« PreviousContinue »
For, while the jurist sitting with the slave-whip o'er him swung, From the tortured truths of freedom the lie of slavery wrung, And the solemn priest to Moloch, on each God-deserted shrine, Broke the bondman's heart for bread, poured the bondman's blood
for wine, —
While the multitude in blindness to a far-off Saviour knelt,
And spurned, the while, the temple where a present Saviour dwelt;
Thou beheld'st Him in the task-field, in the prison-shadows dim,
And thy mercy to the bondman, it was mercy unto Him!
In thy lone and long night-watches, sky above and wave below, Thou did'st learn a higher wisdom than the babbling schoolmen
know; God's stars and silence taught thee, as his angels only can, That the one, sole sacred thing beneath the cope of heaven, is Man!
That he who treads profanely on the scrolls of law and creed,
In the depth of God's great goodness may find mercy in his need;
But woe to him who crushes the soul with chain and rod,
And herds with lower natures the awful form of God!
Then lift that manly right hand, bold ploughman of the wave!
Its branded palm shall prophesy, “SALVATION TO THE SLAVE!”
Hold up its fire-wrought language, that whoso reads may feel
His heart swell strong within him, his sinews change to steel.
Hold it up before our sunshine, up against our Northern air, -
Ho! men of Massachusetts, for the love of God look there!
Take it henceforth for your standard, — like the Bruce's heart of
yore, In the dark strife closing round ye, let that hand be seen before !
And the tyrants of the slave-land shall tremble at that sign,
When it points its finger Southward along the Puritan line:
Woe to the State-gorged leeches, and the Church's locust band,
When they look from slavery's ramparts on the coming of that
I P the hill-side, down the glen,
Rouse the sleeping citizen; Summon out the might of men !
Like a lion growling low-
Like a night-storm rising slow-
Like the tread of unseen foe-
It is coming — it is nigh!
Stand your homes and altars by;
On your own free thresholds die.
Clang the bells in all your spires ;
On the gray hills of your sires
Fling to heaven your signal-fires.
From Wachuset, lone and bleak,
Unto Berkshire's tallest peak,
Let the flame-tongued heralds speak.
O, for God and duty stand,
Heart to heart and hand to hand,
Round the old graves of the land.
Whoso shrinks or falters now,
Whoso to the yoke would bow,
Brand the craven on his brow!
Freedom's soil hath only place
For a free and fearless race —
None for traitors false and base.
Perish party — perish clan ;
Strike together while ye can,
Like the arm of one strong man.
Like that angel's voice sublime,
Heard above a world of crime.
Crying of the end of time-
With one heart and with one mouth,
Let the North unto the South
Speak the word befitting both :
• What though Issachar be strong ! Ye may load his back with wrong Overmuch and over long :
Patience with her cup o'errun,
With her weary thread outspun,
Murmurs that her work is done.
Make our Union-bond a chain,
Weak as tow in Freedom's strain
Link by link shall snap in twain.
Vainly shall your sand-wrought rope
Bind the starry cluster up,
Shattered over heaven's blue cope !
Give us bright though broken rays,
Rather than eternal haze,
Clouding o'er the full-orbed blaze.
Take your land of sun and bloom;
Only leave to Freedom room
For her plough, and forge, and loom;
Take your slavery-blackened vales ;
Leave us but our own free gales,
Blowing on our thousand sails.
Boldly, or with treacherous art,
Strike the blood-wrought chain apart;
Break the Union's mighty heart;
Work the ruin, if ye will;
Pluck upon your heads an ill
Which shall grow and deepen still.
With your bondman's right arm bare,
With his heart of black despair,
Stand alone, if stand ye dare !
Onward with your fell design;
Dig the gulf and draw the line :
Fire beneath your feet the mine:
Deeply, when the wide abyss
Yawns between your land and this,
Shall ye feel your helplessness.
By the hearth, and in the bed,
Shaken by a look or tread,
Ye shall own a guilty dread.
And the curse of unpaid toil,
Downward through your generous soil
Like a fire shall burn and spoil.
Our bleak hills shall bud and blow,
Vines our rocks shall overgrow,
Plenty in our valleys flow ;-
And when vengeance clouds your skies, .
Hither shall ye turn your eyes,
As the lost on Paradise !
We but ask our rocky strand,
Freedom's true and brother band,
Freedom's strong and honest hand, -
Valleys by the slave untrod,
And the Pilgrim's mountain sod,
Blessed of our fathers' God!”