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POEMS ON SLAVERY,

1842.

[The following Poems, with one exception, were written at sea, in the latter part of October. I had not then heard of Dr. Chanving's death. Since that event the poem addressed to him is no longer appropriate. I have decided, however, to let it remain as it was written, a feeble testimony of my admiration for a great and good man.)

TO WILLIAM E. CHANNING.

The pages of thy book I read,

And as I closed each one,
My heart, responding, ever said,

“ Servant of God! well done!”

Well done! Thy words are great and bold ;

At times they seem to me,
Like Luther's, in the days of old,

Half-battles for the free.

Go on, until this land revokes

The old and chartered Lie,
The feudal curse, whose whips and yokes

Insult humanity.

A voice is ever at thy side

Speaking in tones of might,
Like the prophetic voice, that cried,

To John in Patmos, " Write !”

Write! and tell out this bloody tale;

Record this dire eclipse,
This Day of Wrath, this Endless Wail,

This dread A pocalypse.

THE SLAVE'S DREAM.

BESIDE the ungathered rice he lay,

His sickle in his hand ;
His breast was bare, his matted bair

Was buried in the sand.
Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,

He saw his Native Land.

Wide through the landscape of his dreams

The lordly Niger flowed ;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain

Once more a king he strode ;
And heard the tinkling caravans

Descend the mountain-road.

He saw once more his dark-eyed queen

Among her children stand ;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,

They held him by the hand !-
A tear burst from the sleeper's lids

And fell into the sand.

And then at furious speed he rode

Along the Niger's bank ;
His bridle-reins were golden chains,

And, with a martial clank,
At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel

Smiting his stallion's flank.

THE SLAVE'S DREAM.

Before him, like a blood-red flag,

The bright flamingoes flew; From morn till night he followed their flight,

O’er plains where the tamarind grew, Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,

And the ocean rose to view.

At night he heard the lion roar,

And the hyæna scream ; And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds

Beside some hidden stream; And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,

Through the triumph of his dream.

The forests, with their myriad tongues,

Shouted of liberty ;
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,

With a voice so wild and free,
That he started in his sleep and smiled

At their tempestuous glee.

He did not feel the driver's whip,

Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,

And his lifeless body lay
A worn-out fetter, that the soul

Had broken and thrown away!

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