Page images
PDF
EPUB

He say de word: we las' night slaves ;
To-day, de Lord's freemen.
De yam
will grow,

de cotton blow,
We'll hab de rice an' corn;
O nebber you fear, if nebber you hear

De driver blow his horn!

Ole massa on he trabbels gone ;

He leaf de land behind :

De Lord's breff blow him furder

Like corn-shuck in de wind.

We own de hoe, we own de plough,

We own de hands dat hold; We sell de pig, we sell de cow, But nebber chile be sold.

De yam will grow, de cotton blow,

We'll hab de rice an' corn :
O nebber you fear, if nebber

you

hear De driver blow his horn!

We pray de Lord : he gib us signs

Dat some day we be free ;
De Norf-wind tell it to de pines,

De wild-duck to de sea ;
We tink it when de church-bell ring,

We dream it in de dream;
De rice-bird mean it when he sing,
De eagle when he scream.
De yam will grow,

de cotton blow,
We'll hab de rice an' corn :
O nebber you fear, if nebber you hear

De driver blow his horn!

We know de promise nebber fail,

An' nebber lie de word ;
So, like de 'postles in de jail,

We waited for de Lord :
An' now he open ebery door.

An' trow away de key;

He tink we lub him so before,
We lub him better free.

de cotton blow,

De yam

will grow,

He'll gib de rice an' corn:
O nebber you fear, if nebber you hear

De driver blow his horn!

So sing our dusky gondoliers ;

And with a secret pain,
And smiles that seem akin to tears,

We hear the wild refrain.

We dare not share the negro's trust,

Nor yet his hope deny ;
We only know that God is just,

And every wrong shall die.

Rude seems the song ; each swarthy face,

Flame-lighted, ruder still :

We start to think that hapless race

Must shape our good or ill ;

That laws of changeless justice bind

Oppressor with oppressed ;
And, close as sin and suffering joined,

We march to Fate abreast.

Sing on, poor hearts ! your chant shall be

Our sign of blight or bloom, The Vala-song of Liberty,

Or death-rune of our doom !

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]

P from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,

The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple- and peach-tree fruited deep,

Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

« PreviousContinue »