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Songs of triumph, and ascriptions, Such as reached the swart Egyptians, When upon the Red Sea coast Perished Pharaoh and his host.
And the voice of his devotion
Filled my soul with strange emotion; For its tones by turns were glad, Sweetly solemn, wildly sad.
Paul and Silas, in their prison,
But, alas ! what holy angel
In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands, Lie skeletons in chains,
With shackled feet and hands.
Beyond the fall of dews,
Deeper than plummet lies, Float ships, with all their crews,
No more to sink nor rise.
There the black Slave-ship swims,
Freighted with human forms, Whose fettered, fleshless limbs Are not the
These are the bones of Slaves;
They gleam from the abyss; They cry, from yawning waves,
“We are the Witnesses !”
Within Earth's wide domains
Are markets for men's lives;
Their necks are galled with chains,
Their wrists are cramped with gyves.
Dead bodies, that the kite
In deserts makes its prey ; Murders, that with affright
Scare schoolboys from their play!
All evil thoughts and deeds ;
Anger, and lust, and pride; The foulest, rankest weeds,
That choke Life’s groaning tide!
These are the woes of Slaves;
They glare from the abyss ; They cry, from unknown graves,
“We are the Witnesses ! ”