Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

A yell of murder rang around their bed:
They wake: their cottage blaz’d; the victims fled,
Forth
sprang

the ambush'd ruffians on their prey,
They caught, they bound, they drove them far away;
The white man bought them at the rart of blood,
In pestilential barks they cross'd the flood;
Then were the wretched ones asunder torn,
To distant isles, to separate bondage borne,
Denied, though sought with tears, the sad relief,
That misery loves,– the fellowship of grief.

The negro, spoil'd of all that nature gave,
The free-born man, thus shrunk into a slave,
His passive limbs to measur'd tasks confin'd,
Obey'd the impulse of another mind ;
A silent, secret, terrible control,
That ruled his sinews, and repress'd his soul.
Not for himself he waked at morning light,
Toild the long day, and sought repose at night ;
His rest, his labour, pastime, strength, and health,
Were only portions of a master's wealth ;
His love-0, name not love, where Britons doom
The fruit of love to slavery from the womb.

Thus spurn'd, degraded, trampled, and oppressid,
The negro-exile languish'd in the west,
With nothing left of life but hated breath,
And not a hope except the hope in death
To fly for ever from the Creole strand,
And dwell a freeman in his father's land.

Lives there a savage ruder than the slave?
Cruel as death, insatiate as the grave,
False as the winds that round his vessel blow,
Remorseless as the gulf that yawns below
Is he who toils upon the wafting flood,
A Christian broker in the trade of blood;

[blocks in formation]

Boisterous in speech, in action prompt and bold,
He buys, he sells,-he steals, he kills for gold.
At noon, when sky and ocean, calm and clear,
Bend round his bark, one blue, unbroken sphere,
When dancing dolphins sparkle through the brine.
And sun-beam circles O'er the waters shine
He sees no beauty in the heaven serene,
But darkly scowling at the glorious day,
Curses the winds that loiter on their way.
When swoln with hurricanes the billows rise,
To meet the lightning midway from the skies
When from the unburden'd hold his shrieking slaves
Are cast, at midnight, to the hungry waves
Not for his crimes the harden'd pirate weeps,
But, grimnly smiling, when the storm is o'er,
Counts his sure gains, and hurries back for more.

Montgomery

SLAVES. Disgrace of having them.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys,
And, worse than all, and most to be deplor'd
As human nature's broadest foulest blot,
Chains him and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that mcrcy with a bleeding heart
Weeps, when she sees inflicted on a beast.
Then what is man? And what man, seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush,
And hang his head, to think himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I awake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation priz'd above all price,

I had much rather be myself the slave
And wear the bonds, then fasten them on him.
We have no slaves at home then why abroad?
And they themselves, once ferried o'er the wave
That parts us, are emancipate and loos’d.
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through ev'ry vein
Of all your empire; that, when Britain's pow'r
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too. Cowper

SLEEP. Dreaming of the Joys of Youth.
No-dread, unlooked for, like a visitant
From th other world, he comes as if to haunt.
Thy guilty soul with dreams of lost delight,
Long lost to all but memory's aching signt.
Sad dreams! as when the spirit of our youth
Returns in sleep, sparkling with all the truth
And innocence once ours and leads us back,
In mournful mockery, o'er the shining track
Of our young life, and points out every ray
Of hope and peace we've lost upon the way! Moore,

SLEEP. Forsakes the Wretched.
Tir'd nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes:
Swift on his downy pinion flies from wo,
And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.

Young
SLEEP. Oft denied to Greatness.
Sleep, gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,

[blocks in formation]

That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber ;
Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile,
In loathsome beds : and leav'st the kingly couch,
A watch-case, or a common 'larum bell ?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows hy the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafʼning clamours in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy, in an hour so rude ;
And, in the calmest and most stillest nigh
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king?

Shakspeare.

SLEEP. Restores the Spirits.
But oh —my spirits fail !-sleep's dewy wand
Has strok'd my drooping lids to soft repose :
Haste, haste, sweet stranger! from the peasant's cot!
The ship-boy's hammock, or the soldier's straw,
Whence sorrow never chas'd thee : with thee bring
Not hideous visions, as of late ; but draughts
Delicious of well-tasted, cordial, rest;
Man's rich restorative: his balmy bath,

That supplies, lubricates, and keeps in play,
The various movements of this nice machine :
Sleep winds us up for the succeeding lawn.

Young
Snow STORM. Man sinking under.
As thus the snows arise ; and foul, and fierce,
All winter drives along the darken'd air
In his own loose revolving fields, the swain
Disaster'd stands; sees other hills ascend,
Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes,
Of horrid prospect, shag the trackles plain :
Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid
Beneath the formless wild ; but wanders on
From hill to dale, still more and more astray;
Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps,
Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home
Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In

many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul ! What black despair, what horror fills his heart! When for the dusky spot, which fancy feign' His tufted cottage rising through the snow, He meets the roughness of the middle waste, Far from the track, and bless'd abode of man! While round him night resistless closes fash And every tempest, howling o'er his head Renders the savage wilderness more wild Then throng the busy shapes into his mind Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep, A dire descent! beyond the power of frost Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge, Smooth'd up with snow; and what is land unknown, What water of the still unfrozen spring In loose marsh, or solitary lake, Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils, These check his fearful steps, and down he sinks

« PredošláPokračovať »