Page images
PDF
EPUB

VIII.

TO —, ON HER BIRTH-DAY.

MAIDEN, when such a soul as thine is born,
The morning-stars their ancient music make,
And, joyful, once again their song awake,
Long silent now with melancholy scorn ;
And thou, not mindless of so blest a morn,
By no least deed its harmony shalt break,
But shalt to that high chime thy footsteps take,
Through life's most darksome passes, unforlorn ;
Therefore from thy pure faith thou shalt not fall,
Therefore shalt thou be ever fair and free,
And, in thine every motion, musical
As summer air, majestic as the sea,
A mystery to those who creep and crawl
Through Time, and part it from Eternity.

XXXV.

O, HAPPY childhood ! dear, unthoughtful years
When life flowed onward like a rover wind,
Why did I leave your peace of heart behind
To plunge me in this sea of doubts and fears ?
Down, foolish sigh! have not my manhood's tears
Washed off the scales that made my nature blind,
Letting Truth's growing light sure passage find
Into my soul, where now the sky half-clears ?
Thank God that I am numbered now with men,
That there are hearts that need my love and me,
That I have sorrows now to make me ken
My strength and weakness, and my right to be
Brother to those, the outcast and the poor,
Driven back to darkness from the world's proud door!
I CANNOT think that thou shouldst pass away,
Whose life to mine is an eternal law,
A piece of nature that can have no flaw,
A new and certain sunrise every day ;
But, if thou art to be another ray
About the Sun of Life, and art to live
Free from all of thee that was fugitive,
The debt of Love 1 will more fully pay,
Not downcast with the thought of thee so high,
But rather raised to be a nobler man,
And more divine in my humanity,
As knowing that the waiting eyes which scan
My life are lighted by a purer being,
And ask meek, calm-browed deeds, with it agreeing.

XXXVII.

TO J. R. GIDDINGS.

GIDDINGS, far rougher names than thine have grown
Smoother than honey on the lips of men ;
And thou shalt aye be honorably known,
As one who bravely used his tongue and pen,
As best befits a freeman, — even for those,
To whom our Law's unblushing front denies
A right to plead against the life-long woes
Which are the Negro's glimpse of Freedom's skies :
Fear nothing and hope all things, as the Right
Alone may do securely ; every hour
The thrones of Ignorance and ancient Night
Lose somewhat of their long-usurped power,
And Freedom's lightest word can make them shiver
With a base dread that clings to them forever.

« PreviousContinue »