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THE GOBLET OF LIFE.
Filled is Life's goblet to the brim;
No purple flowers, — no garlands green,
This goblet, wrought with curious art,
And as it mantling passes round,
Above the lowly plants it towers,
It gave new strength, and fearless mood;
Then in Life's goblet freely press,
New light and strength they give!
And he who has not learned to know
The prayer of Ajax was for light;
Let our unceasing, earnest prayer
Be, too, for light, —for strength to bear
Our portion of the weight of care,
O suffering, sad humanity!
0 ye afflicted ones, who lie Steeped to the lips in misery. Longing, and yet afraid to die,
Patient, though sorely tried! •'
l pledge you in this cup of grief, Where floats the fennel's bitter leaf! The Battle of our Life is brief,
The alarm, — the struggle, — the relief, Then sleep we side by side.
Maiden! with the meek, brown eyes,
Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Standing, with reluctant feet,
Gazing, with a timid glance,
Deep and still, that gliding stream
Then why pause with indecision,
Seest thou shadows sailing by,
Hearest thou voices on the shore, .
O, thou child of many prayers!
Life hath quicksands, — Life hath snares!
Care and age come unawares!
Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Childhood is the bough, whore slumbered
Gather, then, each flower that grows,
ear a lily in thy hand;
Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
O, that dew, like balm, shall steal
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
The shades of night were falling fast,
His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household firesgle am warm and bright;
Arjove, the spectral glaciers shone,
"Try not the Pass!" the old man said; "Dark lowers the tempest overhead, The roaring torrent is deep and wide!" And loud that clarion voice replied, Excelsior!
"O stay," the maiden said, "and rest
"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
At break of day, as heavenward
A traveller, by the faithful hound,
There in the twilight cold and gray,
POEMS ON SLAVERY.
[The following poems, with one exception, were written at Ben, in the latter part of October, 184-2. I had not then heard of Dr. Channing's death. Since that event, the poem addressed to him is no longer appropriate. I have decided, however, to let it remain as it was written, in testimony of my admiration for a great and good man.l
TO WILLIAM E. CHANGING.
The pages of thy book I read,
And as I closed each one,
"Servant of God! well done!"
Well done! Thy words are great and bold;
At times they seem to me,
Go on, until this land revokes
The old and chartered Lie, The feudal curse, whose whips and yokes
A voice is ever at thy side
Speaking in tones of might,
To John in Patmos, "Write!"
Write! and tell out this bloody tale;
Record this dire eclipse, This Day of Wrath, this Endless Wail,
This dread Apocalypse!
THE SLAVE'S DREAM.
Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
His sickle in his hand;
Was buried in the sand.
He saw his Native Land.
Wide through the landscape of his dreams
The lordly Niger flowed;
Once more a king he strode;
Descend the mountain-road.
He'saw once more his dark-eyed queen Among her children stand;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
They held him by the hand ! — A tear burst from the sleeper's lids And fell into the sand.
And then at furious speed he rode
Along the Niger's bank;
And, with a martial clank, At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel
Smiting his stallion's flank.
Before him, like a blood-red flag,
The bright flamingoes flew; From morn till night he followed their flight,
O'er plains where the tamarind grew, Till he saw the roofs of Cafire huts, And the ocean rose to view.
At night he heard the lion roar,
And the hyena scream, And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
Beside some hidden stream; And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
Through the triumph of his dream.
The forests, with their myriad tongues,
Shouted of liberty; And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
With a voice so wild and free, That he started in his sleep and smiled . At their tempestuous glee.
He did not feel the driver's whip,
Nor the burning heat of day;
And his lifeless body lay
THE GOOD PART,
THAT SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY.
She dwells by Great Kenhawa's side,
In valleys green and cool;
Are in the village school.
Her soul, like the transparent air
That robes the hills above, Though not of earth, encircles there
All things with arms of love.
And thus she walks among her girls
Subduing e'en rude village churls
She reads to them at eventide
Of One who came to save;
And liberate the slave.
And oft the blessed time foretells
And musical, as silver bells,
And following her beloved Lord,
In decent poverty, She makes her life one sweet record
And deed of charity.
For she was rich, and gave up all
To break the iron bands
And labored in her lands.
Long since beyond the Southern Sea
While she, in meek humility,
It is their prayers, which never cease,
Their blessing is the light of peace
THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL SWAMP.
In dark fens of the Dismal Swamp
The hunted Negro lay; He saw the fire of the midnight camp, And heard at times a horse's tramp
And a bloodhound's distant bay.
Where will-o'-the-wisps and glow-worms shine,
In bulrush and in brake; Where waving mosses shroud the pine, And the cedar grows, and the poisonous vine
Is.spotted like the snake;
Where hardly a human foot could pass,
Or a human heart would dare, On the quaking turf of the green morass He crouched in the rank and tangled grass,
Like a wild beast in his lair.
A poor old slave, infirm and lame;
Great scars deformed his face; On his forehead he bore the brand of shame,
And the rags, that hid his mangled frame, Were the livery of disgrace.
All things above were bright and fair,
All things were glad and free; Lithe squirrels darted here and there, And wild birds filled the echoing air With songs of Liberty!
On him alone was the doom of pain,
From the morning of his birth; On him alone the curse of Cain Fell, like a flail on the garnered grain, And struck him to the earth!
THE SLAVE SINGING AT MID-
Loud he sang the psalm of David!
In that hour, when night is calmest,
Songs of triumph, and ascriptions,
And the voice of his devotion
Paul and Silas, in their prison,
But, alas! what holy angel
In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands,
With shackled feet and hands.
Beyond the fall of dews,
Float ships, with all their crews,
There the black Slave-ship swims,
Whose fettered, fleshless limbs
These are the bones of Slaves;
They gleam from the abyss;
"We are the Witnesses!"
Within Earth's wide domains
Their necks are galled with chains,
Dead bodies, that the kite
Murders, that with affright
Scare school-boys from their play!
All evil thoughts and deeds;
Anger, and lust, and pride; The foulest, rankest weeds,
That choke Life's groaning tide!
These are the woes of Slaves;
They glare from the abyss; They cry, from unknown graves,
"We are the Witnesses!"
THE QUADROON GIRL.
The Slaver in the broad lagoon
He waited for the rising moon,
Under the shore his boat was tL'd,
And all her listless crew Watched the gray alligator slide
Into the still bayou.
Odors of orange-flowers, and spice,
Like airs that breathe from Paradise
The Planter, under his roof of thatch,
The Slaver's thumb was on the latch,
He said, "My ship at anchor rides
In yonder broad lagoon;
And the rising of the moon."
Before them, with her face upraised,
In timid attitude,
A Quadroon maiden stood.
Her eyes were large, and full of light, Her arms and neck were bare;
No garment she wore save a kirtle bright, And her own long, raven hair.
And on her lips there played a smile
As holy, meek, and faint,
The features of a saint.
"The soil is barren, — the farm is old";
The thoughtful planter said; Then looked upon the Slaver's gold,
And then upon the maid.
His heart within him was at strife
With such accursed gains: For he knew whose passions gave her life,
Whose blood ran in her veins.
But the voice of nature was too weak;
He took the glittering gold! Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek,
Her hands as icy cold.
The Slaver led her from the door,
He led her by the hand,
In a strange and distant laud l