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´╗┐Title: Anti-Slavery Poems III.
 - Part 3 From Volume III of The Works of John Greenleaf Whittier
Author: Whittier, John Greenleaf
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Anti-Slavery Poems III.
 - Part 3 From Volume III of The Works of John Greenleaf Whittier" ***

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                           ANTI-SLAVERY POEMS

                       SONGS OF LABOR AND REFORM


                                   BY

                        JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER


CONTENTS:

DERNE
A SABBATH SCENE
IN THE EVIL DAY
MOLOCH IN STATE STREET
OFFICIAL PIETY
THE RENDITION
ARISEN AT LAST
THE HASCHISH
FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE
THE KANSAS EMIGRANTS
LETTER FROM A MISSIONARY OF THE METHODIST
     EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH, IN KANSAS, TO A
     DISTINGUISHED POLITICIAN
BURIAL OF BARBER
TO PENNSYLVANIA
LE MARAIS DU CYGNE.
THE PASS OF THE SIERRA
A SONG FOR THE TIME
WHAT OF THE DAY?
A SONG, INSCRIBED TO THE FREMONT CLUBS
THE PANORAMA
ON A PRAYER-BOOK
THE SUMMONS
TO WILLIAM H. SEWARD



DERNE.

The storming of the city of Derne, in 1805, by General Eaton, at the
head of nine Americans, forty Greeks, and a motley array of Turks and
Arabs, was one of those feats of hardihood and daring which have in all
ages attracted the admiration of the multitude. The higher and holier
heroism of Christian self-denial and sacrifice, in the humble walks of
private duty, is seldom so well appreciated.

NIGHT on the city of the Moor!
On mosque and tomb, and white-walled shore,
On sea-waves, to whose ceaseless knock
The narrow harbor-gates unlock,
On corsair's galley, carack tall,
And plundered Christian caraval!
The sounds of Moslem life are still;
No mule-bell tinkles down the hill;
Stretched in the broad court of the khan,
The dusty Bornou caravan
Lies heaped in slumber, beast and man;
The Sheik is dreaming in his tent,
His noisy Arab tongue o'erspent;
The kiosk's glimmering lights are gone,
The merchant with his wares withdrawn;
Rough pillowed on some pirate breast,
The dancing-girl has sunk to rest;
And, save where measured footsteps fall
Along the Bashaw's guarded wall,
Or where, like some bad dream, the Jew
Creeps stealthily his quarter through,
Or counts with fear his golden heaps,
The City of the Corsair sleeps.

But where yon prison long and low
Stands black against the pale star-glow,
Chafed by the ceaseless wash of waves,
There watch and pine the Christian slaves;
Rough-bearded men, whose far-off wives
Wear out with grief their lonely lives;
And youth, still flashing from his eyes
The clear blue of New England skies,
A treasured lock of whose soft hair
Now wakes some sorrowing mother's prayer;
Or, worn upon some maiden breast,
Stirs with the loving heart's unrest.

A bitter cup each life must drain,
The groaning earth is cursed with pain,
And, like the scroll the angel bore
The shuddering Hebrew seer before,
O'erwrit alike, without, within,
With all the woes which follow sin;
But, bitterest of the ills beneath
Whose load man totters down to death,
Is that which plucks the regal crown
Of Freedom from his forehead down,
And snatches from his powerless hand
The sceptred sign of self-command,
Effacing with the chain and rod
The image and the seal of God;
Till from his nature, day by day,
The manly virtues fall away,
And leave him naked, blind and mute,
The godlike merging in the brute!

Why mourn the quiet ones who die
Beneath affection's tender eye,
Unto their household and their kin
Like ripened corn-sheaves gathered in?
O weeper, from that tranquil sod,
That holy harvest-home of God,
Turn to the quick and suffering, shed
Thy tears upon the living dead
Thank God above thy dear ones' graves,
They sleep with Him, they are not slaves.

What dark mass, down the mountain-sides
Swift-pouring, like a stream divides?
A long, loose, straggling caravan,
Camel and horse and armed man.
The moon's low crescent, glimmering o'er
Its grave of waters to the shore,
Lights tip that mountain cavalcade,
And gleams from gun and spear and blade
Near and more near! now o'er them falls
The shadow of the city walls.
Hark to the sentry's challenge, drowned
In the fierce trumpet's charging sound!
The rush of men, the musket's peal,
The short, sharp clang of meeting steel!

Vain, Moslem, vain thy lifeblood poured
So freely on thy foeman's sword!
Not to the swift nor to the strong
The battles of the right belong;
For he who strikes for Freedom wears
The armor of the captive's prayers,
And Nature proffers to his cause
The strength of her eternal laws;
While he whose arm essays to bind
And herd with common brutes his kind
Strives evermore at fearful odds
With Nature and the jealous gods,
And dares the dread recoil which late
Or soon their right shall vindicate.

'T is done, the horned crescent falls
The star-flag flouts the broken walls
Joy to the captive husband! joy
To thy sick heart, O brown-locked boy!
In sullen wrath the conquered Moor
Wide open flings your dungeon-door,
And leaves ye free from cell and chain,
The owners of yourselves again.
Dark as his allies desert-born,
Soiled with the battle's stain, and worn
With the long marches of his band
Through hottest wastes of rock and sand,
Scorched by the sun and furnace-breath
Of the red desert's wind of death,
With welcome words and grasping hands,
The victor and deliverer stands!

The tale is one of distant skies;
The dust of half a century lies
Upon it; yet its hero's name
Still lingers on the lips of Fame.
Men speak the praise of him who gave
Deliverance to the Moorman's slave,
Yet dare to brand with shame and crime
The heroes of our land and time,--
The self-forgetful ones, who stake
Home, name, and life for Freedom's sake.
God mend his heart who cannot feel
The impulse of a holy zeal,
And sees not, with his sordid eyes,
The beauty of self-sacrifice
Though in the sacred place he stands,
Uplifting consecrated hands,
Unworthy are his lips to tell
Of Jesus' martyr-miracle,
Or name aright that dread embrace
Of suffering for a fallen race!
1850.



A SABBATH SCENE.

This poem finds its justification in the readiness with which, even in
the North, clergymen urged the prompt execution of the Fugitive Slave
Law as a Christian duty, and defended the system of slavery as a Bible
institution.

SCARCE had the solemn Sabbath-bell
Ceased quivering in the steeple,
Scarce had the parson to his desk
Walked stately through his people,
When down the summer-shaded street
A wasted female figure,
With dusky brow and naked feet,

Came rushing wild and eager.
She saw the white spire through the trees,
She heard the sweet hymn swelling
O pitying Christ! a refuge give
That poor one in Thy dwelling!

Like a scared fawn before the hounds,
Right up the aisle she glided,
While close behind her, whip in hand,
A lank-haired hunter strided.

She raised a keen and bitter cry,
To Heaven and Earth appealing;
Were manhood's generous pulses dead?
Had woman's heart no feeling?

A score of stout hands rose between
The hunter and the flying:
Age clenched his staff, and maiden eyes
Flashed tearful, yet defying.

"Who dares profane this house and day?"
Cried out the angry pastor.
"Why, bless your soul, the wench's a slave,
And I'm her lord and master!

"I've law and gospel on my side,
And who shall dare refuse me?"
Down came the parson, bowing low,
"My good sir, pray excuse me!

"Of course I know your right divine
To own and work and whip her;
Quick, deacon, throw that Polyglott
Before the wench, and trip her!"

Plump dropped the holy tome, and o'er
Its sacred pages stumbling,
Bound hand and foot, a slave once more,
The hapless wretch lay trembling.

I saw the parson tie the knots,
The while his flock addressing,
The Scriptural claims of slavery
With text on text impressing.

"Although," said he, "on Sabbath day
All secular occupations
Are deadly sins, we must fulfil
Our moral obligations:

"And this commends itself as one
To every conscience tender;
As Paul sent back Onesimus,
My Christian friends, we send her!"

Shriek rose on shriek,--the Sabbath air
Her wild cries tore asunder;
I listened, with hushed breath, to hear
God answering with his thunder!

All still! the very altar's cloth
Had smothered down her shrieking,
And, dumb, she turned from face to face,
For human pity seeking!

I saw her dragged along the aisle,
Her shackles harshly clanking;
I heard the parson, over all,
The Lord devoutly thanking!

My brain took fire: "Is this," I cried,
"The end of prayer and preaching?
Then down with pulpit, down with priest,
And give us Nature's teaching!

"Foul shame and scorn be on ye all
Who turn the good to evil,
And steal the Bible, from the Lord,
To give it to the Devil!

"Than garbled text or parchment law
I own a statute higher;
And God is true, though every book
And every man's a liar!"

Just then I felt the deacon's hand
In wrath my coattail seize on;
I heard the priest cry, "Infidel!"
The lawyer mutter, "Treason!"

I started up,--where now were church,
Slave, master, priest, and people?
I only heard the supper-bell,
Instead of clanging steeple.

But, on the open window's sill,
O'er which the white blooms drifted,
The pages of a good old Book
The wind of summer lifted,

And flower and vine, like angel wings
Around the Holy Mother,
Waved softly there, as if God's truth
And Mercy kissed each other.

And freely from the cherry-bough
Above the casement swinging,
With golden bosom to the sun,
The oriole was singing.

As bird and flower made plain of old
The lesson of the Teacher,
So now I heard the written Word
Interpreted by Nature.

For to my ear methought the breeze
Bore Freedom's blessed word on;
Thus saith the Lord: Break every yoke,
Undo the heavy burden
1850.



IN THE EVIL DAYS.

This and the four following poems have special reference to that darkest
hour in the aggression of slavery which preceded the dawn of a better
day, when the conscience of the people was roused to action.

THE evil days have come, the poor
Are made a prey;
Bar up the hospitable door,
Put out the fire-lights, point no more
The wanderer's way.

For Pity now is crime; the chain
Which binds our States
Is melted at her hearth in twain,
Is rusted by her tears' soft rain
Close up her gates.

Our Union, like a glacier stirred
By voice below,
Or bell of kine, or wing of bird,
A beggar's crust, a kindly word
May overthrow!

Poor, whispering tremblers! yet we boast
Our blood and name;
Bursting its century-bolted frost,
Each gray cairn on the Northman's coast
Cries out for shame!

Oh for the open firmament,
The prairie free,
The desert hillside, cavern-rent,
The Pawnee's lodge, the Arab's tent,
The Bushman's tree!

Than web of Persian loom most rare,
Or soft divan,
Better the rough rock, bleak and bare,
Or hollow tree, which man may share
With suffering man.

I hear a voice: "Thus saith the Law,
Let Love be dumb;
Clasping her liberal hands in awe,
Let sweet-lipped Charity withdraw
From hearth and home."

I hear another voice: "The poor
Are thine to feed;
Turn not the outcast from thy door,
Nor give to bonds and wrong once more
Whom God hath freed."

Dear Lord! between that law and Thee
No choice remains;
Yet not untrue to man's decree,
Though spurning its rewards, is he
Who bears its pains.

Not mine Sedition's trumpet-blast
And threatening word;
I read the lesson of the Past,
That firm endurance wins at last
More than the sword.

O clear-eyed Faith, and Patience thou
So calm and strong!
Lend strength to weakness, teach us how
The sleepless eyes of God look through
This night of wrong
1850.



MOLOCH IN STATE STREET.

In a foot-note of the Report of the Senate of Massachusetts on the case
of the arrest and return to bondage of the fugitive slave Thomas Sims it
is stated that--"It would have been impossible for the U. S. marshal
thus successfully to have resisted the law of the State, without the
assistance of the municipal authorities of Boston, and the countenance
and support of a numerous, wealthy, and powerful body of citizens. It
was in evidence that 1500 of the most wealthy and respectable
citizens-merchants, bankers, and others--volunteered their services to
aid the marshal on this occasion. . . . No watch was kept upon the
doings of the marshal, and while the State officers slept, after the
moon had gone down, in the darkest hour before daybreak, the accused was
taken out of our jurisdiction by the armed police of the city of
Boston."

THE moon has set: while yet the dawn
Breaks cold and gray,
Between the midnight and the morn
Bear off your prey!

On, swift and still! the conscious street
Is panged and stirred;
Tread light! that fall of serried feet
The dead have heard!

The first drawn blood of Freedom's veins
Gushed where ye tread;
Lo! through the dusk the martyr-stains
Blush darkly red!

Beneath the slowly waning stars
And whitening day,
What stern and awful presence bars
That sacred way?

What faces frown upon ye, dark
With shame and pain?
Come these from Plymouth's Pilgrim bark?
Is that young Vane?

Who, dimly beckoning, speed ye on
With mocking cheer?
Lo! spectral Andros, Hutchinson,
And Gage are here!

For ready mart or favoring blast
Through Moloch's fire,
Flesh of his flesh, unsparing, passed
The Tyrian sire.

Ye make that ancient sacrifice
Of Mail to Gain,
Your traffic thrives, where Freedom dies,
Beneath the chain.

Ye sow to-day; your harvest, scorn
And hate, is near;
How think ye freemen, mountain-born,
The tale will hear?

Thank God! our mother State can yet
Her fame retrieve;
To you and to your children let
The scandal cleave.

Chain Hall and Pulpit, Court and Press,
Make gods of gold;
Let honor, truth, and manliness
Like wares be sold.

Your hoards are great, your walls are strong,
But God is just;
The gilded chambers built by wrong
Invite the rust.

What! know ye not the gains of Crime
Are dust and dross;
Its ventures on the waves of time
Foredoomed to loss!

And still the Pilgrim State remains
What she hath been;
Her inland hills, her seaward plains,
Still nurture men!

Nor wholly lost the fallen mart;
Her olden blood
Through many a free and generous heart
Still pours its flood.

That brave old blood, quick-flowing yet,
Shall know no check,
Till a free people's foot is set
On Slavery's neck.

Even now, the peal of bell and gun,
And hills aflame,
Tell of the first great triumph won
In Freedom's name. [10]

The long night dies: the welcome gray
Of dawn we see;
Speed up the heavens thy perfect day,
God of the free!
1851.



OFFICIAL PIETY.

Suggested by reading a state paper, wherein the higher law is invoked to
sustain the lower one.

A Pious magistrate! sound his praise throughout
The wondering churches. Who shall henceforth doubt
That the long-wished millennium draweth nigh?
Sin in high places has become devout,
Tithes mint, goes painful-faced, and prays its lie
Straight up to Heaven, and calls it piety!
The pirate, watching from his bloody deck
The weltering galleon, heavy with the gold
Of Acapulco, holding death in check
While prayers are said, brows crossed, and beads are told;
The robber, kneeling where the wayside cross
On dark Abruzzo tells of life's dread loss
From his own carbine, glancing still abroad
For some new victim, offering thanks to God!
Rome, listening at her altars to the cry
Of midnight Murder, while her hounds of hell
Scour France, from baptized cannon and holy bell
And thousand-throated priesthood, loud and high,
Pealing Te Deums to the shuddering sky,
"Thanks to the Lord, who giveth victory!"
What prove these, but that crime was ne'er so black
As ghostly cheer and pious thanks to lack?
Satan is modest. At Heaven's door he lays
His evil offspring, and, in Scriptural phrase
And saintly posture, gives to God the praise
And honor of the monstrous progeny.
What marvel, then, in our own time to see
His old devices, smoothly acted o'er,--
Official piety, locking fast the door
Of Hope against three million soups of men,--
Brothers, God's children, Christ's redeemed,--and then,
With uprolled eyeballs and on bended knee,
Whining a prayer for help to hide the key!
1853.



THE RENDITION.
On the 2d of June, 1854, Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave from Virginia,
after being under arrest for ten days in the Boston Court House, was
remanded to slavery under the Fugitive Slave Act, and taken down State
Street to a steamer chartered by the United States Government, under
guard of United States troops and artillery, Massachusetts militia and
Boston police. Public excitement ran high, a futile attempt to rescue
Burns having been made during his confinement, and the streets were
crowded with tens of thousands of people, of whom many came from other
towns and cities of the State to witness the humiliating spectacle.

I HEARD the train's shrill whistle call,
I saw an earnest look beseech,
And rather by that look than speech
My neighbor told me all.

And, as I thought of Liberty
Marched handcuffed down that sworded street,
The solid earth beneath my feet
Reeled fluid as the sea.

I felt a sense of bitter loss,--
Shame, tearless grief, and stifling wrath,
And loathing fear, as if my path
A serpent stretched across.

All love of home, all pride of place,
All generous confidence and trust,
Sank smothering in that deep disgust
And anguish of disgrace.

Down on my native hills of June,
And home's green quiet, hiding all,
Fell sudden darkness like the fall
Of midnight upon noon.

And Law, an unloosed maniac, strong,
Blood-drunken, through the blackness trod,
Hoarse-shouting in the ear of God
The blasphemy of wrong.

"O Mother, from thy memories proud,
Thy old renown, dear Commonwealth,
Lend this dead air a breeze of health,
And smite with stars this cloud.

"Mother of Freedom, wise and brave,
Rise awful in thy strength," I said;
Ah me! I spake but to the dead;
I stood upon her grave!
6th mo., 1854.



ARISEN AT LAST.

On the passage of the bill to protect the rights and liberties of the
people of the State against the Fugitive Slave Act.

I SAID I stood upon thy grave,
My Mother State, when last the moon
Of blossoms clomb the skies of June.

And, scattering ashes on my head,
I wore, undreaming of relief,
The sackcloth of thy shame and grief.

Again that moon of blossoms shines
On leaf and flower and folded wing,
And thou hast risen with the spring!

Once more thy strong maternal arms
Are round about thy children flung,--
A lioness that guards her young!

No threat is on thy closed lips,
But in thine eye a power to smite
The mad wolf backward from its light.

Southward the baffled robber's track
Henceforth runs only; hereaway,
The fell lycanthrope finds no prey.

Henceforth, within thy sacred gates,
His first low howl shall downward draw
The thunder of thy righteous law.

Not mindless of thy trade and gain,
But, acting on the wiser plan,
Thou'rt grown conservative of man.

So shalt thou clothe with life the hope,
Dream-painted on the sightless eyes
Of him who sang of Paradise,--

The vision of a Christian man,
In virtue, as in stature great
Embodied in a Christian State.

And thou, amidst thy sisterhood
Forbearing long, yet standing fast,
Shalt win their grateful thanks at last;

When North and South shall strive no more,
And all their feuds and fears be lost
In Freedom's holy Pentecost.
6th mo., 1855.



THE HASCHISH.

OF all that Orient lands can vaunt
Of marvels with our own competing,
The strangest is the Haschish plant,
And what will follow on its eating.

What pictures to the taster rise,
Of Dervish or of Almeh dances!
Of Eblis, or of Paradise,
Set all aglow with Houri glances!

The poppy visions of Cathay,
The heavy beer-trance of the Suabian;
The wizard lights and demon play
Of nights Walpurgis and Arabian!

The Mollah and the Christian dog
Change place in mad metempsychosis;
The Muezzin climbs the synagogue,
The Rabbi shakes his beard at Moses!

The Arab by his desert well
Sits choosing from some Caliph's daughters,
And hears his single camel's bell
Sound welcome to his regal quarters.

The Koran's reader makes complaint
Of Shitan dancing on and off it;
The robber offers alms, the saint
Drinks Tokay and blasphemes the Prophet.

Such scenes that Eastern plant awakes;
But we have one ordained to beat it,
The Haschish of the West, which makes
Or fools or knaves of all who eat it.

The preacher eats, and straight appears
His Bible in a new translation;
Its angels negro overseers,
And Heaven itself a snug plantation!

The man of peace, about whose dreams
The sweet millennial angels cluster,
Tastes the mad weed, and plots and schemes,
A raving Cuban filibuster!

The noisiest Democrat, with ease,
It turns to Slavery's parish beadle;
The shrewdest statesman eats and sees
Due southward point the polar needle.

The Judge partakes, and sits erelong
Upon his bench a railing blackguard;
Decides off-hand that right is wrong,
And reads the ten commandments backward.

O potent plant! so rare a taste
Has never Turk or Gentoo gotten;
The hempen Haschish of the East
Is powerless to our Western Cotton!
1854.



FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE.

Inscribed to friends under arrest for treason against the slave power.

THE age is dull and mean. Men creep,
Not walk; with blood too pale and tame
To pay the debt they owe to shame;
Buy cheap, sell dear; eat, drink, and sleep
Down-pillowed, deaf to moaning want;
Pay tithes for soul-insurance; keep
Six days to Mammon, one to Cant.

In such a time, give thanks to God,
That somewhat of the holy rage
With which the prophets in their age
On all its decent seemings trod,
Has set your feet upon the lie,
That man and ox and soul and clod
Are market stock to sell and buy!

The hot words from your lips, my own,
To caution trained, might not repeat;
But if some tares among the wheat
Of generous thought and deed were sown,
No common wrong provoked your zeal;
The silken gauntlet that is thrown
In such a quarrel rings like steel.

The brave old strife the fathers saw
For Freedom calls for men again
Like those who battled not in vain
For England's Charter, Alfred's law;
And right of speech and trial just
Wage in your name their ancient war
With venal courts and perjured trust.

God's ways seem dark, but, soon or late,
They touch the shining hills of day;
The evil cannot brook delay,
The good can well afford to wait.
Give ermined knaves their hour of crime;
Ye have the future grand and great,
The safe appeal of Truth to Time!
1855.



THE KANSAS EMIGRANTS.

This poem and the three following were called out by the popular
movement of Free State men to occupy the territory of Kansas, and by the
use of the great democratic weapon--an over-powering majority--to settle
the conflict on that ground between Freedom and Slavery. The opponents
of the movement used another kind of weapon.

WE cross the prairie as of old
The pilgrims crossed the sea,
To make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!

We go to rear a wall of men
On Freedom's southern line,
And plant beside the cotton-tree
The rugged Northern pine!

We're flowing from our native hills
As our free rivers flow;
The blessing of our Mother-land
Is on us as we go.

We go to plant her common schools,
On distant prairie swells,
And give the Sabbaths of the wild
The music of her bells.

Upbearing, like the Ark of old,
The Bible in our van,
We go to test the truth of God
Against the fraud of man.

No pause, nor rest, save where the streams
That feed the Kansas run,
Save where our Pilgrim gonfalon
Shall flout the setting sun.

We'll tread the prairie as of old
Our fathers sailed the sea,
And make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!
1854.



LETTER FROM A MISSIONARY OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL
CHURCH SOUTH, IN KANSAS, TO A DISTINGUISHED POLITICIAN.

DOUGLAS MISSION, August, 1854,

LAST week--the Lord be praised for all His mercies
To His unworthy servant!--I arrived
Safe at the Mission, via Westport; where
I tarried over night, to aid in forming
A Vigilance Committee, to send back,
In shirts of tar, and feather-doublets quilted
With forty stripes save one, all Yankee comers,
Uncircumcised and Gentile, aliens from
The Commonwealth of Israel, who despise
The prize of the high calling of the saints,
Who plant amidst this heathen wilderness
Pure gospel institutions, sanctified
By patriarchal use. The meeting opened
With prayer, as was most fitting. Half an hour,
Or thereaway, I groaned, and strove, and wrestled,
As Jacob did at Penuel, till the power
Fell on the people, and they cried 'Amen!'
"Glory to God!" and stamped and clapped their hands;
And the rough river boatmen wiped their eyes;
"Go it, old hoss!" they cried, and cursed the niggers--
Fulfilling thus the word of prophecy,
"Cursed be Cannan." After prayer, the meeting
Chose a committee--good and pious men--
A Presbyterian Elder, Baptist deacon,
A local preacher, three or four class-leaders,
Anxious inquirers, and renewed backsliders,
A score in all--to watch the river ferry,
(As they of old did watch the fords of Jordan,)
And cut off all whose Yankee tongues refuse
The Shibboleth of the Nebraska bill.
And then, in answer to repeated calls,
I gave a brief account of what I saw
In Washington; and truly many hearts
Rejoiced to know the President, and you
And all the Cabinet regularly hear
The gospel message of a Sunday morning,
Drinking with thirsty souls of the sincere
Milk of the Word. Glory! Amen, and Selah!

Here, at the Mission, all things have gone well
The brother who, throughout my absence, acted
As overseer, assures me that the crops
Never were better. I have lost one negro,
A first-rate hand, but obstinate and sullen.
He ran away some time last spring, and hid
In the river timber. There my Indian converts
Found him, and treed and shot him. For the rest,
The heathens round about begin to feel
The influence of our pious ministrations
And works of love; and some of them already
Have purchased negroes, and are settling down
As sober Christians! Bless the Lord for this!
I know it will rejoice you. You, I hear,
Are on the eve of visiting Chicago,
To fight with the wild beasts of Ephesus,
Long John, and Dutch Free-Soilers. May your arm
Be clothed with strength, and on your tongue be found
The sweet oil of persuasion. So desires
Your brother and co-laborer. Amen!

P.S. All's lost. Even while I write these lines,
The Yankee abolitionists are coming
Upon us like a flood--grim, stalwart men,
Each face set like a flint of Plymouth Rock
Against our institutions--staking out
Their farm lots on the wooded Wakarusa,
Or squatting by the mellow-bottomed Kansas;
The pioneers of mightier multitudes,
The small rain-patter, ere the thunder shower
Drowns the dry prairies. Hope from man is not.
Oh, for a quiet berth at Washington,
Snug naval chaplaincy, or clerkship, where
These rumors of free labor and free soil
Might never meet me more. Better to be
Door-keeper in the White House, than to dwell
Amidst these Yankee tents, that, whitening, show
On the green prairie like a fleet becalmed.
Methinks I hear a voice come up the river
From those far bayous, where the alligators
Mount guard around the camping filibusters
"Shake off the dust of Kansas. Turn to Cuba--
(That golden orange just about to fall,
O'er-ripe, into the Democratic lap;)
Keep pace with Providence, or, as we say,
Manifest destiny. Go forth and follow
The message of our gospel, thither borne
Upon the point of Quitman's bowie-knife,
And the persuasive lips of Colt's revolvers.
There may'st thou, underneath thy vine and figtree,
Watch thy increase of sugar cane and negroes,
Calm as a patriarch in his eastern tent!"
Amen: So mote it be. So prays your friend.



BURIAL OF BARBER.

Thomas Barber was shot December 6, 1855, near Lawrence, Kansas.

BEAR him, comrades, to his grave;
Never over one more brave
Shall the prairie grasses weep,
In the ages yet to come,
When the millions in our room,
What we sow in tears, shall reap.

Bear him up the icy hill,
With the Kansas, frozen still
As his noble heart, below,
And the land he came to till
With a freeman's thews and will,
And his poor hut roofed with snow.

One more look of that dead face,
Of his murder's ghastly trace!
One more kiss, O widowed one
Lay your left hands on his brow,
Lift your right hands up, and vow
That his work shall yet be done.

Patience, friends! The eye of God
Every path by Murder trod
Watches, lidless, day and night;
And the dead man in his shroud,
And his widow weeping loud,
And our hearts, are in His sight.

Every deadly threat that swells
With the roar of gambling hells,
Every brutal jest and jeer,
Every wicked thought and plan
Of the cruel heart of man,
Though but whispered, He can hear!

We in suffering, they in crime,
Wait the just award of time,
Wait the vengeance that is due;
Not in vain a heart shall break,
Not a tear for Freedom's sake
Fall unheeded: God is true.

While the flag with stars bedecked
Threatens where it should protect,
And the Law shakes Hands with Crime,
What is left us but to wait,
Match our patience to our fate,
And abide the better time?

Patience, friends! The human heart
Everywhere shall take our part,
Everywhere for us shall pray;
On our side are nature's laws,
And God's life is in the cause
That we suffer for to-day.

Well to suffer is divine;
Pass the watchword down the line,
Pass the countersign: "Endure."
Not to him who rashly dares,
But to him who nobly bears,
Is the victor's garland sure.

Frozen earth to frozen breast,
Lay our slain one down to rest;
Lay him down in hope and faith,
And above the broken sod,
Once again, to Freedom's God,
Pledge ourselves for life or death,

That the State whose walls we lay,
In our blood and tears, to-day,
Shall be free from bonds of shame,
And our goodly land untrod
By the feet of Slavery, shod
With cursing as with flame!

Plant the Buckeye on his grave,
For the hunter of the slave
In its shadow cannot rest; I
And let martyr mound and tree
Be our pledge and guaranty
Of the freedom of the West!
1856.



TO PENNSYLVANIA.
O STATE prayer-founded! never hung
Such choice upon a people's tongue,
Such power to bless or ban,
As that which makes thy whisper Fate,
For which on thee the centuries wait,
And destinies of man!

Across thy Alleghanian chain,
With groanings from a land in pain,
The west-wind finds its way:
Wild-wailing from Missouri's flood
The crying of thy children's blood
Is in thy ears to-day!

And unto thee in Freedom's hour
Of sorest need God gives the power
To ruin or to save;
To wound or heal, to blight or bless
With fertile field or wilderness,
A free home or a grave!

Then let thy virtue match the crime,
Rise to a level with the time;
And, if a son of thine
Betray or tempt thee, Brutus-like
For Fatherland and Freedom strike
As Justice gives the sign.

Wake, sleeper, from thy dream of ease,
The great occasion's forelock seize;
And let the north-wind strong,
And golden leaves of autumn, be
Thy coronal of Victory
And thy triumphal song.
10th me., 1856.



LE MARAIS DU CYGNE.

The massacre of unarmed and unoffending men, in Southern Kansas, in May,
1858, took place near the Marais du Cygne of the French voyageurs.

A BLUSH as of roses
Where rose never grew!
Great drops on the bunch-grass,
But not of the dew!
A taint in the sweet air
For wild bees to shun!
A stain that shall never
Bleach out in the sun.

Back, steed of the prairies
Sweet song-bird, fly back!
Wheel hither, bald vulture!
Gray wolf, call thy pack!
The foul human vultures
Have feasted and fled;
The wolves of the Border
Have crept from the dead.

From the hearths of their cabins,
The fields of their corn,
Unwarned and unweaponed,
The victims were torn,--
By the whirlwind of murder
Swooped up and swept on
To the low, reedy fen-lands,
The Marsh of the Swan.

With a vain plea for mercy
No stout knee was crooked;
In the mouths of the rifles
Right manly they looked.
How paled the May sunshine,
O Marais du Cygne!
On death for the strong life,
On red grass for green!

In the homes of their rearing,
Yet warm with their lives,
Ye wait the dead only,
Poor children and wives!
Put out the red forge-fire,
The smith shall not come;
Unyoke the brown oxen,
The ploughman lies dumb.

Wind slow from the Swan's Marsh,
O dreary death-train,
With pressed lips as bloodless
As lips of the slain!
Kiss down the young eyelids,
Smooth down the gray hairs;
Let tears quench the curses
That burn through your prayers.

Strong man of the prairies,
Mourn bitter and wild!
Wail, desolate woman!
Weep, fatherless child!
But the grain of God springs up
From ashes beneath,
And the crown of his harvest
Is life out of death.

Not in vain on the dial
The shade moves along,
To point the great contrasts
Of right and of wrong:
Free homes and free altars,
Free prairie and flood,--
The reeds of the Swan's Marsh,
Whose bloom is of blood!

On the lintels of Kansas
That blood shall not dry;
Henceforth the Bad Angel
Shall harmless go by;
Henceforth to the sunset,
Unchecked on her way,
Shall Liberty follow
The march of the day.



THE PASS OF THE SIERRA.

ALL night above their rocky bed
They saw the stars march slow;
The wild Sierra overhead,
The desert's death below.

The Indian from his lodge of bark,
The gray bear from his den,
Beyond their camp-fire's wall of dark,
Glared on the mountain men.

Still upward turned, with anxious strain,
Their leader's sleepless eye,
Where splinters of the mountain chain
Stood black against the sky.

The night waned slow: at last, a glow,
A gleam of sudden fire,
Shot up behind the walls of snow,
And tipped each icy spire.

"Up, men!" he cried, "yon rocky cone,
To-day, please God, we'll pass,
And look from Winter's frozen throne
On Summer's flowers and grass!"

They set their faces to the blast,
They trod the eternal snow,
And faint, worn, bleeding, hailed at last
The promised land below.

Behind, they saw the snow-cloud tossed
By many an icy horn;
Before, warm valleys, wood-embossed,
And green with vines and corn.

They left the Winter at their backs
To flap his baffled wing,
And downward, with the cataracts,
Leaped to the lap of Spring.

Strong leader of that mountain band,
Another task remains,
To break from Slavery's desert land
A path to Freedom's plains.

The winds are wild, the way is drear,
Yet, flashing through the night,
Lo! icy ridge and rocky spear
Blaze out in morning light!

Rise up, Fremont! and go before;
The hour must have its Man;
Put on the hunting-shirt once more,
And lead in Freedom's van!
8th mo., 1856.



A SONG FOR THE TIME.

Written in the summer of 1856, during the political campaign of the Free
Soil party under the candidacy of John C. Fremont.

Up, laggards of Freedom!--our free flag is cast
To the blaze of the sun and the wings of the blast;
Will ye turn from a struggle so bravely begun,
From a foe that is breaking, a field that's half won?

Whoso loves not his kind, and who fears not the Lord,
Let him join that foe's service, accursed and abhorred
Let him do his base will, as the slave only can,--
Let him put on the bloodhound, and put off the Man!

Let him go where the cold blood that creeps in his veins
Shall stiffen the slave-whip, and rust on his chains;
Where the black slave shall laugh in his bonds, to behold
The White Slave beside him, self-fettered and sold!

But ye, who still boast of hearts beating and warm,
Rise, from lake shore and ocean's, like waves in a storm,
Come, throng round our banner in Liberty's name,
Like winds from your mountains, like prairies aflame!

Our foe, hidden long in his ambush of night,
Now, forced from his covert, stands black in the light.
Oh, the cruel to Man, and the hateful to God,
Smite him down to the earth, that is cursed where he trod!

For deeper than thunder of summer's loud shower,
On the dome of the sky God is striking the hour!
Shall we falter before what we've prayed for so long,
When the Wrong is so weak, and the Right is so strong?

Come forth all together! come old and come young,
Freedom's vote in each hand, and her song on each tongue;
Truth naked is stronger than Falsehood in mail;
The Wrong cannot prosper, the Right cannot fail.

Like leaves of the summer once numbered the foe,
But the hoar-frost is falling, the northern winds blow;
Like leaves of November erelong shall they fall,
For earth wearies of them, and God's over all!



WHAT OF THE DAY?

Written during the stirring weeks when the great political battle for
Freedom under Fremont's leadership was permitting strong hope of
success,--a hope overshadowed and solemnized by a sense of the magnitude
of the barbaric evil, and a forecast of the unscrupulous and desperate
use of all its powers in the last and decisive struggle.

A SOUND of tumult troubles all the air,
Like the low thunders of a sultry sky
Far-rolling ere the downright lightnings glare;
The hills blaze red with warnings; foes draw nigh,
Treading the dark with challenge and reply.
Behold the burden of the prophet's vision;
The gathering hosts,--the Valley of Decision,
Dusk with the wings of eagles wheeling o'er.
Day of the Lord, of darkness and not light!
It breaks in thunder and the whirlwind's roar
Even so, Father! Let Thy will be done;
Turn and o'erturn, end what Thou bast begun
In judgment or in mercy: as for me,
If but the least and frailest, let me be
Evermore numbered with the truly free
Who find Thy service perfect liberty!
I fain would thank Thee that my mortal life
Has reached the hour (albeit through care and pain)
When Good and Evil, as for final strife,
Close dim and vast on Armageddon's plain;
And Michael and his angels once again
Drive howling back the Spirits of the Night.
Oh for the faith to read the signs aright
And, from the angle of Thy perfect sight,
See Truth's white banner floating on before;
And the Good Cause, despite of venal friends,
And base expedients, move to noble ends;
See Peace with Freedom make to Time amends,
And, through its cloud of dust, the threshing-floor,
Flailed by the thunder, heaped with chaffless grain
1856.



A SONG, INSCRIBED TO THE FREMONT CLUBS.
Written after the election in 1586, which showed the immense gains of
the Free Soil party, and insured its success in 1860.

BENEATH thy skies, November!
Thy skies of cloud and rain,
Around our blazing camp-fires
We close our ranks again.
Then sound again the bugles,
Call the muster-roll anew;
If months have well-nigh won the field,
What may not four years do?

For God be praised! New England
Takes once more her ancient place;
Again the Pilgrim's banner
Leads the vanguard of the race.
Then sound again the bugles, etc.

Along the lordly Hudson,
A shout of triumph breaks;
The Empire State is speaking,
From the ocean to the lakes.
Then sound again the bugles, etc.

The Northern hills are blazing,
The Northern skies are bright;
And the fair young West is turning
Her forehead to the light!
Then sound again the bugles, etc.

Push every outpost nearer,
Press hard the hostile towers!
Another Balaklava,
And the Malakoff is ours!
Then sound again the bugles,
Call the muster-roll anew;
If months have well-nigh won the field,
What may not four years do?



THE PANORAMA.

"A! fredome is a nobill thing!
Fredome mayse man to haif liking.
Fredome all solace to man giffis;
He levys at ese that frely levys
A nobil hart may haif nane ese
Na ellvs nocht that may him plese
Gyff Fredome failythe."
ARCHDEACON BARBOUR.

THROUGH the long hall the shuttered windows shed
A dubious light on every upturned head;
On locks like those of Absalom the fair,
On the bald apex ringed with scanty hair,
On blank indifference and on curious stare;
On the pale Showman reading from his stage
The hieroglyphics of that facial page;
Half sad, half scornful, listening to the bruit
Of restless cane-tap and impatient foot,
And the shrill call, across the general din,
"Roll up your curtain! Let the show begin!"

At length a murmur like the winds that break
Into green waves the prairie's grassy lake,
Deepened and swelled to music clear and loud,
And, as the west-wind lifts a summer cloud,
The curtain rose, disclosing wide and far
A green land stretching to the evening star,
Fair rivers, skirted by primeval trees
And flowers hummed over by the desert bees,
Marked by tall bluffs whose slopes of greenness show
Fantastic outcrops of the rock below;
The slow result of patient Nature's pains,
And plastic fingering of her sun and rains;
Arch, tower, and gate, grotesquely windowed hall,
And long escarpment of half-crumbled wall,
Huger than those which, from steep hills of vine,
Stare through their loopholes on the travelled Rhine;
Suggesting vaguely to the gazer's mind
A fancy, idle as the prairie wind,
Of the land's dwellers in an age unguessed;
The unsung Jotuns of the mystic West.

Beyond, the prairie's sea-like swells surpass
The Tartar's marvels of his Land of Grass,
Vast as the sky against whose sunset shores
Wave after wave the billowy greenness pours;
And, onward still, like islands in that main
Loom the rough peaks of many a mountain chain,
Whence east and west a thousand waters run
From winter lingering under summer's sun.
And, still beyond, long lines of foam and sand
Tell where Pacific rolls his waves a-land,
From many a wide-lapped port and land-locked bay,
Opening with thunderous pomp the world's highway
To Indian isles of spice, and marts of far Cathay.

"Such," said the Showman, as the curtain fell,
"Is the new Canaan of our Israel;
The land of promise to the swarming North,
Which, hive-like, sends its annual surplus forth,
To the poor Southron on his worn-out soil,
Scathed by the curses of unnatural toil;
To Europe's exiles seeking home and rest,
And the lank nomads of the wandering West,
Who, asking neither, in their love of change
And the free bison's amplitude of range,
Rear the log-hut, for present shelter meant,
Not future comfort, like an Arab's tent."

Then spake a shrewd on-looker, "Sir," said he,
"I like your picture, but I fain would see
A sketch of what your promised land will be
When, with electric nerve, and fiery-brained,
With Nature's forces to its chariot chained,
The future grasping, by the past obeyed,
The twentieth century rounds a new decade."

Then said the Showman, sadly: "He who grieves
Over the scattering of the sibyl's leaves
Unwisely mourns. Suffice it, that we know
What needs must ripen from the seed we sow;
That present time is but the mould wherein
We cast the shapes of holiness and sin.
A painful watcher of the passing hour,
Its lust of gold, its strife for place and power;
Its lack of manhood, honor, reverence, truth,
Wise-thoughted age, and generous-hearted youth;
Nor yet unmindful of each better sign,
The low, far lights, which on th' horizon shine,
Like those which sometimes tremble on the rim
Of clouded skies when day is closing dim,
Flashing athwart the purple spears of rain
The hope of sunshine on the hills again
I need no prophet's word, nor shapes that pass
Like clouding shadows o'er a magic glass;
For now, as ever, passionless and cold,
Doth the dread angel of the future hold
Evil and good before us, with no voice
Or warning look to guide us in our choice;
With spectral hands outreaching through the gloom
The shadowy contrasts of the coming doom.
Transferred from these, it now remains to give
The sun and shade of Fate's alternative."

Then, with a burst of music, touching all
The keys of thrifty life,--the mill-stream's fall,
The engine's pant along its quivering rails,
The anvil's ring, the measured beat of flails,
The sweep of scythes, the reaper's whistled tune,
Answering the summons of the bells of noon,
The woodman's hail along the river shores,
The steamboat's signal, and the dip of oars
Slowly the curtain rose from off a land
Fair as God's garden. Broad on either hand
The golden wheat-fields glimmered in the sun,
And the tall maize its yellow tassels spun.
Smooth highways set with hedge-rows living green,
With steepled towns through shaded vistas seen,
The school-house murmuring with its hive-like swarm,
The brook-bank whitening in the grist-mill's storm,
The painted farm-house shining through the leaves
Of fruited orchards bending at its eaves,
Where live again, around the Western hearth,
The homely old-time virtues of the North;
Where the blithe housewife rises with the day,
And well-paid labor counts his task a play.
And, grateful tokens of a Bible free,
And the free Gospel of Humanity,
Of diverse-sects and differing names the shrines,
One in their faith, whate'er their outward signs,
Like varying strophes of the same sweet hymn
From many a prairie's swell and river's brim,
A thousand church-spires sanctify the air
Of the calm Sabbath, with their sign of prayer.

Like sudden nightfall over bloom and green
The curtain dropped: and, momently, between
The clank of fetter and the crack of thong,
Half sob, half laughter, music swept along;
A strange refrain, whose idle words and low,
Like drunken mourners, kept the time of woe;
As if the revellers at a masquerade
Heard in the distance funeral marches played.
Such music, dashing all his smiles with tears,
The thoughtful voyager on Ponchartrain hears,
Where, through the noonday dusk of wooded shores
The negro boatman, singing to his oars,
With a wild pathos borrowed of his wrong
Redeems the jargon of his senseless song.
"Look," said the Showman, sternly, as he rolled
His curtain upward. "Fate's reverse behold!"

A village straggling in loose disarray
Of vulgar newness, premature decay;
A tavern, crazy with its whiskey brawls,
With "Slaves at Auction!" garnishing its walls;
Without, surrounded by a motley crowd,
The shrewd-eyed salesman, garrulous and loud,
A squire or colonel in his pride of place,
Known at free fights, the caucus, and the race,
Prompt to proclaim his honor without blot,
And silence doubters with a ten-pace shot,
Mingling the negro-driving bully's rant
With pious phrase and democratic cant,
Yet never scrupling, with a filthy jest,
To sell the infant from its mother's breast,
Break through all ties of wedlock, home, and kin,
Yield shrinking girlhood up to graybeard sin;
Sell all the virtues with his human stock,
The Christian graces on his auction-block,
And coolly count on shrewdest bargains driven
In hearts regenerate, and in souls forgiven!

Look once again! The moving canvas shows
A slave plantation's slovenly repose,
Where, in rude cabins rotting midst their weeds,
The human chattel eats, and sleeps, and breeds;
And, held a brute, in practice, as in law,
Becomes in fact the thing he's taken for.
There, early summoned to the hemp and corn,
The nursing mother leaves her child new-born;
There haggard sickness, weak and deathly faint,
Crawls to his task, and fears to make complaint;
And sad-eyed Rachels, childless in decay,
Weep for their lost ones sold and torn away!
Of ampler size the master's dwelling stands,
In shabby keeping with his half-tilled lands;
The gates unhinged, the yard with weeds unclean,
The cracked veranda with a tipsy lean.
Without, loose-scattered like a wreck adrift,
Signs of misrule and tokens of unthrift;
Within, profusion to discomfort joined,
The listless body and the vacant mind;
The fear, the hate, the theft and falsehood, born
In menial hearts of toil, and stripes, and scorn
There, all the vices, which, like birds obscene,
Batten on slavery loathsome and unclean,
From the foul kitchen to the parlor rise,
Pollute the nursery where the child-heir lies,
Taint infant lips beyond all after cure,
With the fell poison of a breast impure;
Touch boyhood's passions with the breath of flame,
From girlhood's instincts steal the blush of shame.
So swells, from low to high, from weak to strong,
The tragic chorus of the baleful wrong;
Guilty or guiltless, all within its range
Feel the blind justice of its sure revenge.

Still scenes like these the moving chart reveals.
Up the long western steppes the blighting steals;
Down the Pacific slope the evil Fate
Glides like a shadow to the Golden Gate
From sea to sea the drear eclipse is thrown,
From sea to sea the Mauvaises Terres have grown,
A belt of curses on the New World's zone!

The curtain fell. All drew a freer breath,
As men are wont to do when mournful death
Is covered from their sight. The Showman stood
With drooping brow in sorrow's attitude
One moment, then with sudden gesture shook
His loose hair back, and with the air and look
Of one who felt, beyond the narrow stage
And listening group, the presence of the age,
And heard the footsteps of the things to be,
Poured out his soul in earnest words and free.

"O friends!" he said, "in this poor trick of paint
You see the semblance, incomplete and faint,
Of the two-fronted Future, which, to-day,
Stands dim and silent, waiting in your way.
To-day, your servant, subject to your will;
To-morrow, master, or for good or ill.
If the dark face of Slavery on you turns,
If the mad curse its paper barrier spurns,
If the world granary of the West is made
The last foul market of the slaver's trade,
Why rail at fate? The mischief is your own.
Why hate your neighbor? Blame yourselves
alone!

"Men of the North! The South you charge with wrong
Is weak and poor, while you are rich and strong.
If questions,--idle and absurd as those
The old-time monks and Paduan doctors chose,--
Mere ghosts of questions, tariffs, and dead banks,
And scarecrow pontiffs, never broke your ranks,
Your thews united could, at once, roll back
The jostled nation to its primal track.
Nay, were you simply steadfast, manly, just,
True to the faith your fathers left in trust,
If stainless honor outweighed in your scale
A codfish quintal or a factory bale,
Full many a noble heart, (and such remain
In all the South, like Lot in Siddim's plain,
Who watch and wait, and from the wrong's control
Keep white and pure their chastity of soul,)
Now sick to loathing of your weak complaints,
Your tricks as sinners, and your prayers as saints,
Would half-way meet the frankness of your tone,
And feel their pulses beating with your own.

"The North! the South! no geographic line
Can fix the boundary or the point define,
Since each with each so closely interblends,
Where Slavery rises, and where Freedom ends.
Beneath your rocks the roots, far-reaching, hide
Of the fell Upas on the Southern side;
The tree whose branches in your northwinds wave
Dropped its young blossoms on Mount Vernon's grave;
The nursling growth of Monticello's crest
Is now the glory of the free Northwest;
To the wise maxims of her olden school
Virginia listened from thy lips, Rantoul;
Seward's words of power, and Sumner's fresh renown,
Flow from the pen that Jefferson laid down!
And when, at length, her years of madness o'er,
Like the crowned grazer on Euphrates' shore,
From her long lapse to savagery, her mouth
Bitter with baneful herbage, turns the South,
Resumes her old attire, and seeks to smooth
Her unkempt tresses at the glass of truth,
Her early faith shall find a tongue again,
New Wythes and Pinckneys swell that old refrain,
Her sons with yours renew the ancient pact,
The myth of Union prove at last a fact!
Then, if one murmur mars the wide content,
Some Northern lip will drawl the last dissent,
Some Union-saving patriot of your own
Lament to find his occupation gone.

"Grant that the North 's insulted, scorned, betrayed,
O'erreached in bargains with her neighbor made,
When selfish thrift and party held the scales
For peddling dicker, not for honest sales,--
Whom shall we strike? Who most deserves our blame?
The braggart Southron, open in his aim,
And bold as wicked, crashing straight through all
That bars his purpose, like a cannon-ball?
Or the mean traitor, breathing northern air,
With nasal speech and puritanic hair,
Whose cant the loss of principle survives,
As the mud-turtle e'en its head outlives;
Who, caught, chin-buried in some foul offence,
Puts on a look of injured innocence,
And consecrates his baseness to the cause
Of constitution, union, and the laws?

"Praise to the place-man who can hold aloof
His still unpurchased manhood, office-proof;
Who on his round of duty walks erect,
And leaves it only rich in self-respect;
As More maintained his virtue's lofty port
In the Eighth Henry's base and bloody court.
But, if exceptions here and there are found,
Who tread thus safely on enchanted ground,
The normal type, the fitting symbol still
Of those who fatten at the public mill,
Is the chained dog beside his master's door,
Or Circe's victim, feeding on all four!

"Give me the heroes who, at tuck of drum,
Salute thy staff, immortal Quattlebum!
Or they who, doubly armed with vote and gun,
Following thy lead, illustrious Atchison,
Their drunken franchise shift from scene to scene,
As tile-beard Jourdan did his guillotine!
Rather than him who, born beneath our skies,
To Slavery's hand its supplest tool supplies;
The party felon whose unblushing face
Looks from the pillory of his bribe of place,
And coolly makes a merit of disgrace,
Points to the footmarks of indignant scorn,
Shows the deep scars of satire's tossing horn;
And passes to his credit side the sum
Of all that makes a scoundrel's martyrdom!

"Bane of the North, its canker and its moth!
These modern Esaus, bartering rights for broth!
Taxing our justice, with their double claim,
As fools for pity, and as knaves for blame;
Who, urged by party, sect, or trade, within
The fell embrace of Slavery's sphere of sin,
Part at the outset with their moral sense,
The watchful angel set for Truth's defence;
Confound all contrasts, good and ill; reverse
The poles of life, its blessing and its curse;
And lose thenceforth from their perverted sight
The eternal difference 'twixt the wrong and right;
To them the Law is but the iron span
That girds the ankles of imbruted man;
To them the Gospel has no higher aim
Than simple sanction of the master's claim,
Dragged in the slime of Slavery's loathsome trail,
Like Chalier's Bible at his ass's tail!

"Such are the men who, with instinctive dread,
Whenever Freedom lifts her drooping head,
Make prophet-tripods of their office-stools,
And scare the nurseries and the village schools
With dire presage of ruin grim and great,
A broken Union and a foundered State!
Such are the patriots, self-bound to the stake
Of office, martyrs for their country's sake
Who fill themselves the hungry jaws of Fate;
And by their loss of manhood save the State.
In the wide gulf themselves like Cortius throw,
And test the virtues of cohesive dough;
As tropic monkeys, linking heads and tails,
Bridge o'er some torrent of Ecuador's vales!

"Such are the men who in your churches rave
To swearing-point, at mention of the slave!
When some poor parson, haply unawares,
Stammers of freedom in his timid prayers;
Who, if some foot-sore negro through the town
Steals northward, volunteer to hunt him down.
Or, if some neighbor, flying from disease,
Courts the mild balsam of the Southern breeze,
With hue and cry pursue him on his track,
And write Free-soiler on the poor man's back.
Such are the men who leave the pedler's cart,
While faring South, to learn the driver's art,
Or, in white neckcloth, soothe with pious aim
The graceful sorrows of some languid dame,
Who, from the wreck of her bereavement, saves
The double charm of widowhood and slaves
Pliant and apt, they lose no chance to show
To what base depths apostasy can go;
Outdo the natives in their readiness
To roast a negro, or to mob a press;
Poise a tarred schoolmate on the lyncher's rail,
Or make a bonfire of their birthplace mail!

"So some poor wretch, whose lips no longer bear
The sacred burden of his mother's prayer,
By fear impelled, or lust of gold enticed,
Turns to the Crescent from the Cross of Christ,
And, over-acting in superfluous zeal,
Crawls prostrate where the faithful only kneel,
Out-howls the Dervish, hugs his rags to court
The squalid Santon's sanctity of dirt;
And, when beneath the city gateway's span
Files slow and long the Meccan caravan,
And through its midst, pursued by Islam's prayers,
The prophet's Word some favored camel bears,
The marked apostate has his place assigned
The Koran-bearer's sacred rump behind,
With brush and pitcher following, grave and mute,
In meek attendance on the holy brute!

"Men of the North! beneath your very eyes,
By hearth and home, your real danger lies.
Still day by day some hold of freedom falls
Through home-bred traitors fed within its walls.
Men whom yourselves with vote and purse sustain,
At posts of honor, influence, and gain;
The right of Slavery to your sons to teach,
And 'South-side' Gospels in your pulpits preach,
Transfix the Law to ancient freedom dear
On the sharp point of her subverted spear,
And imitate upon her cushion plump
The mad Missourian lynching from his stump;
Or, in your name, upon the Senate's floor
Yield up to Slavery all it asks, and more;
And, ere your dull eyes open to the cheat,
Sell your old homestead underneath your feet
While such as these your loftiest outlooks hold,
While truth and conscience with your wares are sold,
While grave-browed merchants band themselves to aid
An annual man-hunt for their Southern trade,
What moral power within your grasp remains
To stay the mischief on Nebraska's plains?
High as the tides of generous impulse flow,
As far rolls back the selfish undertow;
And all your brave resolves, though aimed as true
As the horse-pistol Balmawhapple drew,
To Slavery's bastions lend as slight a shock
As the poor trooper's shot to Stirling rock!

"Yet, while the need of Freedom's cause demands
The earnest efforts of your hearts and hands,
Urged by all motives that can prompt the heart
To prayer and toil and manhood's manliest part;
Though to the soul's deep tocsin Nature joins
The warning whisper of her Orphic pines,
The north-wind's anger, and the south-wind's sigh,
The midnight sword-dance of the northern sky,
And, to the ear that bends above the sod
Of the green grave-mounds in the Fields of God,
In low, deep murmurs of rebuke or cheer,
The land's dead fathers speak their hope or fear,
Yet let not Passion wrest from Reason's hand
The guiding rein and symbol of command.
Blame not the caution proffering to your zeal
A well-meant drag upon its hurrying wheel;
Nor chide the man whose honest doubt extends
To the means only, not the righteous ends;
Nor fail to weigh the scruples and the fears
Of milder natures and serener years.
In the long strife with evil which began
With the first lapse of new-created man,
Wisely and well has Providence assigned
To each his part,--some forward, some behind;
And they, too, serve who temper and restrain
The o'erwarm heart that sets on fire the brain.
True to yourselves, feed Freedom's altar-flame
With what you have; let others do the same.

"Spare timid doubters; set like flint your face
Against the self-sold knaves of gain and place
Pity the weak; but with unsparing hand
Cast out the traitors who infest the land;
From bar, press, pulpit, cast them everywhere,
By dint of fasting, if you fail by prayer.
And in their place bring men of antique mould,
Like the grave fathers of your Age of Gold;
Statesmen like those who sought the primal fount
Of righteous law, the Sermon on the Mount;
Lawyers who prize, like Quincy, (to our day
Still spared, Heaven bless him!) honor more than pay,
And Christian jurists, starry-pure, like Jay;
Preachers like Woolman, or like them who bore
The, faith of Wesley to our Western shore,
And held no convert genuine till he broke
Alike his servants' and the Devil's yoke;
And priests like him who Newport's market trod,
And o'er its slave-ships shook the bolts of God!
So shall your power, with a wise prudence used,
Strong but forbearing, firm but not abused,
In kindly keeping with the good of all,
The nobler maxims of the past recall,
Her natural home-born right to Freedom give,
And leave her foe his robber-right,--to live.
Live, as the snake does in his noisome fen!
Live, as the wolf does in his bone-strewn den!
Live, clothed with cursing like a robe of flame,
The focal point of million-fingered shame!
Live, till the Southron, who, with all his faults,
Has manly instincts, in his pride revolts,
Dashes from off him, midst the glad world's cheers,
The hideous nightmare of his dream of years,
And lifts, self-prompted, with his own right hand,
The vile encumbrance from his glorious land!

"So, wheresoe'er our destiny sends forth
Its widening circles to the South or North,
Where'er our banner flaunts beneath the stars
Its mimic splendors and its cloudlike bars,
There shall Free Labor's hardy children stand
The equal sovereigns of a slaveless land.
And when at last the hunted bison tires,
And dies o'ertaken by the squatter's fires;
And westward, wave on wave, the living flood
Breaks on the snow-line of majestic Hood;
And lonely Shasta listening hears the tread
Of Europe's fair-haired children, Hesper-led;
And, gazing downward through his boar-locks, sees
The tawny Asian climb his giant knees,
The Eastern sea shall hush his waves to hear
Pacific's surf-beat answer Freedom's cheer,
And one long rolling fire of triumph run
Between the sunrise and the sunset gun!"

          . . . . . . . . . .

My task is done. The Showman and his show,
Themselves but shadows, into shadows go;
And, if no song of idlesse I have sung.
Nor tints of beauty on the canvas flung;
If the harsh numbers grate on tender ears,
And the rough picture overwrought appears,
With deeper coloring, with a sterner blast,
Before my soul a voice and vision passed,
Such as might Milton's jarring trump require,
Or glooms of Dante fringed with lurid fire.
Oh, not of choice, for themes of public wrong
I leave the green and pleasant paths of song,
The mild, sweet words which soften and adorn,
For sharp rebuke and bitter laugh of scorn.
More dear to me some song of private worth,
Some homely idyl of my native North,
Some summer pastoral of her inland vales,
Or, grim and weird, her winter fireside tales
Haunted by ghosts of unreturning sails,
Lost barks at parting hung from stem to helm
With prayers of love like dreams on Virgil's elm.
Nor private grief nor malice holds my pen;
I owe but kindness to my fellow-men;
And, South or North, wherever hearts of prayer
Their woes and weakness to our Father bear,
Wherever fruits of Christian love are found
In holy lives, to me is holy ground.
But the time passes. It were vain to crave
A late indulgence. What I had I gave.
Forget the poet, but his warning heed,
And shame his poor word with your nobler deed.
1856.



ON A PRAYER-BOOK,

WITH ITS FRONTISPIECE, ARY SCHEFFER'S "CHRISTUS CONSOLATOR,"
AMERICANIZED BY THE OMISSION OF THE BLACK MAN.

It is hardly to be credited, yet is true, that in the anxiety of the
Northern merchant to conciliate his Southern customer, a publisher was
found ready thus to mutilate Scheffer's picture. He intended his edition
for use in the Southern States undoubtedly, but copies fell into the
hands of those who believed literally in a gospel which was to preach
liberty to the captive.

O ARY SCHEFFER! when beneath thine eye,
Touched with the light that cometh from above,
Grew the sweet picture of the dear Lord's love,
No dream hadst thou that Christian hands would tear
Therefrom the token of His equal care,
And make thy symbol of His truth a lie
The poor, dumb slave whose shackles fall away
In His compassionate gaze, grubbed smoothly out,
To mar no more the exercise devout
Of sleek oppression kneeling down to pray
Where the great oriel stains the Sabbath day!
Let whoso can before such praying-books
Kneel on his velvet cushion; I, for one,
Would sooner bow, a Parsee, to the sun,
Or tend a prayer-wheel in Thibetar brooks,
Or beat a drum on Yedo's temple-floor.
No falser idol man has bowed before,
In Indian groves or islands of the sea,
Than that which through the quaint-carved Gothic door
Looks forth,--a Church without humanity!
Patron of pride, and prejudice, and wrong,--
The rich man's charm and fetich of the strong,
The Eternal Fulness meted, clipped, and shorn,
The seamless robe of equal mercy torn,
The dear Christ hidden from His kindred flesh,
And, in His poor ones, crucified afresh!
Better the simple Lama scattering wide,
Where sweeps the storm Alechan's steppes along,
His paper horses for the lost to ride,
And wearying Buddha with his prayers to make
The figures living for the traveller's sake,
Than he who hopes with cheap praise to beguile
The ear of God, dishonoring man the while;
Who dreams the pearl gate's hinges, rusty grown,
Are moved by flattery's oil of tongue alone;
That in the scale Eternal Justice bears
The generous deed weighs less than selfish prayers,
And words intoned with graceful unction move
The Eternal Goodness more than lives of truth and love.
Alas, the Church! The reverend head of Jay,
Enhaloed with its saintly silvered hair,
Adorns no more the places of her prayer;
And brave young Tyng, too early called away,
Troubles the Haman of her courts no more
Like the just Hebrew at the Assyrian's door;
And her sweet ritual, beautiful but dead
As the dry husk from which the grain is shed,
And holy hymns from which the life devout
Of saints and martyrs has wellnigh gone out,
Like candles dying in exhausted air,
For Sabbath use in measured grists are ground;
And, ever while the spiritual mill goes round,
Between the upper and the nether stones,
Unseen, unheard, the wretched bondman groans,
And urges his vain plea, prayer-smothered, anthem-drowned!

O heart of mine, keep patience! Looking forth,
As from the Mount of Vision, I behold,
Pure, just, and free, the Church of Christ on earth;
The martyr's dream, the golden age foretold!
And found, at last, the mystic Graal I see,
Brimmed with His blessing, pass from lip to lip
In sacred pledge of human fellowship;
And over all the songs of angels hear;
Songs of the love that casteth out all fear;
Songs of the Gospel of Humanity!
Lo! in the midst, with the same look He wore,
Healing and blessing on Genesaret's shore,
Folding together, with the all-tender might
Of His great love, the dark bands and the white,
Stands the Consoler, soothing every pain,
Making all burdens light, and breaking every chain.
1859.



THE SUMMONS.

MY ear is full of summer sounds,
Of summer sights my languid eye;
Beyond the dusty village bounds
I loiter in my daily rounds,
And in the noon-time shadows lie.

I hear the wild bee wind his horn,
The bird swings on the ripened wheat,
The long green lances of the corn
Are tilting in the winds of morn,
The locust shrills his song of heat.

Another sound my spirit hears,
A deeper sound that drowns them all;
A voice of pleading choked with tears,
The call of human hopes and fears,
The Macedonian cry to Paul!

The storm-bell rings, the trumpet blows;
I know the word and countersign;
Wherever Freedom's vanguard goes,
Where stand or fall her friends or foes,
I know the place that should be mine.

Shamed be the hands that idly fold,
And lips that woo the reed's accord,
When laggard Time the hour has tolled
For true with false and new with old
To fight the battles of the Lord!

O brothers! blest by partial Fate
With power to match the will and deed,
To him your summons comes too late
Who sinks beneath his armor's weight,
And has no answer but God-speed!
1860.



TO WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

On the 12th of January, 1861, Mr. Seward delivered in the Senate chamber
a speech on The State of the Union, in which he urged the paramount duty
of preserving the Union, and went as far as it was possible to go,
without surrender of principles, in concessions to the Southern party,
concluding his argument with these words: "Having submitted my own
opinions on this great crisis, it remains only to say, that I shall
cheerfully lend to the government my best support in whatever prudent
yet energetic efforts it shall make to preserve the public peace, and to
maintain and preserve the Union; advising, only, that it practise, as
far as possible, the utmost moderation, forbearance, and conciliation.

"This Union has not yet accomplished what good for mankind was manifestly
designed by Him who appoints the seasons and prescribes the duties of
states and empires. No; if it were cast down by faction to-day, it would
rise again and re-appear in all its majestic proportions to-morrow. It
is the only government that can stand here. Woe! woe! to the man that
madly lifts his hand against it. It shall continue and endure; and men,
in after times, shall declare that this generation, which saved the
Union from such sudden and unlooked-for dangers, surpassed in
magnanimity even that one which laid its foundations in the eternal
principles of liberty, justice, and humanity."

STATESMAN, I thank thee! and, if yet dissent
Mingles, reluctant, with my large content,
I cannot censure what was nobly meant.
But, while constrained to hold even Union less
Than Liberty and Truth and Righteousness,
I thank thee in the sweet and holy name
Of peace, for wise calm words that put to shame
Passion and party. Courage may be shown
Not in defiance of the wrong alone;
He may be bravest who, unweaponed, bears
The olive branch, and, strong in justice, spares
The rash wrong-doer, giving widest scope,
To Christian charity and generous hope.
If, without damage to the sacred cause
Of Freedom and the safeguard of its laws--
If, without yielding that for which alone
We prize the Union, thou canst save it now
From a baptism of blood, upon thy brow
A wreath whose flowers no earthly soil have known;
Woven of the beatitudes, shall rest,
And the peacemaker be forever blest!
1861.





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