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For, as that saved of bird and beast
A pair for propagation,
And furnished half the nation.
Kings sit, they say, in slippery seats;
But those slant precipices
Less slippery are than this is ;
Of royal man or woman,
Is more or less than human.
I offer to all bores this perch,
Dear well-intentioned people With heads as void as week-day church,
Tongues longer than the steeple;
See golden ages rising,--
Thou’rt fond of crystallizing!
With merciful suggestion,
Upon the chair in question,
A figure grim and rusty,
Were something worn and dusty.
Merely to fill the street with, Once turned to ghosts by hungry worms,
Are serious things to meet with;
And, though I'm not averse to
One cares not to speak first to.
By Charon kindly ferried, To tell me of a mighty sum
Behind my wainscot buried ?
There is a buccaneerish air
About that garb outlandish
And said “My name is Standish.
With toasts, and songs, and speeches, As long and flat as my old sword,
As threadbare as my breeches : They understand us Pilgrims! they,
Smooth men with rosy faces, Strength's knots and gnarls all pared away,
And varnish in their places !
The eye to rightly see us is
Of drawing-room Tyrtæuses:
Their birthright high and holy ! -
Methinks is melancholy. “ He had stiff knees, the Puritan,
That were not good at bending; The homespun dignity of man
He thought was worth defending; He did not, with his pinchbeck ore,
His country's shame forgotten, Gild Freedom's coffin o'er and o’er,
When all within was rotten. “ These loud ancestral boasts of yours,
How can they else than vex us ? Where were your dinner orators
When slavery grasped at Texas ? Dumb on his knees was every one
That now is bold as Cæsar, Mere pegs to hang an office on
Such stalwart men as these are." “Good Sir,” I said, “you seem much stirred
The sacred compromises --" “Now God confound the dastard word!
My gall thereat arises :
Northward it hath this sense alone,
That you, your conscience blinding, Shall bow your fool's nose to the stone,
When slavery feels like grinding. “'T is shame to see such painted sticks
In Vane’s and Winthrop's places,
Drag humbly in the traces,
And herds of office-holders
It peels her patient shoulders. 66 We forefathers to such a rout!
No, by my faith in God's word ! " Half rose the ghost, and half drew out
The ghost of his old broadsword, Then thrust it slowly back again,
And said, with reverent gesture, “No, Freedom, no! blood should not stain
The hem of thy white vesture. "I feel the soul in me draw near
The mount of prophesying; In this bleak wilderness I hear
A John the Baptist crying; Far in the east I see upleap
The streaks of first forewarning, And they who sowed the light shall reap
The golden sheaves of morning. 6 Child of our travail and our woe,
Light in our day of sorrow, Through my rapt 'spirit I foreknow
The glory of thy morrow;
Draw nigher still and nigher,
The prophet come up higher.”
I heard the red cock crowing,
A dismal tune was blowing ;
Thought I, My neighbor Buckingham
Hath somewhat in him gritty,
And he will print my ditty.
ON THE CAPTURE OF CERTAIN FUGITIVE
SLAVES NEAR WASHINGTON.
Look on who will in apathy, and stifle they who can, The sympathies, the hopes, the words, that make man
truly man; Let those whose hearts are dungeoned up with interest
or with ease Consent to hear with quiet pulse of loathsome deeds
like these !
I first drew in New England's air, and from her hardy
breast Sucked in the tyrant-hating milk that will not let me
rest; And if my words seem treason to the dullard and the
tame, 'T is but my Bay-State dialect, - our fathers spake the
Shame on the costly mockery of piling stone on stone
slay The men who fain would win their own, the heroes of
to-day! Are we pledged to craven silence ? O fling it to the
wind, The parchment wall that bars us from the least of
human kind, - That makes us cringe and temporize, and dumbly stand
at rest, While Pity's burning flood of words is red-hot in the
breast! Though we break our fathers' promise, we have nobler
The traitor to Humanity is the traitor most accursed; Man is more than Constitutions; better rot beneath the
sod, Than be true to Church and State while we are doubly
false to God!
We owe allegiance to the State; but deeper, truer, more, To the sympathies that God hath set within our spirit's
core; Our country claims our fealty; we grant it so, but then Before Man made us citizens, great Nature made us
. He's true to God who's true to man; wherever wrong is
done, To the humblest and the weakest, neath the all-behold
ing sun, That wrong is also done to us; and they are slaves most
base, Whose love of right is for themselves, and not for all
God works for all. Ye cannot hem the hope of being
free With parallels of latitude, with mountain-range or sea. Put golden padlocks on Truth's lips, be callous as ye
will, From soul to soul o'er all the world, leaps one electric
Chain down your slaves with ignorance, ye cannot keep
apart, With all your craft of tyranny, the human heart from
heart: When first the Pilgrims landed on the Bay-State's iron
shore, The word went forth that slavery should one day be no
Out from the land of bondage 't is decreed our slaves
And signs to us are offered, as erst to Pharaoh;