Page images
[blocks in formation]

“There, in glens and caverns rude, Silent since the world began, Dwells the virgin Solitude, Unbetray'd by faithless man;

- Where a tyrant never trod, Where a slave was never known, But where Nature worships God In the wilderness alone :

“Freedom, in a land of rocks
Wild as Scandinavia, give,
Power Eternal! where our flocks
And our little ones may live.'
“Thus they pray'd ;-

-a sacred hand
Led them by a path unknown,
To that dear delightful land
Which I yet must call my own.
“ To the Vale of Switz they came
Soon their meliorating toil
Gave the forests to the flame,
And their ashes to the soil.
« Thence their ardent labors spread,
Till above the mountain-snows
Towering beauty show'd her head,
And a new creation rose !

«-Thither, thither would I roam;
There my children may be free;
I for them will find a home,
They shall find a grave for me.
“Though my fathers' bones afar
In their native land repose,
Yet beneath the twilight star
Soft on mine the turf shall close.

[ocr errors]

“Thongh the mould that wraps my elay
When this storm of life is o'er,
Never since creation lay
On a human breast before ;-

So, in regions wild and wide, We will pierce the savage woods, Clothe the rocks in purple pride, Plow the valleys, tame the floods ;

u Yet in sweet communion there, When she follows to the dead, Shall my bosom's partner share Her poor husband's lowly bed.

1 There is a tradition among the Swiss, that they are de scended from the ancient Scandinavians; among whom, in a remote age, there arose so grievous a famine, that it was dotermined in the assembly of the Nation, that every tenth man and his family should quit their country, and seek a new pos session. Six thousand, chosen by lot, thus emigrated at onco from the North. They prayed to God to conduct them to a laud like their own, where they might dwell in freedom and quiet. finding food for their families, and pasture for their catile. God, says the tradition, led them to a valley among the Alps, where they cleared away the foresta, built the town of Switz, and afterwards people and cultivated the cantons of Uri and Under walden.


[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]



Receive him for ever; not now as a servant, but above a servant,-a brother beloved.

St. Paul's Epist. to Philemon, v. 15, 16.


which had become antiquated, by frequent, minute,
and disgusting exposure ; which afforded no oppor-

tunity to awaken, suspend, and delight curiosity, by THERE are objections against the title and plan of a subtle and surprising developement of plot; and this poem, which will occur to almost every reader. concerning which public feeling had been wearied The Author will not anticipate them: he will only into insensibility, by the agony of interest which the observe, that the title seemed the best, and the plan question excited, during three-and-twenty years of The most eligible, which he could adapt to a subject almost incessant discussion. That trade is at length 80 various and excursive, yet so familiar, and ex- abolished. May its memory be immortal, that hencehausted, as the African Slave Trade,—a subject forth it may be known only by its memory!


In calm magnificence the sun declined,

And left a paradise of clouds behind :
Proud at his feet, with pomp of pearl and gold,

The billows in a sea of glory roll’d.

“ —Ah! on this sea of glory might I sail,

Track the bright sun, and pierce the eternal veil

That hides those lands, beneath Hesperian skies, Introduction ; on the Abolition of the Slave Trade.- Where day-light sojourns till our morrow rise !"

The Mariner's Compass.-Columbus.—The Discovery of America. The West Indian Islands.

Thoughtful he wander'd on the beach alone ; The Caribs.—Their Extermination.

Mild o'er the deep the vesper planet shone,
The eye of evening, brightening through the west

Till the sweet moment when it shut to rest :
“Thy chains are broken, Africa : be free!”
Thus saith the island-empress of the sea;

Whither, 0 golden Venus! art thou fled ?

Not in the ocean-chambers lies thy bed ; Thus saith Britannia.—Oh, ye winds and waves !

Round the dim world thy glittering chariot drawn Waft the glad tidings to the land of slaves ;

Pursues the twilight, or precedes the dawn;
Proclaim on Guinea's coast, by Gambia's side,
And far as Tiger rolls his eastern tide,'

Thy beauty noon and midnight never see,

The morn and eve divide the year with thee." Through radiant realıns, beneath the burning zone, Where Europe's curse is felt, her name unknown, Thus saith Britannia, empress of the sea,

Soft fell the shades, till Cynthia's slender bow

Crested the farthest wave, then sunk below: “ Thy chains are broken, Africa: be free!”

“ Tell me, resplendent guardian of the night,

Circling the sphere in thy perennial flight, Long lay the ocean-paths from man conceald: Light came from heaven,—the magnet was reveala, What secret path of heaven thy smiles adorn,

What nameless sea reflects thy gleaming horn!
A surer star to guide the seaman's eye
Than the pale glory of the northern sky;

Now earth and ocean vanish'd, all serene
Alike ordain'd to shine by night and day,
Through calm and tempest, with unsetting ray;

The starry firmament alone was seen;
Where'er the mountains rise, the billows roll,

Through the slow, silent hours, he watch'd the host Still with strong impulse turning to the pole,

Of midnight suns in western darkness lost, True as the sun is to the morning true,

Till Night himself, on shadowy pinions borne, Though light as film, and trembling as the dev.

Fled o'er the mighty waters, and the morn
Danced on the mountains :—“ Lights of heaven!” ho

Then man no longer plied with timid oar,
And failing heart, along the wind ward shore ;

" Lead on ;-I go to win a glorious bride;

Fearless o'er gulfs unknown I urge my way,
Broad to the sky he turn'd his fearless sail,
Defied the adverse, wood the favoring gale,

Where peril prowls, and shipwreck lurks for prey : Bared to the storm his adamantine breast,

Hope swells my sail ;-in spirit I behold Or soft on Ocean's lap lay down to rest ;

That maiden world, twin-sister of the old,
While free, as clouds the liquid ether sweep,

By nature nursed beyond the jealous sea,
His white-wing'd vessels coursed the unbounded deep; Denied to ages, but betroth'd to me." I
From clime to clime the wanderer loved to roam,
The waves his heritage, the world his home.

1 When the Author of The West Indies conccived the plan

of this introduction of Columbus, he was not aware that he was Then first Columbus, with the mighty hand indebted to any preceding poet for a hint on the subject ; but, of grasping genius, weigh'd the sea and land;

some time afterwards, on a second perusal of Southey's Madoc,

it struck bim that the idea of Columbus walking on the shore The foods o'erbalanced :—where the tide of light,

at sunset, which he had bitherto imagined his own, might be Day after day, rollid down the gulf of night, only a reflection of the impression made upon his mind long beThere seem'd one waste of waters :-long in vain fore, by the first reading of the following splendid passage. He His spirit brooded o'er the Atlantic main ;

therefore gladly makes this acknowledgment, though at his own

expense, in justice to the Author of the noblest narrative poem When sudden, as creation burst from nought,

in the English language, after the Faerie Queen and Paradise Sprang a new world, through his stupendous thought, Lost. Light, order, beauty!-While his mind explored When evening came, toward the echoing shoro The unveiling mystery, his heart adored;

I and Cadwallon walk'd together forth; Where'er sublime imagination trod,

Bright with dilated glory shone the west;

But brighter lay the ocean flood below, He heard the voice, he saw the face of God.

The burnish'd silver sea, that heaved and fash'd

Ils restless rays intolerably bright. Far from the western cliffs he cast his eye

"Prince!" quoth Cadwallon, “thou hast rode the waves O’er the wide ocean stretching to the sky :

In triumph when the Invader felt thine arm.
Oh what a nobler conquest might be won

There.-upon that wide field !" " What meanest thou P 1 Mungo Park, in his travels, ascertained that “the great I cried : “That yonder waters are not spread river of the Negroes" flowa eastioard. It is probable, therefore, A boundless waste, a bou me impassable; that this river is either lost among the sands, or empties itself That thou shouldst rule the elements,-that there into some inland sea, in the undiscovered regions of Africa.- Might manly courage, manly wisdom, find See also Part II, line 64.

Some happy isle, some undiscover'd shore,


trod ;

The winds were prosperous, and the billows bore Earth from her lap perennial verdure pours,
The brave adventurer to the promised shore; Ambrosial fruits, and amaranthine flowers;
Far in the west, array'd in purple light,

O'er the wild mountains and luxuriant plains,
Dawn'd the new world on his enraptured sight: Nature in all the pomp of beauty reigns,
Not Adam, loosen'd from the encumbering earth, In all the pride of freedom.-NATURE FREE
Waked by the breath of God to instant birth, Proclaims that Man was born for liberty.
With sweeter, wilder wonder gazed around, She flourishes where'er the sun-beams play
When life within, and light without he found; O'er living fountains, sallying into day;
When, all creation rushing o'er his soul,

She withers where the waters cease to roll,
He seem'd to live and breathe throughout the whole. And night and winter stagnate round the pole:
So felt Columbus, when, divinely fair,

Man too, where freedom's beams and fountains rise,
At the last look of resolute despair,

Springs from the dust, and blossoms to the skies;
The Hesperian isles, from distance dimly blue, Dead to the joys of light and life, the slave
With gradual beauly open'd on his view.

Clings to the clod; his root is in the grave:
In that proud moment, his transported mind Bondage is winter, darkness, death, despair;
The morning and the evening worlds combined, Freedom the sun, the sea, the mountains, and the air
And made the sea, that sunder'd them before
A bond of peace, uniting shore to shore.

In placid indolence supinely blest,
Vain, visionary hope ! rapacious Spain

A feeble race these beauteous isles possess'd; Follow'd her hero's triumph o'er the main,

Untamed, untaught, in arts and arms unskill'd, Her hardy sons in fields of battle tried,

Their patrimonial soil they rudely tillid, Where Moor and Christian desperately died. Chased the free rovers of the savage wood, A rabid race, fanatically bold,

Ensnared the wild-bird, swept the scaly floud,
And steeld to cruelty by lust of gold,

Shelter'd in lowly huts their fragile forms
Traversed the waves, the unknown world explored, From burning suns and desolating storms;
The cross their standard, but their faith the sword; Or when the halcyon sported on the breeze,
Their steps were graves; o'er prostrate realms they In light canoes they skimm'd the rippling seas:

Their lives in dreams of soothing languor flew,
They worshipp'd Mammon while they vow'd to God. No parted joys, no future pains, they knew,

The passing moment all their bliss or care ; Let nobler bards in loftier numbers tell

Such as their sires had been the children were, How Cortez conquer'd, Montezuma fell;

From age to age; as waves upon the tide
How fierce Pizarro's ruffian arm o'erthrew

Of stormless time, they calmly lived and died.
The Sun's resplendent empire in Peru;
How, like a prophet, old Las Casas stood,
And raised his voice against sea of blood,

Dreadful as hurricanes, athwart the main
Whose chilling waves recoil'd while he foretold

Rush'd the fell legions of invading Spain ; His country's ruin by avenging gold.

With fraud and force, with false and fatal breath —That gold, for which unpitied Indians fell,

(Submission bondage, and resistance death), That gold, at once the snare and scourge of hell,

They swept the isles. In vain the simple race Thenceforth by righteous Heaven was doom'd to shed Kneeld to the iron sceptre of their grace, Unmingled curses on the spoiler's head ;

Or with weak arms their fiery vengeance braved, For gold the Spaniard cast his soul away,

They came, they saw, they conquer'd, they enslaved His gold and he were every nation's prey.

And they destroy'd ;-the generous heart they broke,

They crush'd the timid neck beneath the yoke ; But themes like these would ask an angel-lyre, Where'er to battle marchd their fell array, Language of light and sentiment of fire;

The sword of conquest plow'd resistless way; Give me to sing, in melancholy strains,

Where'er from cruel toil they sought repose,
Of Carib martyrdoms and Negro chains ;

Around the fires of devastation rose.
One race by tyrants rooted from the earth, The Indian, as he turn'd his head in flight,
One doom'd to slavery by the taint of birth! Beheld his cottage flaming through the night,

And, 'midst the shrieks of murder on the wind,
Where first his drooping sails Columbus furl'd,

Heard the mule blood-hound's death-step close behind
And sweetly rested in another world,
Amidst the heaven-reflecting ocean, smiles
A constellation of elysian isles ;

The conflict o'er, the valiant in their graves,
Fair as Orion, when he mounts on high,

The wretched remnant dwindled into slaves;
Sparkling with midnight splendor from the sky: Condemn'd in pestilential cells to pine,
They bask beneath the sun's meridian rays, Delving for gold amidst the gloomy mine.
When not a shadow breaks the boundless blaze; The sufferer, sick of life-protracting breath,
The breath of ocean wanders through thei: vales Inhaled with joy the fire-damp blast of death.
In morning breezes and in evening gales :

-Condemn'd to fell the mountain palm on high,
That cast its shadow from the evening sky,

Ere the tree trembled to his feeble stroke,
Some resting-place for peace. Oh! that my soul

The woodman languish'd, and his heart-strings bruke
Could seize the wings of morning! soon would I

-Condemn'd, in torrid noon, with palsied hand,
Behold that othor world, where yonder sun
Now speeds w dawo in glory."

To urge the slow plow o'er the obdurate land,


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

The laborer, smitten by the sun's quick ray, From rude Caffraria, where the giraffes browse, A corpse along the unfinish'd furrow lay.

With stately heads, among the forest boughs, O'erwhelm'd at length with ignominious toil, To Atlas, where Numidian lions glow Mingling their barren ashes with the soil,

With torrid fire beneath eternal snow: Down to the dust the Carib people pass'd,

From Nubian hills, that hail the dawning day, Like autumn foliage withering in the blast: To Guinea's coast, where evening fades away, The whole ace sunk beneath the oppressor's rod, Regions immense, unsearchable, unknown, And left a blank among the works of God. Bask in the splendor of the solar zone;

A world of wonders, where creation seems
No more the works of Nature, but her dreams;

Great, wild, and beautiful, beyond control,

She reigns in all the freedom of her soul;

Where none can check her bounty when she showers

O'er the gay wilderness her fruits and flowers; ARGUMENT.

None brave her fury, when, with whirlwind breath, The Cane - Africa.—The Negro.—The Slave-Carry- And earthquake step, she walks abroad with death :

ing Trade.-The Means and Resources of the Slave O'er boundless plains she holds her fiery flight, Trade.—The Portuguese, - Dutch, - Danes, In terrible magnificence of light; French,—and English in America.

At blazing noon pursues the evening breeze,

Through the dun gloom of realm-o'ershadowing trees, Among the bowers of paradise, that graced

Her thirst at Nile's mysterious fountain quells, Those islands of the world-dividing waste,

Or bathes in secrecy where Niger swells Where towering cocoas waved their graceful locks, An inland ocean, on whose jasper rocks And vines luxuriant cluster'd round the rocks ;

With shells and sea-flower-wreaths she binds her

locks : Where orange-groves perfumed the circling air, With verdure, flowers, and fruit for ever fair;

She slept on isles of velvet verdure, placed Gay myrtle foliage track'd the winding rills,

| 'Midst sandy gulfs and shoals for ever waste ; And cedar forests slumber'd on the hills ;

She guides her countless flocks to cherish'd rills,

And feeds her cattle on a thousand hills;
--An eastern plant, ingrafted on the soil,'
Was tillid for ages with consuming toil;

Her steps the wild bees welcome through the vale, No tree of knowledge with forbidden fruit,

From every blossom that embalms the gale; Death in the taste, and ruin at the root;

The slow unwieldy river-horse she leads Yet in its growth were good and evil found,

Through the deep waters, o'er the pasturing meads; It bless'd the planter, but it cursed the ground;

And climbs the mountains that invade the sky, While with vain wealth it gorged the master's hoard, To soothe the eagle's nestlings when they cry. And spread with manna his luxurious board,

At sun-set, when voracious monsters burst Its culture was perdition to the slave,

From dreams of blood, awaked by maddening thirst; It sapp'd his life, and flourish'd on his grave.

When the lorn caves, in which they shrunk from light,

Ring with wild echoes through the hideous night; When the fierce spoiler from remorseless Spain When darkness seems alive, and all the air Tasted the balmy spirit of the cane,

Is one tremendous uproar of despair, (Already had his rival in the west

Horror, and agony ;-on her they call;
From the rich reed ambrosial sweetness press'd), She hears their clamor, she provides for all,
Dark through his thoughts the miser purpose rollid Leads the light leopard on his eager way,
To turn its hidden treasures into gold.

And goads the gaunt hyena to his prey.
But at his breath, by pestilent decay,
The Indian tribes were swiftly swept away;

In these romantic regions, man grows wild; Silence and horror o'er the isles were spread, Here dwells the Negro, Nature's outcast child, The living seem'd the spectres of the dead. Scorn'd by his brethren; but his mother's eye, The Spaniard saw; no sigh of pity stole,

That gazes on him from her warmest sky, No pang of conscience touch'd his sullen soul : Sees in his flexile limbs untutor'd grace, The tiger weeps not o'er the kid ;-he turns Power on his forehead, beauty in his face; His flashing eyes abroad, and madly burns Sees in his breast, where lawless passions rovo, For nobler victims, and for warmer blood : The heart of friendship and the home of love, Thus on the Carib shore the tyrant stood,

Sees in his mind, where desolation reigns Thus cast his eyes with fury o'er the tide, Fierce as his clime, uncultured as his plains. And far beyond the gloomy gulf descried

A soil where virtue's fairest flowers might shoot. Devoted Africa: he burst away,

And trees of science bend with glorious fruit, And with a yell of transport grasp'd his prey. Sees in his soul, involved with thickest night Where the stupendous Mountains of the Moon

An emanation of eternal light, Cast their broad shadows o'er the realms of noon;

Ordain'd, 'midst sinking worlds, his dust to fire

And shine for ever when the stars expire. 1 The Cane is said to have been first transplanted from Ma- Her quickening beams on his neglected head ?

Is he not man, though knowledge never shed deira to the Brazils, by the Portuguese, and afterwards introdaced by the Spaniards into the Caribbee Islands.-Sce also Is he not man, though sweet religion's voice une 21, below.

Ne'er bade the mourner in his God rejoice ?

« PreviousContinue »