48

My pensive soul with hallow’d memories fills:

My fathers’ hall is there; their feet have press’d

The flower-gemm’d margin of these gushing rills,

When lightly on the water’s dimpled breast,

Their own light bark beside the frail canoe would rest.

The rock was once your dwelling-place, my sires!

Or cavern scoop’d within the green hill’s side;

The prowling wolf fled far your beacon fires,

And the kind Indian half your wants supplied;

While round your necks the wampum belt he tied,

He bade you on his lands in peace abide,

Nor dread the wakening of the midnight brand,

Or aught of broken faith to loose the peace-belt’s band.

Oh! if there is in beautiful and fair,

A potency to charm, a power to bless;

If bright blue skies and music-breathing air,

And nature in her every varied dress

Of peaceful beauty and wild loveliness,

Can shed across the heart one sunshine ray,

Then others, too, sweet stream, with only less

Than mine own joy, shall gaze, and bear away

Some cherish’d thought of thee for many a coming day.

But yet not utterly obscure thy banks,

Nor all unknown to history’s page thy name;

For there wild war hath pour’d his battle ranks,

And stamp’d in characters of blood and flame,

Thine annals in the chronicles of fame.

The wave that ripples on, so calm and still,

Hath trembled at the war-cry’s loud acclaim,

The cannon’s voice hath roll’d from hill to hill,

And ’midst thy echoing vales the trump hath sounded shrill.

My country’s standard waved on yonder height,

Her red cross banner England there display’d,

And there the German, who, for foreign fight,

Had left his own domestic hearth, and made

5(1)r 49

War, with its horrors and its blood, a trade,

Amidst the battle stood; and all the day,

The bursting bomb, the furious cannonade,

The bugle’s martial notes, the musket’s play,

In mingled uproar wild, resounded far away.

Thick clouds of smoke obscured the clear bright sky,

And hung above them like a funeral pall,

Shrouding both friend and for, so soon to lie

Like brethren slumbering in one father’s hall.

The work of death went on, and when the fall

Of night came onward silently, and shed

A dreary hush, where late was uproar all,

How many a brother’s heart in anguish bled

O’er cherished ones, who there lay resting with the dead.

Unshrouded and uncoffin’d they were laid

Within the soldier’s grave, e’en where they fell;

At noon they proudly trod the field—the spade

At night dug out their resting-place—and well

And calmly did they slumber, though no bell

Peal’d over them its solemn music slow;

Tho night-winds sung their only dirge, their knell

Was but the owlet’s boding cry of woe,

The flap of night-hawk’s wing, and murmuring waters’ flow.

But it is over now,—the plough hath been rased

All trace of where war’s wasting hand hath been:

No vestige of the battle may be traced,

Save where the share, in passing o’er the scene,

Turns up some rusted ball; the maize is green

On what was once the death-bed of the brave;

The waters have resumed their wonted sheen,

The wild bird sings in cadence with the wave,

And naught remains to show the sleeping soldier’s grave.

A pebble stone that on the war-field lay,

And a wild-rose that blossom’d brightly there,

Were all the relics that I bore away,

To tell that I had trod the scene of war,

5 5(1)v 50

When I had turn’d my footsteps homeward far—

These may seem childish things to some; to me

They shall be treasured ones; and, like the star

That guides the sailor o’er the pathless sea,

They shall lead back my thoughts, loved Brandywine, to thee.

The Afric’s Dream.

Why did ye wake me from my sleep? it was a dream of bliss,

And ye have torn me from that land to pine again in this;

Methought, beneath yon whispering tree, that I was laid to rest,

The turf, with all its withering flowers, upon my cold heart

My chains, these hateful chains, were gone—oh, would that I
might die,

So from my swelling pulse I could forever cast them by!

And on, away o’er land and sea, my joyful spirit passed,

Till ’neath my own banana tree, I lighted down at last.

My cabin door, with all its flowers, was still profusely gay,

As when I lightly sported there, in childhood’s careless day!

But trees that were as sapling twigs, with broad and shadowing

Around the well-known threshold spread a freshening coolness

The birds whose notes I used to hear, were shouting on the

As if to greet me back again with their wild strains of mirth;

My own bright stream was at my feet, and how I laugh’d to

My burning lip and cheek and brow in that delicious wave!

My boy, my first-born babe, had died amid his early hours,

And there we laid him to his sleep among the clustering flowers;

Yet lo! without my cottage door he sported in his glee,

With her whose grave is far from his, beneath yon linden tree.

5(2)r 51

I sprang to snatch them to my soul; when breathing out my

To grasp my hand, and press my lip, a crowd of loved ones

Wife, parents, children, kinsmen, friends! the dear and lost
ones all,

With blessed words of welcome came, to greet me from my

Forms long unseen were by my side; and thrilling on my ear,

Came cadences from gentle tones, unheard for many a year;

And on my cheek fond lips were press’d, with true affection’s

And so ye waked me from my sleep—but ’t was a dream of bliss!

John Woolman.

Meek, humble, sinless as a very child,

Such wert thou,—and, though unbeheld, I seem

Oft-times to gaze upon thy features mild,

Thy grave, yet gentle lip, and the soft beam

Of that kind eye, that knew not how to shed

A glance of aught save love, on any human head.

Servant of Jesus! Christian! not alone

In name and creed, with practice differing wide,

Thou didst not in thy conduct fear to own

His self-denying precepts for thy guide.

Stern only to thyself, all others felt

Thy strong rebuke was love, not meant to crush, but melt.

Thou, who didst pour o’er all the human kind

The gushing fervour of thy sympathy!

E’en the unreasoning brute, fail’d not to find

A pleader for his happiness in thee.

Thy heart was moved for every breathing thing,

By careless man exposed to needless suffering.

But most the wrongs and sufferings of the slave,

Stirr’d the deep fountain of thy pitying heart;

And still thy hand was stretch’d to aid and save,

Until it seem’d that thou hadst taken a part

5(2)v 52

In their existence, and couldst hold no more

A separate life from them, as thou hadst done before.

How the sweet pathos of thy eloquence,

Beautiful in its simplicity, went forth

Entreating for them! that this vile offence,

So unbeseeming of our country’s worth,

Might be removed before the threatening cloud,

Thou saw’st o’erhanging it, should burst in storm and blood.

So may thy name be reverenced,—thou wert one

Of those whose virtues link us to our kind,

By our best sympathies; thy day is done,

But its twilight lingers still behind,

In thy pure memory; and we bless thee yet,

For the example fair thou before us set.

The Confessions of the Year.

The gray old year—the dying year,

His sands were well nigh run;

When there came by one in priestly weed,

To ask of the deeds he’d done.

“Now tell me, ere thou treadst the path

Thy brethren all have trode,

The scenes that life has shown to thee

Upon thine onward road.”

“I’ve seen the sunbeam rise and set,

As it rose and set before

And the hearts of men bent earthwardly,

As they have been evermore;

The Christian raised his hallow’d fanes,

And bent the knee to God;

But his hand was strong, and guilt and wrong

Defaced the earth he trod.

The Indian, by his forest streams,

Still chased the good red deer,

Or turn’d away to kneel and pray

With the Christian’s faith and fear;

5(3)r 53

The hunting-knife he flung aside,

He dropp’d the warrior blade,

And delved for bread the soil o’er which

His fathers idly stray’d.

The white man saw that gold was there,

And sought, with savage hand,

To drive his guiltless brother forth,

A wanderer o’er the land.

I saw—and gave the tale of shame

To swell on history’s page,—

A blot upon Columbia’s name

For many a future age.

With aching brow and wearied limb,

The slave his toil pursued;

And oft I saw the cruel scourge

Deep in his blood imbrued;

He till’d oppression’s soil, where men

For liberty had bled,

And the eagle wing of Freedom waved

In mockery, o’er his head.

The earth was fill’d with the triumph shout

Of men who had burst their chains;

But his, the heaviest of them all,

Still lay on his burning veins;

In his master’s hall there was luxury,

And wealth, and mental light;

But the very book of the Christian law

Was hidden from him in night.

In his master’s halls there was wine and mirth,

And songs for the newly free;

But his own low cabin was desolate

Of all but misery.

He felt it all—and to bitterness

His heart within him turn’d,

While the panting wish for liberty

Like a fire in his bosom burn’d.

5* 5(3)v 54

The haunting thought of his wrongs grew changed

To a darker and fiercer hue,

Till the horrible shape it sometimes wore

At last familiar grew;

There was darkness all within his heart,

And madness in his soul,

And the demon spark, in his bosom nursed,

Blazed up beyond control.

Then came a scene—oh! such a scene!

I would I might forget

The ringing sound of the midnight scream,

And the hearth-stone redly wet!

The mother slain while she shriek’d in vain

For her infant’s threaten’d life,

And the flying form of the frighted child,

Struck down by the bloody knife.

There’s many a heart that yet will start

From its troubled sleep, at night,

As the horrid form of the vengeful slave

Comes in dreams before the sight.

The slave was crush’d, and his fetters’ link

Drawn tighter than before;

And the bloody earth again was drench’d

With the streams of flowing gore.

Ah! know they not, that the tighest band

Must burst with the wildest power?—

That the more the slave is oppress’d and wrong’d,

Will be fiercer his rising hour?

They may thrust him back with the arm of might,

They may drench the earth with his blood,—

But the best and purest of their own,

Will blend with the sanguine flood.

I could tell thee more,—but my strength is gone,

And my breath is wasting fast;

Long ere the darkness to-night has fled,

Will my life from the earth have pass’d;

5(4)r 55

But this, the sum of all I have learn’d,

Ere I go I will tell to thee;—

If tyrants would hope for tranquil hearts,

They must let the oppress’d go free.”

New Year’s Eve.

Night! with its thousand stars, and the deep hush

That makes its darkness solemn! The winds rush

In troubled music, o’er the wooded hill,

And the wide plain where creeps the fetter’d rill,

In wintry silence; but a softer sound

Of melody from man’s lit halls swells round

No slumber yet to-night! the hours fleet on,

With converse, song, and laughter’s joyous tone;

The young and gay are met in social mirth,

Or the home circle gathers round the hearth,

Or swelling upwards from the house of prayer,

The voice of praise concludes the passing year.

’T is almost midnight now;—hark! hush!—the bell

At once a note of triumph and a knell!

A sudden silence—the quick breath quell’d,

The speaker’s voice in mute suspension held;

What thousand thoughts are in that moment press’d—

Past, present, future, crowding on the breast,

As stroke by stroke tolls on!—and then a start—

A sudden lightning of the eye and heart,

A burst of joyous greeting—such as here

We wish you, friends beloved—a happy year!

So speeds time on! scarce seems a moment sped,

Since first we hail’d the year that now has fled.

So speeds time on—but hath it left no trace,

That future hours shall never more efface?

Go, turn to Poland! may her sons forget

Their desolated fields with carnage wet?

Their bright brief hopes,—their struggle, fierce and proud.

With the stern despot ’neath whose yoke they bow’d,

The lightning thrill that flash’d through every breast,

When wakening freedom waved her eagle crest,

5(4)v 56

Their hopes upspringing almost from despair,

And burning with a short illusive glare,

Soon to be quench’d in blood? Oh, God of Peace!

Must such wild scenes of carnage never cease?

Is blood “pour’d out like water,” still to be

The price of man’s high yearning to be free?

Woe for the tyrant’s selfishness and pride,

That hath to man his holiest rights denied!

Is life too poor in ills?—hath death so scant

His fearful quiver stored, that man should pant

To give the earth red graves? Ah! when shall right

Her nobler triumphs seek by moral light,

And learn that e’en the sweets of liberty

Are bought, with slaughter, at a price too high?

And when shall our own banner cease to wave

Its starry folds in mockery o’er the slave?

Oh! blot upon our land, and heavy shame

That e’er Columbia should bear such name!—

That men, like beasts, should be enslaved and sold

For a base pittance of mere sordid gold;

That women’s limbs beneath the scourge should bleed,

The swollen pomp of luxury to feed;

And in the freest nation known on earth,

The licensed thief invade the household hearth;

The purest, best affections of the heart,

And the strong ties of kindred rend apart,

And seizing, fiend-like, on his helpless prey,

Tear them forever from their homes away.

Oh, when shall tyrants learn than human veins

Bear pulses that were never made for chains:

And loose their links before the oppress’d one’s band

Becomes a deadly weapon in his hand!

Our brethren found it such;—in southern halls,

The cold damp foot of desolation falls;

Young gladsome eyes that late were sparkling bright,

With the free spirit’s joyous gush of light,

Mothers made happy by the bursts of glee

From the gay creatures grouped about their knee,

The brow of hoary eld—all, all are there,

With the pale look of anguish and despair:

5(5)r 57

Or, smitten rudely to the reeking earth,

Have deluged with their blood their own loved hearth.

Alas, alas, for them! alas, for those

Who still in white-lipp’d terror wait their foes!

And woe for all the oppressors’ haughty guilt,

And the fresh blood his vengeful hand hath spilt!

Oh, Heaven! in mercy yield them yet a space

To speak with tears of penitence thy grace!

Touch their steel’d hearts with thy dissolving love,

And their vile stains of prejudice remove,

That they may learn, upon the negro’s face,

A brother’s lineaments at last to trace;

And strike away the soul-degrading chains

Which long have hung upon his swollen veins;

That mad relentless hatred may no more

Flood the red earth with streams of mingled gore,

And other new years o’er our country rise,

With brighter aspect and more cloudless skies.

The Slave’s Appeal.

Christian mother! when thy prayer

Trembles on the twilight air,

And thou askest God to keep,

In their waking and their sleep,

Those whose love is more to thee

Than the wealth of land or sea,

Think of those who wildly mourn

For the loved ones from them torn!

Christian daughter, sister, wife!

Ye who wear a guarded life—

Ye, whose bliss hangs not, like mine

On a tyrant’s word or sign,

Will ye hear, with careless eye,

Of the wild despairing cry,

Rising up from human hearts,

As their latest bliss departs?

5(5)v 58

Blest ones! whom no hands on earth

Dares to wrench from home and hearth,

Ye whose hearts are shelter’d well,

By affection’s holy spell,

Oh, forget not those for whom

Life is naught but changeless gloom,

O’er whose days of cheerless sorrow,

Hope may paint no brighter morrow.

Heaven Help Ye!

Heaven help ye, lorn ones! bending

’Neath your weary life of pain,

Tears of ceaseless anguish blending

With the bitter cup ye drain;

Yet think not your prayers ascending,

Shall forever rise in vain.

Hearts there are of human feeling,

That have felt your cry of woe;

Bear awhile! and soon revealing

Brighter prospects with its glow,

Light across your night-clouds stealing

Hours of freedom yet may show.

Christian Love

Oh, Father! when the soften’d heart

Is lifted up in prayer to thee,

When earthly thoughts awhile depart,

And leave the mounting spirit free—

Then teach us that our love, like thine,

O’er all the realms of earth should flow,

A shoreless stream, a flood divine,

To bathe and heal the heart of woe.

Then Afric’s son shall hear no more

The tyrant’s in the Christian’s name;

Nor tears of wasting anguish pour

Unpitied, o’er his life of shame;

5(6)r 59

But taught to love thee, by the love

That bids his long-worn fetters break,

He, too, shall lift his soul above,

And serve thee for thy mercy’s sake.

The Kneeling Slave.

Pity the negro, lady! her’s is not,

Like thine, a blessed and most happy lot!

Thou, shelter’d ’neath a parent’s tireless care,

The fondly loved, the theme of many a prayer,

Blessing, and blest, amidst thy circling friends,

Whose love repays the joys thy presence lends,

Tread’st gaily onward, o’er thy path of flowers,

With ceaseless summer lingering round thy bowers.

But her—the outcast of a frowning fate,

Long weary years of servile bondage wait.

Her lot uncheer’d by hope’s reviving gale,

The lowest in life’s graduated scale—

The few poor hours of bliss that cheer her still,

Uncertain pensioners on a master’s will—

’Midst ceaseless toils renew’d from day to day,

She wears in bitter tears her life away.

She is thy sister, woman! shall her cry,

Uncared for, and unheeded, pass thee by?

Wilt thou not weep to see her rank so low,

And seek to raise her from her place of woe?

Or has thy heart grown selfish in its bliss,

That thou shouldst view unmoved a fate like this!


Come to the green-wood with me, gentle friend!

I know a hidden dell, where the chafed stream

Goes bounding playfully with child-like mirth,

Over its stony path, and flinging up

Its waves, with seeming petulance, in foam.

The bank slopes down unevenly, but wears,

Like Fairy, a gay mantelet of green,

5(6)v 60

All border’d daintily with bright-hued flowers;

The gray old trees bend over it, and up

Among their twisted boughs, an ancient vine

Hath strongly wreathed its stem. Below, it bends

In wayward convolutions o’er the stream,

Offering a couch where thou may’st safely sit,

While I recline beside thee on the turf;

Will not the vine-leaves shade us pleasantly,

While we discourse together? wilt thou sing?

Or shall we tell sad stories? One I read

But yesterday, that lingers with me still,

Haunting my memory with its thoughts of woe;

’T was of a dark-brown slave—one whose bright days

Of early infancy had pass’d beneath

The glowing sun of Africa. She was torn,

Ere her tenth summer, from the sight of all

That made her childhood happy, and the spring

Of all the buoyant hopes that make young hearts

So blissful in their dreams, was crush’d at once.

She was a sad-eyed girl—she never met

In revel scenes, with those who flung aside

Their sorrows for mad joyance; but a gleam

Of something like to bliss stole o’er her heart,

When one, who shared her infant sports, would speak

Of those remembered hours. She wedded him;

And years of spirit-wearing toil went by,

Even amidst her bonds, with almost happiness.

He could not brook his chains: a quenchless fire

Was in his spirit, and he burst all ties,

That bound his heart—he left her, and was free;

She bore her sorrows patiently, and scarce

Let fall a tear-drop; but the gentle ones

That call’d her mother, were more closely bound

In her bereaved affections; and their love

Was all that warm’d the pulses of her heart.

Then came another and a darker blight:

They were torn from her, one by one, and sold,

Those nestlings of her heart; and she grew wild

With her exceeding anguish, and her cry

Went forth an accusation up to heaven.

She wandered o’er each spot where they had been,

6(1)r 61

Calling their names, and mourning with a grief

That had no comforter; until at length

The springs of life were wasted; and she laid

At twilight hour, her head upon the turf

In dying feebleness. There came one by,

Who would have spoke her kindly then, and soothed

The parting spirit; but the time was past;

She raised her head a moment, and once more

Repeated the sad burden of her grief:

“Me have no children, massa, no one child!”

And her last cry was hush’d!

Our Father.

“As the little fellow walked by the side of my horse, I asked him if
there was any church that the slaves attended on Sunday. He said no,
there was none near enough, and he had never seen one. I asked him if
he knew where people went to when they died, and was much affected
with the simple, earnest look, with which he pointed to the sky, as he
replied, ‘To Fader, dere.’”
―― Adam Hodgson.

That dearest name! ay, even thou, poor slave, may’st lift
thine eye,

Nor dread a chilling glance of scorn will meet thee from
the sky:

Go bend the knee, and raise the soul, and lift thy hopes above,

The God of heaven is even to thee, a Father in his love.

The earth-worm, man, may crush thee down to slavery and

And in his puny pride usurp a master’s haughty name;

But He, Lord God Omnipotent, disdaineth not to bear

A parent’s cherish’d name to thee, to yield a parent’s care.

And thou, with childlike confidence, may’st spring to his embrace

Nor shrink in shame before the glance of that paternal face;

Thou art not yet an ingrate vile—thou hast not, in thy pride,

Return’d him falsehood for his love,—his holiest laws defied.

6 6(1)v 62

Thou never like a thief hast spoil’d the nurslings of his fold;

Thou ne’er hast given thy brother’s form to be enslaved and sold;

No wrathful thunders seem, to thee, to clothe his vengeful arm,

Nor fearful lightnings in his eye, awake thy wild alarm.

Our Father! oh how deeply dear that holy name should be—

How should we love the meanest one, who thus may call on Thee!

And yet—thou Just and Righteous God! if thou wert not our sire,

Long since we had been swept away by thy consuming ire.


Be hush’d, triumphant sounds! ye bring not now

A gush of pride along the glowing brow;

Ye wake no more a dream of future fame,

And added glory to my country’s name;

Ye only mind me of her crimson’d hands,

Her sullied faith, her broken treaty-bands.

Oh, better far contrition, sad and mute,

Or tearful prayers her guilty lip would suit,—

Joy not for her—the hearts her sin hath crush’d,

With groans return your shouts—proud sounds, be hush d.

Lo! yonder where the starry flag streams free,

And swift the light bark cleaves the foaming sea,—

There bursting hearts, in hopeless anguish torn

From all they love, to distant lands are borne,

In wild desparing groans they breathe their woe,

And call on those they ne’er shall view below,

As thoughts that framed their deepest bliss, but now

Send added torture to the burning brow;

While fated still her wonted chain to wear,

And all the weight of lonely bondage bear,

In shrieks, the frantic mother, from the shore,

Beholds them sever to return no more.

And are there none to whose relentless breast

The Afric’s plea is not in vain address’d?

Who shame them not to own his kindred claim,

And gift the negro with a brother’s name?

6(2)r 63

Ay, there are some—some hearts that yet can feel,

And dare defend his rights and guard his weal,

Some few, who shrink not from the oppressor’s power,

Not leave him helpless in his gloomy hour.

A fire is lit on Freedom’s holiest shrine,

That yet o’er Afric’s midnight sky shall shine;

For this shall woman’s prayers to heaven ascend,

Her breath shall fan it, and her care attend;

Thus swift from heart to heart the flame shall run,

And triumph crown the work, but now begun.

The Grave of the Unfortunate.

Light fall the early dews of even, and out upon the air

The cereus flowers fling lavishly the fragrance that they bear;

One star, of all the eyes of heaven, is yet alone awake,

And sends abroad its prying glance to gaze on bower and lake.

Come bid the silent lute breathe out a low and mournful strain,

A sad and tearful melody, a wailing for the slain;

And as the notes glide far away, I’ll tell thee how one died,

Who sleeps in quiet loneliness, forgotten, by thy side.

The weary slave had left his toil;—it was an eve like this,

But to his heart its loveliness would bring no throb of bliss;

He only thought of former days, when she who shared his chains

Had roved in freedom by his side, amid their native plains.

A cry of anguish caught his ear—in shrieks she breathed his

And forward to his cot he sprung with heart and pulse of flame;

Amid her weeping babes she knelt, and o’er her crouching head

The white man’s lash in mockery swung, all newly stain’d with

One blow has fell’d him to the earth—one blow alone was lent,

And from the cot in rage and shame the tyrant master went;

But for that blow a felon’s death the Afric chieftain died,

And here, forgot by all but her, he slumbers by thy side.

6(2)v 64

Think of Our Country’s Glory.

Think of our country’s glory,

All dimm’d with Afric’s tears—

Her broad flag stain’d and gory

With the hoarded guilt of years!

Think of the frantic mother,

Lamenting for her child,

Till falling lashes smother

Her cries of anguish wild!

Think of the prayers ascending,

Yet shriek’d, alas! in vain,

When heart from heart is rending

Ne’er to be joined again.

Shall we behold, unheeding,

Life’s holiest feelings crush’d?—

When woman’s heart is bleeding,

Shall woman’s voice be hush’d?

Oh, no! by every blessing

That Heaven to thee may lend—

Remember their oppression,

Forget not, sister, friend.

The Kingfisher.

A newspaper paragraph gives an account of the instance of maternal
affection in a bird, which has been made the subject of the following lines,

The kingfisher sat on her hidden nest,

Shielding her young with a downy breast;

She had built her home where the wave went by,

Soothing her ear with its melody;

And the wild white blossoms bent to dip

In the rushing waves, their thirsty lip.

6(3)r 65

Pleasant it was while the skies were fair,

And perfume flung on the sunny air,

While the wind in a low sweet whisper died,

Ere it could ruffle the flowing tide;

And the arching skies o’er the waters threw

The deep clear tint of their own pure blue.

But what that is bright on earth may last?

Soon were the days of her sunshine past;

On came the storm-winds muttering loud,

Sweeping before them the thunder-cloud;

And faster, as flash’d the lightning’s flame,

Dashing to earth the sky-torrents came.

Yet with her cold wet wing unstirr’d,

On her shaken nest say the mother bird;

Still ’midst danger and death she clung,

With faithful love, to her lifeless young,

Till high around her hath risen the tide,

And with her pinion stretch’d over them, she died.

Oh! if affection like this hath part

In the warm depths of a wood-bird’s heart—

That even to die, is a better fate

Than to leave her dear ones desolate;—

What is the love of a mother’s breast,

With the seal of a deathless nature press’d?

Yet there are men who will rudely tear

The dearest chords that are cherish’d there;

Wrench from its mother’s frantic hold,

Her weeping babes, to be pawn’d for gold;

And scourge her amidst that living death,

If she dares but give her woe to breath!

Know ye the land where such deeds are done,

In the broad light of the blessed sun?

Where the spoiler bursts, with savage hand,

The holy links of the household band;

And the ties of natural love are cast,

With a daring hand, to the idle blast?

6* 6(3)v 66

To Those I Love.

Oh, turn ye not displeased away, though I should sometimes

Too much to press upon your ear, an oft-repeated theme;

The story of the negro’s wrongs is heavy at my heart,

And can I choose but wish from you a sympathizing part?

I turn to you to share my joy,—to soothe me in my grief—

In wayward sadness from your smiles, I seek a sweet relief:

And shall I keep this burning wish to see the slave set free,

Lock’d darkly in my secret heart, unshared and silently?

I cannot know that all the chords, which give their magic tone

Like Memnon’s harp, in music out, ’neath sunshine smiles alone,

Are torn by savage hands away from woman’s bleeding breast,

And with their sweetness on my soul, my feelings keep repress’d!

If I had been a friendless thing—if I had never known,

How swell the fountains of the heart beneath affection’s tone,

I might have, careless, seen the leaf torn rudely from its stem,

But clinging as I do to you, can I but feel for them?

I could not brook to list the sad sweet music of a bird,

Though it were sweeter melody than ever ear hath heard,

If cruel hands had quench’d its light, that in the plaintive song,

It might the breathing memory of other days prolong.

And can I give my lip to taste the life-bought luxuries, wrung

From those on whom a darker night of anguish has been flung—

Or silently and selfishly enjoy my better lot,

While those whom God hath bade me love, are wretched and

Oh no!—so blame me not, sweet friends, though I should sometimes

Too much to press upon your ear an oft-repeated theme;

The story of the negro’s wrongs hath won me from my rest,――

And I must strive to wake for him an interest in your breast!

6(4)r 67


Shine not on me, oh, moon! with the weak light

Of thy still beauty, mocking the turmoil

Of this tumultuous and jarring world,

With thy serenity, as if it were

Thy satellite, and thou didst deem it scorn

To let her passions move thee. I am sad—

And how may I have fellowship with thee,

Thou thing of perfect brightness? If the clouds

That sometimes pass athwart thy lovely brow

And shadow it as with a pensive thought,

Were round about thee now, with thy mild veil,

I would not turn from gazing;—but away,—

Thou art too brilliant for a tearful eye!

And mine is dim in sympathy and shame,

For the heart-broken, and the guilty ones,

Of my star-banner’d land.

The blessed breeze!

How most deliciously its coolness comes

With its soft stealing touch, to charm away

The slow, dull fever of my heavy brow;

And as I close beneath it, my wet lids,

To dry away their tears.—Yet is ’t not strange

How lightly it e’en bears its load of sighs!

Why, ’t is from the soft south—the guilty south!

Where those who should lift up a free clear brow

To the pure light of Heaven, go bending down

The clouded forehead, ’neath the heavy shame

Of painful fetters, to the very grave.

How, then, light thing of music, how canst thou

Come thus, all gladness, from the burial-place

Of the heart’s best affections? Didst thou not

A moment check the fluttering of thy wings

To listen to the voice of woman’s grief,

Lamenting for her lost ones? Hence with thee!—

Thou seem’st to me as thou wert made of sighs,

And the beseeching breath of woman’s prayers,

Poured out to hearts that knew not how to feel!

Woe for man’s selfishness! I will go in

And cover up my brow in the dull light,

As with a mourner’s garment.

6(4)v 68

Think of the Slave.

Think of the slave, in your hours of glee,

Ye who are treading life’s flowery way;

Nought but its rankling thorns has he,

Nought but the gloom of its wintry day.

Think of the slave, in your hours of woe!—

What are your sorrows, to that he bears?

Quenching the light of his bosom’s glow,

With a life-long stain of gushing tears.

Think of the slave, in your hours of prayer,

When worldly thoughts in your hearts are dim

Offer your thanks for the bliss ye share,

But pray for a brighter lot for him.

The Bereaved Father.

Ye have gone from me, gentle ones!

With all your shouts of mirth;

A silence is within my walls,

A darkness round my hearth.

The brightness from my life has gone,

The gladness from my heart!

Alas! alas! that such as you

From home and love should part!

Woe to the hearts that heard, unmoved,

The mother’s anguish’d shriek!

And mock’d, with taunting scorn, the tears

That bathed a father’s cheek.

Woe to the hands that tore you hence,

My innocent and good!

Not e’en the tigress of the wild,

Thus tears her fellow’s brood.

6(5)r 69

I list to hear your soft sweet tones,

Upon the morning air;

I gaze amidst the twilight’s gloom,

As if to find you there.

But you no more come bounding forth

To meet me in your glee;

And when the evening shadows fall,

Ye are not at my knee.

Your forms are aye before my eyes,

Your voices on my ear,

And all things wear a thought of you,

But you no more are here.

You were the glory of my life,

My blessing and my pride!

I half forgot the name of slave,

When you were by my side!

Woe for the lot that waiteth you,

My victim babes! through life;

Who now shall teach you to bear up

Amidst its bitter strife!

Woe for your lot, ye doom’d ones! woe!

A seal is on your fate!

And shame, and toil, and wretchedness,

On all your steps await!

Oh Tell Me Not, I Shall Forget.

Oh! tell me not I shall forget,

Amid the scenes of nature’s reign,

The cheeks with bitter tear-drops wet,

The hearts whose every throb is pain.

The wood-bird’s merry notes may ring,

Exulting ’neath the clear blue sky:

But louder still the breezes bring

The echo of a sister’s cry.

6(5)v 70

The forest brook may sparkle fair,

And win my heart to love its sheen;

But still it shows me, mirror’d there,

The image of a distant scene.

The verdant sod around my feet,

The treasure of its flowers may spread,

And close embowering branches meet,

In fresh’ning coolness, o’er my head.

Yet not for these, oh! not for these,

Can I forget the Afric’s woe,—

The sighs that float on every breeze,

The streaming tears that ceaseless flow.

No! though the loveliness of earth

Hath touch’d my spirit like a spell,

And sooth’d me back to joy and mirth,

When darkness else had round it fell.

Though not the simplest bud, that droops

Beneath its weight of morning dew,

When light the orient zephyr stoops

To trifle with its petals blue;

Though not a breeze that stirs the grove,

Or wing that cleaves the summer air,

But hath a link upon my love,

Or strikes some chord of feeling there;

Yet think not they can lull my heart,

To carelessness of human woe;

Or bid the bitter tears that start

For Afric’s wrongs, no longer flow.

What is a Slave, Mother?

“What is a slave, mother?—I heard you say

That word with a sorrowful voice, one day;

And it came again to my thoughts last night,

As I laid awake in the broad moonlight;

6(6)r 71

Methinks I have heard a story told,

Of some poor men, who are bought and sold,

And driven abroad with stripes to toil,

The live-long day on a stranger’s soil;

Is this true mother?

May children as young as I be sold,

And torn away from their mother’s hold—

From home—from all they have loved and known,

To dwell in the great wide world alone,

Far, far away in some distant place,

Where they never may see their parents’ face?

Ah! how I should weep to be torn from you!

Tell me, dear mother, can this be true?”

“Alas, yes, my child.”

“Does the master love the slave child well,

That he takes away in his house to dwell?

Does he teach him all that he ought to know,

And wipe his tears when they sometimes flow—

And watch beside him in sickness and pain,

Till health comes back to his cheek again—

And kneel each night by his side to pray,

That God will keep him through life’s rough way?”

“Alas, no, my child.”

“Ah, then must the tales I have heard be true,

Of the cruel things that the masters do;

That the poor slaves often must creep to bed,

On their scatter’d straw, but scantily fed;

Be sometimes loaded with heavy chains;

And flogg’d till their blood the keen lash stains;

While none will care for their bitter cry,

Or soothe their hearts when their grief is high.”

“It is so, my child.”

“And is it not, mother, a sinful thing,

The bosoms of others with pain to wring—

To bid them go labour and delve the soil,

And seize the reward of their weary toil—

For men to tear men from their homes away,

And sell them for gold, like a lawful prey!

Oh surely the land where such deeds are done,

Must be a most savage and wicked one!”

“It is this, my child.”

6(6)v 72

The Child’s Evening Hymn.

Father! while the daylight dies,

Hear our grateful voices rise:

For the blessings that we share,

For thy kindness and thy care,

For the joy that fills our breast;

For the love that makes us blest,

We thank thee, Father.

For an earthly father’s arm,

Shielding us from wrong and harm;

For a mother’s watchful cares,

Mingled with her many prayers;

For the happy kindred band,

’Midst whose peaceful links we stand,

We bless thee, Father.

Yet while ’neath the evening skies,

Thus we bid our thanks arise,

Father! still we think of those,

Who are bow’d with many woes,

Whom no earthly parent’s arm

Can protect from wrong and harm;

The poor slaves, Father.

Ah! while we are richly blest,

They are wretched and distrest!

Outcasts in their native land,

Crush’d beneath oppression’s hand,

Scarcely knowing even thee,

Mighty Lord of earth and sea!

Oh, save them, Father!

Touch the flinty hearts, that long

Have, remorseless, done them wrong;

Ope the eyes that long have been

Blind to every guilty scene;

That the slave—a slave no more—

Grateful thanks to thee may pour,

And bless thee, Father.

7(1)r 73

The Enfranchised Slaves to Their Benefactress.

Oh, blessings on thee, lady! we could lie

Down at thy feet, in our deep gratitude,

And give ourselves to die,

So thou could’st be made happier by our blood;

Yet life has never seem’d so dear as now,

That we may lift a free, unbranded brow.

In the deep silence of the starry night,

Our lips shall call down blessing on thy head;

And the first gush of light,

That in its splendour o’er the world is spread,

Shall view us bow’d in prayer, that life may be

A calm and sunny day of joy for thee.

Free! free!—how glorious ’t is to lift an eye,

Unblenching beneath infamy and shame,

To the blue and boundless sky,

And feel each moment from our hearts, the tame

Dull pulses of our vileness pass away,

Like sluggish mists before the rising day.

And then our infants! we shall never see

Their young limbs cheapen’d at the public mart,

Or shrink in agony,

To view them writhe beneath the cruel smart

Of the rude lash;—they ne’er like us shall know

The slave’s dark lot of wretchedness and woe.

For this we bless thee, lady! and may Heaven

Pour down its frequent blessings on thy brow;

And to thy life be given,

Oft through its sunset hours, such bliss as now

Is swelling round thy heart—scarce less than theirs

Who pour for thee their deep and grateful prayers.

7 7(1)v 74

Summer Morning.

’Tis beautiful, when first the dewy light

Breaks on the earth! while yet the scented air

Is breathing the cool freshness of the night,

And the bright clouds a tint of crimson wear,

Mix’d with their fleecy whiteness; when each fair

And delicate lined flower that lifts its head

Is bathed in dainty odours, and all rare

And beautiful things of nature are outspread,

With the rich flush of light that only morn can shed.

When every leafy chalice holds a draught

Of nightly dew, for the hot sun to drink,

When stream gush sportively, as though they laugh’d

For very joyousness, and seem to shrink,

In playful terror from the rocky brink

Of some slight precipice—then with quick leap,

Bound lightly o’er the barrier, and sink

In their own whirling eddy, and then sweep

With rippling music on, or in their channels sleep.

While lights and shades play on them, with each breath

That moves the calm still waters; when the fly

Skims o’er the surface, and all things beneath

Gleam brightly through the flood, and fish glance by

With a quick flash of beauty—when the sky

Wears a deep azure brightness—and the song

Of matin gladness lifts its voice on high,

And mingled harmony and perfume throng

On every whispering breeze that lightly floats along.—

’T is sweet to wander forth at such an hour,

And drink the spirit of its loveliness;

While on the brow no shadowing care-clouds lower,

And on strong wing the free thoughts upward press;—

Yet there are those whom nature cannot bless,

With all her varied beauty;—such as they,

Whose cup is drugg’d with pain and sore distress,

By their own brother’s hand, and the quench’d ray

Of whose lost hopes spreads gloom across the brightest day.

7(2)r 75

Lo! where, like cattle driven by the lash,

Forth to their wearying task in groups they go;

The mother, lifting up her hand, to dash

The tear-drops from her cheek, that still will flow,

As on her ear her infant’s wail comes low,

Yet painfully distinct; and she must leave,—

For the stern overseer wills it so—

Her tender little one unsoothed, to grieve,

Happy to clasp it safe when she returns at eve.

The feeble crone who on her knees hath borne

Her children’s grandchildren, is toiling there;

Young forms, and weak old men, whose limbs are worn

Nigh to the grave—strong men, whose bow’d necks bear

Perchance the weight of heavy irons, that wear

Into their very souls;—small heed has he

Who tasks them, of their ills, and none will spare

From the rude scourge—nor old nor infancy—

Who have the allotted toil perform’d imperfectly.

Oh shame upon man’s selfishness! that so

The love of gold should canker in his breast,

Transforming his affection’s kindly glow

To bitterness, himself into a pest

Upon the earth, the scourge of the oppress’d,

And tyrant of the helpless.—Strange that they,

Who with man’s high capacities are blest,

Should, for earth’s valueless and tinsel clay,

Thus cast the priceless jewels of their souls away.

Washington City Prison.

Thou dark and drear and melancholy pile!

Who seemest, like a guilty penitent,

To brood o’er horrors in thy bosom pent,

Until the sunbeams that around thee smile,

And the glad breath of heaven, have become

A hatred and mockery to thy gloom—

Stern fabric! I’ll commune with thee awhile!

7(2)v 76

And from thy hollow echoes, and the gale

That moans round thy dark cells, win back the tale

Of thy past history;—give thy stones a tongue,

And bid them answer me, and let the sighs

That round thy walls so heavily arise,

Be vocal, and declare from whence they sprung;

And by what passion of intense despair—

What aching throb of life consuming care,

From the torn heart of anguish they were wrung.

Receptacle of guilt! hath guilt, alone,

Stain’d with its falling tears thy foot-worn floor,

When the harsh echo of the closing door

Hath died upon the ear, and flinging prone

His form upon the earth, thy chilling gloom

Seem’d to the wretch the sentence of his doom—

Say, bear’st thou witness to no heart-wrung groan,

Bursting from sinless bosoms, whom the hand

Of tyrant power hath sever’d from the band

Of the earth’s holiest and dearest things,

And thrust amidst thy darkness? Speak! declare

If only the rude felon’s curse and prayer,

Mix’d with wild wail and wilder laughter rings

Within those dreary walls!—or if there be

No spirit fainting there with agony,

That not from their own crimes, but foul oppression springs.

Ha! am I answer’d?—in that startling cry,

Bursting from some wild breast, with anguish riven,

And rising up to register in heaven

Its blighting tale of outrage—the reply

Was heard distinctly terrible.—It sprung

From a sad household group, who wildly clung

Together, in their frantic agony,

Till they were torn by savage hands apart,

Fond arms from twining arms, and heart from heart,

Never to meet again! what had they done,

Thou tool of avarice and tyranny!—

That they should thus be given o’er to thee,

7(3)r 77

And thy guilt-haunted cells?—were sire and son,

Mother and babe, all partners in one crime,

As dreadful as the fate that through all time,

Clings to them with a grasp they may not shun?

No!—let the tale be spoken, though it burn

The cheek with shame to breathe it—let it go

Forth on the winds, that the wide globe may know

Our vileness, and the rudest savage turn

And point, with taunting finger, to the spot

Whereon thou standest; that all men may blot

Our name with its deserved taint, and spurn

Our vaunting laws of justice with the heel

Of low contumely; that every peal

Of triumph, may be answer’d with a shout

Of biting mockery; and our starry flag,

Our glorious banner! may, dishonour’d, drag

Its proud folds in the dust, or only flout

The gales of heaven, to be a broader mark

For scorn to spit at—oh, thou depôt dark,

Where souls and human limbs are meted out,

In fiendish traffic:—no! those weeping ones

Have done no evil—but their brother’s hand,

Hath rudely burst the sacred household band,

And given, with heart more flinty than thy stones,

His victims to thy keeping, and thy chains,

Till he hath sold them!—they within whose veins

Blood like his own is coursing, and whose moans

Are torn from hearts as deathless as his own!

And there thou stand’st—where Freedom’s altar stone

Is darken’d by thy shadows,—and the cry,

That thrills so fearfully upon the air,

With its wild tale of anguish and despair,

Blends with the pæans that are swelling high,

To do her homage!—I have sometimes felt

As I could hate my country for her guilt,—

Until in bitter tears the mood went by.

7* 7(3)v 78

The Sunset Hour.

No! I have not forgotten yet the gentle sunset hour,

That comes with such a soothing touch, to shut the bright
leaved flower;

Nor have I yet forgotten those, who shared its light with me,

Amidst a scene I fondly love, though distant far it be.

A gleaming of its parting light is lingering even now,

With dim and faded brilliancy, around my lifted brow;

While memory flings aside the veil that hangs o’er parted things,

And drives the shadow from the past, before her glancing wings.

I seem to see thee, gentle friend, before me even yet!

So meekly in thy wonted place, beside the casement set,

With calm still brow and placid eye across the landscape bent,

Where all of nature’s varied charms are beautifully blent.

The gliding streams, the low white mill, the hill upswelling high,

With its few crowning forest-trees so painted on the sky;

The vine-hung crag, the shadowy wood, the fields of tufted

And emerald meadow-slopes, that gleam beneath the sunset

In sooth, it is a lovely scene; alas! that some as fair,

Man’s lawless selfishness should make the home of dark despair.

That ’midst glad nature’s purity, the bending slave should tread,

And proud oppression o’er the earth a waste of anguish spread!

Hath God’s rich mercy form’d the earth so beautifully bright,

For man to wrap his brother’s soul in gloominess and night?

That all its charms must be unseen, its loveliness unfelt,

By eyes and hearts all dimm’d and broke by cruelty and guilt.

No! never hath he meant that those, within whose forms are

The rich and deep capacities of an undying mind,

Should ’neath a brother’s foot be crush’d, be loaded with his

And drain, to feed his riot waste, the life-blood from their veins.

7(4)r 79

The Devoted.

It was a beautiful turn given by a great lady, who being asked where
her husband was, when he lay concealed for having been deeply concerned
in a conspiracy, resolutely answered, that she had hidden him. This confession
caused her to be carried before the governor, who told her that
nought but confessing where she had hidden him, could save her from the
torture. “And will that do?” said she. “Yes,” replied the governor, “I
will pass my word for your safety, on that condition.”
“Then,” replied
she, “I have hidden him in my heart, where you may find him.”

Stern faces were around them bent, and eyes of vengeful ire,

And fearful were the words they spake of torture, stake, and

Yet calmly in the midst she stood, with eye undimm’d and

And though her lip and cheek were white, she wore no sign
of fear.

“Where is thy traitor spouse?” they said;—a half-form’d
smile of scorn,

That curl’d upon her haughty lip, was back for answer borne;—

“Where is thy traitor spouse?” again, in fiercer notes, they

And sternly pointed to the rack, all rusted o’er with red!

Her heart and pulse beat firm and free—but in a crimson flood,

O’er pallid lip and cheek and brow, rush’d up the burning blood;

She spake, but proudly rose her tones, as when in hall or bower,

The haughtiest chief that round her stood had meekly own’d
their power;

“My noble lord is placed within a safe and sure retreat”

“Now tell us where, thou lady bright, as thou wouldst mercy

Nor deem thy life can purchase his—he cannot ’scape our wrath,

For many a warrior’s watchful eye is placed o’er every path.

But thou may’st win his broad estates to grace thine infant

And life and honour to thyself, so thou his haunts declare.”

7(4)v 80

She laid her hand upon her heart; her eye flash’d proud and

And firmer grew her haughty tread—“My Lord is hidden here!

And if you seek to view his form, ye first must tear away,

From round his secret dwelling place these walls of living clay!”

They quail’d beneath her haughty glance, they silent turn’d

And left her all unharm’d amidst her loveliness and pride!

Deaf and Dumb.

Her face was sweetly serious; yet a smile

Was cradled in the dimple of her cheek,

As if it waited but the frequent call,

To spring to the red lip. I spoke to her,

And listen’d for the music-breathing tones

Of childhood’s laughing voice—she answer’d not,

Nor raised the fringes of her deep blue eyes;—

And then they told me that the gushing fount

Of all her young affections was seal’d up.—

That young bright lip was voiceless; and the heart

Sprang not in blessedness to the deep tones

Of thrilling tenderness—the soul was shut—

And all the spirit’s wild imaginings

Thrown back in darkness—like the flowers that spring

Beneath the bosom of the winter’s snow.

The Annointing.

The moon had risen.—Light was o’er the world

With all the freshness of the early day.

The feathery clouds that floated in the east,

Wore a faint tinge of crimson, and the voice

Of forest music; and a scented breath,

Of dewy flowers, came onward through the air.

The men of Bethlehem were gather’d round

The altar of their God; and the deep tones

Of Samuel’s voice arose in solemn prayer;

7(5)r 81

The smoke curl’d upwards from the sacrifice,

In cloudy volumes first, then thin and slow,

Until the last faint wreath had disappear’d.

The prophet rose, and standing in the midst,

Stretch’d out his hands and bless’d them—and then spake—

“Thou, Jesse, son of Obed, of the tribe of lion Judah—hearken to my voice: Thus saith the Lord: ‘From Saul’s anointed brow, And from his hand, and those of all his sons, The kingly sceptre and the crown shall pass, As though he was not chosen of the Lord.’ So cause thy sons to pass before mine eyes, That I may consecrate whom God hath chosen To gift with Judah’s kingly diadem.”

Then came Eliab forth, the first, and stood

Before the Prophet. His proud head was bow’d,

And his cross’d hands were folded on his breast,

In mute unwonted reverence; yet even thus,

His haughty brow above the mightiest tower’d,

As he were born to be a conqueror.

There was a speaking beauty in his face,

And the bright glorious eye that flash’d beneath

His clustering curls of sable seem’d to tell

Of a high spirit that could plan bold deeds,

Which that strong arm would joy to execute.

The Prophet gazed, and said within his heart,

“Surely, the Lord’s anointed is before him!”

But in the still small voice Jehovah spake

Unto the Prophet’s ear.—“Regard not thou

The beauty of his countenance, nor yet

His stature, nor the majesty thereof;

For him have I rejected. The Most High

Sees not as mortal; but the secret heart

Is open all before him, and its sins,

And its infirmities, he knoweth all.”

Then came Eliab’s brethren, one by one,

And Samuel look’d upon them, but he knew

The chosen from the people was not there.

Then David came, e’en from his fleecy charge,

Himself as innocent, and knelt him down

Before the Prophet. He, that young fair boy,

His mother’s treasured one, who had but left

7(5)v 82

Her fond maternal side, to lay him down

On the flower-studded bank, and watch the wave

Glide on in laughing ripples at his feet,

While his white lambs were sporting on the grass.

Why should the Prophet look on him, as though

He might be chosen to be Israel’s king?

He was most beautiful! His timid eye,

With boyish wonder mix’d with holy awe,

Through its bright veil of golden curls look’d up

With a long gaze to Samuel’s quiet face;

And feelings wrought intensely, had spread out

A warmer flush upon his downy cheek.

The prophet look’d upon the kneeling boy,

So young—so fair—those parted lips e’en now

Scarcely refraining from their wonted smiles—

The dimple sporting on his rosy cheek,

The snowy brow half shaded by his hair,

And those dark eyes, so bright, so beautiful,—

And a strange thrilling gush came o’er his heart

Even to starting tears. Could this be he,

For whom the Lord would break the power of Saul?

He felt that it was so—and lifting up

His horn of sacred oil, anointed him,

To be the servant of the Holy One.

The Soldier’s Prayer.

Garden, in his Anecdotes of the Revolution, when describing the
sufferings of the army, mentions the circumstance of a soldier having
earnestly entreated permission to visit his family, which was refused, on
the ground that the same favour must be granted to others, who could not
be spared without weakening the army, whose strength was already reduced
by sickness. He acquiesced in the justice of the denial, but added,
that to him refusal would be death. He was a brave and valuable soldier,
and apparently in health at the time;—but his words were verified.

I care not for the hurried march through August’s burning

Nor for the long cold ward at night, beneath the dewy moon;

7(6)r 83

I’ve calmly felt the winter’s storms, o’er my unshelter’d head,

And trod the snow with naked foot, till every track was red!

My soldier’s fare is poor and scant—’t is what my comrades

Yon heaven my only canopy—but that I well can bear;

A dull and feverish weight of pain is pressing on my brow,

And I am faint with recent wounds—for that I care not now.

But oh, I long once more to view my childhood’s dwelling-place,

To clasp my mother to my heart—to see my father’s face!

To list each well-remember’d tone, to gaze on every eye

That met my ear, or thrill’d my heart, in moments long gone by.

In vain with long and frequent draught of every wave I sip—

A quenchless and consuming thirst is ever on my lip!

The very air that fans my cheek no blessed coolness brings,—

A burning heat or chilling damp is ever on its wings.

Oh! let my seek my home once more—for but a little while—

But once above my couch to see my mother’s gentle smile;

It haunts me in my waking hours—’t is ever in my dreams,

With all the pleasant paths of home, rocks, woods, and shaded

There is a fount—I know it well—it springs beneath a rock,

Oh, how its coolness and its light, my feverish fancies mock!

I pine to lay me by its side, and bathe my lips and brow,

’T would give new fervour to the heart that beats so languid now.

I may not—I must linger here—perchance it may be just!

But well I know this yearning soon will scorch my heart to dustobscured1 letter

One breathing of my native air had call’d me back to life—

But I must die—must waste away beneath this inward strife.

The Appeal of the Choctaw.

We cannot leave our fathers’ land!

We cannot leave our fathers’ graves!

The long-loved hills that round us stand—

Our valleys, with their pleasant waves.

7(6)v 84

Oh, bid us not to trace afar,

The pathway of the evening star;

We cannot find, where’er we roam,

A spot which bears, like this, the name of home!

What though the western forest rise,

More tall, more darkly close, than these;

And calm the stately wild deer lies,

In slumber ’neath the stately trees;—

Though hill and vale are passing fair,

And all seems bright and lovely there,

We cannot love the beauteous spot,

To us the great Manitto gave it not!

What care we for those prairies wide?

Our fathers never hunted there;—

Those cavern echoes ne’er, in pride,

Flung back their wild halloo of war.

Those wooded glens, and shaded streams,

Came never to our childhood’s dreams;

Nor have we, in our young hearts’ glee,

Loved, like familiar friends, each rock and tree.

But here, amid the tempest’s rush,

Our spirit fathers’ voices thrill!

They come at midnight’s moonlit hush,

Or when the eve-star lights the hill.

The thoughts of other times are spread

O’er every gray crag’s misty head;—

And how then can we lightly leave

The scenes to which our hearts so fondly cleave?

Then have we not in worship bow’d,

Before your God, the humbled head?

And tamed our spirits, fierce and proud,

To till our hunting grounds for bread?

And now, that in our bosom’s cell,

A white man’s calmer soul would dwell,

You seek to grasp our planted soil,

And drive us hence, in distant lands to toil!

8(1)r 85

Oh, white men! ye have fair smooth brows,

And lips whose words we well might trust,

But treachery mingles in your vows,

Your chain of friendship is but dust!

Ye come with falsehood in your hearts,

Ye frame your laws with wily arts,

And bid us ’neath their shades to dwell,

That we may wither by their blighting spell!


The ark was resting on the mountain’s side,

And those who dwelt beneath its sheltering veil,

Look’d forth upon the earth—that sight denied

Their anxious gaze so long!—their cheeks grew pale

As Noah moved the covering from their frail,

Yet safe abode of refuge; for they thought

Of those dark hours, when, ever on the gale,

The voice of ruin and despair was brought,

Telling how wide a scathe destruction’s hand had wrought.

And now they look’d abroad upon the scene

With a sick, painful interest, and a dread

Of seeing—what till now had only been

A picture of their thoughts—before them spread

In all its dark reality. The dead,

The guilty dead, seem’d rising to their sight,

As when in sinful happiness, their tread

Pass’d gayly o’er the earth, ere that long night

Of utter darkness pass’d above them with its blight.

Then how could those lone dwellers of the earth—

The only rescued—how could they but weep?

What though the lost ones, in their guilty mirth,

Had mock’d their pious prayers, and wrought them deep

And sore affliction? In one whelming sweep,

The wrath of God had crush’d them! and could now

The righteous triumph o’er their dreamless sleep?

But Noah—only he—upraised his brow,

As if his spirit could be moved by nought below.

8 8(1)v 86

And yet the green earth bore but little trace

Of its late ravage;—scatter’d here and there,

The wreck of some proud palace, or a place

Of their vain worship—with their pillars fair,

Grown o’er with sea-weed, and their treasures rare,

Gone to the ocean caverns;—but the light

Of the rich sunset melted through an air,

All fill’d with odours from a world as bright

As though it only waked in freshness from the night.

So thus they trod the silent world once more,—

Its only habitants!—all gather’d there,

And praising Him who bade the waters pour

Their whelming floods around them, and yet spare

The cherish’d few whom he had made his care,

And shielded with his love. And thus they grew,

Peaceful and calm, and hymns rose on the air

In grateful joyfulness; for then they knew

That all that scathe had pass’d forever from their view.

The Battle Field.

The last fading sunbeam has sunk in the ocean,

And darkness has shrouded the forest and hill;

The scenes that late rang with the battle’s commotion,

Now sleep ’neath the moonbeams serenely and still;

Yet light misty vapours above them still hover,

And dimly the pale beaming crescent discover,

Though all the stern clangour of conflict is over,

And hush’d the wild trump-note that echoed so shrill.

Around me the steed and the rider are lying,

To wake at the bugle’s loud summons no more—

And here is the banner that o’er them was flying,

Torn, trampled, and sullied, with earth and with gore.

With morn—where the conflict the wildest was roaring,

Where sabres were clashing, and death-shot were pouring,

That banner was proudest and loftiest soaring—

Now, standard and bearer alike are no more!

8(2)r 87

All hush’d! not a breathing of life from the numbers

That scatter’d around me so heavily sleep,—

Hath the cup of red wine lent its fumes to their slumbers,

And stain’d their bright garments with crimson so deep?

Ah no! these are not like gay revellers sleeping,

The night-winds, unfelt, o’er their bosoms are creeping,

Ignobly their plumes o’er the damp ground are creeping,

And dews, all uncared for, their bright falchions steep.

Bright are they? at morning they were—ay, at morning,

Yon forms were proud warriors, with hearts beating high

The smiles of stern valour their lips were adorning,

And triumph flash’d out from the glance of their eye!

But now—sadly alter’d, the evening hath found them,

They care not for conquest, disgrace cannot wound them,

Distinct but in name, from the earth spread around them,

Beside their red broad-swords, unconscious, they lie.

How still is the scene! save when dismally whooping,

The night-bird afar hails the gathering gloom;

Or a heavy sound tells that their comrades are scooping

A couch, where the sleepers may rest in the tomb.

Alas! ere yon planet again shall be lighted,

What hearts shall be broken, what hopes will be blighted,

How many, ’midst sorrow’s dark storm-clouds benighted,

Shall envy, e’en while they lament, for their doom.

Oh war! when thou ’rt clothed in the garments of glory,

When Freedom had lighted thy torch at her shrine

And proudly thy deeds are emblazon’d in story,

We think not, we feel not, what horrors are thine.

But oh! when the victors and vanquish’d have parted,

When lonely we stand on the war-ground deserted,

And think on the dead, and on those broken-hearted,

Thy blood-sprinkled laurel-wreath ceases to shine.


The moon hath risen o’er the silent height

Of the blue vaulted heaven—and each star

Is faintly glimmering in its silver light,

That dimly shows the mountain-tops afar,

8(2)v 88

And lights the fleecy clouds that, floating there,

By turns obscure its brightness—while around,

The spell of silence hangs o’er earth and air;

And not a rude intruding voice, or sound,

Falls on the ear, or mars the solitude profound.

Prompter of wild imagination’s flight!

How soft the witchery that enrobes thy beam,

That sheds its magic o’er the gloom of night,

And wraps the soul within its brightest dream,

Till heaven and earth are mingled—and we seem,

With airy beings of the land of thought,

To hold high converse—till we almost deem

They are indeed with life and being fraught,

And not in fancy’s wild unreal visions wrought.

Now rise the treasured thoughts of other days,

And all the scenes that by-past years have known;

And memory sheds her reminiscent rays

Around the hopes and pleasures that have flown,

And gives again to being every tone,

That once like music on our pulses thrill’d;

When childhood’s gaiety was all our own,

And even tears, like dew in flowers distill’d,

Gave brightness to the dreams that hope delights to build.

Star-spangled vault of glory! who could gaze

With coldness or with carelessness at thee?

Or view the earth illumined by thy rays,

Nor feel the spirit for a moment free

From all terrestrial feelings?—Can it be

That in yon spheres translated spirits dwell?

It may be fancy’s whisper—but to me

It sounds scarce strangely—though we may not tell

Of what waits beyond our shortly pealing knell.


Thus saith Jehovah! let this people go!

The king was on his throne array’d all gorgeously,

In regal purple rich with fretted gold,

8(3)r 89

And starr’d with sparkling gems, while snowy lawn

Was mingling with its folds luxuriously.

The crown of Egypt was upon his brow,

And her proud sceptre was beside his hand.

The nobles of his land were gather’d round,

Thronging the proud pavilion where he sate;

And the wise men, the Magi of the East,

The Priests, Soothsayers, Astrologers,

And the most cunning sorcerers, were there.

And also, there, apart from all the rest,

Yet even at the foot of Pharaoh’s throne,

Two men array’d in humble garments stood.

One spoke not, but with meekly folded arms,

Awaited silently the king’s decree.

His form was finely moulded, and his face

Had much expressive beauty, though his eye

Spoke with a sadden’d feeling—and his brow,

Amid the clustering curls that shaded it,

Told that the freshness of his youth had pass’d.

The other form was taller, and his limbs

Were nerved to manlier strength—his bold dark eye

Sent its proud glances round him fearlessly;

While with his mantle gather’d o’er his breast,

And his right arm extended as he spake,

He pour’d his eloquence to Pharaoh’s ear.

“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, God Omnipotent!

Let thou this people go—their wives, their children,

Their herds of cattle, and their snowy flocks,—

And whatsoe’er belongeth unto them,

Shall with themselves, unransom’d, all be free.

Say not within thy heart, as thou hast said,

That his unchanging will shall pass away,

And yet be unaccomplish’d; nor yet hope

With words deceitful to evade his purpose.

Why should’st thou war with Heaven? can thy weak arm

Cope with His wrathful strength, who wields the thunder,

And looketh on the wide extended earth,

Even as a little thing?—Thy heart is raised,

Yea, lifted up in pride and vanity,

8* 8(3)v 90

For thine exalted power and high estate—

But know’st thou not that He who raiseth up,

Can bring thee low e’en to the very dust,

And change thy glory into emptiness?

Then waken not the terrors of His wrath,

Nor scorn his mandate—let this people go!”

But Pharaoh harden’d still his heart, till God,

With a high hand, brought out his chosen people,

And whelm’d the might of Egypt in the wave.

Oh ye! who still in cruel bondage, worse

Then e’en the Egyptian, hold the ill-starr’d slave,

Do ye not dread that God’s long slumbering wrath

At length will pour its terrors upon you?

Are slavery and oppression aught more just

Than in the days of Moses?—and if not,

With how much deeper hue does the dark stain

Attach itself to you, who proudly bear

The name of Christians—and declare yourselves

The servants of the perfect law of Him,

Who died upon the cross! is slavery just?

Ye dare not say it is—ye dare not say

The Negro is not God’s own heritage,

The work of His own hand—one flesh, one blood

With you who crush him to the very earth!

What, is it just that a white skin should give

To man the power to tyrannize o’er man?

That hundreds of the human race should toil,

To feed the wealth and luxury of one—

A scanty sustenance their only meed?

Yet in this age of intellectual light,

And high profession of religious faith,

Even now there are (may Heaven forgive them) those,

So wholly lost to what they owe themselves,

Their country, and their God, that they would lift

Their voice in favour of the wrong, and e’en pollute

The very Senate-House with arguments

For the vile cause of slavery—Oh shame—

Shame on them tenfold!—did not their hot breath

Spread a foul gangrene o’er the very walls,

8(4)r 91

Like the dark plague-spot on the Jewish tents,

In days of old? what, freemen! will ye bear

To be insulted thus, upon the spot

That of all others, like a polish’d mirror,

Should be o’erclouded by the slightest breath

That spoke of stern oppression? rouse ye, rouse,

And tear the veil of blindness from your eyes!

Deceive yourselves no longer with false dreams

Of wealth and interest—look upon the North—

Is she not rich and prosperous as yourselves?

And yet no slave is there—no hapless wretch,

To blight the soil with curses and hot tears.

But do you say that you lament the evil,

But that ye made it not, nor is your power

Efficient for the cleansing of the stain,

Though you should gladly lend your aid therein,

If but the path were open?—then awake!

No longer sit with idly folded hands,

And conscience lull’d securely into rest,

Until destruction with a voice of thunder,

Break on your guilty torpor—Oh, beware!

And harden not your hearts like ancient Pharaoh,

Lest a worse fate than even his befal you.

And you, friends of the cause of liberty,

Shrink not, though you be straiten’d in your course,

Even as was Israel at the Red Sea wave.

Nerve every faculty—call every means,

And every energy of heart and mind

Forth into action—summon up your strength,

Ply argument, persuasion, eloquence,—

Bear patiently with deeply rooted feelings,

Of prejudice, self-interest, and all else,

That may have twined round your opponents’ hearts;

Yet combat still, remove and overpower them,

Until no longer o’er the smiling land,

Is heard the voice of tyranny, and all

Who breathe the same pure air alike are free:

8(4)v 92

So may God bless you! and the franchised slave,

Remember only in his grateful prayers,

That he has ever drain’d oppression’s cup,

And that he owes his liberty to you.

The Depths of the Sea.

Depths of the fathomless sea,

What do you hold in your caves?

Motionless hearts that bounded free,

And many a costly argosie,

That gallantly rode on your waves?

Yes! motionless hearts are there,

And many a glassy eye—

And many a gem of price ye bear,

Ingots of gold and spices rare,

That in the salt wave lie.

Oh, if the dead could speak,

What a tale might ye unfold!

Of the roaring surge and the blanching cheek,

Of the crashing mast, and the one wild shriek,

As the waters over them roll’d!

The weary sailor sleeps

In your beautiful coral bowers;

The polar star its night ward keeps,

But he heeds it not—and his loved one weeps,

As she counts the wearisome hours.

The cheek of beauty is there,

But its blush had faded away—

The sea-weed wraps what was once so fair,

And the water-snake twines with her flowing hair,

As though it but mock’d her decay.

The speaking eye is dim,

That flash’d with its glance of light—

The youth drank of life’s cup, while joy bathed its brim,

But the long draught of bitterness was not for him,

And the pride-curl’d lip is white!

8(5)r 93

The young and the old are there,

The coward heart and the brave—

Those to whom life in her morning shone fair,

And those who were wasted with cankering care,

The freemen, the tyrant, the slave.

The infant is there, with the light

Of his innocent smile round his brow;

He laugh’d when the foam on that pitiless night,

Curl’d o’er the rude wave with its sparkles of light—

But his blue eye is slumbering now.

And there is the beautiful bride,

Still entwined in her lover’s last grasp;

The warrior rests with his foe by his side,

And the mother yet seems, in her matronly pride

To enfold that fair boy in her clasp.

Ye depths of the billowy sea!

How many a tale of fear,

Of the plunging corse, and the mutiny,

And the blood-red banner of piracy,

Could ye tell to the shuddering ear!

And of how, at the dead of night,

The captive burst his chain,

And with one glance at the moon’s fair light

Forever he sunk from the tyrant’s sight—

And the wave roll’d on again.

Oh, ye are a changeless mystery—

The heavens are wreathed in flame,

And the bark is toss’d on the raging sea,

Or the sunbeam smiles with its breezes free—

But ye are forever the same.

The Recaptured Slave.

Woe to thee, tyrant! woe!

Does that white brow of thine which shows so fair

And the rich tint thy cheek is wont to wear,

8(5)v 94

Make thee ruler of my destiny?

Or does thy blood more freely flow,

Than that which pours so madly now,

Along my burning veins—that thou should’st be

The favourite of fortune—proud and free—

And I should be thy slave—thy vassal?—no!

’T is true, I was thy slave—the power was thine—

And thou hadst made me such—through lingering years,

One weary task of ceaseless toil was mine,

Of servitude and tears—

But didst thou think no kindly glow,

Could warm my heart to joy or woe?

Mistaken fool! I heard thee name a name,

That rush’d like fire along my burning breast,

And from that instant there awoke a flame,

That ne’er has been, and ne’er shall be suppress’d—

I heard the glorious name of liberty!

And from that hour I panted to be free!

I had breathed on—not lived—in recklessness,

And idle dull submission to my fate;

But then the very sunbeams seem’d to press

Upon my senses, with a bitter weight—

As though they spake upbraidingly,

That all around me should be free,

And I should be so vile—that I should bow,

And tremble at the gathering of thy brow!

I once had loved the gushing mirth

Of the young spring—when bee, flower, bird,

And every thing upon the earth,

Seem’d fraught with joy—but now, one word,

One only word, came o’er my brain,

Again, again, again,

As if ’t were scorch’d in characters of flame

And that one word was Freedom! all things seem’d

To shape their voices only to that name—

The wild bird’s joyous song—the fish that gleam’d

Through the bright flood—the murmur of the wave—

Nay, even the breath of heaven—methought seem’d whispering,

8(6)r 95

I fled, and ere another set of sun,

My galling chains were broken—I was free!

A new, a bright existence was begun—

And my soul knew and felt its potency.

The voice of eve seem’d sweeter to my ears,

And all things brighter to my eye—till tears

From my full heart gush’d up tumultuously—

Wife, children, friends, were all forgotten—all—

I only felt that I was free from thrall.

’T is over now—and I once more am thine—

But thinkest thou that, having known the bliss—

That though one moment only has been mine,

I will live on in servitude like this,

And wear the chains of bondage? tyrant, no!

My blood be on thy head! woe rest upon thee, woe!

Art thou my master! then come ask the wave,

To give thee back thy slave!

Jephthah’s Vow.

The hostile armies still were hush’d in sleep,

And over Gilead’s plain hung silence deep;

The fading watch-fires dimly gleam’d from far,

Like the faint radiance of some sinking star,

And rising high in heaven, the moon’s pale beam,

Its trembling lustre cast o’er bank and stream:

The men of Israel slept—but in his tent,

Their chief in prayer the lingering moments spent.

He felt how less than vain was human power,

To lend him succour in the coming hour,

And kneeling, threw aside his helm and sword,

And pour’d his soul in suppliance to the Lord.

“Oh thou! who ridest on the whirlwind’s wings,
Jehovah! Judge of earth, and King of kings!

Be pleased from thine abiding place on high,

To cast on Israel’s low estate thine eye;

Behold, oh Lord! how fallen is the pride

Of her who once the nations round defied,

When thy bright pillar was her shield and guide.

8(6)v 96

Lord! she hath sinn’d—forgetful of thy name,

Hath raised to other gods the altar’s flame;

Unmindful of thy mercies she has knelt,

And join’d in prayer with those that round her dwelt;

But God, forgive her—for she bends the knee,

And turns in tearful penitence to thee;

Her cherish’d idols from their shrines she spurns,

And once again thy holy altar burns.

Forgive her, Lord! again thy grace restore,

And in her wounds thy healing balsam pour!

How long, oh Lord! shall Israel bow the head,

And mourn her power estranged, her glory fled?

How long shall Zion’s daughter’s weep in vain,

The best, the noblest, of thy servants slain?

Behold’st thou not, from thine abode of day,

How hath the spoiler mark’d her for a prey?

Arise, arise! in thy returning wrath,

And sweep proud Ammon from her guilty path!

Arise, arise! thy lamp of light restore,

And on thy foes thy cup of vengeance pour!

If thou who hear’st from heaven thy servant’s prayer,

Against thy foes thy vengeful arm wilt bare,

If thou wilt nerve my arm, and edge my sword,

That death and slaughter through their ranks be pour’d,

When homeward with exulting shouts I turn,

Unnumber’d fires shall on thine altars burn;

And what of all my household first shall be,

To greet thy servant, shall be slain for thee!”

Thus Jephthah pray’d—Jehovah heard his prayer,

And gave his arm to triumph in the war;

The power of Ammon was subdued and slain,

And Israel rescued from her captive chain.

The chieftain turn’d him home in conquering pride,

His helpless captives trembling by his side,

His car triumphal with proud laurels hung,

And songs of victory around him sung.

Yet though his bosom swell’d with conscious pride,

His sinking heart in secret sadness died;

The flush of triumph faded from his brow,

With memory of his unaccomplish’d vow;

9(1)r 97

Nor were his bodings false—as near he drew,

To where his native city met his view,

A band of maidens gaily deck’d with flowers,

The brightest blooming in their roseate bowers,

With timbrel, dance, and song, to meet him came,

In numbers wild, proclaiming Jephthah’s fame:

And while his bold achievements still they sung,

Their brightest roses in his path they flung.

The leader of that band of joyous girls

Was fairest of the group—her clustering curls

With roses wreath’d—the cheek of blush and snow,

The ruby lip, the eye’s expressive glow,

All met in her—and beam’d more brightly fair,

For the proud feeling that had call’d her there.

She forward sprung, to meet the chief’s advance,

And first on her was pour’d his anxious glance.

That martial cavalcade, that pompous show,

What were they to his anxious spirit now?

E’en ’midst the loud acclaims that rent the air,

He tore the wreath of laurel from his hair,

And, dashing from his side his conquering blade,

He sprang to earth, to meet and clasp the maid.

“My child, my daughter! wild exclaim’d the chief,

How hast thou changed my triumph into grief!

How hast thou now become as one of those,

Who are my worst tormentors and my foes!

For I have vow’d, in prayer unto the Lord,

If he would nerve my arm and edge my sword,

That of my household, what first met my eyes,

Should be to him a holy sacrifice.”

The maiden heard, and one convulsive start

Drove back the gushing life-blood from her heart,

While with blanch’d cheek and vacant eyes she stood,

As though the hand of death had chill’d her blood;

’T was but a moment—then her changing eye,

With deep fire glowing, spoke her purpose high.

“Since thou hast vow’d, my father, to the Lord,

Do thou with me according to thy word;

I cannot murmur that my life should be

An offering, thus, for Israel and for thee!”

9 9(1)v 98

The maiden died—and long, in after years,

Did Zion’s daughters mourn her fate with tears.

Anthony Benezet.

Friend of the Afric! friend of the oppress’d!

Thou who wert cradled in a far-off clime,

Where bigotry and tyranny unbless’d,

With gory hand defaced the page of time;

Wert thou forth driven by their stern control,

An infant fugitive across the deep,

To teach, in after years, thy pitying soul

O’er all the Afric’s causeless wrongs to weep,

Where slavery’s bitter tears the flag of freedom steep?

And thou didst nobly plead for them; thy heart,

Thrilling to all the holy sympathies,

Of natural brotherhood, wept, to see the mart

Of commerce, with its human merchandize,

So crowded and polluted, and thy voice,

With the clear trumpet tones of God’s own word,

Rang through the guilty crowd, until no choice

Was left them but to tremble as they heard,

Or bind with treble seal the feelings thou hadst stirr’d.

The ears of princes heard thee; and the wise,

Touch’d by the mastery of thy earnestness,

Bade their train’d spirits for a while to rise

From their profound research, and learn to bless

Thy generous efforts, and with kindred zeal,

Led on by thee, in duty’s path to move;

And kindled by thy sacred ardour, feel,

Like thee, that overflowing gush of love,

That lifts man’s selfish heart all narrow thoughts above.

The fetters of the slave are still unbroken;

But there will come, perchance, ere long, a day,

When by their lips who wrong’d him, shall be spoken

The fiat of his freedom;—and the ray

9(2)r 99

Of intellectual light shall radiance pour

On minds o’er which the gloom of darkness hung

In treble folds impervious before,

By tyrants’ hands around them rudely flung,

To bind the chains that to both limb and spirit clung.

Then shall their children learn to speak thy name,

With the full heart of gratitude, and know

What thou hast done for them; and while they frame

That history for their infants’ ears, may grow

Perchance, in their own hearts, the likeness strong

Of thy bright virtues; so thou still shalt be,

Even in thy sepulchre, their friend;—and long

Shall those who love mankind, remember thee,

Thou noble friend of those who pined in slavery.

The Sold.

I’ll to the dance! what boots it thus,

To brood o’er the ills I cannot quell?

Amid the revel shout of mirth,

My bitter laugh shall mingle well.

I’ve toil’d beside my mates to-day,

To-night we’ll join in seeming glee;

But when we part, with morning’s light,

For aye, that parting glance will be.

I will not go!—this fire within,

Would choke me with its smother’d flames!

How could I tell the dear ones there,

Of that detested tyrant’s claims?

I could endure the fetter’s weight,

That I have borne with them so long,—

But not to wear a stranger’s chain,

And crouch beneath a stranger’s thong.

Yet this must be my morrow’s fate!

To part with all that gave my doom,

Dark as it was and desolate,

A ray of light admidst its gloom.

9(2)v 100

To bear the scourge, to wear the chain,

To toil with wearied heart and limb,

Till death should end my lengthen’d pain,

Or worn old age my senses dim:—

This have I borne, and look’d to bear,

All bitter as such lot must be;

But drearier still my life must wear,

Beneath a stranger’s tyranny.

Alas! ’t would be a happier lot,

If, ere to-morrow’s doom shall come,

My woes and wrongs were all forgot,

Amid the darkness of the tomb.


Do you feel sorrowful? I sometimes do,

When busy thought tells me the sufferings

Of some in our south land. Their brows are not

So fair as thine, by much, but yet they are

Our sisters, for the mighty God hath given

To them the boon of an immortal soul.

Yet they are made through life’s long years to toil,

Scourge-driven like the brute; and with the fine

And delicate pulses of a human heart,

Stirring to anguish in their bosoms, sold!

Ay, like the meanest household chattel, sold!

Vended from hand to hand, while with each wrench

Their torn hearts bleed at every throbbing pore.

Alas! how can I but feel sorrowful,

To think upon their woes?

Evening Thoughts.

How beautiful

The calm earth resteth in her quiet sleep!

There are no sounds of human life abroad,

And the soft voice of that one bird, whose plaint

Melteth upon the ear so soothingly,

Seems but the low breeze moulded into sound.

9(3)r 101

The shadows of the trees distinctly lie

Upon the earth unstirring, and no breath

Comes whispering among the tender leaves,

To wake them into playfulness.

The sky

Bendeth in loveliness above the earth,

With a few clouds drawn o’er it, beautiful

In the soft light, and exquisitely pure,

As if they knew no other home than heaven.

Oh, thus it is, God of the universe!

That thou wouldst sanctify with thy rich grace,

Our erring human hearts, that we might be,

When from the earth our day of life hath pass’d,

Dwellers in that bright world where all are pure—

A world where sorrow cometh not, nor sin,

Nor the down-stooping ’neath the oppressor’s hand.

Alas! that earthly things should be so fair,

And day by day harmoniously move on

In their allotted course, at thy command,

Dutiful and unwavering from their track,

And man, man only, who alone may know

How beautiful thy ordinances are,

Mock at thy holy will, and mar his soul

With the dark stains of sin. Alas! that man,

With thy pure law unveil’d before his eyes,

Should bind the fetter on his brother’s form,

And smite him with the scourge, and bid him pour

His strength our on the earth, for no reward;

And worse than this, wrench from his bleeding heart

The dearest objects of his earthly love;

And all that the oppressor’s hoards may flow

With Mammon’s worthless treasures; meagre dust,

Beside the priceless treasure of a soul!

Shall it ever be thus? Most Merciful!

Will man’s hard heart be never touch’d with all

The o’erflowings of thy love, and yield itself

To gentle sympathies, till he shall learn

The noble joy of pouring happiness

Upon the heart of sorrow, and how sweet

The pleasure is of shedding bliss abroad.

9* 9(3)v 102


The tempest mounts the sky! with hurrying sweep,

Driving across the heavens, cloud on cloud,

Which ever and anon the lightnings steep

In a red glare of flame, as they were proud

To make more visible the gloomy shroud,

That wraps the thunders:—Now its might is nigh!

And faster peal and flame alternate crowd,

And the loosed winds sweep onward fearfully,

Outpouring on the earth the fountains of the sky.

’T is terrible—yet most sublimely grand!

Magnificently awful! how the heart

Shrinks from all earthly splendour, as we stand,

And view the pomp of the proud storm—I start,

As the fork’d flames their glance of brightness dart,

Yet scarce in terror, for the tempest’s might,

Yields of its own sublimity a part,

To the wrapt thoughts, and urges up their flight,

With free and eagle wing, above their wonted height.

Yet soon to stoop again—the green earth lies

Spread out before me, and the heart will yield

To the sweet sympathy of human ties,

And downward bend from the excursive field

Of reverie, where it had been upheld

With a strong writhe of thought, to blend again

With human sorrows—woes that might be heal’d,

If man would be no more the scourge of man,

And loose his brother’s limbs from slavery’s crushing chain

Yet even now, amid the heavy clouds

That long have wrapt the Afric’s sky in gloom,

Ten-fold more deep than that which darkly shrouds

The face of nature, there at length hath come

The breaking in of light, which shall illume

With a strong glow, ere long, its whole expanse,

And, shining on destroy’d oppression’s tomb,

O’er all the earth its holy light advance,

Brilliant and clear and wide as the first sunbeam’s glance.

9(4)r 103

A True Ballad.

A glorious land is this of ours,

A land of liberty!

Through all the wide earth’s bounds you’ll find

None else so truly free!

Go north or south, or east or west,

Wherever you may roam,

There’s not a land like this of ours,

The stranger’s refuge home!

And yet methinks it were but well,

The tale might not be told,

That where our banner proudliest floats,

Are human sinews sold.

And when we boast that o’er our soil

No tyrants footstep treads,

’T were well if we could hide the blood,

The red scourge daily sheds.

Yet still is ours a glorious land!

Our shouts rise wild and high—

I would such tales as I have heard,

Might give them not the lie.

It was a mournful mother, sat

Within the prison walls;

And bitterly adown her cheek

The scalding tear-drop falls.

She sat within the prison walls,

Amidst her infants three;

The bars were strong, the bolts well drawn,

She might not hope to flee.

And still the tears fell down her cheek,

And when a footstep came,

A shudder of convulsive fear

Went o’er her quivering frame.

9(4)v 104

It was not for the dungeon’s chill,

Nor for the gloom it wore,

Nor that the pangs of conscious guilt

Her frighted bosom tore.—

For though in prison cell she lay,

In freedom’s happy clime,

Her hand was innocent of wrong,

They charged her not with crime,

T was that she wore a dusky brow,

She lay within that hold,

Until her human limbs and heart

Were chaffer’d off for gold.

Sold with her babes—all, one by one,

Forever torn apart—

And not one faint hope left to cling

Around her broken heart.

Yet still is ours a glorious land!

Raise pæans loud and high,

To that which fills all patriot breasts,

Our country’s liberty.

Her husband was a freeman good,

He lived in Maryland;

Where now in bootless grief he wept

His broken marriage band.

He loved her when they both were young

And though she was a slave,

He wedded her, and with his hand,

Changeless affection gave.

And when their prattling infants smiled,

Upon his cottage floor,

For them and her, with cheerful heart,

His daily toil he bore.

9(5)r 105

But woe for him, and woe for her!

Her children all were slaves;

Less grief their parents’ hearts had borne,

To weep above their graves.

For still as one by one they grew

To childhood’s franksome years,

They one by one were torn away

To bondage and to tears.—

Torn far away to distant scenes,

Like green leaves from their stem;

And never to their home, bereaved,

Came tidings more of them.

Now all were wrench’d apart—there was

No deeper grief to bear;

And they might calmly sit them down

In agonized despair.

For though our land is proudly free,

All other lands above,

There’s none may dare to knit again,

Those sacred cords of love.

Thy Thunder Pealeth O’er Us.

Thy thunder pealeth o’er us,

God of the earth and sky!

And o’er the gloomy heavens

The clouds roll dark and high.

But ’tis not by thine anger,

Those flashing bolts are hurl’d.

To desolate and humble

A proud and guilty world.

Though awful in its grandeur

The storm o’ermounts the sky,

It bears from thee a blessing,

Beneath its scowling eye.

9(5)v 106

Behind its steps more radiantly

The deep blue heavens will shine,

And the glad earth, rejoicing,

Pour forth her corn and wine.

But oh, there lieth brooding,

A cloud more dark and dread,

Above our guilty nation,

In fearful portent spread!

Though broad our frightful borders

All smilingly expand,

The curse of blood is on us,

And on our pleasant land.

For we have sinn’d before thee,

And caused dark floods to roll,

Of tyranny and anguish,

Across our brother’s soul.

But let not yet thine anger

Consume our blood-stain’d sod;

Extend a little longer

Thy mercy, oh our God!

And touch our flinty bosoms

With thy dissolving grace,

That we may hate our vileness,

And weep before thy face.


How very beautiful

The creatures of this earth can sometimes be!

Aline was one of such; the summer rose

Hath not a petal fairer than her cheek,

Nor hath the light of the out-breaking sun

More radiant gladness than her beaming smile.

Her heart was full of gushing happiness.

9(6)r 107

The common air—the unfolding of a flower—

The voice of streams—the music of a bird

Was joy to her; and her glad spirit breathed

Its light o’er all around: Yet her soft eye

Was readier than a child’s to fill with tears

For human sorrow; and her heart pour’d out

Its large affections over all that lived.

There was no selfishness in its young pulse;

Its thoughts were full of God, and all He made

To breathe upon the earth shared in her love,

And the upswelling of her sympathies.


In after years I look’d upon Aline.

Her face was lovely yet, but wore not all

The bloom of its young freshness; and the light,

That made its glance a gladness, was not there.

A childish group was round, filling the room

With their sweet laughter; and a bright-eyed girl,

Who look’d Aline restored to youth again,

Held to his mother’s cheek the baby lips

Of a young brother, crowing in his joy,

As she laugh’d back to him.

Aline went forth

Amidst her servants; and her voice arose

Shrilly and harsh, and they shrunk back in dread

From her stern eye. The keen and cruel scourge

Was busy at her bidding; and the limbs

Of woman bled before her, and the shriek

Of childhood rose unheeded.

Then came one,

Whose traffic was in human forms; whose wealth

Was gather’d from the blood of breaking hearts,

And the stern rending of the holiest ties

That bless man’s nature. For a price of gold,

Her husband sold to him the only son

Of a fond mother’s love, and from the arms

Of conjugal affection, a sad wife,

With all her weeping babes—and she stood by—

That once compassionate girl—without a tear;

Seeing their misery, yet speaking not

One word to save them. She who once,

9(6)v 108

But at the thought of such iniquity,

And so much wretchedness, had shuddering wept,

Beheld it now without a passing pang;

And careless went to her own babes again—

So much had the best feelings of her heart

Been sear’d by dwelling ’midst a land of slaves.

The Sugar-Plums.

No, no, pretty sugar-plums! stay where you are!

Though my grandmother sent you to me from so far;

You look very nice, you would taste very sweet,

And I love you right well, yet not one will I eat.

For the poor slaves have labour’d, far down in the south,

To make you so sweet and so nice for my mouth;

But I want no slaves toiling for me in the sun,

Driven on with the whip, till the long day is done.

Perhaps some poor slave child, that hoed up the ground,

Round the cane in whose rich juice your sweetness was found,

Was flogg’d, till his mother cried sadly to see,

And I’m sure I want nobody beaten for me.

So grandma, I thank you for being so kind,

But your present, to-day, is not much to my mind;

Though I love you so dearly, I choose not to eat

Even what you have sent me by slavery made sweet.

Thus said little Fanny, and skipp’d off to play,

Leaving all her nice sugar-plums just where they lay,

As merry as if they had gone in her mouth,

And she had not cared for the slaves of the south.

Oh Press Me Not to Taste Again.

Oh press me not to taste again

Of those luxurious banquet sweets!

Or hide from view the dark red stain,

That still my shuddering vision meets.

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Away! ’tis loathsome! bear me hence!

I cannot feed on human sighs,

Or feast with sweets my palate’s sense,

While blood is ’neath the fair disguise.

No, never let me taste again

Of aught beside the coarsest fare,

Far rather, than my conscience stain,

With the polluted luxuries there.

Looking at the Soldiers.

Mother, the trumpets are sounding to-day,

And the soldiers go by in their gallant array!

Their horses prance gaily, their banners float free,

Come, come to the window, dear mother, with me.

Do you see how their bayonets gleam in the sun,

And their soldier-plumes nod, as they slowly march on?

And look to the regular tread of their feet!

Keeping time to the sound of the kettle-drum’s beat.

This, mother, you know, is a glorious day,

And Americans all should be joyous and gay;

For the Fourth of July saw our country set free;

But you look not delighted, dear mother, like me!

No, love; for that shining and brilliant display,

To me only tells of war’s fearful array;

And I know that those bayonets, flashing so bright,

Were made in man’s blood to be spoil’d of their light.

And the music that swells up so sweet to the ear,

In a long gush of melody, joyous and clear,

Just as freely would pour out its wild thrilling flood,

To stir up men’s hearts to the shedding of blood!

Our country, my boy, as you tell me, is free,

But even that thought brings a sadness to me;

For less guilt would be hers, were her own fetter’d hand

Unable to loosen her slaves from their band.

10 10(1)v 110

We joy that our country’s light bonds have been broke,

But her sons wear, but thousands, a life-crushing yoke;

And yon bayonets, dear, would be sheathed in their breast,

Should they fling off the shackles that round them are prest.

Even ’midst these triumphant rejoicings, to-day,

The slave-mother weeps for her babes, torn away,

’Midst the echoing burst of these shouts, to be sold,

Human forms as they are, for a pittance of gold!

Can you wonder then, love, that your mother is sad,

Though yon show is so gay, and the crowd is so glad?

Or will not my boy turn with me from the sight,

To think of those slaves sunk in sorrow and night?

To a Stranger.

I know thee not, young maiden, yet I know that there must be

Around that heart of thine, sweet ties of clinging sympathy;

Dwell’st thou not ’midst thy childhood’s hours, a loved and
loving one,

Around whose path affection’s light hath ever sunshine thrown?

A sister’s arm is round thee twined, perchance, oh deeply blest!

A parent’s fond and holy kiss upon thy brow is prest;

A brother’s love—is that, too, thine?—a gem of priceless worth,

To guard thee, like a talisman, amid the storms of earth.

Then blame me not, that I should seek, although I know not thee,

To waken in thy heart its chords of holiest sympathy;

It is for woman’s bleeding heart, for woman’s humbled form,

O’er which the reeking lash is swung, with life’s red current

It is for those who wildly mourn o’er many a broken tie,

As sweet as those which swell thy heart with happiness so high;

For those whose hearts are rent and crush’d by foul oppression’s

The wrong’d, the wretched, the enslaved, in freedom’s chosen

10(2)r 111

Oh, lady! when a sister’s cry is ringing on the air,

When woman’s pleading eye is raised in agonized despair,

When woman’s limbs are scourged and sold ’midst rude and
brutal mirth,

And all affection’s holiest ties are trampled to the earth,

May female hearts be still unstirr’d, and ’midst their wretched

The victims of unmeasured wrongs be carelessly forgot?

Or shall the prayer be pour’d for them, the tear be freely given,

Until the chains, that bind them now, from every limb be riven?

Slave Produce.

Eat! they are cates for a lady’s lip,

Rich as the sweets that the wild bees sip;

Mingled viands that nature hath pour’d,

From the plenteous stores of her flowing board,

Bearing no trace of man’s cruelty—save

The red life-drops of his human slave.

List thee, lady! and turn aside,

With a loathing heart, from the feast of pride;

For, mix’d with the pleasant sweets it bears,

Is the hidden curse of scalding tears,

Wrung out from woman’s bloodshot eye,

By the depth of her deadly agony.

Look! they are robes from a foreign loom,

Delicate, light, as the rose leaf’s bloom;

Stainless and pure in their snowy tint,

As the drift unmarked by a footstep’s print.

Surely such garment should fitting be,

For woman’s softness and purity.

Yet fling them off from thy shrinking limb,

For sighs have render’d their brightness dim;

And many a mother’s shriek and groan,

And many a daughter’s burning moan,

And many a sob of wild despair,

From a woman’s heart, is lingering there.

10(2)v 112

Little Sado’s Story.

Robert Sutcliff, in his book of travels in America, relates the incident
which has suggested the following lines. Little Sado was an African
boy, who was rescued from a slave-ship by a United States’ frigate, and
provided by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society with a home, in a respectable
family, near Philadelphia.
“Although tended with the greatest tenderness,” says Sutcliff, “yet he
was often seen weeping at the recollection of his near connexions. He
said that himself and sister were on a visit, at a relation’s, and that after
the family had retired to rest, they were suddenly alarmed at the dead
of night, by a company of man-stealers breaking into their habitation.
They were all carried off towards the sea, where they arrived at the end
of three days, and were confined until the vessel sailed.”
“Not long after this negro boy had been brought into S. P.’s family, he
was taken ill of a bad fever; and for a time there appeared but little hopes
of his recovery, although the best medical help was obtained, and every
kindness and attention shown him.”
“There being now scarcely any prospect of his recovery, his mistress
was desirous of administering some religious consolation, and observed
to him, as he had always been a very good boy, she had no doubt that if
he died at this time, his spirit would be admitted into a state of eternal
rest and peace. On hearing this he quickly replied, ‘I know that if I die,
I shall be happy; for as soon as my body is dead, my spirit shall fly
away to my father and mother and sisters and brothers in Africa.’
boy recovered. His good conduct had gained the favour and respect of
the whole family, and I have no doubt that the care bestowed upon his
education, will in due time afford him a brighter prospect of a future state
than that of returning to Africa.”

“Why weep’st thou, gentle boy? Is not thy lot—

Amidst a home of tenderness and friends—

Who have been ever kind to thee? Thy heart—

Should be too young for the world’s bitterness,—

And the deep grief, that even amidst thy smiles,—

Seems scarce to be forgotten. Thou art good,—

A very innocent and gentle boy,—

And I would have thee happy. Is there aught—

Thou lackest with us, Sado? Did I not,—

In thy sore sickness, with a mother’s care,—

10(3)r 113

Watch by thy couch and nurse thee? Day by day—

Have I not taught thee patiently? and more—

Than earthly learning, show’d thee of the way—

To win eternal happiness. A better hope—

Than that which only look’d to Afric’s shore,—

To find thy future Heaven!”—

Yes, thou hast done all this,

And much more, lady! Thou hast been to me

A true and tireless friend, and may there be

Laid up for thee a full reward of bliss,

In that bright Heaven of which I’ve heard thee tell,

Where God and all his holy angels dwell.

Yet how can I but weep

Whene’er I think upon the mother’s eye,

That smiled to meet my glance in days gone by,

And watch’d in tenderness above my sleep,

Now grown all dim with hopeless grief for me,

Who never more may home or parent see.

’T was on a bright sunny morn,

When with glad heart I sprang across the hills,

With my young sister, and beside the rills,

Whose shining waves and clustering flowers were borne,

While at the cabin door my mother stood,

And watch’d our footsteps to the distant wood.

She never saw us more—

For in the dead of night, while deep we slept

Within our uncle’s home, the man-thieves crept

With stealthy pace, like tigers, to our door.

And, bursting in, they dragg’d us far away,

A helpless, frighten’d, unresisting prey.

Ah, lady, now thine eyes

Are wet with tears:—then wonder not I weep,

Within whose waking thoughts, or dreams of sleep,

The memories of such scenes as this arise,

And worse than these, the constant thought of pain,

That I shall never see my home again.

10* 10(3)v 114

Three days they drove us on,

A weary, wretched, and despairing band,

Until with swollen limbs we reach’d the strand,

Where ’neath the setting sun the sea-waves shone;

Then gasping in the slave-ship’s hold we lay,

And wish’d each groan might bear our lives away.

Ah, thou canst never know

Of all our sufferings in that loathsome den,

And from the cruel and hard-hearted men,

Who mock’d at all our anguish and our woe;

Until at length thy country’s ship came by,

And saved us from our depth of misery.

Yet still, though not a slave,

I am a stranger in a stranger’s land,

Far sever’d from my own dear kindred band,

By many a wide-stretch’d plain and rolling wave;

And, although even with thee my lot is cast,

I cannot lose the memory of the past.

Then wonder not I weep;

For never can my lost home be forgot;

Nor all the loved ones who have made that spot

The heaven to which e’en yet, amid my sleep,

My hopes are sometimes turn’d—though thou hast taught

My waking hours a holier, better thought.

An Appeal for the Oppressed.

Daughters of the Pilgrim sires,

Dwellers by their mouldering graves,

Watchers of their altar fires,

Look upon your country’s slaves!

Look! ’t is woman’s streaming eye,

These are woman’s fetter’d hands,

That to you so mournfully

Lift sad glance, and iron bands.

10(4)r 115

Mute, yet strong appeal of woe!

Wakes it not your starting tears?

Though your hearts may never know,

Half the bitter doom of hers.

Scars are on her fetter’d limbs,

Where the savage scourge hath been;

But the grief, her eye that dims,

Flows for deeper wounds within.

For the children of her love,

For the brothers of her race,

Sisters, like vine branches wove,

In one early dwelling place.

For the parent forms, that hung

Fondly o’er her infant sleep,

And for him, to whom she clung

With affection true and deep—

By her sad forsaken hearth,

’T is for these she wildly grieves!

Now all scatter’d o’er the earth,

Like the wind-strewn autumn leaves!

E’en her babes, so dear, so young,

And so treasured in her heart,

That the chords which round them clung

Seem’d its life, its dearest part—

These, ev’n these, were torn away!

These, that when all else were gone,

Cheer’d her heart with one bright ray,

That still bade its pulse beat on.

Then, to still her frantic woe,

The inhuman scourge was tried,

Till the tears that ceased to flow,

Were with redder drops supplied!

10(4)v 116

And can you behold unmoved,

All the crushing weight of grief,

That her aching heart has proved,

Seeking not to yield relief?

Are not woman’s pulses warm,

Beating in this anguish’d breast?

Is it not a sister’s form,

On whose limbs these fetters rest?

Oh then, save her from a doom,

Worse that all that ye may bear;

Let her pass not to the tomb

’Midst her bondage and despair.

The Sylvan Grave.

Lay me not, when I die, in the place of the dead,

With the dwellings of men round my resting place spread,

But amidst the still forest, unseen and alone,

Where the waters go by with a murmuring tone;

Where the wild bird above me may wave its dark wing,

And the flowers I have loved from my ashes may spring;

Where affection’s own blossom may lift its blue eye,

With an eloquent glance from the place where I lie.

Let the rose and the woodbine be there, to enwreath

A bright chaplet of bloom for the pale brow of death;

And the clover’s red blossom be seen, that the hum

Of the honey-bee’s wing, may for requiem come:

And when those I have loved, ’midst the changes of earth,

The clouds of its sorrow, its sunshine of mirth,

Shall visit the spot where my cold relics lie,

And gaze on its flowers with a tear-moisten’d eye—

Let them think that my spirit still sometimes is there,

My breath the light zephyr that twines in their hair,

And these flowers, in their fragrance, a memory be,

To tell them thus sweet was their friendship to me.

10(5)r 117


Earth! thou art lovely, when the sinking sun

Hath bathed the clouds in his departing flush,

And, with the moon-lit evening, hath begun

The voiceless, and yet spirit-calming hush,

That thrills around the heart, till tear-drops rush,

Unbidden and uncall’d for, to the eye;

When, save the music of the fountain’s gush,

Or the far wailing of the night-bird’s cry,

Unbroken silence hangs o’er earth, and wave, and sky.

But now the majesty of midnight storm

Is gathering, in its grandeur, o’er the sky;

The deep black clouds in mustering squadrons form

And the low, fitful blast, that passes by,

Hath a strange fearful thrilling—like the sigh

Of a sick slumberer; even that hath died,

And in their quiet sleep the waters lie,

As though the winds ne’er curl’d them in its pride,

Or shook the still bent leaves that hang above the tide

How steadily that ebon mass moves on!

Stretching across the sky in one dark line,

Like a huge wall of blackness; there do none

Of the thin silvery vapours hang supine,

Or those bright clouds that sometimes seem to twine

A coronal to grace the brow of night;

Stars in Orion’s studded baldric shine,

In all their wonted brightness; and the light

Of an unclouded moon half dims the dazzled sight

The tempest hurries onward—how the flash

Of the red lightning leaps from cloud to cloud!

The gathering thunder bursts in one wild crash,

And sinks a moment—then, returning loud,

Seems bounding o’er the sky, as if ’t were proud

Of its own potency. We need not now,

A sharer in the thoughts that round us crowd;

The soul is its own world, and the deep glow

Of the rapt spirit seeks no fellowship below.

10(5)v 118

The wildness of the storm hath pass’d; the rain

Drips from the wet leaves only, and the sky,

With its deep azure beauty, gleams again

Through the rent clouds; the sunken wind swells by,

With a low sobbing; and the clouds, heap’d high,

With the rich moonbeams’ streaming flood of light

Pour’d full upon them, swell before the eye

Like distant snow-clad mountains. Night! O night!

Thou art most glorious! most beautifully bright!


Away and away to memory’s land!

To seize the past with a daring hand,

And bear it back from oblivion’s bowers,

To brighten again this dull world of ours.

There’s many a walk beneath summer skies,

Starry and blue as some earthly eyes;

There’s many an eve by the winter’s hearth,

Sparkling all over with friendship and mirth.

There’s many a ramble through wood and glen,

Away from the sight and the haunts of men;

There’s climbing of rocks, and gathering flowers,

And watching the stream through summer showers

There’s many an hour that quickly went,

In the boughs of the old hill grape-vine spent;

There’s many a ride, and many a walk,

And many a theme of friendly talk.

How freshly comes to the spirit back,

The merry light of its early track!—

But let it pass, for around my brow

Far deeper thoughts are gathering now.

I have learn’d too much of woe and wrong,

Of hearts all crush’d by oppression strong,

To deem the earth, as in other days,

A fairy theme for a poet’s lays.

10(6)r 119

How may I linger within the bowers,

Bedight with memory’s fairy flowers,

While woman’s cry, as she drains the cup

Of her bitter lot, to the sky goes up?

How may I joy in my better fate,

While her heart is bleeding and desolate?—

Or give my thoughts to their blissful dreams,

While no bright ray on her darkness gleams?

Juan de Paresa,

The Painter’s Slave.

’T was sunset upon Spain. The sky of June

Bent o’er her airy hills, and on their tops,

The mountain cork-trees caught the fading light

Of a resplendent day. The painter threw

His pencil down, and with a glance of pride

Upon his beautiful and finish’d work,

Went from his rooms. And Juan stood alone—

Gazing upon the canvas, with his arms

Folded across his bosom, and his eye

Fill’d with deep admiration, till a shade

Of earnest thought stole o’er it. With a sigh,

He turn’d away, and leaning listlessly

Against the open casement, look’d abroad.

The cool fresh breezes of the evening came,

To bathe his temples with the scented breath

Of orange blossoms; and the caroll’d song

Of the light-hearted muleteer, who climb’d

The mountain pass—the tinkling of the bells,

That cheer’d his dumb companions on their way—

The passing vesper chime—the song of birds—

And the soft hum of insects—soothingly

Stole in with blended sweetness to his ear.

And then the scene! ’t was of Spain’s loveliest;

Mountain and forest, emerald pasture slopes,

Dark olive groves, and bowers of lemon-trees;

Vineyards, and tangled glens, the swift cascade,

Leaping from rock to rock, the calm bright stream,

10(6)v 120

The castle, and the peasant hut, were there,

All group’d in one bright landscape. Juan gazed,

Until the spirit of its beauty pass’d,

Like some fine subtle influence to his heart,

Filling it with rich thoughts. He had not known

The teachings of Philosophy, nor fed

The cravings of his spirit, from the page

Of intellectual glory; but his eye

Had been unseal’d by Nature, and his mind

Was full of nice perceptions; and a love,

Deep and intense, for what was beautiful,

Thrill’d like vitality around his heart,

With an ennobling influence.

He had stood

Beside the easel, day by day, to feed

The pallet of the Painter with the hues

That lived upon the canvas, and had watch’d

The fine and skilful touch, that made a thing

Of magic of the pencil, till he caught

The o’ermastering glow of spirit, and he long’d

So to pour out his soul, and give the forms

Of beauty, that were thronging it, to life.

Such thoughts were on him now. His fine form lean’d

Earnestly forward, and within his eye

There flash’d a tremulous glory, and his hand

Was press’d upon his heart, as if to quell

In hopeless longings—for he was a slave!

The bended brow, o’er which the gathering blood

Rush’d burningly, as bitter tears sprang out

From under his closed eyelids, wore the stain

Of Afric’s lineage:—and, alas for him!

His master was the haughtiest lord of all

Castile’s proud nobles, and Paresa knew

That even his life would scarce suffice to pay

The forfeit of the daring, that should seek,

With the profaning fingers of a slave,

To grasp the meed of genius.

Yet his eye,

When he uncover’d it, was calm and bright,

And his curl’d lip set faintly in the strength

Of his fix’d purpose.

11(1)r 121

Day by day, he gave

His spirit to the glorious dreams that throng’d

Around it, and pursued his secret toil,

Feeding his mind with its own fervid thoughts,

Till he had won its brightest images

Within his grasp.

At length his task was done.

The last nice touch was given, and he laid

His pencil by, and scann’d it, o’er and o’er,

With a keen gaze, and turn’d away, and still

Again resumed his scrutiny severe,

Till satisfied at last, with trembling hand

He bore it to its station.

’T was the hour

At which the king was often wont to seek

The chambers of the artist, and the slave

Knew that the monarch had a painter’s heart,

And critic’s eye for beauty, and to him,

He had resolved to trust his fate.

They came—

The monarch and the painter; and the breath

Rush’d quick and tremulous from Juan’s lips,

As they pass’d slowly round, with brief remark

Of praise or censure, till at length the king

Stood forth alone, and check’d his loitering step.

“Turn me this canvas.” And Paresa did

His bidding silently, and stood aside

To wait his destiny of life or death.

Long gazed the king in silence—but his limbs

Lost their loose careless tension, and his eye

Lit gradually up, and the fine curve

Of his expanded nostril and curl’d lip

Breathed with a kindling spirit.—“Beautiful!

At last he murmur’d—Oh, how beautiful!”

And Juan, with a glance of conscious pride

He could not conquer, even while he lay

A suppliant at Philip’s feet, confess’d

The guilt of having won a monarch’s praise.

11 11(1)v 122

’T was a star-lit eve—and Juan stood once more

Alone, but not in sadness; on his brow,

His free, enfranchised brow, there linger’d yet

The glow of triumph, soften’d in his eye,

By the sweet tear of gratitude. His heart

Was full to overflowing, and when words

At last broke forth, almost insensibly

He moulded them to song:

Look on me stars! pour down your light

Deep, deep, into my very soul;

There is no darkness there to-night,

No bondage with its dread control.

What blessedness it is to gaze

On all that God had made so fair,

And feel no blight within to raise,

O’er all a cloud of dull despair.

Free! free! yet I will leave thee not,

Thou who hast burst my galling chain!

To love thee, serve thee, be my lot,

Till death shall chill my throbbing vein.

The past, with all its grief and shame,

Shall be annull’d by memory now;

But not the hour when Freedom’s name

Was written on my burning brow.

The Slave-Mother’s Farewell.

May God have mercy on thee, son, for man’s stern heart hath

My gentle boy, my beautiful, my loved and only one!

I would the bitter tears that steep thy young and grief-doom’d

Were springing from a broken heart, that mourn’d thee with the

And yet how often have I watch’d above thine infant sleep,

With love whose gushing tenderness strove vainly not to weep,

11(2)r 123

When starting through my timid heart, the thought that thou
couldst die,

Shot, even amidst a mother’s bliss, a pang of agony.

My boy! my boy! Oh cling not thus around me in thy grief,

Thy mother’s arm, thy mother’s love, can yield thee no relief;

The tiger’s bloody jaw hath not a gripe more fierce and fell

Than that which tears thee from my arms—thou who wert
loved so well!

How may I live bereft of thee? Thy smile was all that flung

A ray of gladness ’midst the gloom, forever round me hung:

How may a mother’s heart endure to think upon thy fate,

Thou doom’d to misery and chains!—so young and desolate!

Farewell! farewell!—They tear thee hence!—and yet my
heart beats on;

How can it bear the weight of life, when thou art from me gone?

Mine own! mine own! Yet cruel hands have barter’d thee for

And torn thee, with a ruthless grasp, forever from my hold!


Our Father, God! behold us raise

Our hopes, our thoughts, our hearts, to thee;

Yet not to lift the hymn of praise,

But humbly bow the suppliant knee.

For we have sinn’d before thy face,

Have seen unmoved our brothers’ woe,

Though on his cheeks hot tear-drops trace

Deep furrows in their burning flow.

We knew that on his limbs were bound

The fetters man should never wear;

We knew that darkness hemm’d him round,

And grief, and anguish, and despair.

11(2)v 124

We knew—but in our selfish hearts,

There waked no throb of answering pain;

Yet, now, at last, the tear-drop starts,

We weep the oppress’d one’s galling chain.

We weep, repenting of the pride

That chill’d our narrow souls so long;

Oh, Father! may that suppliant tide

Efface our deep and cruel wrong.


Mother, when christmas comes once more,

I do not wish that you

Should buy sweet things for me again,

As you were used to do:

The taste of cakes and sugar-plums

Is pleasant to me yet,

And temptingly the gay shops look,

With their fresh stores outset.

But I have learn’d, dear mother,

That the poor and wretched slave

Must toil to win their sweetness,

From the cradle to the grave.

And when he faints with weariness

Beneath the torrid sun,

The keen lash urges on his toil,

Until the day is done.

But when the holy angels’ hymn,

On Judea’s plains afar,

Peal’d sweetly on the shepherds’ ear,

’Neath Bethlehem’s wondrous star,

They sung of glory to our God,—

“Peace and good will to men,”

For Christ, the Saviour of the world,

Was born amidst them then.

11(3)r 125

And is it for His glory, men

Are made to toil,

With weary limbs and breaking hearts,

Upon another’s soil.

That they are taught not of his law,

To know his holy will,

And that He hates the deed of sin,

And loves the righteous still?

And is it peace and love to men,

To bind them with the chain,

And sell them like the beasts that feed

Upon the grassy plain?

To tear their flesh with scourgings rude,

And from the aching heart,

The ties to which it fondliest clings,

For evermore to part?

And ’t is because of all this sin, my mother,

That I shun

To taste the tempting sweets for which

Such wickedness is done.

If men to men will be unjust, if slavery must be,

Mother, the chain must not be worn; the scourge
be plied for me.

My Cottage Home.

My cottage home! my cottage home!

How beautiful it lies,

Amid its quiet loveliness,

Beneath our bright blue skies.

A stranger’s eye might mark it not,

Nor deem that it was fair;—

To me it is a lovely spot,

For those I love are there.

11* 11(3)v 126

In summer there are wild flowers round,

And the tall forest weaves

A drapery of light and shade,

With its green and pleasant leaves;

And thousand birds are pouring out,

To the gay and singing breeze,

From the wild joys of leaping hearts,

A thousand melodies.

The shadowing of an oak’s green boughs

Is flung the low roof o’er;

And clambering vines their blossoms hang

About the open door.

And round the harvest’s ripening wealth

Waves in its yellow light;

And the feathery tassels of the maize

Bend gracefully and slight.

But were it thousand times more fair—

If o’er the fertile soil

Oppression shook her manacles,

And scourged the slave to toil—

To me the rudest desert wild

Were better for my home,

So never on its arid breeze

The voice of wrong might come.

But round my home, my cottage home,

The tyrant never treads,

And o’er the field’s luxurious wealth

No slave his sad tear sheds.

And were it not that I have learn’d

In other scenes to know

Of deeds of cruelty and wrong,

And of the oppress’d ones woe—

And were it not that still a tale

Is wafted on the air,

Telling of fearful injuries,

And anguish and despair;

11(4)r 127

I might, perchance, almost forget

The guilt and wrongs of earth,

And deem that brightness gleam’d, alone,

Around the household hearth.

But woe for man’s dark cruelty!

His selfishness and pride!

For him the earth is drench’d with tears,

With human life-blood dyed.

In his own freedom glorying,

He lifts his voice on high,

While on his brother’s shrinking form

His crushing fetters lie.

The Conscript’s Farewell.

Farewell, father;—

I had hoped that I should be

In thine age a staff for thee;

But when years have mark’d thy brow,

When thy step is weak and slow,

When thy hair is thin and white,

And thine eye hath lost its light,

I shall never seek thy side,

And thy faltering footsteps guide.

Where my country’s banners fly

Proudly ’neath a distant sky,

To the battle forth I speed,

There to fight and there to bleed;

Not because the foeman’s lance

Glitters in the vales of France;

Not because a stranger’s mirth

Rises round my father’s hearth;

Not at glory’s trumpet call,

Nor in freedom’s cause to fall;

But because ambitious power

Tears me from my peaceful bower.

Yet amidst the battle strife,

In the closing hours of life,

11(4)v 128

Think not that my heart shall quail,

Spirit droop, or courage fail.

Where the boldest deed is done,

Where the laurel-wreath is won,

Where the standard eagles fly,

There thy son shall proudly die;

Though, perhaps, no voice may tell

How the nameless conscript fell!

Thy blessing, father.

Farewell, mother;—

It is hard to part from thee,

And my tears are flowing free.

While around thee gloom and night

Quench’d religion’s blessed light,

Still thou bad’st my lisping voice

In the evening hymn rejoice;

And my childhood’s prayer was said,

Ere thou bless’d my pillow’d head.

Oh, before I leave thee now,

Place thy hand upon my brow,

And with every treasured word,

That my infant ears have heard,

Bless me, mother.

Farewell, brother;—

Many an hour of boyish glee,

I have pass’d in joy with thee;

If with careless act or tongue

I have ever done thee wrong,

Think upon thy brother’s lot,

And be all his faults forgot;

Thou may’st dry our mother’s tears,

Soothe our sisters’ anxious fears,

Be their shield, their guide, their stay

Throughout many a coming day;

Freely with thy father share

All his secret weight of care;

Be what it were mine to be,

Had I still remain’d with thee,

And love me, brother.

11(5)r 129

Farewell, sisters;—

Yonder is our favourite vine,

You must now its tendrils twine,

And when ’neath its leafy bower,

You are met at evening hour,

Think how oft in by-past days,

There we waked the song of praise

Till your beaming eyes are wet

With the tears of fond regret;

The together fondly bend,

And your gentle voices blend.

Pray for me, sisters.

The Woods Wanderer.

Day after day, I wander’d on alone—

The stricken heart is fearless; and the woods,

Amidst whose far-stretch’d depths a solemn moan

Of winds was ever sounding, and whose floods,

Pour’d ’midst unbroken solitudes, had ceased

To waken mine to terror. I had learn’d,

E’en when no moon-beam the pale night clouds fleeced,

To thread their trackless mazes, while I turn’d

For guidance to the stars that high above me burn’d.

They who have never seen the broad blue sky,

Save through the smoke-dimm’d air of crowded streets

Can never know how truly gloriously

It bendeth o’er the wilderness, and meets

The tall brows of the mountains. It must be

The veriest clod that wears a human form,

Who round him those majestic forms could see,

And o’er his head the eagle and the storm,

Nor feel a nobler pulse within his bosom warm.

I had laid down to slumber—but there came

A sound that night upon the fitful wind,

That kept me waking. No electric flame

Flash’d o’er the heavens—yet my thoughts could find

No sound more like to it, than the low growl

11(5)v 130

Of worn-out thunder; wrapt in thought I lay,

With nature’s glory telling to my soul

Of God’s own presence, till the coming day

O’er the fair orient stole, to light me on my way.

I stood, at sunrise, where Lake Erie’s wave

Caught on its foamy crest the rosy light;

All round was solitude and silence, save

The voice of nature’s joy. Against the bright

And pearly sky, a thin blue smoke-curl rose

From the far shore, and floated on the air,

And the slant sunbeam might to view disclose

One distant piroque that its waters bare;

All else was lone and wild, as it was lovely, there.

Still sent that deep sound forth its solemn tone,

Louder and louder, as I onward fared,

Northward where Niagara led me on,

O’er tangled brake, and green, and flower-strewn sward

At length I reached the spot—and such a sight!

Even now the wild blood rushes through my brain,

And my heart reels with faintness, as the light

Of memory restores that scene again,

And paints it to my view as I beheld it then.

Broad, dark, and deep, the river hurried on,

Pouring the volume of its mighty flood

Right to the yawning steep!—no pause—down—down

The gather’d sea was hurl’d! half stunn’d I stood

Upon the shaken earth, and almost wept

With awe and fear and admiration, wild

And passionate;—like clouds on high were swept

In spray the shatter’d waves; while bending mild,

Over the turbulent gulf, a gorgeous rainbow smiled.

The sun went down on that vast solitude,—

And underneath the solemn stars, alone

With God, and his stupendous works, I stood;

Where, since their first creation, haply none

Save the rude Indian, e’er had trod or gazed

11(6)r 131

On that magnificence! to earth I bent

My humbled brow, yet with a soul upraised,

And conscious of a nobler being, bent

By the felt presence of the great Omnipotent.

The Forest Vine.

It grew in the old wilderness—The vine

Is linked with thoughts of sunny Italy,

Or the fair hills of France, or the sweet vales

Where flows the Guadalquivir. But this grew

Where, as the sunlight look’d through lacing boughs,

The shadows of the stern, tall, primal wood

Fell round us, and across the silent flood,

That wash’d the deep ravine. The pauseless lapse

Of ages had beheld no change in all

The aspect of that scene; or but such change,

As Time himself had made; the slow decay

Of the old patriarch oaks, and as they fell

And moulder’d on the earth, the silent growth

Of the young sturdy stem, that rear’d itself

To stretch its branches in their former place.

The wild flower stretch’d its tender petals out,

Lending strange brightness to the forest gloom;

The fleet deer toss’d his antlers to the breeze,

Graceful and shy; and when the sun went down,

The tangled thicket rustled to the tread

Of the gaunt wolf—just as in former years.

But the red hunter was no longer there;

And the bright flowers were no more twined to deck

The brow of Indian maid.

We stood beside

A fallen oak; its aged limbs were spread

Prone to the earth, uptorn by the rude wind,

And perishing on the soil that once had fed

Their giant strength: clinging round its roots

And its decaying trunk, a grape-vine wreathed

Its fresh green foliage, draping the still grave

With its luxuriance—meet garniture

11(6)v 132

For such a sepulchre! a sepulchre most meet

To wrap the bones of the old forest race!

For we had checked our idle wanderings

To gaze upon the relics of the dead—

The dead of other ages! they who trod

When that fallen tree was fresh in its green prime,—

The earth that it now cumber’d; they who once

In savage freedom bounded through the wild,

And quaff’d the limpid spring, or shot along

The swift canoe upon yon rushing wave,

Or yell’d the fierce and horrid war whoop round,

Or gather’d to the council fire, or sprang

With proud firm step to mingle in the dance,

And vaunt of their own triumphs;—there they lie,

Brittle and time-blanch’d fragments! bones—dry bones!

Prison’d for lingering years beneath the sod,

And now that the strong wind hath torn away

The bars of their dark cell, restored again

To the clear sunshine. It seems strange to think

That those wan relics once were clothed with life—

Breathing and living flesh—and sprang away

O’er the green hills at morning, and at eve,

Return’d again to the low cabin home,

And found its shadows happiness.

That dust—

Gather some to thee—the keen eye can mark

No difference from that spread widely round—

The common earth we tread upon; yet this

Once help’d to form the garment of a mind

Once wrapp’d a human heart, and thrill’d with all

The emotions of man’s nature; love and hate,

Sweet hope and stern revenge—ay, even faith

In an undying world.

So let them rest!

That faith, erring and dark as it might be,

Was yet not wholly vain. We may not know

Of what the dark grave hideth; but the soul,

Immortal as eternity itself,

Is in the hands of One most merciful.

12(1)r 133

Soliloquy of a Duelist.

They all at length have left me—long I wish’d

While round me with officious care they stood,

To dress this paltry wound, to be alone;

And now I find that solitude is dreadful—

Dreadful to one, upon whose burning soul,

The weight of murder rests! Oh, would to heaven

This day were blotted from the scroll of time:

Or, as indeed it seems, that some wild dream

Had wrapp’d me in its horrid tangled maze.

It is a dream,—it must be,—o’er my brain

Such strange bewildering scenes in memory crowd,

As are not, cannot be reality;

And yet this agony is too intense,

’T would rive the chains of sleep. This stiffen’d arm,

These bandages, and the sharp pain which shoots

Across my burning temples—these are real—

Oh, no—’t is not the phantasy of sleep—

He does lie bleeding, yonder, pale and dead;

I, too, am slightly wounded.—Would to heaven

The erring ball, that pierced this guilty arm,

Had found a goal within my guiltier breast,

Ere I had lived to be a murderer—

A hateful murderer, still living on

Beneath the weight, the torment of a curse,

Heavy as that of Cain, the stain of blood

Forever on my conscience, crying out

To heaven for vengeance. Yet my wounded honour

Claim’d, sure, some reparation for the blot

His language on it cast. Could I have lived

Beneath the brand of cowardice, and borne

The sneer and the expression of contempt,

That would have follow’d me from every lip?

He gave the challenge, and could I refuse?

I could not—yet I might—I could—I could—

The offence was mine, and mine is all the guilt.

Why o’re my heated passions could I not

One instant hold the reins of self-control?

12 12(1)v 134

One single moment of deliberate thought

And cloudless reason, would have spared me all

This guilt, this agony. The approving smiles

Of peaceful conscience, and mine own respect,

Had balanced well the idle laugh of fools—

And now, what am I now? I dare not think!

The stain of life-blood is upon my soul—

The life-blood of my friend—he was my friend,

And I have kill’d him! Oh, that this dark hour

Of deep remorseful anguish might recall

The moments that have pass’d. My wife!—my wife!

I cannot meet thee thus. I hate myself—

All whom I have loved, and e’en thou wilt hate me.

Oh! would that I were dead—I will not live

To meet thy tearful eye in sorrow bent

O’er one who once could wake its proudest smile.

I cannot pray—I dare not call on Heaven,

To pardon my offence—before the throne,

Even at the mercy-seat, his bleeding form

Would mock my agony, and drive me thence.

How can I look on those whose hearts my hand

Has made so desolate? His mother’s eye

Has often smiled in kindness on my boyhood,

And such has been my gratitude, to wring

The last bright drops of comfort from her heart,

And cloud the evening of her life with woe.

His sisters, in their tears, demand of me

Their loved, their murder’d one—and there he lies,

Cut off in all the bloom of health and youth.

There lies the fatal instrument, and there

Its fellow lies to tempt me—loaded still;

I dare not think—the future and the past

Are fraught alike with images of horror.

Blood calls for blood, and mine own hand shall pay

The debt of justice. Crime shall wash out crime—

I dare not look into eternity—

Oh, God! Oh, God! forgive me for this deed!

12(2)r 135

The Wife’s Lament.

Loud howls the wintry blast, the rain descends,

And patters heavy on the ice-glazed roof;

But yet he comes not. ’T is a dreary night—

Long since, the midnight bell hath toll’d the hour.

And long, long since, my womanish fears had framed

Some reason dread, for absence thus prolong’d,

But that so oft ’t is thus. Oh! had I once

But even thought that thus thy love might change,

I should have shudder’d at the bare surmise,

And chid myself in anger for the thought.

But now, I feel it true, and yet I live,

I live to feel thy heart, thyself estranged,

From all that once it loved—to sit alone,

And number out the weary midnight hours

That waste with thee in revelry and mirth,

And weep in sadness at thy long delay.

Oh Henry! once—but I will not look back,

Nor think of present, past, or future scenes,

Or thought would madden me. But hark! again

The watch proclaims the second morning hour,

And still he lingers. Sure, some dire mischance

Delays his coming—but it is not so—

How often I have wept in terror wild,

And almost wish’d ’t were rather guilt, than harm,

That kept him from my arms—and he has come,

And I have half forgotten all my woe,

In joy at his approach, till his cold frown

Has chill’d my heart to stone! And yet this night,

While all the elements seem bent on war,

He surely could not, would not, leave me thus,

And join the laugh of riot. Oh, Henry, Henry,

Changed, cruel, as thou art, I love thee still!

My peace, my life, are woven in thy fate,

And freely would I give that life for thine.

And thou—thou couldst not change, so wholly change

From all I knew thee once—thou lov’st me yet;

It is some secret anguish breaks thy peace,

And thence thine alter’d looks—But, hark! he comes,

Thank heaven, he is safe! Be dry, my tears!

12(2)v 136

My face must wear a smile at his approach;

I will not greet him save with looks of joy,

Although my aching heart in anguish bleeds,

And mourns his early alienated love!

The Slave-Ship.

The Slave-ship was winding her course o’er the ocean,

The winds and the waters had sunk into rest;

All hush’d was the whirl of the tempest’s commotion,

That late had awaken’d the sailor’s devotion,

When terror had kindled remorse in his breast.

And onward she rode, though by curses attended,

Though heavy with guilt was the freight that she bore,

Though with shrieks of despair was the midnight air rended,

And ceaseless the groans of the wretches ascended,

That from friends and from country forever she tore.

On the deck, with his head on his fetter’d hand rested,

He who once was a chief and a warrior stood;

One moment he gain’d, by his foes unmolested,

To think o’er his woes, and the fate he detested,

Till madness was firing his brain and his blood.

“Oh, never!” he murmur’d in anguish, “no, never!

These limbs shall be bent to the menial’s toil!

They have reft us, my bride—but they shall not forever

Your chief from his home and his country’s dissever—

No! never will I be the conqueror’s spoil

Say! long didst thou wait for my coming, my mother?

Did ye bend o’er the desert, my sister, your eye?

And weep at the lengthen’d delay of your brother,

As each slow passing moment was chased by another,

And still he appear’d not a tear-drop to dry.

But ye shall—yes, again ye shall fondly embrace me!

We will meet my young bride in the land of the blest:

Death, death once again in my country shall place me,

One bound shall forever from fetters release me!”

He burst them, and sunk in the ocean’s dark breast.

12(3)r 137

The Treaty of Penn.

Indian Chief.

“Art thou chief of the white men that crowd on the strand?

No broad gleaming sword flashes bright in thy hand—

No plume, proudly waving, sits light on thy brow—

Nor with hate and contempt does thine eye darkly glow.

I have seen the white chieftains, but proudly they stood;

Though they call’d us their brethren, they thirst for our blood:

With the peace-belt of wampum they stretch’d forth one hand,

With the other they wielded the death-doing brand.

On their lip was the calumet—war on their brow;

But thine scowls not with hatred—a chieftain art thou?—”


“My brethren are those whom thou see’st on the strand,

My friends, whom I govern with fatherly hand;

We worship the spirit who rules from above,

Our watchword is peace, and our motto is love.

We fight not, we war not, for life or for land,

And the weapons of death never darken our hand.

The land that in purchase ye cheerfully give,

Will we, for our friends and our brethren, receive;

But we will not deprive you, by force or by fraud,

Of the land that yourselves and your fathers have trod.”


“Then deep be the tomahawk buried from sight;

The peace-tree shall bloom where it slumbers in night.

We will bury from sight and from mem’ry the dead;

We will plant o’er the spot where their blood has been shed;

O’er their grave shall the green maize its tassels expand:—

But whether the white man by force wrest our land,

Or whether they win it in war or in peace,

Our hunting grounds narrow, our tribes still decrease.”


“O’er the land that I purchase ye freely may rove;

We will dwell in the spirit of brotherly love—

By mutual kindness we both shall be blest,

Your wrongs, as the white man’s, be promptly redrest.

12* 12(3)v 138

We will teach you with justice, our knowledge impart,

And teach you each useful and civilized art.

We extend you, in truth and in friendship, our hand,

We will turn to the plough-share the death-dealing brand.

One hand hath created the white man and red;

One spirit we worship, though different our creed;

And the God who looks down on our acts from above,

Still conceals in dark frowns the fair face of his love

From the land that is darkend’d with bloodshed and rage,

Where brethren with brethren in battle engage.”


“We have listen’d, my father, your peaceable talk;

In the path you have chosen we cheerfully walk.

The white men have wrong’d us, have crimson’d our plains,

Where our forefathers sleep, with the blood of our veins.

Of those plains they have reft us, the fairest and best,

And have forced us to seek other homes in the west;

Through the wilds of the forest to follow the chase,

Till brambles have choked up the pathway of peace.

Yet as still we receded our heroes were slain,

Our wives and our children lie dead on the plain.

Then we dug from the earth the fell hatchet of war,

While our whoop of destruction was heard from afar.

We rush’d on our foemen, we fought and we bled,

But our arms with the blood of the white men were red;

Yet, father, the red man delights not in war,

And thy words shall the spring-time of friendship restore.

Now again we will bury the hatchet, again

We will burnish the links of our amity’s chain.

We will root out the weeds from the path of our peace,

And all hatred and battle betwixt us shall cease.”


How solemn is the silence of this hour!

The world is hush’d! all nature lies in sleep—

Save where rude jollity upholds her power,

Or wearied wretches waken but to weep.

Strange contrast! that there revelry should keep

12(4)r 139

Her wassail wild amid the gloom of night,

And here, her thorny couch pale sorrow steep

With bitter tears, and strain her aching sight,

To catch the first pale streak that ushers in the light.

E’en now perchance some widow’d mother hangs,

In hopeless anguish, o’er her dying child,

And marks with bursting heart its parting pangs,

Or covers its pale lips with kisses wild;

While memory tells how oft it has beguiled

Of half its loneliness her dreary heart—

And when in its bright joyousness it smiled,

Albeit within her eye the tear might start,

She knew not, could not know, that they so soon must part.

Its closing eye is faintly turn’d on her,

Its breath comes thickly, and the dews of death

Are on its forehead—one convulsive stir—

One half-form’d smile to speed the parting breath—

Then all is past—and gazing on that scathe

Of all her hopes—in tearless agony,

The mother stands, until awakening faith

Points out another world—a hope on high—

And fast her feelings gush in torrents to her eye!

But this is fancy—for no sound is near,

Of joy or sadness—all around is still!

Not e’en the night-bird’s voice salutes mine ear,

Nor the faint murmur of the distant rill—

The very winds are hush’d—and on the hill

The trees are motionless—the whisp’ring sigh,

That lingers where the blast was piping shrill,

Moves not the branches as it passes by,

Nor lifts the bending leaves that on the waters lie.

The deep blue heaven with clust’ring stars is bright,

And in the midst the moon, sublimely fair,

Sheds o’er the fleecy clouds her silvery light,

That in bright wreaths are floating lightly there,

Like snow-flakes scattered o’er the silent air.

12(4)v 140

And coldly still that moon’s pale lustre lies,

Alike on haunts of misery and despair;

And where the sounds of wassail joy arise,

Disturbing with rude mirth the quiet of the skies.

The earth is slumbering! but I will not sleep,

For I do love to gaze on yon bright sky,

And all those countless orbs, that seem to keep

Their nightly ward so silently on high—

My heart may swell, but ’t is not with the sigh

Of painful feeling—nor does aught of woe

Awake the tear-drop in my moisten’d eye;

But unexpress’d emotion, and the glow

Of all the crowding thoughts, that round my bosom flow.

The Negro Father’s Lamentation over the Body
of his Infant Son.

Thou’rt dead, my boy!—my son!—my only child!—

And yet I may not shed one tear for thee,

Nor hanging o’er thy bier in anguish wild,

Upbraid the hand that bore thee far from me:

I cannot wish that thou hadst lived to share

Thy father’s fate—his woes—and his despair!

I loved thee—oh! I need not say how well!

Thou wert my all of hopes or bliss on earth!

Yet I will not repine that thou dost dwell

In happiness, with her who gave thee birth,

While I, like yon dark rock of naked stone,

Must bear the storms that round me beat, alone.

’T is well! Thou wilt not share those storms with me,

That is my all of comfort in this hour—

I weep not, though I would have died for thee!

Ay, more than died—that sacrifice were poor—

I would have spurn’d the hand that set me free,

And clasp’d my chain, and lived a slave, for thee.

12(5)r 141

My boy! my darling boy! farewell, farewell!

Thou ne’er shalt feel the pangs that rend me now,

For still my heart with agony will swell,

To think, that never more upon my brow,

Thy little lips with fondness shall be prest,

As when I oft have clasp’d thee to my breast.

Yes! fare thee well! thy fond caress no more

Shall soothe the tortured throbbing of my heart

As it full oft has done, when tyrant power

Has trampled me to earth, and round me prest

The chain of slavery, till my swelling heart

Had madden’d into frenzy with the smart.

Yet even then, though thou couldst calm my soul

With thy soft lisping voice and childish glee,

While clasping thee, sad thoughts would o’er me roll,

Of what must be thy future destiny,

Till my hot tears have wet thy little face,

And thou hast wonder’d at my wild embrace.

But thou art dead!—it ne’er will be thy fate

To tremble at a cruel tyrant’s frowns—

To bend in servile toil, to feed his state,

To feel the lash, and hear him mock thy groans.

Then fare thee well!—thy father will not weep,

Or wish to wake thee from thy peaceful sleep.

Lines on the Death of Two Children,

Written When But Fifteen Years of Age.

They sleep! but not theirs is the slumber that breaketh,

When night with its gloom and its darkness hath flown;

The morn in the light of its beauty awaketh,

But in silence and darkness they still slumber on:

They sleep, but no visions of sleep are around them,

That silence, that darkness, can never confound them;

For death, icy death, in his fetters hath bound them,

And round the young spirit his cold spell hath thrown.

12(5)v 142

Together in youth’s brightest bloom they have wither’d,

Ere grief their young spirits had clouded with gloom,

And like flowers, in the lights of their loveliness gather’d,

Whose fragrance is sweetest when faded their bloom;

So still shall their memory fondly be nourish’d,

In the hearts of their friends shall their virtues be cherish’d

And though in the prime of their life they have perish’d,

Their remembrance shall be as a grateful perfume.

It is sad to see youth in its loveliness dying,

Ere the freshness of spirit hath wasted away,

While the earth seems around like a paradise lying,

And the hopes of the bosom too bright for decay—

Before life’s cup of care hath imparted its fever—

Ere hope, smiling hope hath been proved a deceiver—

This world seems too lovely to part with forever,

To mingle again with inanimate clay.

And thus have they died while their hopes were the fairest,

While life only seem’d like a beautiful dream,

Adorn’d with whatever is richest or rarest,

Whatever most bright to the senses may seem—

They died, and the cold turf is resting above them—

They heed not the grief of the bosoms that love them,

The tears of affection no longer can move them,

Or wake them again to the day’s joyous beam.

Consumption! ’t is thou that their life-springs hast wasted!

’T is thou that hast wither’d the bud in its bloom!

’T is thou the young tree in its greenness hast blasted,

And o’er them hast thrown the dark veil of the tomb!

Thou foe to the lovely, the gay, and the blooming!

How soon the bright spirit, the features illuming,

Will fade from the cheek and the eye at thy coming,

Save when the bright hectic disperses their gloom.

O Death! it is strange how thy cold touch will alter

The forms that so lately were healthy and gay—

On the lips once so bright, life a moment will falter,

The next, they are pallid and motionless clay.

The lips and the eyes with bright happiness glowing,

The bosom proud beating of sorrow unknowing,

12(6)r 143

The gush of emotion around the heart glowing,

How soon will they perish and wither away!

And yet, it were better to die in life’s morning,

Before we have seen its illusions depart,

Than to live when the flowers that our life were adorning,

Have wither’d, and hope hath deserted the heart—

’T were better, when mandate of death has been spoken,

That slowly and singly life’s chords should be broken,

Than in health’s brightest bloom without warning or token

At once to be stricken by death’s fatal dart.

Had they lived, other ties to the earth would have bound them,

Witholding the spirit from rising on high,

And dearer and warmer affections twined round them,

Embittering doubly the life-parting sigh—

When parents for stay on the young are reclining

When husband or wife round the bosom are twining,

Or orphans are left in the cold world repining,

Oh! then it indeed must be anguish to die.

It is painful to stand by the couch of the dying,

And watch the pale form speeding fast to decay,

In anguish to list to the half-broken sighing,

That tells from the heart life is stealing away,

Yet then—while its flight the loved spirit is winging,

While in agony round the pale form we are clinging,

Even then—brighter hopes in the bosom are springing,

As we feel that our parting is but for to-day.

To a Friend of my Youth.

We met in childhood—careless met,

Nor wept to think that we must sever;

We parted with no fond regret—

No tear lest we should part forever.

Our souls had not commingled then;

The wreath of Friendship had not bound us;

We knew not we should meet again,—

And yet our parting did not wound us.

12(6)v 144

Again we met—long years have flown,

The sun of youth has risen o’er us,

And friends we loved have smiled and gone,

And changing scenes have pass’d before us.—

We meet!—but not again to part,

Without one transient pang of mourning;

Oh no! the burning tear would start,

At thought of joys no more returning.

For we have stray’d at silent eye,

Beneath the crescent brightly beaming,

And social converse loved to weave,

Around the warm hearth cheerful gleaming.

We yet may part—in distant land

Afar to roam we know not whither—

But still be Friendship’s flowery band

The wreath that twines our souls together.

Twilight Thoughts.

The sun hath set in glory—and a fold

Of burnish’d purple lies upon the sky,

Like the rich thought of some just parted joy,

Yet thrilling vividly around the heart.

The year’s first sunset;—’t is most beautiful!

Would it be an augury of good

To the fair land it shines on. But, alas!

What may we hope of blessing for the head

Of unrepenting guilt;—or, for the hand

—Red with the stain of murder, full of wrong

And foul oppression—shamelessly stretch’d out

To scatter to the winds the solemn oaths

Of broken treaty bands. The red man looks

Across his fathers’ lands, and thinks how once

They fed the white-brow’d stranger, when he came

With his weak hand to their low forest hut,

And they could well have crush’d him. Now he seeks

From the poor wasted remnant of their sons,

13(1)r 145

To rend their last few acres,—sacred spots

Where the dead lie unsepulchred!—and drive

The newly blest ones from their scarce found joys

Of home and social love, to be again

Sad houseless wanderers!

Years go circling by

With all their rolling suns and changing scenes,

In regular progression, and the slave

Still bends his aching forehead to the toil

That brings him no reward. Another year!—

And still the Christian loads his brother’s neck

With the vile weight of fetters—tasks his arm

And goads his sinews to their daily toil,

With the keen lash, or, in the market-place,

Bids him to be number’d with the brute and sold!

Another year! and shall that too go by,

And find his wrongs uncared for? Shall he still

Groan ’neath his lot till life at last goes out,

And win no sympathy? Oh ye who love

Your Maker’s image, even in the slave,

Shake from your hearts all thoughts of selfishness,

And with tears, prayers, and every energy,

Stretch’d to its firmest purpose, in his cause,

Cease not to plead, to struggle, to persuade,

’Till ye have won him back his long lost rights,

Or your own hearts are slumbering in death.

To A*****.

My own Annette! my own Annette!

How often turn my thoughts to thee,

And those sweet hours when erst we met,

And shared our thoughts in converse free!

Around me the soft moonshine pours

A quiet flood of silver light;

And thus o’er memory’s hoarded stores,

The star of thought is gleaming bright.

13 13(1)v 146

Yet, though long years have glided past,

Since last thy hand was clasp’d in mine,

The chain that friendship o’er us cast,

Hath felt no link of love untwine.

And we may meet in other hours,

And love where we have loved, again;

And talk of all the early flowers

We gather’d on life’s by-past plain.

But there are stronger ties than ours,

Remorseless rent by cruel hands;

Torn hearts, o’er which no future hours

Shall fling again the sever’d bands.

Oh! let us weep with those who weep,

Beneath oppression’s crushing hand;

And in our thoughts their anguish keep

Who till in tears our guilty land.

Remember Me.

When the sinking sunbeams lie

On the forest branches high;

When the twilight hour steals on,

With its hush and soothing tone,

And the care that day hath wrought

Passes from the soften’d thought,

Remember me.

When, like smiles from those we love,

Falls the moonlight from above;

When with evening’s earliest star,

Wakes the thought of those afar,

And around thy bosom’s cell,

Memory flings her holiest spell,

Remember me.

When the poet’s high-wrought words—

When the song of woodland birds—

13(2)r 147

When the gush of shaded streams

Mingles with thy spirit’s dreams,

And whate’er o’er thought may cast

Pensive hues of moments past,

Remember me.


Written in an Album.

Sun-lit and shadow’d waters, leaping by

’Midst flowers and greenness, singing as they pass,

Or sleeping in some deep and shaded pool,

Lake-like, and dimpled by the playful touch

Of stooping branches, rocks vine-garlanded,

And the green pleasant woods, and over all

The wide blue glorious sky—oh it is sweet

To breathe amid such scenes!

Look on the page

Of Schuylkill’s pictured beauty! that is such—

And thou may’st gaze, till it shall waken thoughts

Treasured in memory—for thou hast watch’d

The flashing of its waters, and hast stood,

Perchance, beside them, when the moonlight made

The scene a paradise, and friends were nigh,

Smiling with their glad eyes upon thy joy;

And music floated off upon the air,

As if the zephyrs breathed in melody.

Now other scenes are round thee—it is fair—

This wide extended landscape—but unlike

To that the Schuylkill mirrors. The old trees

That lift their tall green heads against the sky,

Are relics of past ages, and there seems,

Beneath their dim gray shade, to linger yet

A faint and mournful echo of the tones

Of the old forest tribes.

But when the hush,

And the dim beauty of the twilight steals

O’er the calm earth, and on thy spirit lies

A shadow and a pensiveness as sweet,

13(2)v 148

Then memory will lift the mystic screen

That veils departed years, and give them back

The consecrated past; and thou shalt stand

’Midst scenes where thou hast stood in other days;

And the gay laugh, and the remember’d tone,

Will seem, with startling vividness, to thrill

Across thy ear—but mine will not be there;

Thy memory hath no garner’d thought of me—

Yet think of me, for there may gleam a light

Amidst thy twilight dreams, from scenes to which

I turn for my most sweet remembrances;

Oh, how one charmed word will start to life

A thousand breathing memories of the past!

Schuylkill! sweet Schuylkill! and still dearer loved,

And hallow’d with yet deeper, sweeter thoughts,

My own dear native vale, and the bright flood The Brandywine.

That makes it beautiful! name them again,

For thou hast trodden there, and let me dwell

With thee upon the past! Yet they will come

To thee, with but a stranger’s parting glance

Of brief and pleasant memory—to me—

With tales of childhood’s years, of hours of glee,

Friendships, and tears, and rainbow-pinion’d hopes,

And all the sacred thoughts that halo home!


I have been gazing on the resting place

Of the cold sleepers of the earth—who trod

This busy planet for a little space,

Then laid them down, and took the verdant sod

To curtain the low cot wherein they slept,

Forgotten save by some few hearts that o’er them wept.

’T is strange—so lately they were living forms,

Breathing and moving; now the vernal sun

Looks down upon their silent graves, nor warms

One pulse to action—life with them is done;

And the turf blooms as quietly, as though

No forms of human mould were slumbering below.

13(3)r 149

And this shall be my lot!—a little while,

And I shall, too, lie down and be at rest,

In silence and in darkness; earth will smile

In spring’s rich garniture, and o’er my breast

The wild-flower shed its sweets—but there will be

No gladness in bright hues or fragrant breath for me.

Oh, Death! they call thee terrible—but life

Hath pain, and blighted hopes and bitter tears,

The pang of keen remorse, the daily strife

’Twixt jarring passions, the false smile that sears

The heart to kindly feelings, and the dread,

That e’en what bliss is ours, within our grasp will fade.

Nor is it very dreadful to lie down

In momentary darkness, and awake

In a bright world of happiness, unknown,

And unimagined! But ’t is sad to take

The last farewell of earthly things, and know

That we have left fond hearts to lingering years of woe.

And herein lies the bitterness—but when

The parting pang is over, need we fear

To tread thy narrow pathway—and cling then

To life’s poor relics?—It is true, that here

We have bright moments, scenes and hours of joy;

Yet seldom is our bliss unmix’d with some alloy.

It should be so—there is enough of bliss,

To make the hours of life glide swiftly on,

Yet sadness dims the brightest cup—and this

Recalls the heart from trusting what must soon

Forever vanish from our grasp, when we

Are call’d from things of time to dread eternity.

To my Cousin.

Come out with me into the moonlight, coz!

Fling by that page of romance—the hot breath

Of the dim taper, ill befits an eve

So beautiful as this—I know there is

13* 13(3)v 150

A deep bewildering interest in that tale;

For the low drooping head, the parted lip,

The feverish glow that brightens cheek and eye,

And the light finger press’d upon the page,

As if that volume were the magic link

That bound thee to illusion—all proclaim

The spell that hath enchain’d thee. Yet come out,

And I will show thee full as bright a page,

And one where thou may’st read as wild a tale

Of love and chivalry, as that from which

My voice hath won thee.—Is it not, sweet coz,

A most delicious night? and how could I

Gaze upward on that moon, and thou not here—

Our arms entwining thus—and the light touch

Of those soft fingers resting upon mine,

That I may feel their gentle pressure tell

Thy voiceless feelings—when I turn to say

“How very beautiful!”—It is a night

For Poetry—and the low breeze comes by

As ’t were a holy whisper, sent to quell

The spirit’s fever.—We will fling aside

Like a dull robe the thought of present things,

And wrap ourselves in dreams.

And yet ’t is not

A scene like that we gazed on when yon moon

Last moved, so empress-like, across the sky—

Nay, thou rememberest—I know it well

By the curl’d lip turn’d towards me with a smile

Of recollected pleasure: yet again

Looks towards yon concave: other eyes than ours

Are gazing on that orb, and kindly lips

Perchance are naming us.

Did we not say

Yon planet should be written, like a book,

With cherish’d memories?—and when the hour

Of her arising came, that we would think

On those from whom we parted?—Look, Annette!

Couldst thou not fancy that a friendly eye

Was smiling on thee from the distant sphere?

Nay, laugh not, cousin,—’t was a silly thought!—

But who would fetter fancy’s wildest wing

13(4)r 151

Upon a night like this? The very light

That falls around us hath a dreamy spell,

And gives the scene a dim unreal shade,

Like a forgotten thought come back again.

It is most beautiful! yet on the heart

The sense of pleasure presses, with a weight

That half hath started tears—’t is strange that even

Our happiness should be so link’d with pain!

And beauty—perfect beauty—only wake

The knowledge that our spirits are too weak,

To feel it in its full deep blessedness!

Didst never wish to be an angel, coz?

That thou might understand the pencilling

Writ on the sunset sky—and send abroad

A soul unfetter’d on a night like this!

Well, let us wander on—did I not say

I knew a history of the olden time,

That I would tell to thee?—we should have been

Beneath our grape-vine bower—thou know’st it, love,

And I thine own true knight to sing thee,

While thou didst touch the lute—

But ’t is not so—

And while I tell the tale of which I spake,

If I can win from thee one gentle sigh,

I will not ask for music!—

’T was a night

Moon-lit, and calm, and beautiful,—like this;

Music was swelling out, upon the breeze,

From a gay festive hall—and starry lamps

Flung out their perfumed splendour upon brows

Of alabaster whiteness, and dark hair

Enwreathed with dazzling gems: light forms went by

Graceful and fairy-like, amid the dance,

Beside a nation’s chivalry—and songs

Melted away in liquid melody

From rosy lips, and the gay laugh broke forth;

Or, when the ancient minstrel breathed some tale

Of love and sadness, gentle tears fell forth

From eyes that shone more lovely through their mist

13(4)v 152

But there was one, had stolen from that scene

Of smiles and joyousness, to where the moon

Look’d downward, silently, through jasmine leaves,

And the low night-breeze kiss’d the drooping bells

Of the sweet clematis.

And there she stood—

Her head bent slightly back, and the long fringe

Of her dark melancholy eye raised up

And laid against her brow, as if her soul

Were lifted in that long deep glance to Heaven!

Her cheek was pale—so pale, that its faint tinge

Of lingering carmine scarce sufficed to tell

That the slight form, round which the white robes fell

So gracefully, was not in very deed

A sculptor’s form of beauty—her dark hair

Was carelessly thrown backward, and her hand

Twisted among its tresses, look’d as ’t were

A wandering moon-beam—’t was so delicate!

A deeper sadness gather’d on the brow,

The queenly brow, of that young worshipper,

Until it droop’d upon her breast, and tears

Came crowding to her eyelids. Could it be

That grief had paled a cheek so beautiful?

That gush of tears went by—and she raised up

Her forehead to the breeze, and touch’d the lute,

That lay beside her, to a mournful strain,

The while she sung to it:—

This faded cheek, this faded cheek,

Pale lip and alter’d brow,

Are all the outward signs that speak

The love I bear thee now.

I name thee not amid the halls,

Where mirthful glances shine;

But not one tear in secret falls,

That is not truly thine.

They told me, that the vows we spake

Were soon forgot by thee;

But though my heart, perchance, may break,

’T will ne’er be false to thee.

13(5)r 153

Nor would’st thou, dearest, all so soon

That one deep vow forget,

The first, the last, the only one,

That told our hearts had met.

They told me thou wast false, that pride

Might dry my burning tears,

When I should learn that thou hadst died

Amid thine early years.

They did not know how deeply dear

Was every thought of thee,

More fondly, truly, cherish’d here,

Than living love could be.

The strain was hush’d—A rustle midst the leaves

Hath caught the maiden’s ear, and a low voice

Whisper’d the name of “Eva!” Could it be

That the dark grave had given up its dead?

Or was that breath a summons from the land

Of parted spirits? But a moment more,

And her own knight was kneeling at her feet—

Her head fell on his bosom—hours past on,

And when the gray dawn made a pause amid

The mirth of their gay revelling, they came

To seek that absent one,—and both were there,

Silent and motionless as they had sunk,

When the first shock was over—one in death,

And one in cold despair!

Forget Me Not.

To A. G. C.

Forget me not! though fate from thine,

My path of life may sever,

Still think of days of “auld lang syne,”

And moments fled forever.

When many a year has pass’d away,

And other ties have bound us,

Oh! then let memory sometimes stray,

To those that now surround us.

13(5)v 154

Should pomp and pride be round thee then—

When day’s bright beam is o’er thee,

And other forms shall meet thy ken—

Mine may not stand before thee.

But when the orb of day hath set,

Beneath the burning ocean,

And holy thoughts around thee met,

Have still’d the heart’s commotion—

Oh! then may memory’s hallow’d rays

Around my image hover,

And in the thoughts of other days,

These hours be then glanced over.

Forget me not! though fate from thine,

My path of life may sever,

But sometimes think of “auld lang syne,”

And moments fled forever.

The Genius of Painting.

Addressed to D―― M――

The Genius of Painting one summer eve stray’d,

In a moment of leisure, to Flora’s bright bower,

Where, scatter’d around, by the hand of the maid,

In the richest profusion, bloom’d many a flower.

“Oh, see, Flora cried, as the Genius drew nigh,

What an Eden of beauty is blossoming here!

But yet—and a tear-drop stood bright in her eye,—

How soon will its loveliness all disappear!

Oh, Genius! bid them still live in your art,

And my gratitude well shall your kindness repay;

To some favour’d mortal your spirit impart,

And teach him to rescue my flowers from decay.

13(6)r 155

Behold I have rear’d in my favourite bower,

A shrine, and an alter, dear Painting, for you;

And there will I offer each loveliest flower,

As often as the morning their sweets shall renew.”

“Many thanks, dearest Flora! the Genius cried,

Though many an altar and temple is mine,

That with richer and costlier gifts are supplied,

Yet none of them all shall be dearer than thine.

I will gift with my spirit whoever you will,

Yet choose not, dear Flora, the renegade man;

For the ingrate from you will be wandering still,

O’er fields more extended and varied to scan.”

At this instant, a maiden drew near to the bower,

And Flora’s own fondness beam’d soft from her eye,

As with rapture she hung o’er each beautiful flower,

Or heaved o’er the dying a tremulous sigh.

Flora turn’d on the Genius a smile of delight—

“There, Painting,” she cried, “is my favourite maid:

Infuse in her bosom your genius bright,

And soon shall your altar be richly array’d.”

“On that maid, then,” said he, “shall my spirit descend,

A bright, and unfading, and beautiful gem;

The young favourite of Flora my shrine shall attend,

And the priestess of painting shall still be D. M.”

A Vision.

Night o’er the earth her dusky robe had spread,

With gloom unwonted, moon and stars conceal’d

By dense and murky clouds, denied their light.

I musing lay reclined, involved in thought,

And pondering o’er the various changing scenes

This land had witness’d, until slumbers soft

Succeeded to my reverie, yet stole

13(6)v 156

So lightly over me, that I was still

Unconscious that I slept; and still my thoughts

Pursued the path, and wander’d o’er the scenes

Where they had waking roved. What! I exclaim’d,

Would be the feelings, or the words of Penn,

Did he now view the fair wide commonwealth,

Whose infancy was foster’d by his care?

I scarce had spoken, when an airy form

Before me stood. Her dark and piercing eye

Was lighted by a smile, that o’er her face,

In female beauty rich, benignant play’d.

Her tresses unadorn’d, save with a wreath

Of dewy wild-flowers, o’er her shoulders flung,

In glossy ringlets waved, or shaded light,

Her polish’d brow. Yet seem’d she not of gross

Corporeal mould; but rather like the air,

Condensed and visible. I knew the form—

’T was one whose aid I often had invoked,

What time I tuned or swept mine airy lyre,

Imagination! with a kindly smile,

She lightly touch’d, and bade me follow her.

My soul, unfetter’d, instant soar’d aloft,

Far, far above the confines of the earth,

Then paused; and while we hover’d, light in air,

My fair conductress bade me look around.

I look’d! beneath us Pennsylvania lay,

Her ripen’d harvests waving in the breeze,

And wet with dew of morning; for not yet

The sun had risen from his wavy bed,

But redden’d by his beams, the fleecy clouds,

Bright glowing, spoke his near approach. Toward one

That rested nearest earth, with purple tinged,

My guide conducted me. As near we drew,

With wonder I beheld, within its breast,

A form reposed as in an airy car,

Which bore (though half conceal’d and indistinct)

The human likeness. O’er his face beam’d love,

Compassion mild, benevolence divine

And universal. Sin no place had there,

Nor earthly passions—but bright peace serene,

Pure piety, and happiness unmix’d.

14(1)r 157

“Behold!” exclaim’d my guide, “with awe behold

The sainted spirit of the righteous Penn!”

Quick throbb’d my bosom at the name revered,

With mix’d emotions. Mute with awe I gazed

Upon the sacred form. Silent awhile,

He view’d the beauteous scene, till the fair town

Whose name denotes the love he bore to man,

Right ’neath us lay. As with a father’s love

He fondly gazed, then utterance gave to thought.

“Fair happy State! by Heaven’s mercy risen

From a waste wilderness, a savage wild,

Uncultured, now transform’d to harvest plains,

With villages and cities studded thick.—

How changed art thou from what thou wert when first

I saw thee! now thou bear’st no middle rank

Among thy sisters—to thy farthest verge

The flowing tide of population rolls.

Then, Philadelphia! where thou spreadest now

Thy goodly domes, the Indian drove the chase.

Ye white men, ye have reft by slow degrees

Your brethren of their land. O give them then,

What for the loss alone can compensate,

Your virtuous knowledge, justice, and your love.

Ye have escaped the ignominous stain,

Shameful and foul, that brands with deep disgrace

Your brethren of the south, the heavy curse

Of slavery. Then free the Indian from the bonds of vice”

He ceased. And now the streets below were throng’d

With early passengers: among them came,

By the rude dress and tawny skin reveal’d,

Some stranger Indians. In wonder wrapp’d,

They view’d the various scenes, till they were shown

(Where stands the wretched maniacs’ abode)

The form of Miquen. Indian name of Penn. Instant at its base

With mingled reverence and love they knelt,

And while a tear unwonted dew’d their eyes,

Pray’d the great spirit, to protect, and bless

The friends of Miquen. In the eye of Penn

An anwering tear-drop glow’d, an answering prayer

14 14(1)v 158

He breathed for them. “Yes, grateful men, he said,

Time has not from your memory yet erased

The elm-tree treaty.” Silence reign’d once more—

And like the morning mist the scene dissolved,

And disappear’d. I waked!—’t was darkness all;—

The rain beat heavily, rough blew the blast,

And all was silence, solitude, and night!

A New-Year’s Greeting,

To a Circle of Friends.

A kindly greeting to you all—

To all an opening year of gladness;

May never sorrow round you fall

More dark than evening’s twilight sadness

The wintry blast may whistle shrill,

And clouds may dim the face of heaven;

But Friendship’s wreath shall blossom still,

On this our gladsome New-Year’s even.

While lips and hearts are smiling thus,

And hands are fondly clasp’d together,

Oh what are cloudy skies to us,

Or fortune’s bright or sunny weather?

We may not meet, to hail again

Another year with hearts of lightness,

Some beating pulse may rest ere then,

Some eye have lost its wonted brightness

We may have met, perchance—alas!

To mingle hearts and then be parted;

Or some dark blight may o’er us pass,

And leave us lone and broken-hearted.

But let the future smile, or frown,

The wing of hope is waving o’er us;

One gem of bliss is still our own,

And one bright rose of joy before us.

14(2)r 159

Then may the rose be cherish’d well—

The sparkling gem be sullied never—

And parted Friendship’s only knell,

Be when our hearts are still’d forever.

To a Particular Friend.

“We took sweet counsel together, we went to the house of the Lord
in company.”
――INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Psalms.

We’ve sat beside the forest stream,

And watch’d the bright wave rippling by,

Now flashing back the summer beam,

Then dark’ning like a half-shut eye,

As whispering to the joyous breeze,

Down closer bent the shadowing trees.

Thy hand was clasp’d in mine, my friend,

And heart to heart was answering then;

Although, perchance, our tones might send

No echo down the rocky glen—

Or if we spoke, ’t was language fraught

With all the others’ voiceless thought.

Oh! it was sweet to linger there,

Beneath a sky so purely blue,

And breathe the gather’d sweets, the air

Had stolen from flowers it wander’d through—

How could there come a thought of ill

Amidst a scene so calm and still!

But yet, a holier chord than this,

Around our breasts its power hath twined;

And though, perchance, those hours of bliss

May fade, like moonlight, from the mind,

Can love aside be careless cast,

O’er which the breath of prayer hath past?

Oh, no! and though not oft we meet,

Within the house of worship now,—

14(2)v 160

The hours may come, less calm and sweet

Than those beneath the greenwood bough;

Those hearts may ne’er be wholly riven,

Which side by side have bow’d to Heaven.

Where Are They?

“I came to the halls of my fathers, and asked, ‘Where are they?’
and the echoes answered ‘where.’”

Where are they? where! they all are gone,

Whose smiles were wont to answer mine,

When in the hours that long have flown,

These halls were fond affection’s shrine?

Gray moss is on the smooth flag-stone,

That once was worn with bounding feet,

When eyes, now dim, all brightly shone,

And minstrel’s song resounded sweet.

The harp still decks the mouldering walls,

With all its tuneful chords unstrung,

And silent are the echoing halls,

Where oft the merry laugh has rung.

Where now are all the lips and eyes,

Whose smiles once cheer’d my native bower?

And where are those whose parting sighs,

I’ve treasured many a weary hour?

There many a cheek was wet with tears,

And choking voices sigh’d adieu,

But now no friendly form appears,

Of all the wanderer’s childhood knew.

I called, “Where are they?” but in vain—

There was no friend to greet me there—

The harp’s last chord then burst in twain,

And echo only answer’d “Where?”

14(3)r 161
The piece below, was written upon the perusal of an article in a newspaper,
announcing the Decree issued by the Executive of the Republic of
, totally abolishing the system of Slavery within its limits, on the
anniversary of National Independence, in the year 18291829.


Gladness in Mexico! A pealing shout,

From franchised men, goes proudly o’er her hills;

And the rich hymn is swelling up to Heaven,

Bearing the full heart’s gratitude. No more

The wild bird springing upward from its nest,

Or the free waters in their gushing glee,

Seem taunting man that they are masterless,

While his proud thoughts and swelling pulse are crush’d

Beneath vile bonds. No more at eventide,

The serf stalks gloomily to seek a home,

He scarce can call his own; or goes at dawn

Unwillingly to toil:—the heavy spell,

That ’numb’d his veins with leaden sluggishness,

Hath lost its power; and now, his glad limbs bound

Across the glorious earth, as though they were

Nought but an essence. Hear ye not the voice

Of his wild carol pour’d upon the air,

As like the woodland bird “with folded wing

He drops into his nest”—or goes at morn,

With light and eager spirit to the toil

From which no hand withholds the just reward!

Oh, it is sweet to wear a heart, whose throbs

Are stifled by no fetters—and an eye

That quails not to the mightiest! But the soul

Of him whose hand hath wrench’d the bonds of thrall

From the sad bosoms that beneath them pined,

Hath yet a higher joy!—and there is one, Guerrero.

Whose name the grateful Mexican shall teach

His son to lisp, ere yet his infant lip

Hath learned to murmur, father.

But our land!—

The curse is on it still!—the slave-fiend stalks

14* 14(3)v 162

Amidst our pleasant valleys and green hills;

A tyrant to the tyrants he has made;

Muttering fierce threats, and crowding on their hearts

Visions and shapes of terror, like the wild

And elfish faces that look forth at eve,

On wilder’d travellers, ’midst the cheating shades,

And gibe and chatter at the fears they raise.

So men go crouching to the demon power,

Scarce daring e’en to syllable his name,

Lest they should waken up his smother’d rage;

And offering human victims at his shrine,

Instead of nobly standing forth, like men,

To drive him yelling from the glorious earth,

That he pollutes and blackens with his tread.

Whom call ye slaves? Are not the cravens such,

Who dare not act with justice?—Men who prate

In sweet smooth sentences, of christian love,

And with much sympathy, lament the fate

Of those from whose swoll’n limbs they will not strike

One single link, in all their weight of chains?

Strange! that the high capacities of mind,

Should be so blinded by the gleam of gold—

Till even the soul itself is valued less,

Than “so much trash as may be grasped thus.”

The Cherokee.

Gaze on this landscape! once in fleet career,

The desert chieftain trod exulting here!

Cleft with light bark the still and shaded floods,

Pierced the recesses of the old gray woods;

Pour’d ’midst their hidden dells his wild halloo,

And the light shaft with aim unerring threw.

Proud was his spirit, fierce, untamed and free,

Scorning to crouch to pain, from death to flee,

With feelings suited to his savage state,

Faithful alike to friendship or to hate,

Seeking no meed beyond a warrior’s fame,

And fearing nought except a coward’s shame.

14(4)r 163

These wilds were his;—amidst his chosen dell,

Where clustering wild-flowers fringed the gushing well,

His hut was rear’d; and there at closing day,

He heard his children’s laughter-shout of play,

While, weary with the chase, his limbs were laid

In listless rest beneath the oak-tree’s shade.

Then o’er the ocean-sea the white man came,

Held to his lips the cup of liquid flame,

With smooth, false words, and bold encroaching hand,

Wrench’d from the Cherokee his father’s land,

Still on his fast receding footsteps prest,

And urged him onward to the distant west,

Till all the precincts of his narrowed ground,

Was closely hemm’d with cultured life around,

And burning cottages and mangled slain,

Had mark’d war’s footsteps o’er the ravaged plain.

Wearied, at length, the pale-brow’d stranger swore,

To seek the Indian’s hunting grounds no more;

Treaties and oaths the solemn compact seal’d,

And plenty crown’d once more the blood-stain’d field;

Then o’er the red-man’s alter’d nature smiled

A kindlier spirit, and a soul more mild;

Bright knowledge pour’d its sunlight o’er his mind,

His feelings soften’d, and his heart refined.

No longer then, when pass’d the storm-flash by,

He saw the lightning of Manitto’s eye,

Or listen’d trembling, while his anger spoke,

As high o’er head the pealing thunder broke.

He learn’d to light in heaven his spirit’s flame,

And blend a Saviour’s with Jehovah’s name.

Then tell us, ye, who have the power to save,

Shall all his hopes be crush’d in one wide grave?

Shall lawless force, with rude, remorseless hand,

Drive out the Indian from his father’s land,

Burst all the ties that bind the heart to home,

And thrust him forth ’mid distant wilds to roam?

Oh no! to mercy’s pleading voice give ear,

The wak’ning wrath of outraged justice fear,

14(4)v 164

Stain not with broken faith our country’s name,

Nor weigh her tresses to the dust with shame!

Remember yet the solemn pledge you gave,

And lift the potent art to shield and save!

Gayashuta to the Sons of Onas.

The following lines are a versification of a speech or letter delivered by
the Cornplanter to the Sons of Onas (William Penn) from Gayashuta,
a chief of the Seneca Nation.

My brothers! Sons of Onas! hear my voice!

And Gayashuta’s spirit shall rejoice;

For age has settled on his drooping head;

His hopes have wither’d, and his joys have fled.

When youth and strength were seated on his brow,

He felt not hunger, pain, and want, as now;

For then the wild deer bounded o’er the plain,

And never was his arrow sped in vain.

Our land embraced the mountain and the flood,

The chase—our pleasure—furnish’d us with food.

The red man’s tribes the mighty Spirit bless’d,

And every stranger was his welcome guest.

With pleasure, when they sought our lonely haunts,

We gave them shelter, and relieved their wants.

My brothers! when your fathers sought our shores,

The wide extended fertile plains were ours.

They loved the land their mighty ships had found,

And Onas call’d his red-skinn’d brethren round—

They ask’d us, and we gave them of our land,

Whereon to plant, and where their wigwams stand:

And Gayashuta’s voice was foremost heard,

To urge and aid the suit his friend preferr’d.

My brothers! Gayashuta had not thought,

When first the Groves of Pines The place where Philadelphia now stands was called by the Indians
the Grove of the long pine trees.
your fathers sought,

Of age or weakness—strength was in his frame,

And cowards shrunk beneath his eye of flame.

14(5)r 165

Your fathers saw him then,—he now is old,

And you will ne’er his alter’d form behold,

His wither’d, bending form, that scarce appears

The ghost of what it was in former years.

He wonders, when his shadow meets his eye,

It is so shrunk, so changed from days gone by!

No longer can he track the flying game,

Or point the arrow with unerring aim;

He has no children to supply his wants,

The whites have scared the wild deer from his haunts.

In hunting all the day the youth must toil,

And scarce the chase will yield sufficient spoil

To satisfy themselves—there is none left

For those who are of friends and strength bereft.

For Gayashuta is not here alone—

A remnant yet remains of days long gone.

They were your fathers’ friends, they now are weak,

And poor and feeble—shall they vainly speak!

My brothers! Sons of Onas! in his youth,

Your fathers gave this belt, the badge of truth,

To Gayashuta, this he sends to you,

The ancient bond of friendship to renew.

Look on this belt! and should it warm your heart,

Then comfort to your fathers’ friends impart.

My brothers! we are men, and only say

That we are hungry, naked, old, and gray.

We have no other friends on whom to call,

Than you, the Sons of Onas, friends to all.

The Slave.

It was a glorious sunset hour:—a scent

Of rich perfume, from many a twisted wreath

Of summer blossoms, clustering in their wild

And free profusion, ’neath a southern sky,

Came on the evening breeze, and streams went by

With a glad tone, and the hush’d birds came forth

From the thick woods, and lifted up the voice

Of their hearts’ mirthful music. Painted wings

14(5)v 166

Were fluttering on the breeze, and the bees’ hum

Made a glad melody.—

At a hill’s foot,

Beside a gushing stream, and ’neath a clump

Of close embowering trees, there stood a cot,

At whose low door a mother sung to rest

With a sad lullaby, her infant boy.


These southern climes are bright, are bright

With their gorgeous summer flowers!

But I would my head might rest to-night

In my own loved native bowers:

They say this land is proudly blest

All other lands above,

But afar from here is the spot, that best

In the wide, wide world I love.


It may want the perfumed airs of this,

It may want the glorious clime—

But there is the thought of all the bliss

Of my happy childhood’s time.

Better to roam ’neath burning skies,

Upon wastes of desert sand,

Than to load the air with slavery’s sighs

And to wear on your heart its brand.


Rest, love, and sleep—for thine infant years

Are a dream that knows no sorrow;

Too soon wilt thou waken to bitter tears,

When manhood shall come like the morrow

Rest, love, rest!—for thou know’st not yet,

What a fearful doom is o’er thee!

That the name of slave on thy brow is set,

And a life of woe before thee.

14(6)r 167

The Outcast.

“There is a race of people inhabiting the Vale of Lieze, on the French
side of the Pyrenees, who are supposed to be descended from the Saracens,
and are entirely excluded from communion with the rest of mankind.—
They are even obliged to enter the churches by a separate door, and no
one will make use of the holy water which their touch has polluted.”

The vineyards of France ’neath their fruitage were bending,

And spread their rich clusters of blue to the sun,

And high o’er the steep of the mountain ascending,

The soft voice of song, with wild merriment blending,

Told where the gay harvester’s toil was begun.

The sun its last glance o’er the landscape was flinging,

And sounds from afar came distinctly and clear;

The birds from each covert their vespers were singing,

And far in the vale the deep convent-bell ringing,

Sent up its sad tones to the wanderer’s ear.

He flung himself down with an aspect of sadness,

And listlessly gazed on the landscape below;

His spirit by scorn had been goaded to madness,

And now that bright scene, and those murmurs of gladness,

Seem’d rising before him to mock at his woe.

“Oh why, he exclaim’d, as the bitter tear started,

Oh why was I form’d with a bosom to feel!

Since thus I was doom’d from mankind to be parted,

An outcast on earth, lone, and desolate-hearted,

Too vile with the vilest in worship to kneel.”

And thou—loved and lost one—oh why didst thou nourish

The weed that was trampled by all, save by thee;

The gleamings of light in my young spirit cherish,

And waken high feelings and hopes but to perish,

And leave my dark fate doubly dreadful to me?

14(6)v 168

In the hours of my slumber proud visions come o’er me,

And life for a moment seems brightly to smile,

The pathway of glory and fame is before me,

The noble caress, and the lovely adore me,

And every sad thought from my bosom beguile.

But, ah! from those dreams soon and sadly I waken,

To find all around me thrice gloomy and drear;

To know that thou, too, from my arms hast been taken,

Thou blest and revered one, whose friendship unshaken,

The darkest, and saddest, of moments would cheer.

Oh death! thou stern foe to the lovely and blooming,

Thou terror to those who are blessing and blest!

How freely this bosom would welcome thy coming,

How gladly, thy garment of darkness assuming,

Sink down into slumber and peace on thy breast!


’T is sweet to think of days gone by,

When life and all its charms were new,

And seem’d as bright to childhood’s eye,

As morning’s liquid gems of dew.

To think of joys that long have fled,

Of youthful hopes indulged in vain,

Of feelings waken’d from the dead,

And sorrows that have ceased to pain.

To let the thoughts excursive rove,

In many a wild prophetic dream,

To pour the prayer for those we love

And feel that we are dear to them—

15(1)r 169

To think of friends we fondly loved,

Who calmly now in darkness sleep,

By all our joys and griefs unmoved—

To think with soften’d breast and weep!

Oh! well such moments can repay,

For lingering hours of darker thought,

When hope has bent ’neath sorrow’s sway,

And feeling is with anguish fraught.

The Chinese Son.

The following lines were suggested by reading a narrative of a Chinese
youth, whose mother felt great alarm during the prevalence of a thunderstorm,
and whose filial affection always prompted him to be present with
his mother on such occasions, and even after her death to visit and remain
at her grave, during their continuance.

I come to thee, my mother! the black sky

Is swollen with its thunder, and the air

Seems palpable with darkness, save when high,

The lurid lightning streams a ruddy glare

Across the heavens, rousing from their lair

The deep-voiced thunders! how the mounting storm

Strides o’er the firmament! yet I can dare

Its fiercest terrors, mother, that my arm

May wind its shield of love around thy sleeping form.

What uproar! raging winds, and smiting hail,

The lightning’s blaze, and deaf’ning thunder’s crash,

Let loose at once for havoc! I should quail

Before the terrors of the forked flash,

Did not the thought of thee triumphant dash

All selfish fears aside, and bid me fly

To kneel beside thy grave; the rain-drops plash

Heavily round thee from the rifted sky;

Yet I am here, fear not—beside thy couch I lie.

15 15(1)v 170

Thou canst not hear me—the storm brings not now,

One terror to thy bosom—yet ’t is sweet

To call to mind the smile, wherewith thy brow

Was wont in by-gone days my step to greet,

When o’er the earth the summer tempest beat,

And the loosed thunder shook the heavens—but when

Was there a look of mine that did not meet

A smile of love from thee? the world of men

A friend, like thou hast been, will never yield again.

Oh! mother, mother, how could love like thine

Pass from the earth away! on other eyes,

The glances of maternal love will shine,

And still on other hearts the blessing lies,

That made mine blissful; yet far less they prize

That boon of happiness—and in their glee,

Around their spirits gather many ties

Of joy and tenderness—but all to me

That made the earth seem bright, is sepulchred with thee.

They sometimes strive to lead me to the halls,

Where wine and mirth the fleeting moments wing,

But on my clouded spirit sadness falls,

More darkly then, than when the cave-glooms fling

Their shadows round me, and the night-winds sing

Through the torn rocks their melancholy dirge,

Or when as now the echoing thunder rings

O’er the wide heavens, and the mad gales urge

Unto an answering cry, the overmastering surge.

The storms of nature pass, and soon no trace

Is left to mark their ravage—but long years

Pass lingeringly onward, nor efface

The deep-cut channel of our burning tears,

Or aching scars, that wasting sorrow sears

Upon the breast: lo! even now, a gleam

Of moonlight through the broken clouds appears,

To bless the earth again. I fain would dream,

It was a smile of thine, to bless me with its beam.

15(2)r 171

To a Crocus.

An’ so ye’ve oped your leaves at last—

I’ve often pitied ye, when fast

The drivin’ snaw has o’er ye past,

Puir bonnie thing,

Ye dared too soon the moody blast,

This damp cauld spring.

Ye’ve lifted up your gou’den head,

Too soon from off its wintry bed,

When late the faithless sunshine shed,

A saft warm gleam,

Then left ye, ere your leaves could spread,

Beneath its beam.

Sic’ is the hapless doom of those

Round whom her chain stern slavery throws,

Wha, born to naught but wrongs and woes,

An’ mony a tear,

Find storms and gloom around them close,

In life’s young year.

But o’er ye now the brightening sky

Is bending wi’ a milder eye,

A safter breeze your buds will dry,

An’ fan your bloom;

O’er them oppression’s clouds still lie

In murky gloom.

Yet e’en for them, a feeble light

Seems breaking o’er the horizon’s night,

Distant, and faint, yet palely bright,

Wi’ hope’s blest beam,

Telling that soon across their sight

’T will broadly gleam.

15(2)v 172

True Friendship.

They say this world is fraught with guile

They say that lips may wear a smile,

And yet the heart be cold the while,

As Zembla’s sparkling icicle.

They say that those beloved for years,

Will fly when adverse fate appears,

And meet us ’midst our lonely tears,

With eye averted scornfully.

Believe it not—oh no! oh no!

True hearts there are, that love not so,

But closer twine in grief and woe,

And love ev’n more in misery!

There may be some, perchance, whose eye

Will only smile when hope is high,

And from the couch of sorrow fly,

To meet in sounds of revelry.

Yet think not all are false and fair!

Though hearts of truth, alas! be rare,

Some, some, at least, will surely bear

The test of dark adversity.

A Sketch.

[Extracted from a manuscript poem.]

Young Harwald’s burning coal-black eye,

And clustering locks of raven dye—

That o’er his lofty forehead hung,

In thick neglected masses flung,—

Contrasted strangely with the cheek

So wan, so sunken, and so pale,—

Save when the hectic’s transient streak

Pass’d over it—and told a tale

Of silent suffering and decay,

That wore the springs of life away.

15(3)r 173

“Scarce five and twenty years, he said,

The light of heaven has round me shed;

But these few years of woe and crime,

Have done the lingering work of time.

I was a spoil’d and wayward boy,

In infancy my father’s toy;

Each wild caprice, each childish whim,

Was humour’d and indulged by him;

Until my passions, unrestrain’d,

A fearful empire o’er me gain’d;

And in this form, so changed, decay’d,

Behold the wreck that they have made.

Thou knowest now what I have been,

And what I am:—but no, unseen,

Unknown, forever, must remain

The dreary loneliness,—the pain

Of blighted hopes, remorse’s sting,

And all the vulture forms that cling

Around this heart, where they were nursed,

Till they have render’d it accursed!

Nay, nay! speak not to me of peace,

Of pardoning love, and heavenly grace;

My callous heart is scorch’d and sear,

It has naught now to hope or fear.

It may be, in my days of youth,

Before my heart was warp’d from truth,

Thy words had not been vain—but now

The mark of Cain is on my brow!

Ay! spurn me from thee, if thou wilt—

’T is just—this hand is red with guilt;

And ’t is not meet that it should clasp,

With one so pure, in friendly grasp.

I could not weep—no, not one tear,

Though it might change my final sentence:

I feel it—it is written here—

And my scorch’d heart is waste and drear

With vain remorse, but no repentance.

15* 15(3)v 174

It is too late!—the time of grace,

So vainly offer’d, now is spent;

There is no longer left a place,

Where I might turn me, and repent.

There is a God! I doubt it not—

Though I have scorn’d his holy name—

’T is written where no hand can blot

Those characters of living flame.

No!—I have scoff’d at things above,

Have spurn’d a Saviour’s proffer’d love,

Have made a mockery of faith,

And hopes, beyond the power of death—

But never, in my wildest hour,

My heart has disbelieved His power!

No!—I have strove to think, in vain,

That it was superstition’s chain.

I knew he lived!—yet dared his wrath,

Defied his vengeance and his death:

But never, save in one dark hour,

Hath this parch’d lip denied his name—

For when I would have mock’d his power,

My mother’s form before me came,

With that same look she used to wear,

When she had knelt for me in prayer.

I know not, if I yet believe,

What you as sacred truths receive;

But I have felt, when near my bed,

Thy lips the word of truth have read,—

And memory has recall’d the sigh,

That bore her last faint prayer on high,—

That there must be some soothing charm,

Some power, in what could thus disarm

The scenes of death and suffering

Of half the anguish of their sting.”

At length, he felt that there was yet

Some respite from the gnawing pain,

That, like a burning brand, had set

Its impress on his heart and brain.

15(4)r 175

He was not happy—but despair

Had soften’d into sadness now—

And lingering nights of tears and prayer,

And days of penitential woe,—

For time misspent, and hours of folly,

For passions high, and deeds of ill,—

Had brought a soften’d melancholy,

And hope that there was mercy still.

He felt that yet his heart had ties

To bind him to the bright green earth,

And that although for him must rise

No more the joyous voice of mirth,

There still might be an hour of peace,

When life and woe at once should cease.

To the Ladies’ Free Produce Society.

These lines were addressed to the Ladies’ Free Produce Society, of
a short time previous to one of its stated meetings, after
the author had removed from the city.

Your gathering day! and I am not,

As erst, amid you set;

But even from this distant spot,

My thoughts are with you yet,

As freshly as in hours forgot,

When I was with you met.

His blessing on your high career!

Go, press unwearied on,

From month to month, from year to year,

Till when your task is done,

The franchised negro’s grateful tear

Proclaims your victory won.

15(4)v 176

Oh faint you not, ye gathered band!

Although your way be long,

And they who ranged against you stand,

Are numberless and strong;

While you but bear a feeble hand,

Unused to cope with wrong.

Upon your injured brother look,

And nerve ye with the sight!

Could you the good, the gentle, brook

To wear your days in light,

Regardless that by sorrow struck,

He pines in rayless night?

Oh surely ’t is a blessed fate,

A lot like that ye bear—

To bid the crush’d and desolate,

Not yield them to despair,

For even amidst their low estate,

Some hearts their sufferings share.

And never your high task forget,

Till they are chainless—free!

Alas! that ye should be so met,

And I not with you be;

Yet sometimes when you thus are set,

One heart may turn to me.

To Prudence Crandall.

Heaven bless thee, noble lady, in thy purpose good and high!

Give knowledge to the thirsting mind, light to the asking eye;

Unseal the intellectual page, for those from whom dark pride,

With tyrant and unholy hands, would fain its treasures hide.

Still bear thou up unyielding ’gainst persecution’s shock,

Gentle as woman’s self, yet firm, and moveless as a rock;

A thousand spirits yield to thee their gushing sympathies,

The blessing of a thousand hearts around thy pathway lies.

15(5)r 177


There are who lightly speak with scornful smiles,

Of woman’s faith, of woman’s artful wiles;

Who call her false in heart, and weak in mind,

The slave of fashion, and to reason blind.

She may be such among the gilded bowers,

Where changing follies serve to waste the hours—

But bear her from the giddy world afar,

And place her lonely, like the evening star,

And with as bright, as pure, as calm a beam,

Her milder virtues will serenely gleam:

Go, place her by the couch of pale disease,

And bid her give the feverish pulses ease—

Say, will she not the task unmurmuring bear,

To soothe the anguish’d brow with tender care—

To trim the midnight lamp, and from her eye,

Though dim with watching, bid soft slumber fly—

With lightly whisper’d voice, and noiseless tread,

Glide, like an angel, round the sick man’s bed—

With tireless patience watch the speaking eye,

And all unask’d his slightest wants supply?

It is not hers to guide the storm of war,

To rule the state, or thunder at the bar—

It is not hers to captivate the heart

With potent eloquence, resistless art—

To sit with men in legislative hall,

To govern realms, or mark their rise and fall;

These things are not for her. ’T is woman’s care

Alone, to rear the shoots that flourish there—

To list the lisping voice, with joy refined,

To watch the first unfolding of the mind,

The springing dawn of intellectual day,

The brighter beam of reason’s perfect ray;

To wipe the starting tear from childhood’s eye,

To soothe his little woes, and balms apply,

To drink of science’ fount, that she may store

His opening mind with all her gather’d lore;

To guard his morals with unceasing care,

And bend, for him, the suppliant knee in prayer.

15(5)v 178

Then give him, in his full and perfect worth,

To serve the land that smiled upon his birth.

Such woman is—and shall proud man forbear,

The converse of the mind with her to share?

No! she with him shall knowledge’ pages scan,

And be the partner, not the toy, of man!

When smit with angry fortune’s adverse gale,

E’en his stern spirit seems at length to quail—

When all his hopes are wreck’d, his health has flown,

And strangers claim the land he calls his own:

When friends who flatter’d ’neath the summer sky,

With brow estranged, his alter’d fortunes fly,

Then, woman, it is thine, with changeless heart,

In all his wretchedness to bear a part:

To quit the scenes thy smiles could once illume,

And sink with him to poverty and gloom;

To soothe his sorrows, calm his aching head,

And hang in speechless fondness o’er his bed,

His woes, his wants, his sufferings to share,

Thine alter’d lot without one plaint to bear;

To lock thy silent sorrows in thy breast,

And smile, as thou wert wont, in days more blest;

His steps to follow to earth’s farthest verge,

O’er icy mount, or ocean’s foaming surge;

With hopes of better days his heart to cheer,

And with thy smile, to shed the first fond tear.

Such changeless faith is woman’s—constant still,

Through each reversing scene of good and ill.

When man is crush’d by storms that o’er him roll,

Then rises woman’s timid, shrinking soul:

Pain, peril, want, she fearlessly will bear,

To dash from man the cup of dark despair;

And only asks for all her tireless zeal,

To share his fate—whate’er he feels, to feel—

To breathe in his fond arms her latest breath,

And murmur out the loved one’s name in death.

15(6)r 179

The Indian Mother to her Son.

Thy foot is on thy father’s grave,

Thine eye is on thy father’s foes,

Here sleeps what once was free and brave!

There, last his war-whoop yell arose!

And where thy sire’s last deed was done,

There first thine arm shall wake, my son.

Thou see’st this flower—thy father’s heart

Hath nourish’d up its early bloom;

And thou, to me, hast been a part

Of life, and hope, through years of gloom.—

The flowret’s stem is rent—and thou

Must tear thee from thy mother now.

Ay, hie thee forth— the red man’s yell,

To-night, shall break our foemen’s sleep;

And shrieks, and flames, and blood, shall tell,

How Indian hearts their vengeance keep!

How Indian sons in memory nurse

Their dying sires’ revengeful curse.

Yon evening wreath of fleecy smoke

Curls gently up against the sky,—

But once through darker volumes broke

The midnight flame, the mother’s cry!

And there again the day-beam’s smile,

Shall view a black deserted pile.

The morning of thy life was there

Where white man’s foot now blights the soil;

And there return’d from chase or war,

Thy sire was wont to share his spoil—

Revenge his death! I charge thee, boy—

And win the warrior’s noble joy.

15(6)v 180

The Indian Camp.

I stood amidst its solitude! where erst

The mighty of the desert dwelt, ere yet

The thunder-cloud of desolation burst

In darkness o’er them; ere their sun had set,

And pale-faced strangers from the ocean’s strand,

Had look’d with evil eye across their fathers’ land.

When, like the wild-deer of their own dark woods,

They trod with bounding steps its gloomy maze

Fearless and free; or stemm’d the rushing flood

In light canoe; and pausing but to raise

Their whoop of terror, rush’d to distant war,

With breast and brow still mark’d with many a former scar

Methinks I see them now, as evening came,

Returning homeward from the lengthen’d chase,

The haughty fierceness of their brows grown tame,

And round their necks fond childhood’s soft embrace;

While lips of age their simple welcome spoke,

And silent smiles of love in gentle eyes awoke.

But there was left no relic of them there,

Save that tradition told of one lone spot,

Where they had long been sepulchred; it bore

No stone, no monument, that they might not

Be all forgotten; but the forest bough,

In aged strength bent down above each mouldering brow

The gushing stream beside whose limpid waves

They oft had flung them when the chase was o’er,

Or paused amid its hurrying course to lave

Their thirsty lips, and heated brows, of yore,

Still rushes nigh them with its shining waves,

But pours them only round their silent graves.