« 前へ次へ »
'Tis night; the unrelenting owners sleep
As undisturb'd as Justice; but no more
The o'erwearied slave, as on his native shore,
Rests on his reedy couch : he wakes to weep.
Though through the toil and anguish of the day
No tear escaped him, not one suffering groan
Beneath the twisted thong, he weeps
In bitterness; thinking that far away
While happy Negroes join the midnight song,
And merriment resounds on Niger's shore,
She whom he loves, far from the cheerful throng
Stands sad, and gazes from her lowly door
With dim-grown eye, silent and woe-begone,
And weeps for him who will return no more.
Did then the Negro rear at last the sword
Of vengeance? Did he plunge its thirsty blade
In the hard heart of his inhuman lord ?
Oh! who shall blame him ? in the midnight shade
There came on him the intolerable thought
Of every past delight ; his native grove,
Friendship’s best joys, and liberty and love,
For ever lost. Such recollections wrought
His brain to madness. Wherefore should he live
Longer with abject patience to endure
His wrongs and wretchedness, when hope can give
No consolation, time can bring no cure ?
But justice for himself he yet could take,
And life is then well given for vengeance' sake.
High in the air exposed the slave is hung,
To all the birds of heaven, their living food !
He groans not, though awaked by that fierce sun
New torturers live to drink their parent blood ;
He groans not, though the gorging vulture tear
The quivering fibre. Hither look, O ye
Who tore this man from peace and liberty!
Look hither, ye who weigh with politic care
The gain against the guilt! Beyond the grave
There is another world!.. bear ye in mind,
your decree proclaims to all mankind
The gain is worth the guilt, that there the Slave,
Before the Eternal, “ thunder-tongued shall plead
Against the deep damnation of your deed.”
O thou, who from the mountain's height
Rollest thy clouds with all their weight
Of waters to old Nile's majestic tide ;
Or o'er the dark sepulchral plain
Recallest Carthage in her ancient pride,
The mistress of the Main
Hear, Genius, hear thy children's cry!
Not always should'st thou love to brood
Stern o'er the desert solitude
Where seas of sand heave their hot surges high ;
Nor, Genius, should the midnight song
Detain thee in some milder mood
The palmy plains among,
Where Gambia to the torches' light
Flows radiant through the awaken'd night.
Ah, linger not to hear the song!
Genius, avenge thy children's wrong!
The demon Avarice on your shore
Brings all the horrors of his train,
And hark! where from the field of gore
Howls the hyena o'er the slain !
Lo! where the flaming village fires the skies
Avenging Power, awake! arise !
Arise, thy children's wrongs
redress! Heed the mother's wretchedness,
When in the hot infectious air
O’er her sick babe she bows opprest, .
Hear her when the Traders tear
The suffering infant from her breast!
Sunk in the ocean he shall rest!
Hear thou the wretched mother's cries,
Avenging Power ! awake! arise !
By the rank infected air
That taints those cabins of despair;
And stiff and hard with human gore;
By every groan of deep distress,
By every curse of wretchedness;
The vices and the crimes that flow
From the hopelessness of woe ;
By every drop of blood bespilt,
By Afric's wrongs and Europe's guilt,
Awake! arise ! avenge!
And thou hast heard! and o'er their blood-fed plains Sent thine avenging hurricanes And bade thy storms with whirlwind roar Dash their proud navies on the shore; And where their armies claim'd the fight Wither’d the warrior's might; And o'er the unholy host with baneful breath, There, Genius, thou hast breathed the gales of Death.
WHO HAD SERVED IN THE SLAVE TRADE.
In September, 1798, a Dissenting Minister of Bristol disco
vered a sailor in the neighbourhood of that City, groaning and praying in a cow-house. The circumstance which occasioned his agony of mind is detailed in the annexed ballad, without the slightest addition or alteration. By presenting it as a Poem the story is made more public, and such stories ought to be made as public as possible.
It was a Christian minister,
Who, in the month of flowers,
Walk'd forth at eve amid the fields
Near Bristol's ancient towers;
When from a lonely out-house breathed,
He heard a voice of woe,
And groans which less might seem from pain,
Than wretchedness to flow;
Heart-rending groans they were, with words
Of bitterest despair,
Yet with the holy name of Christ
Pronounced in broken prayer.