Изображения страниц

So shalt thou deftly raise

The market-price of human flesh; and, while
On thee their pampered guest the planters smile,
Thy church shall praise.

Grave, reverend men shall tell

From Northern pulpits how thy work was blest,
While, in that vile South Sodom, first and best
Thy poor disciples sell.

O shame! the Moslem thrall,
Who, with his master, to the Prophet kneels,
While turning to the sacred Kebla feels
His fetters break and fall.

Cheers for the turbaned Bey

Of robber-peopled Tunis! he hath torn
The dark slave-dungeons open, and hath borne
Their inmates into day.

But our poor slave in vain

Turns to the Christian shrine his aching eyes,—
Its rites will only swell his market-price,
And rivet on his chain.

God of all right! how long
Shall priestly robbers at thine altar stand,
Lifting, in prayer to Thee, the bloody hand
And haughty brow of wrong?

Oh, from the fields of cane,

From the low rice-swamp, from the trader's cell,From the black slave-ship's foul and loathsome hell, And coffle's weary chain,—

Hoarse, horrible, and strong,

Rises to Heaven that agonizing cry,
Filling the arches of the hollow sky,

"How long, O God, how long?"


So, this is all,-the utmost reach

Of priestly power the mind to fetter! When laymen think-when women preachA war of words, a "Pastoral Letter!" Now, shame upon ye, parish Popes!

Was it thus with those, your predecessors, Who sealed with racks and fire and ropes Their loving-kindness to transgressors?

A "Pastoral Letter," grave and dull—
Alas! in hoof and horns and features
How different is your Brookfield bull

From him who bellows from St. Peter's! Your pastoral rights and powers from harm, Think ye, can words alone preserve them? Your wiser fathers taught the arm

And sword of temporal power to serve them

O glorious days,-when Church and State
Were wedded by your spiritual fathers,
And on submissive shoulders sat

Your Wilsons and your Cotton Mathers!
No vile "itinerant" then could mar

The beauty of your tranquil Zion,

But at his peril of the scar

Of hangman's whip and branding-iron.

Then, wholesome laws relieved the Church
Of heretic and mischief-maker,

And priest and bailiff joined in search,

By turns, of Papist, witch, and Quaker! The stocks were at each church's door, The gallows stood on Boston Common, A Papist's ears the pillory bore,

The gallows-rope, a Quaker woman!

Your fathers dealt not as ye deal

With "non-professing" frantic teachers;

They bored the tongue with red-hot steel,
And flayed the backs of "female preachers."
Old Newbury, had her fields a tongue,

And Salem's streets, could tell their story
Of fainting woman dragged along,

Gashed by the whip, accursed and gory!

And will ye ask me why this taunt

Of memories sacred from the scorner?
And why with reckless hand I plant
A nettle on the graves ye honour?
Not to reproach New England's dead
This record from the past I summon,
Of manhood to the scaffold led,

And suffering and heroic woman.

No, for yourselves alone, I turn
The pages of intolerance over,
That in their spirit, dark and stern,
Ye haply may your own discover.
For, if ye claim the "pastoral right"

To silence Freedom's voice of warning,
And from your precincts shut the light
Of Freedom's day around ye dawning;

If when an earthquake voice of power,
And signs in earth and heaven, are snowing
That forth, in its appointed hour,

The Spirit of the Lord is going—
And, with that Spirit, Freedom's light
On kindred, tongue, and people breaking,
Whose slumbering millions, at the sight,
In glory and in strength are waking-

When for the sighing of the poor,

And for the needy, God hath risen, And chains are breaking, and a door Is opening for the souls in prisonIf then ye would, with puny hands, Arrest the very work of Heaven,


And bind anew the evil bands

Which God's right arm of power hath riven,—

What marvel that, in many a mind,

Those darker deeds of bigot madness
Are closely with your own combined,
Yet less in anger than in sadness?
What marvel if the people learn

To claim the right of free opinion?
What marvel if at times they spurn
The ancient yoke of your dominion?

A glorious remnant linger yet

Whose lips are wet at Freedom's fountains,
The coming of whose welcome feet
Is beautiful upon our mountains:
Men who the gospel tidings bring
Of Liberty and Love for ever,
Whose joy is an abiding spring,
Whose peace is as a gentle river.

But ye, who scorn the thrilling tale
Of Carolina's high-souled daughters,
Which echoes here the mournful wail
Of sorrow from Edisto's waters,
Close while ye may the public ear,-

With malice vex, with slander wound them,—

The pure and good shall throng to hear,

And tried and manly hearts surround them.

Oh ever may the power which led

Their way to such a fiery trial,

And strengthened womanhood to tread
The wine-press of such self-denial,

Be round them in an evil land,

With wisdom and with strength from Heaven,

With Miriam's voice, and Judith's hand,

And Deborah's song, for triumph given!

And what are ye who strive with God
Against the ark of his salvation,

Moved by the breath of prayer abroad,
With blessings for a dying nation?
What but the stubble and the hay

To perish, even as flax consuming,
With all that bars his glorious way,
Before the brightness of his coming?
And thou, sad Angel, who so long

Hast waited for the glorious token That Earth from all her bonds of wrong To liberty and light has broken,— Angel of Freedom! soon to thee

The sounding trumpet shall be given, And over Earth's full jubilee

Shall deeper joy be felt in Heaven!


So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn

Which once he wore!

The glory from his

For evermore !

grey hairs gone

Revile him not,-the Tempter hath

A snare for all;

And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
Befit his fall!

Oh dumb be passion's stormy rage,
When he who might

Have lighted up and led his age
Falls back in night.

Scorn? Would the angels laugh, to mark
A bright soul driven,
Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,
From hope and heaven?

Let not the land once proud of him
Insult him now,

Nor brand with deeper shame his dim
Dishonoured brow.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »