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“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
-a sacred hand
«-Thither, thither would I roam;
“Thongh the mould that wraps my elay
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.
WRITTEN IN NIONOR OF THE ABOLITION OF THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE BY THE
BRITISH LEGISLATURE, IN 1807.
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.
TO THE PUBLIC.
which had become antiquated, by frequent, minute,
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 :
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,
Till the sweet moment when it shut to rest :
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;
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!”
Now earth and ocean vanish'd, all serene
The starry firmament alone was seen;
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
" Lead on ;-I go to win a glorious bride;
Fearless o'er gulfs unknown I urge my way,
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,
By nature nursed beyond the jealous sea,
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.
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,
The winds were prosperous, and the billows bore Earth from her lap perennial verdure pours,
O'er the wild mountains and luxuriant plains,
She withers where the waters cease to roll,
Man too, where freedom's beams and fountains rise,
Springs from the dust, and blossoms to the skies;
Clings to the clod; his root is in the grave:
In placid indolence supinely blest,
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,
Shelter'd in lowly huts their fragile forms
Their lives in dreams of soothing languor flew,
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
Of stormless time, they calmly lived and died.
Dreadful as hurricanes, athwart the main
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,
Around the fires of devastation rose.
And, 'midst the shrieks of murder on the wind,
Heard the mule blood-hound's death-step close behind
The conflict o'er, the valiant in their graves,
The wretched remnant dwindled into slaves;
-Condemn'd to fell the mountain palm on high,
Ere the tree trembled to his feeble stroke,
The woodman languish'd, and his heart-strings bruke
-Condemn'd, in torrid noon, with palsied hand,
To urge the slow plow o'er the obdurate land,
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
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;
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;
And goads the gaunt hyena to his prey.
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 ?