« PreviousContinue »
It was not in the battle;
No tempest gave the shock; She sprang no fatal leak ;
She ran upon no rock.
His sword was in its sheath;
His fingers held the pen, When Kempenfelt went down,
With twice four hundred men.
Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes ! And mingle with our cup
The tear that England owes.
Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again, Full charged with England's thunder,
And plough the distant main :
But Kempenfelt is gone;
His victories are o'er;
Shall plough the wave no more.
THE NEGRO'S COMPLAINT.
FORCED from home and all its pleasures,
Afric's coast I left forlorn ;
O’er the raging billows borne.
Paid my price in paltry gold;
Minds are never to be sold.
Still in thought as free as ever,
What are England's rights, I ask, Me from my delights to sever,
Me to torture, me to task ? Fleecy locks and black complexion
Cannot forfeit Nature's claim : Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.
Why did all-creating Nature
Make the plant for which we toil? Sighs must fan it, tears must water,
Sweat of ours must dress the soil. Think, ye masters, iron-hearted,
Lolling at your jovial boards; Think how many backs have smarted
For the sweets your cane affords.
Is there, as ye sometimes tell us,
Is there One who reigns on high ? Has he bid you buy and sell us,
Speaking from his throne, the sky?
Ask him, if your knotted scourges,
Matches, blood-extorting screws, Are the means that duty urges,
Agents of his will to use?
Hark! he answers Wild tornadoes
Strewing yonder sea with wrecks; Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,
Are the voice with which he speaks. He, foreseeing what vexations
Afric's sons should undergo, Fix'd their tyrants' habitations
Where his whirlwinds 'answer-No.
By our blood in Afric wasted,
Ere our necks received the chain; By the miseries that we tasted,
Crossing in your barks the main ; By our sufferivgs, since ye brought us
To the man-degrading mart;
Only by a broken heart !
Deem our nation brutes no longer,
Till some reason ye shall find Worthier of regard, and stronger
Than the colour of our kind. Slaves of gold, whose sordid dealings
Tarnish all your boasted powers, Prove that you have human feelings,
Ere you proudly question ours !
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY
DURING HIS SOLITARY ABODE IN THE ISLAND
OF JUAN FERNANDEZ.
I am monarch of all I survey;
My right there is none to dispute;
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
That sages have seen in thy face?
Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone,
I start at the sound of my own.
My form with indifference see;
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestow'd upon man,
How soon would I taste you again !
In the ways of religion and truth ;
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.
Religion ! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word ! More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford. But the sound of the church-going bell
These valleys and rocks never heard, Never sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Or smiled when a sabbath appear'd.
Ye winds that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more. My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me? O tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind !
Compared with the speed of its flight, The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light. When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there; But alas ! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair.
But the seafowl is gone to her nest;
The beast is laid down in his lair; Even here is a season of rest,
And I to my cavin repair. There's mercy in every place ;
And mercy, encouraging thought ! Gives even affictiov a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.