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Where then was he, whose fiery zeal
Is raining down in fire and blood-
Has gathered, drop by drop, its flood Why strikes he not, the foremost one, Where murder's sternest deeds are done?
He stood the aged palms beneath,
That shadowed o'er his humble door,
Toussaint l'Ouverture !
The blow for freedom had been given;
Which earth sent up to Heaven !
Yes, dark-souled chieftain !if the light
Of mild Religion's heavenly ray Unveiled not to thy mental sight
The lowlier and the purer way, In which the Holy Sufferer trod,
Meekly amidst the sons of crime,That calm reliance upon God
For justice, in his own good time,That gentleness, to which belongs
Forgiveness for its many wrongs,
Even as the primal martyr, kneeling
Broadly around him, made the same ?
And gloried in his ghastly shame ?Kneeling amidst his brother's blood, To offer
mockery unto God, As if the High and Holy One Could smile on deeds of murder done! As if a human sacrifice Were purer
in his Holy eyes, Though offered up by Christian hands, Than the foul rites of Pagan lands!
Sternly, amidst his household band,
man stood, prepared and still, Waiting the shock of maddened men, Unchained, and fierce as tigers, when
The horn winds through their caverned hill And one was weeping in his sight
The sweetest flower of all the isle,-
Love's fair embodied smile.
" Ha-stand or die!” The white man's eye
His steady musket gleamed along, As a tall Negro hastened nigh,
With fearless step and strong. " What, ho, Touissaint!” A moment more, His shadow crossed the lighted floor.
“ Away,” he shouted; “fly with me,-
child to his manly breast,
Along the bright horizon's verge, O'er which the curse of servile war
Rolled its red torrent, surge on surge.
In the fierce tumult, struggled he ?
The yells of triumph and despair
The streams that crimson to the sea !
Sleep calmly in thy dungeon-tomb,
Beneath Besançon's alien sky, Dark Haytien -for the time shall come, Yea, even now is nighWhen, every where, thy name shall be Redeemed from color's infamy ; And men shall learn to speak of thee, As one of earth's great spirits, born In servitude, and nursed in scorn, Casting aside the weary weight And fetters of its low estate, In that strong majesty of soul,
Which knows no color, tongue or climeWhich still hath spurned the base control
Of tyrants through all time! Far other hands than mine may wreath The laurel round thy brow of death, And speak thy praise, as one whose word A thousand fiery spirits stirred, Who crushed his foeman as a wormWhose step on human hearts fell firm :Be mine the better task to find A tribute for thy lofty mind, Amidst whose gloomy vengeance shone Some milder virtues all thine own,Some gleams of feeling pure and warm, Like sunshine on a sky of storm, – Proofs that the Negro's heart retains Some nobleness amidst its chains, That kindness to the wronged is never
Without its excellent reward, Holy to human-kind, and ever
Acceptable to God.
THE SLAVE SHIPS. 34
That fatal, that perfidious bark, Built i’ the eclipse, and rigged with curses dark.".
“ All ready?” cried the captain ; Ay, ay !
!” the seamen said; “ Heave up the worthless lubbers
The dying and the dead.” Up from the slave-ship’s prison
Fierce, bearded heads were thrust“ Now let the sharks look to itToss
the dead ones first!”
Corpse after corpse came up,
Death had been busy there; Where every blow is mercy,
Why should the spoiler spare ? Corpse after corpse they cast
Sullenly from the ship, Yet bloody with the traces
Of fetter-link and whip.
Gloomily stood the captain,
With his arms upon his breast, With his cold brow sternly knotted,
And his iron lip compressed. • Are all the dead dogs over ?
Growled through that matted lip* The blind ones are no better,
Let's lighten the good ship.”. Hark ! from the ship's dark bosom,
The very sounds of hell ! The ringing clank of iron
The maniac's short, sharp yell! The hoarse, low curse, throat-stifledThe starving infant's moan