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Yet then, e'en then, can comfort on them wait,
Degraded to a wretched servile state ?
And they, once chieftains in their natal land,
Now bound in chains, and trembling at command ;
Naked, expos'd to Phæbus' sultry beams,
Like horses work'd, then fed on dry coarse beans !
Now dead to hope, they see resistance vain,
They in their valiant breasts conceal their pain ;
While silent grief to furious rage succeeds,
And fill'd with anger, every bosom bleeds ;
Thus in despair, their necks refuse the yoke,
He calls them stubborn, and applies the stroke.
Their lacerated backs the scourges show,
Still they invincible, no tremours know ;
Their strength intrepid, claims a nobler name,
And shows not theirs, but their oppressor's shame.
Immodest to the view, his limbs disclos'd
To summer's suns, and wintry winds expos'd ;
Tasks, not design’d for man to prove, consume
His valiant strength, and fade his manly bloom;
And to complete his misery, he must
See wife and daughter serve promiscuous lust
Nor dare complain! * * * * * *
No faithful service, and no zeal can please
His cruel tyrant, nor his rage appease;
Deep wounds the arbitrary lash imprints,
Or falling club his mangled frame disjoints;
While scurril taunts, with fearful menace join'd,
Augment past smarts with dread of worse behind ;
And lo! around his glancing eye surveys
Of wretches, like himself, a num'rous race.
No friendly cot receives his weary head,
But, mix'd with brutes, the earth's his common bed';
The skies shed noxious dews; unwholesome steams
Rise from the ground, and pierce his aching limbs ;
No soft repose the shades of night impart,
Pain racks his frame, and anguish rends his heart;
Or, if short slumbers seal his weeping eyes,
The horrors of the day in visions rise,
In dreams the Christian's cruel voice he hears,
And to his view the knotty scourge appears ;
Beneath the scorching sun, in toilsome pain,
He seems to groan, and call for death in vain ;
With brutal thought, his tyrant's dire command
To spousal ties compels his struggling hand;
But when to multiply the servile kind,
And take the mate, which chance presents, enjoin'd;
Doom’d to beget a race of slaves to groan
Beneath the woes their wretched sire had known ;
The mournful pair prolific pleasures dread,
And pray incessant for a barren bed-
And when the babe is born to living light,
Struck to the heart, they sicken at the sight.
In this respect, none but a parent knows
Their sad regret-in them no transport glows,
No gentle joy rewards the mother's throes :
Untouch'd with soft delight, the sire surveys
His features op’ning in the infant's face;
But with sad vows invokes an early grave
To hide from Christian's rage the infant slave-
This all the hope his conscious heart receives
This all the blessing to the babe he gives.
While imag’d to his sadden'd thought appears
The dreaded doom that waits his manly years.
The mother views, and wounded to the heart,
With keener pangs of agonizing smart;
Fast down her wo-worn cheeks the sorrows flow-
She faints—transfix'd with agonies of wo.
The wond’ring boy in sorrow takes a part,
weeps their sorrow with an infant's heart;
No longer can her wretched partner bear
The mighty grief—but sunk in black despair-
While his warm bosom equal horrors wound,
He trembles, groans, and sinks upon the ground ;
Alas! to live again—their tyrant near,
Beholds their grief without a tender tear;
Woes not his own his bosom never felt,
For hell and av’rice never, never melt.
The dreadful lash again to labour drives,
And each to life and usual pain revives ;
While penury of food but ill repairs
The mighty labour sinking nature bears ;
Oppress’d with grief and agonizing pain,
The sire sinks dead upon the labour'd plain,
While the fierce tyrant with his whip in vain
Commands him to renew his toil again :
Worn out with labour, and oppress’d with grief,
At last kind death has brought the slow relief.
In him see all our individual wo,
And more than tongue can tell, or mind can know.
For though God's mercy does no limits know,
His justice must have satisfaction too ;
These attributes in equal balance lie,
And one cannot the other's rights deny.
You, whom kind Heav'n with copious wealth has blest,
Lend back to Heav'n, by aiding the distress'd ;
”Tis yours the sons of anguish to relieve,
To cheer the poor, nor let affliction grieve;
To sympathize and melt at human wo,
Is what the wealthy to th' unhappy owe.
By Heav'n the poor and fatherless are sent,
And what to these we give, to God is lent;
But how can tyrants hope to be forgiv'n,
And still rebel against the laws of Heav'n?
“ Preserve us, Lord, from evil,” can they pray,
Yet wilfully pursue the evil way?
Do the oppress’d their tender pity share?
And are the wretched their peculiar care ?
Do they the wo-worn stranger's wrongs redress,
And for the widows spread the couch of rest ?
If not, their pray’rs are base impertinence,
Insulting reason, truth, and common sense ;
They make the Lord, of all beings the worst,
By dignity debas'd, by blessings curst;
They say in substance that they do him find,
Capricious, cruel to the human kind;
Like Christian traitors, brutal, base, unjust,
Alike in cruelty, alike in lust!
Pleas'd with destruction, and with mortal wounds,
With scenes of blood, and agonizing sounds;
And with fierce tyrants in the mortal fight,
And ruffians, when they take their brother's right;
With crimson slaughter, and with death profound,
And carnage piled on carnage, throngs tne ground;
More cruel than the thief, whose bloody knife
At once deprives the trembling wretch of life;
More cruel than the roaring beasts of prey,
Who, to appease their hunger, tear and slay-
The most despotic judge of human kind,
Though void of justice, and to sin inclin’d,
Would melt to tears, could he but view the woes
Of Africans, and see their cruel foes.
And is our God more cruel than the worst
Of mortal tyrants, partial and unjust?
No! love, grace, mercy, and his truth shall last,
While æther shines with golden planets grac'd ;
E'en now he pities, as in days of yore,
The friendless, helpless, fatherless, and poor.
Shall not the universal Judge descend,
While judgments his majestic steps attend,
And with resentment, tyrants fierce pursue,
To present, future, and eternal wo,
He saves the captive, sets the pris’ner free,
Such is his justice, such his clemency;
His vengeance shall like lightning swift pursue,
Enslaving traders, and the sinful crew.
I answer thus : “ Behold Messiah shine
In mercy great, in charity divine ;
On all his works his love inscrib'd we find,
His sov'reign goodness, and productive mind;
His works how various, with what pow'r endued,
Good in their origin, in nature good.
Inspir'd by thee, guest of celestial race,
With generous love, we human kind embrace ;
We bless the orphan, make the widow blest,
And for the stranger spread the couch of rest ;
The pris'ner visit, bound in galling chains,
The naked clothe, and sooth the sick man's pains ;
While down our cheeks the tender sorrows flow,
We feel our brother's grief, our brother's woe;
Feel sympathetic love for all our race,
And circle mankind in one kind embrace ;
Our greatest grief is to see human wo,
Yet can't relieve, or dry the tears that flow.
Protect th’ oppress'd, and plead the poor man's cause,
Pursue the holy path that justice draws.
Riot and wine but for a season please,
Delights they may enjoy, but never ease.
Abundance cloys, of riches, love, or song,
“We want but little, nor that little long.
Behold the shepherd, see th’ industrious swain,
Who ploughs the field, or reaps the golden grain;
How cheap, and yet how tasteful is their fare,
How sweet their sleep, their souls how free from care ;
They drink the streaming crystal, and escape
Th’inflaming juices of the purple grape;
And to protect their limbs from rig’rous air,
Garments, their own domestic work, they wear.